Fundraising News: Why I give - Actress Joanna Lumley

Actress Joanna Lumley has been a long-time Friend of Sane, a loyalty scheme for the charity's most committed supporters. She is involved with many charities but sees her relationship with Sane as a special one.

When and why did you become involved with Sane? When Marjorie Wallace, the charity's founder and chief executive, wrote her pioneering 'Forgotten Illness' articles in The Times 18 years ago. These powerful and ground-breaking accounts, which portrayed the plight of individuals and families affected by mental illness, made a great impression on me.

What kind of activities do you usually take part in to support this charity? It was wonderful to be present when HRH Prince Charles, Sane's patron, opened the Prince of Wales International Centre for Sane Research in Oxford last year. Part of the charity's activities is to carry out fundamental scientific research to find the causes and possible cures for mental illness. I was keen to have the opportunity to meet the team of researchers and find out more. I also participated in Sane's recent Christmas appeal publicised in The Independent on Sunday, and wrote a message of support in the charity's latest newsletter.

How do you see your role as a celebrity supporter? It is a privilege to be able to draw people's attention to a cause, and I hope that I can help to do that. I feel proud to call myself a Friend of Sane and to support its vital work, not least by encouraging others to join me.

What do you bring to Sane? It is hard to assess one's personal contribution, but I try to bring support, love and interest. But rather than just one person lending support, I think it works best if several, diverse people get together. I hope I can lend my voice to other supporters and in this way encourage people to learn more.

Are there any other charities you support financially, or with time? I am connected with 45 charities, and I would not wish to single out any one for particular mention as they are all extremely important to me.

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