New fund to remember local businessman who died from brain tumour

Roger Harris Fund launch - (L-R) Roger's son Vaughn Harris; Professor Oliver Hanemann, Head of the University of Plymouth Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence; Ian Brokenshire, partner in KPMG; and Denis Wilkins, Chair of Peninsula Medical Foundation

A new fund has been launched in memory of local businessman Roger Harris CBE to help raise more than £250,000 for research into brain tumours.

Roger, who was an accountant for KPMG and former president of Plymouth Albion RFC, died in 2017, leaving behind a legacy impacting business forums across Devon and Cornwall. 

Now the Roger Harris Fund will support the leading work at the University of Plymouth’s Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence to help research further into the condition. 

The University centre is one of only four Centres of Excellence in the UK and specialises in low-grade brain tumours. These brain tumours grow slowly and the research team is getting closer to understanding why some of them become cancerous. 

Just one day of research costs £2,740 – and the Roger Harris Fund is aiming to raise 100 days’ worth, £274,000.

The fund, which is supported by Peninsula Medical Foundation, was announced on Wednesday 20 March during Brain Tumour Awareness month, at an event welcoming business leaders from across the South West. 

Roger’s wife Joy Harris, who attended the event, said: 

“When Roger was diagnosed with a brain tumour, he characteristically wanted ‘no fuss’. But together we must work to find a cure and treatments for this dreadful disease. Today another 44 people will learn that they have a brain tumour. My hope is that this research will make a difference to their lives.”

Ian Brokenshire, a partner in KPMG, said: 

“It was a tremendous blow to us all when we lost Roger to a brain tumour. When I learned about the world-leading research into brain tumours happening right here in Plymouth, it seemed fitting to try and do something in his memory. I hope many people will join us in this fight against cancer, by helping to fund such valuable research.” 

Professor Oliver Hanemann, Head of the University of Plymouth Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence, and Director of the University’s Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMed), said: 

“For too long brain tumour research has been underfunded nationally. Yet brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer. No one knows why slow growing tumours become malignant, but it’s a question we’re getting closer to answering. We’re very grateful to the family and friends of Roger Harris for their inspiring goal to fund 100 days of research into treatments and, ultimately, the cure for brain tumours.”

The Roger Harris Fund

Roger Harris, CBE, was a well-respected and much-loved businessman in Plymouth. Sadly, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2017 and lost his battle with cancer in October of that year. 

In his memory, The Roger Harris Fund has been established by the Peninsula Medical Foundation and the University of Plymouth to raise £274,000, the amount needed to fund 100 days of cancer research in Plymouth. This will help Professor Oliver Hanemann and his team to carryout world-leading research to develop treatments and, ultimately, a cure for brain tumours.

Find out more about The Roger Harris Fund and how your donation could make a difference

Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

Around 16,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. We're working with Brain Tumour Research to improve research and treatment. Brain Tumour Research is an official charity partner of the University and we are one of four universities in the UK working with the charity to improve the treatment and outcomes of brain tumours. Plymouth’s Centre of Excellence specialises in low-grade brain tumours, which are usually benign, slow-growing but ultimately can become malignant. Our focus is to identify and understand the mechanism underlying the development of brain tumours, and explore ways to halt or reverse that mechanism. 

More information about the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence 

Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMed)

Bringing together scientists, clinicians and expertise from across the spectrum of scientific discovery, medical research and health technology.

Home to the University of Plymouth’s world-class biomedical, clinical and applied health research.

Find out more about ITSMed and our research

March is Brain Tumour Awareness Month 

The University is recognised as a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence. It is one of only four in the UK with a unique focus on low-grade brain tumours.

Professor Oliver Hanemann and his dedicated team of researchers at the Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine HQ are carrying out world-leading research to discover treatments and ultimately, a cure for brain tumours.

Join us this March in the fight to raise awareness and vital funds to help save lives.