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Alumnae spotlight: Dame Marion Roe, DBE

Dame Marion Roe, DBE, Class of 1954

Dame Marion Audrey Roe DBE became Member of Parliament for Broxbourne from 1983 until 2005. She was a junior environment minister in the 1980s and chaired the Health Select Committee and the Administration Committee during her 22 years in the House of Commons. She was also joint vice-chairman of the 1922 committee. Before entering Parliament, she served as a Bromley councillor and spent nine years on the Greater London Council. She was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Parliament.

When Dame Marion stepped down from Parliament, she did not put her feet up or slow down but continued to help, support and make a difference daily in people’s lives. She established the Dame Marion Roe Young Citizen of the Year award, part of the annual Broxbourne Youth Awards celebrating the achievements of young people from the borough of Broxbourne. In 2010, she became chair of the trustees of the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged after the death of Winston Churchill (grandson of the former prime minister).

Dame Marion founded and launched the Roe Speaking Project, a mentoring and public speaking programme developed to help candidates overcome public speaking anxiety.

She is the Chairman of the National Council for Child Health and Wellbeing, a voluntary organisation she created, bringing together more than 50 professional groups focused on improving the health and welfare of children and young people across the UK. The NCCHW identifies current issues causing concern in the media or within Parliament and lobbies for positive improvements for children and young people’s health and welfare.

Dame Marion is Patron of the Hospices of Hope Charity. They started the Hospice Movement in Romania, Albania, Serbia and Moldova. Hospices of Hope is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the development of palliative and end-of-life care in South and East Europe.

She is an Honorary Fellow of Capel Manor College who has helped thousands of school leavers and adults achieve their dream of working with animals, plants and the environment. As London’s only environmental college, they play a vital role in the green agenda for the capital, equipping the next generation of land-based sector workers with the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve and protect London’s wildlife, national parks and green spaces.

Dame Marion told us,

“When I was at Croydon High School, I never imagined for a moment that I would go into politics. I was already a member of the Young Conservatives but never thought I would get to a much higher level. When one was interested in something at school, they encouraged the ambition they gave support, which helped me enormously in later life. After I had my three children, I started a new career middle-aged, in politics. When I arrived in the House of Commons in 1983, there were only 23 women from all parties out of a total of 650 members, just 23 women! Croydon High taught me that it’s there; go and find it; you can make it… I think that it is important never to retire. One must keep the brain working and undertake roles that benefit others.”

What great advice and what a great role model. Thank you, Dame Marion.

Mrs Karen Roe
Alumnae Relations Manager