About us

Our Patrons

The Countess of Devon

The Countess is very active in charity work within Teignbridge, South Devon and is currently Vice Chair of the area Red Cross. She lives at Powderham Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Devonshire and the premier stately home tourist attraction within Teignbridge. Powderham is one of the most popular venues for large scale outdoor musical events with internationally famous performers like Elton John appearing there.  She showed great sympathy when approached by Trustees with a request to become a Patron of the Foundation and Trustees were delighted when she accepted.

Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG and Lady Jay (Sylvia) CBE

Lord Jay was, until his retirement, the Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service. Following his retirement, Lord Jay was recommended for a life peerage, and this was gazetted as Baron Jay of Ewelme, of Ewelme in the County of Oxfordshire, on 18 September 2006. His wife, Sylvia, becomes Lady Jay (Sylvia) CBE.

He was born in Hampshire in June 1946 and educated at Winchester College, Magdalen College Oxford, of which he is an honorary fellow, and London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

After voluntary service as a teacher in Zambia, he joined the Ministry of Overseas Development in 1969, serving in London, Washington (at the World Bank) and in the British High Commission in New Delhi. In 1981 he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He served in the European Secretariat of the Cabinet Office from 1985-87, as Counsellor in the Paris Embassy from 1987-90, and in the Foreign Office as Director for European Affairs, then Director General for European and Economic Affairs from 1990-96. In 1996 he was a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College Oxford. From July 1996 to September 2001 he was British Ambassador in Paris. In July 2001 he was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service, a post he took up on 14 January 2002 and retired from in July 2006.

In 2005 Lord Jay was, in addition, appointed the Prime Minister’s Personal Representative (Sherpa) to prepare the G8 Summit at Gleneagles.

As family friends of the Kirk Family, Lord Jay and Lady Sylvia met Helen on a number of occasions and were very supportive when she died. They were most willing to help the Foundation by becoming Patrons.

Lord Jay married Sylvia Mylroie in 1975. She has been Vice Chairman of L’Oreal UK since September 2005, Chairman of Food From Britain since January 2006, and is an independent Non-Executive Director of St-Gobain. She also chairs the Pilgrim Trust and is a Trustee of the Entente Cordiale Scholarship Scheme. Useful links for further information on those latter organisations are:

www.thepilgrimtrust.org.uk
www.britishcouncil.org 
www.francealacarte.org.uk

MUSE

The band members of MUSE, who were personal friends of Helen were devastated when Helen died and willingly agreed to become Patrons of The Helen Foundation on its creation.

The band first formed at Teignmouth Community College and received a vital boost in sponsorship provided by the Prince’s Trust, which granted the band new musical equipment at the start of their career. The band are whole-heartedly behind The Helen Foundation and recognise the importance of early support for talented young people.

A spokesman for MUSE Management, at the time they agreed to become Patrons,  said, “The band are delighted and honoured to be patrons of The Helen Foundation. MUSE are very proud of their Teignbridge roots, and recognise that the area has much artistic talent to be uncovered and nurtured.”

The members of MUSE are:

Matt Bellamy – born 9 June 1978 in Cambridge, Matt is the lead singer and guitarist. He is also an extremely talented pianist. Matt moved to Teignmouth when he was 7 years old and later attended Teignmouth Community College and Exeter College before the band were signed. He now lives mainly out of LA, California with his girlfriend Kate Hudson and their baby Bing.

Chris Wolstenholme – born 2 December 1978 in Rotherham, Chris is the well-known bass player. He sings solo with the band as well as providing backing vocals on albums. Chris moved to Teignmouth when he was 8  years old and later attended Teignmouth Community College before the band were signed. He currently lives in Surrey with his wife and children.

Dom Howard – born 12 July 1977 in Stockport, Dom is the popular and gifted drummer and percussionist. Dom also moved to Teignmouth when he was 8  old and later attended Teignmouth Community College and Exeter College before the band were signed. When not on the road touring, he tends to divide his time between London and the South of  France.

The official MUSE website is at: www.muse.mu

Dr Floella Benjamin OBE DL

We were delighted when Dr Floella Benjamin OBE DL kindly agreed to join our distinguished list of Patrons.  She was Helen’s  totally favourite BBC presenter, someone Helen really aspired to, and it was wonderful when she responded so positively to the request to become a Patron of the Foundation.

Floella Benjamin was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England as a child in 1960. She left school at 16 with the aim of becoming Britain’s first ever black woman bank manager but changed direction and became an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world.

Today she runs a successful film and television production company and is a Vice-President of Barnardo’s. She led a twenty-year campaign to create the role of Children’s Minister, which achieved its goal in 2003. She is now leading a nation wide campaign to save UK made children’s television programmes.

She was Chairman of the Women of the Year Lunch for five years, Chairman of BAFTA -Television, was a member of the OFCOM Content Board and a Millennium Commissioner. She is now President of the Ramblers, the Elizabeth ’R’ Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund, a Governor of Dulwich College and the National Film & Television School. She is the Chancellor of the University of Exeter and a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London. She recently launched her own range of Caribbean ready meals.

Her broadcasting work has been recognised with a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA and an OBE. She has written over 20 books including Skip Across the Ocean, My Two Grannies and Coming to England which is used as a resource in schools in social and cross curricular areas. The book was adapted into an RTS award winning film by her company for BBC Education. She has just finished her new book The Arms of Britannia which is the follow up to Coming to England.

She created Touching Success, an initiative which aims to mentor and help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire.

Floella’s latest hit children’s programme is CBeebies Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies and she recently produced and presented Hey Diddle Diddle a 42 part children’s comedy series and a 21 part storytelling series Floella’s Story Sack, both for BBC7. She also plays the character of Professor Rivers in Dr Who spin off Sarah Jane Adventures and appeared in the feature film ‘Run Fat Boy Run’.

Floella completed 10 consecutive London Marathon and over the years has raised thousands of pounds for children’s charity Barnardo’s. She also actively supports SPARKS, NSPCC and The Sickle Cell Society.

On the 20th of October 2012, she was awarded the J.M Barrie Award given annually to a children’s arts practitioner or organisation whose work, in the view of ACA, will stand the test of time.

She is married with two children and enjoys cooking, golf, photography and travelling.

Please check our her website for further details:
www.floellabenjamin.com