“ I am passionate about maintaining and increasing the freedoms to travel, study, work and live across Europe, which have meant so much to me personally – freedoms which are now threatened but cannot be denied to younger and future generations of Europeans.”
At the beginning of the year, I had to undergo major surgery for bowel cancer, following lengthy chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. I was saved from a locally advanced tumour by an amazing multidisciplinary team of surgeons, doctors and nurses from Greece, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Germany and France working alongside British specialists to provide world-class treatment for this frightening illness.
There could be no stronger illustration of the benefits of freedom of movement in Europe - literally a question of life and death for Britain's NHS. As soon as I could, I helped in the Remain campaign in the West Midlands but was disturbed to experience such misunderstood and unjustified hostility to mobile Europeans.
The Leave vote does not mean we now give up on freedom of movement in Europe: it means we must increase our campaigning to support the right of EU citizens to stay in the UK, live in peace and respect, and move our support for European citizenship to a new level. This means the organisation of New Europeans will evolve differently in future and we will increasingly partner with like-minded groups across Europe.
Governance and organisational issues will gain increasing importance as New Europeans grows, and in the first months of my appointment I have worked closely with our Honorary Treasurer on new banking arrangements and with the Chair in developing the understanding of the board's oversight and strategic responsibilties.
This will go hand in hand with the Board's ambition of applying for charitable status in the UK, with a view to broadening sources of funding for New Europeans from 2017 onwards.