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How Headfirst began

The formation of the charity arose out of a traffic accident in 1984 and a severe illness in 1998.

The former involved members of that well-known pop group “Bucks Fizz” and the second a not nearly so well-known retired army officer. Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz and George Pettifar, the army officer, were brought together by the surgeon who dealt with them both, Mr Anthony Strong, then of Newcastle General Hospital and later of King’s College Hospital, London. In particular, Mr Strong operated on a severely injured member of the group, Mike Nolan. As a result Cheryl formed “The Mike Nolan Brain Damage Fund” to raise money for research.

When George Pettifar suffered a severe brain haemorrhage in 1998, the surgeon who operated on him (twice!) was Anthony Strong and when Beverley, George’s wife, asked how the family could help the hospital, it was decided to form a charity to fund research into head injuries.

The charity got off to a flying start with the incorporation of the Mike Nolan Brain Damage Fund and a successful application was made for registration by the Charity Commissioners who gave the charity the number 1002930. Cheryl Baker, Anthony Strong and George Pettifar became the Founding Trustees.

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Share your story - Read Cheryl Baker's story

Share your story - Read George Pettifar's story