Laura King MBE – Laura King is the founder of King’s Fine Food, the largest importer of caviar into the United Kingdom, Mother to Holly, Harry, Stepmother to Gemma and Gareth, Grandmother to Mollie as well as creator of the John King Brain Tumour Foundation.
Having recently received an MBE for her outstanding achievement and service to the community, raising much-needed funds for treating brain diseases and disorders, Women Talking was keen to find out more from this exceptional lady.
“I was honoured to get the MBE, although I’m not sure if I deserved it, declares Laura, in her usual self-deprecating fashion. “But it will inspire me to do more for the charity”.
Laura’s late husband, John King, sadly passed away on 22nd November 2016, after a brave and dignified fight against a glioblastoma brain tumour. Chef John King was one of the hospitality’s industry’s most highly respected chefs. During his 40 years in the kitchen, including stints at the Dorchester, the Connaught, the Ritz Club – where his team at the time won the Gold Medal at the Culinary Olympics in 1984 as the best regional team in the world – Le Caprice, Les Ambassadeurs, Crockford’s and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manila – he was renowned for inspiring and teaching a legion of younger chefs.
During John’s treatment, at Atkinson Morley Hospital, Laura and John discovered the gardens for patients outside the McKissock Ward. The gardens were commissioned by the famous brain surgeon Henry Marsh to help with patient recovery but were in serious need of some TLC after his retirement. With the agreement of the hospital, Laura and John adopted the garden and with a team of friends started to maintain it.
This then led to the formation of a charity to maintain and improve the McKissock Ward gardens. In addition to this, they were passionate about supporting the amazing work of St George’s Hospital Trust in the treatment of brain tumours while under constant financial pressures of the NHS.
And so, the John King Brain Tumour Foundation was conceived.
“Losing John was very tough for all the family and I wanted to ensure something positive could come out of such a sad event,” Laura reflects. “I also wanted to honour a great man.”
The John King Brain Tumour Foundation is passionate about supporting the incredible work of Tim Jones, Neurosurgeon, St. George’s Hospital Trust, Tooting, London and in February 2019, their fundraising activities enabled them to purchase a £150,000 state-of-the-art Zeiss Pentero 900 surgical microscope, currently not available through NHS funding. The new Microscope enables surgeons to see further into the brain and thus be able to remove more of the tumour during surgery. Not only will this increase patients’ life spans but also help Tim Jones, the consultant neurosurgeon at St. Georges, to provide training to his team.
The new equipment has a “teaching arm” which allows others to watch the surgery and learn during live operations. The microscope will be used approximately 1,200 times a year in theatre and will not only help adults and children with brain tumours but will also be used for other paediatric and adult neurosurgery including spinal cord surgery, repairing ruptured blood vessels in the brain, brain tumour removal and repair of spinal bifida in children, trauma and many other conditions.
“After much fundraising, event organising, talks, demonstrations and generous donations, in 2021 we are buying a new microscope and the hospital are going to match this donation with another one. It means we will have in effect given the hospital 3 microscopes which are amazing especially as they now cost £326,000.
“We are then going to build an Intensive Care roof garden so we can wheel patients who are well enough outside to a wonderful space. We want to create an area for families and staff and also perhaps something significant for those at the end-of-life.
“Intensive care can be terrifying and very stark so the garden would make all the difference.
“It is heart-warming to see that John’s life has not been in vain and his legacy will carry on for years to come.
“We would love people to donate on a monthly basis. £5 would be amazing. We have almost no administration costs and we can guarantee where every penny is spent and pass that information on. Any donation small or large would be amazing”
For more informations and donations please visit here