Passing of Rob Dawson

28 Mar 2022
Passing of Rob Dawson

It is with very great sadness that this week I learned of the sudden death of my old colleague and lovely friend Rob Dawson who for over 5 years was the Director of Advocacy, Communications and Support at Meningitis Research Foundation. Rob was 42.

Rob was a wonderful person admired by colleagues, supporters and partners around the world and will be sorely missed by all.

During his time at MRF Rob achieved an incredible amount, including helping to secure a new global roadmap for meningitis and winning multiple awards for impactful communications campaigns.

When I became ill in 2020 and needed to take 2 months off work, Rob stepped into my role and helped guide MRF through some of the darkest days of the early pandemic. When I heard that the World Health Assembly had passed a new global resolution for meningitis we cried together on the phone in joy. Through family bereavements, ill health, house moves, and gin tasting we shared a lot.

As well as being brilliant at his job, he was a good person. A trapeze artist, yoga enthusiast, runner, gardener, thespian, charity trustee…the list just goes on. He was great fun too. And he liked brownies.

Late last month I received a message from him checking if I minded providing him with a reference for a new part time job. The message trail went as follows:

Me: Did you get sacked? (me knowing full when there was zero chance of that).

Rob: Haha, no. It’s a charity I’ve supported for a long time.

Me: Go on then. Can I make up crazy stuff?

Rob: Haha, yes.

We understood each other. Rob got the job. When I was asked what his weaknesses were I couldn’t think of anything to say.

I will miss him terribly, as will the whole MRF family.

As with some other organisations Rob was involved with, over the next few weeks we will be collecting messages of condolences and memories to share with Rob’s family so please do share these with us at

Vinny Smith,
CEO Meningitis Research Foundation

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