A Baughurst woman who has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to fight brain tumours has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Clare Normand established the Alec Normand Fund in memory of her son, who passed away after losing his battle against an inoperable brain tumour.

The fund has since raised almost £700,000, with her achievement recognised with an OBE for services to brain tumour charities.

Clare said: “To say I am proud of this award is an extraordinary understatement – it is the most unexpected gift of my life and very humbling.

“While I feel the honour deeply, nothing can replace our son Alec, who died of a brain tumour in 2008, at the age of nine. His quiet nature hid a gloriously sunny personality and smile, now represented, for all those who loved him, by a sunflower.

“As he was dying, he made us promise not to let the same thing happen to anyone else. It is a difficult promise to keep but I have been trying to do just that since, working with my family, wonderful friends and the outstanding team at The Brain Tumour Charity.”

The OBE, or Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is awarded by the monarch on behalf of the government to recognise those who have made major contributions at a local level, or whose work has gained a national profile.

Clare established the Alec Normand Fund alongside her husband, Christopher, as a supporter group of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust (now The Brain Tumour Charity) in 2007, following her son’s diagnosis of a brain tumour in April of that year.

She continued to fundraise following Alec’s death in January 2008, and also had a daughter, Ursie, who never got the chance to meet her older brother. She also has another son, Oliver.

Clare worked as a management consultant until 2012, when she began working at The Brain Tumour Charity. She is currently the head of strategy at the organisation.

Clare said: “Singling me out for an OBE must also be put in context: my whole family has shared the loss of Alec and has given me the space over the last few years to pursue our promise to him; there are countless families that have been devastated by the effects of a brain tumour; and there are hundreds of other people working tirelessly to find a cure for brain tumours.

“In accepting this honour I consider myself to be a representative of all of them, and I hope this public recognition of our combined efforts will inspire further support.

“Above all, this honour confirms that together we have come some way in fulfilling our promise to Alec. There is much more to be done – brain tumours remain the biggest cancer killer of children – but the foundations have been laid for change, bringing hope for others.”

Sarah Lindsell, CEO of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Clare has been instrumental in developing our strategy, shaping us into the world-leading charity that we are today.

“Her exceptional talent, drive and compassion, going above and beyond in everything she does, has played a key part in the growth in income and impact of The Brain Tumour Charity over the years. She continues to be a beacon of support and inspiration to so many in our community affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.

“That Clare has been recognised in this way is a huge boost at a time when our plans have had to change direction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with those with brain tumours in even more urgent need.”

To learn more about The Brain Tumour Charity, and donate, click here.