25 years of Meningitis Research Foundation

May 2019

Our Regional Director, Diane McConnell, joined Meningitis Research Foundation on the 5 April 1995. This summer Diane will be taking her well-earned retirement – but before she goes, we sat down to talk about how far MRF has come since she joined.

What has being part of MRF meant to you?

For nearly 25 years, MRF has been a very big part of my life and the life of my family. They always got involved in events – especially when I needed people to participate in bucket collections!

MRF has been my life, and I have always loved coming to work.  I’ve enjoyed every event, every awareness campaign, and have appreciated every opportunity to support someone in crisis. I have enjoyed working with my fantastic teams in each of the offices over the years, and joining in charity events at weekends or evenings.

Diane and her team in a festive fundraising "bail out!" photoshoot in 2009.

How have you seen the organisation change since you have joined?

Over the years MRF’s profile has grown, and we are now seen as experts in our field.  We continue to fund excellent research projects, which make a real difference to health in UK and Ireland.  In the last three years in particular MRF has made global steps to help in countries other than UK and Ireland, in order to defeat meningitis globally by 2030. I am immensely proud to have been a part of it all.

How has working for MRF impacted you?

I feel fulfilled and very proud of the over £6m I have helped to raise, and the way in which the money has been used to fund life-saving research and important awareness activity. MRF has been so prudent in using the hard earned funds, and I have total admiration for the charity I helped to mould.

Collecting a cheque with supporters in 2012.

 What have been the most rewarding aspects of your role?

Supporting members in their darkest times after bereavement and incidences of the disease has been so rewarding. Despite very sad circumstances these people continue to get out there and inspire people to fund our work, raising many millions for the cause. Our wonderful supporters have been incredible.

What will you miss most about MRF?

I will miss everything about MRF and my fantastic committed colleagues. I have loved the buzz, and the sense of achievement it gave me. My husband says I love a project, and I will miss beginning a project and seeing it to the end. I have especially enjoyed Meningitis Awareness Week, and I’ve loved working with members on their fundraising projects.

Thank you MRF for a wonderful nearly 25 years. Loved every minute!

Celebrating 15 years of the Northern Irish MRF office in 2007.
Meningitis and septicaemia are serious, life threatening illnesses
Since the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).
You don’t need to face meningitis and sepsis alone
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.

About the author

Diane McConnell
Regional Director

I have been working with Meningitis Research Foundation since 5 April 1995. I love my job and get great satisfaction from working with members and supporters of the charity who are as committed to the cause as I am. I am responsible for all the activity of the regional offices (Belfast, Dublin and Edinburgh). I also deputise for the Chief Executive in his absence.

Tel: 028 9032 1283
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