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Brett Warburton: “It’s important to me to put something back into the communities where we live and work”

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by Cancer Research UK | Philanthropy and partnerships

16 July 2020

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Brett Warburton

As British bakery brand Warburtons celebrates reaching £2m raised for life-saving cancer research, we hear from the company’s Executive Director, Brett Warburton.

A fifth generation Warburton, Brett has led Britain’s biggest bakery brand for 40 years, alongside his cousins, Ross and Jonathan. In 2015, Warburtons partnered with Cancer Research UK and today, the partnership celebrates reaching £2m raised for our life-saving work. A winning recipe of employee fundraising and personal donations from the Warburton family have led to this huge milestone, with the company’s Charity Champions also helping to raise awareness of cancer across the business. Before lockdown, we caught up with Brett to ask about his experience with Cancer Research UK so far and why he’s supporting our ‘Re-write Cancer’ campaign to build and develop a world-leading research facility in Manchester.

What does philanthropy mean to you?

It’s very important to me to put something back into the communities where we live and work – which is consistent with our Warburton family values of care and responsibility. Philanthropy is more than just making a donation. It’s about effectively investing time, money and support to causes in a way that will create true value and be sustainable over time, and really make a difference to people’s lives.

Which areas of cancer research excite you most?

Personalised medicine and research aimed at earlier detection, which will both, in their own way, improve cancer survival. I am also intrigued to learn more about developments in treatments that use the body’s own immune system to fight cancers.

What’s been a highlight in your six years supporting us?

It can be simply breathtaking to see first-hand the brilliant work that’s going on and witness the progress being made. And from a Warburtons perspective, it’s been amazing to see the tremendous engagement across the business. When we set out to support Cancer Research UK, we knew our people would respond, but their support and passion is way above what we envisaged and shows no sign of weakening. There have been some remarkable contributions and my colleagues all deserve credit for their commitment. 

How did your journey with us begin?

Serendipity. My cousin Ross was approached by the University of Manchester to get involved with the new cancer research facility at The Christie Hospital at the same time as I was approached by the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. That, coupled with our experience of cancer among my father’s generation, sparked our interest and a desire to get involved and make a contribution to the world of cancer research.

What does the future of cancer research look like?

We recently contributed to the ‘Re-write Cancer’ campaign, which is funding a new state-of-the-art research facility in Manchester. I’d like to see the city become an important, world-leading centre that attracts the best researchers and the best teams from around the globe to our region. I’m also looking forward to seeing the research teams working hand-in-glove with clinicians to truly improve the lives and chances of people diagnosed with cancer.