Her crowning achievement, however, was the 1991 “Back To Sleep” campaign in which Anne Diamond used the power of broadcasting, and her TV experience, to save around 20,000 lives. Following the cot death of her own son, she made a documentary about SIDS, and returned from New Zealand with life-saving lessons for the British public. She convinced the government to take up her campaign to change babies’ sleeping position, and lobbied Health Minister Virginia Bottomley to spearhead the campaign with a TV ad to maximize its reach. At first the government was reluctant, so Diamond lobbied by making her own ad and showing it on BBC and ITV programmes, until the Dept of Health agreed on a concerted health campaign, and asked Diamond to be its face.
This became the “Back To Sleep” campaign. It is still the most successful health campaign ever waged in Britain. Within six months, the cot death rate plummeted, a nd government figures showed that 87% of mothers who got the message, got it from Diamond’s TV ad. For her part in saving what’s estimated to be around 20,000 lives, Anne was awarded the College Medal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the only non-medic ever to receive such an award. Diamond’s success was noted by Prime Minister John Major:
Mr. Coe Is my right hon. Friend aware of the dramatic reduction,announced only a couple of days ago, in the number of cot deaths inthis country, of about 60 per cent in the first nine months of thisyear? Does he agree that that is testimony to sensitively targetedhealth education, "The Health of the Nation" strategy and theAnne Diamond campaign? The Prime Minister My hon. Friend has put hisfinger on the key reasons for that. It is a very remarkable achievementand I am delighted about it, as everybody else will be.I wholeheartedly congratulate both Anne Diamond and my right hon.Friend the Secretary of State on the measures they have taken.- Hansard. PMQ 30 March 1993
Anne’s far from being just a journalist. She pioneered breakfast TV in the early 80s, anchoring TVam and interviewing global leaders, celebrities and top politicians in locations as varied as Sydney Harbour during the Australian Bicentennial, the Brandenburg Gate during the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bosnia, Hollywood and No 10 Downing St. She started daytime TV with the BBC with “Good Morning With Anne and Nick” and is the author of many books, both fact and fiction whilst being a busy Mum of four boys. Anne is a classically trained pianist, flautist and singer.
Anne’s TV career is well known, but her radio credentials are also considerable. She has been the anchor of many high profile breakfast shows – including 6 years presenting The Anne Diamond Show for 8 years on BBC Radio Berkshire; 4 years with LBC, and 2 years on BBC Radio Oxford.
Anne is a regular speaker on the Speaker’s Circuit throughout the UK and across the seas with Viking Cruises.
Her topics include: –
Never turn town an Adventure
Leaving the safety of the BBC to join a brand new Breakfast TV company – which almost went bankrupt in the first month; being the first pregnant and unmarried broadcaster in the UK; demanding to know why Cot Death was killing 1500 babies a year in the UK, after losing her own son; taking Richard and Judy on at their own game on BBC1; going into the Big Brother House and tackling Obesity head on!
Breakfast TV – how it nearly failed
Being a breakfast TV pioneer. From reading out bingo numbers to hobnobbing with Hollywood, witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall and exchanging fashion tips with Margaret Thatcher!
The gutsy women who’ve fought to change our world. Women who’ve turned themselves from “ordinary” into absolutely extraordinary, and to whom we all owe a profound debt.
She is a well known health campaigner for education on Cot Death and is the Anniversary Patron of FSIDS; an Ambassador for Action On Hearing Loss: RNID; and is Patron of the National Obesity Forum.