About us

Friends of Rosie is a volunteer-led charity that provides funding for children’s cancer research to get new ideas off the ground. Without our help many research projects would never get underway, meaning critical breakthroughs in childhood cancer research being left undiscovered.

When five year old Rosie Larkin lost her battle with cancer in 1991, her friends and family were determined to carry on the fight. They set up the Friends of Rosie Children’s Cancer Research Fund. This year we celebrate our 30th birthday – an achievement that has only been possible thanks to our wonderful supporters.

So far, we have funded a total of 28 research projects at a cost of £2.75 million. They cover a wide variety of childhood cancers from neuroblastoma and leukaemia, to osteosarcoma and brain tumours. The research ideas we fund are right at the outset of medical thinking and innovation. We give these ideas the chance to make a difference.

Many childhood cancers still have a poor outlook and today’s treatments are harsh, unpleasant and uncertain, especially on young bodies that are still growing.

Support us today and be the difference for children with cancer tomorrow.

How your donation helps

We want to ensure that every penny donated to us is spent in the most effective way to benefit childhood cancer research. And we do that by:

  • Funding only the most promising new childhood cancer research ideas. The average cost of a research project is £65,000 for one year. The more donations we receive, the more life-changing projects we can fund each year.
  • Being volunteer-led, meaning no costly CEO salaries absorbing part of your donation. All our amazing Trustees are volunteers and support Friends of Rosie because they truly believe that research is the key to curing childhood cancer.
  • Keeping our overheads to an absolute minimum with only one part time member of staff and donated office space. Because of this we can guarantee that almost every penny donated will go directly on funding research.
  • Operating a unique and independent project review process, involving national and international oncology experts. They provide us with impartial recommendations of the projects they deem as potentially game changing for childhood cancer.  And they are all volunteers too.

Our Trustees

Helen Griffin, Communications Manager

Helen is the sole employee of Friends of Rosie working on a part-time basis to help raise awareness, fundraise, administer and promote the vital research work that the charity supports. Helen's background is in corporate and employee communications and she is passionate about promoting the need for more dedicated childhood cancer research. She is mum to two boys who keep her busy the rest of the time!
Mahesh Vara

Mahesh Vara

Mahesh, a graduate of Durham University, is a solicitor at DWF Law LLP and specialises in Banking Litigation and Regulation; advising major banks, private lenders and companies. Mahesh is our youngest trustee and further to his professional skills, provides an invaluable perspective in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer in children and young adults, having been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma when he was 8 years old and later at the age of 21. Mahesh remains a Young Ambassador for Friends of Rosie and has also campaigned for various cancer charities.
Lesley Dowdall

Lesley Dowdall

Lesley has over 20 years’ experience in fundraising and donor relations. She is Director of Development at Withington Girls’ School and previously served at Deputy Director of Development at the University of Manchester. There, she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising, from the regular giving programme through to the transformational gift strategy, and in ensuring that all donors are recognised and stewarded in the best and most meaningful way possible. She also serves as a Governor at her local state primary school.
Maureen Bennett

Maureen Bennett

Maureen started work as a state registered nurse and midwife, looking after special care babies at Saint Mary’s Manchester and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. After a break to have her own children, she moved into business and finance, spending 15 years as a finance director. Maureen then became co-founder and finance director of Kids Allowed, now the leading childcare provider in the North West.
Felicity Goodey CBE DL

Felicity Goodey CBE DL

Felicity is a former BBC journalist, presenter and businesswoman who developed a passion for regeneration.  She led the teams which built the Lowry theatre complex in Salford and the winning bid to move a large part of the BBC out of London, creating Mediacity, also in Salford. Felicity was awarded a CBE for services to the arts and regeneration, and she formerly chaired University Hospital South Manchester.


Jill has worked in the communications field since 1989, providing marketing and public relations advice to public and private sector organisations. After working in senior agency roles and as UK head of communications for Deloitte, she established her own independent consultancy in 2005. Her clients include an NHS Trust and the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, and Jill enjoys helping medical researchers and clinical staff to communicate effectively with patients and the wider public.

Anne Irwin LL.B

Anne has been a property lawyer for over 30 years, initially with Cottrills, and now as a consultant to Slater Heelis LLP following the merger of the two firms.
Craig Rea

Craig Rea

Craig is originally from Northern Ireland and spent the early part of his career in the aerospace industry, primarily in California. Upon his return to the UK, he joined Accenture and was later appointed COO of their Products Division. Craig also acted as the Managing Partner for Accenture's Northwest practice based out of Manchester. Craig retired from Accenture in 2018 and since then has been involved in various technology start-up ventures.


Treatment for children with cancer is very intensive, at a time when their young bodies are still growing. That’s why we are 100% committed to funding new and innovative research focused on improving the treatment, diagnosis and prognosis of childhood cancer.

Children’s cancer research receives less funding than any other type of cancer. That’s why we focus on kick-starting new ideas to change the outlook for children with cancer.

We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments. This research only takes place where there is no alternative available. Friends of Rosie supports the Association of Medical Research Charities’ position on the use of animals in research as outlined in this statement.

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Our Research Strategy

Learn about our research strategy and research prioritites for the current year.

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Our Research Projects

Keep updated on our current and past research projects.

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Our Research Governance

Read about the importance of measuring and monitoring the research we fund.

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Our Collaborations

Discover more about the research bodies and charities we collaborate with.

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Register for Funding

Download Application Pack


Be the difference for children with cancer

For over 25 years, we’ve funded exciting and promising new children’s cancer research ideas thanks to our unique and independent project review process, involving national and international oncology experts. Together, we can give all children with cancer a brighter future. Become a Friend of Rosie and help us.

There are loads of ways you can get involved and join the fight for children with cancer.

Challenge events

Challenge Events

Whatever you’re in to – be it running, cycling, canoeing, climbing – you could do it for Friends of Rosie.

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charity of the year


We offer a variety of flexible options from which you can pick and choose for corporate fundraising

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host your own evnt

Host Your Own Event

Whether you want to hold a quiz, a bake sale, a concert or your own festival, we have the tools to help you!

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Pro Bono Support

Offering your professional skills, expertise and time makes a huge difference to our success and helps us to grow.

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Legacy Donations

Let your memory live on with Friends of Rosie

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Rosie's Friends

Share your child's story and become a friend of Rosie

Contact Us

If you have a question, some feedback or just want to make a donation, then please use the contact form below - we'd really love to hear from you!

Helen Griffin

Communications Manager

07887 932293

Anne Irwin

Trustee and Secretary

0161 834 7333

If you are caring for a child with cancer, you can get information and advice from Macmillan Cancer Support by visiting their website or calling them on

0808 808 0000

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