Our Vice Presidents
Michael Palin has been involved with Action for Stammering Children since 1993 when he agreed to the Michael Palin Centre being named after him following his role in “A Fish Called Wanda”, in which he portrayed a character called Ken who stammered. He based the role on his own father who suffered from stammering all his life. Michael’s continued support and involvement has helped create a high profile for the Centre and we are very fortunate to have him.
Ed Balls was appointed vice-president of Action for Stammering Children in 2016. The former Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor has been a supporter of the charity for many years and regularly meets children and young people to talk about the challenges of living with a stammer. He is an active fundraiser for the charity, running marathons and speaking at fundraising events. His book Speaking Out addresses his personal journey and the challenges he faces in public life of having a stammer.
Colin Firth became involved with the Charity following his role as King George VI in ‘The King’s Speech.’ He says, “The King’s Speech taught me not only the cruelty of having a stammer but also the life-changing benefits specialist therapy can bring. Just as Lionel Logue unleashed the passion of a king, so too Action for Stammering Children is unlocking the potential of thousands of children in the UK every year.”
Jane Fraser, Hon. FRCSLT, serves as the president of The Stuttering Foundation of America, a position she has held since 1981. Both Jane and the Foundation have been hugely supportive of the work of ASC and the Michael Palin Centre for a number of years.
The Stuttering Foundation of America is the oldest and largest nonprofit organisation for the prevention and treatment of stuttering, the Foundation has grown tremendously in size, scope and outreach under her leadership and direction.
Through an extensive public awareness campaign, the Foundation reaches millions each year with the message that there is help for those who stutter. Foundation materials and publications are shipped annually to 136 countries, and widely used in university classrooms to train speech-language pathologists. Conferences nationwide draw on the topmost experts in the field to further that training, improving stuttering therapy for those who struggle daily with this complex disorder that affects more than 70 million people worldwide. Foundation support for basic research into the causes of stuttering gives hope for the future.
Personal honors and awards include a past Carnegie Foundation grant for Russian studies in Russia and the Distinguished Alumnae of the Century Award, Hutchison School Centennial, 2002; the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Stuttering Association at their World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on May 9, 2007; was chosen Nonprofit Executive of the Year by the Nonprofit Times in 2008. On Sept. 17, 2014, she received an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists for her distinguished service in promoting the profession of speech and language therapy.
Jo Hunter first became involved with ASC in 2008 as Treasurer, and has been committed ever since, witnessing first-hand the transformative work of the Charity. She was Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2021 in which time the Charity helped more than 30,000 children and young people. Jo trained at PricewaterhouseCoopers specialising in audit and taxation and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and has a wide range of charity and business experience. She was also Co-Founder of Smart Works Charity and was awarded an OBE in 2019 for her charity work.