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Hairy Biker Si King talks about his brain "shemozzle" at Brain & Spine Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Supporters Reception

On Tuesday 7 February, the Brain & Spine Foundation celebrated 25 years of supporting people with neurological problems at its annual supporters reception held at the Royal College of Surgeons.

The evening was kicked off with a special welcome to the charity’s London Marathon Team who have raised over £18K already. Gary Lewin – a Brain & Spine Foundation Ambassador and former head of physiotherapy services at the FA – attended the reception to provide some crucial training tips for the runners and pointers for the big day on 23 April.

The charity’s CEO, Alice Doyle thanked the guests for their generous support and reiterated the charity’s commitment to improve the quality of life of people affected by neurological problems. Alice Doyle highlighted recent BSF’s achievements such as organising the UK’s first conference on subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) for patients and carers and the successful launch of online support groups for people affected by SAH and Chiari Malformations last year. The CEO also talked about the charity’s plans for the future, which includes launching video and animation information resources and a conference for health professionals.

Clive Holland followed Alice Doyle to speak about his involvement in helping to launch the charity in 1992 alongside neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn, after Clive's daughter, Lucy, suffered a brain haemorrhage aged 9. Brain & Spine Foundation Community Ambassador and coordinator of the annual Clacton Triathlon John Kedge also spoke at the reception about his continued support of BSF’s work. Since 1999, the triathlon has raised over £80K in aid of the charity.

The evening’s special guest and final speaker was TV chef Si King from the hit show Hairy Bikers. Si King spoke to a full room of over 100 guests about his brain “shemozzle”.  In 2014, after spending four days feeling an itch on the head and a bad headache he was taken to hospital where he then discovered he suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage – “two words that I never thought would be in my existence”, he said.  

Subarachnoid haemorrhage affects 6-9 people per 100,000 per year, accounting for only 6% of all strokes but its mortality rate is 50% with 10-15% of patients dying before they reach hospital. 

When talking about his recovery, Si King mentioned that he regretted not accessing support services available. His humorous speech carried the important message that there needs to be more awareness of neurological problems and of the support that is available to people affected by them. 

“I am enormously privileged and humbled to be here”, King said, “and it’s nice to meet some people who have been as terrified as I have.” 

The Brain & Spine Foundation runs a neuroscience nurse staffed free Helpline for people affected by any neurological problem and provides accessible and reliable publications accredited by the NHS Information Standard on over 25 different topics.

Si King and CEO Alice Doyle


Trustee Clive Holland


Brain & Spine Foundation Community Ambassador John Kedge


Brain & Spine Foundation 2017 London Marathon Team