At Work: Fundraising - Our famous names

Maureen Lipman has been honorary patron of Myeloma UK since May 2004.

The actress was first invited to a fundraising dinner organised by the charity three years ago. Her husband, the dramatist Jack Rosenthal, had just been diagnosed with Myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow that is terminal. Lipman became the first honorary patron of Myeloma UK shortly after his death in May 2004.

Last month, a book of limericks written by Lipman, entitled The Gibbon's in Decline, but the Horse is Stable, was published. All the royalties will go to Myeloma UK. Lipman also writes about the charity's work in her Guardian column and has used it as a platform for its campaign to get the drug Velcade made available on the NHS.

A spokeswoman for Myeloma UK said: "Maureen is passionate about the cause.You know that if she accepts an invitation she will be there."

Lipman said: "Myeloma has a devastating effect on patients and their families - it did on ours. I don't want anybody to go through what we have gone through because of this little-known and violent disease."

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