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Asthma + Lung UK wins £200,000 partnership with Thales in the UK to fund 4,500 hours of live-saving medical research

Wednesday 9th March 2022

Asthma + Lung UK has today been announced as Charity of the Year by the Thales in the UK, winning a partnership worth £200,000 over two years. The charity will fund approximately 4,500 hours of life-saving medical research into the development of treatments for lung conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The charity, formerly known as Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, competed against charities including The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan and the British Heart Foundation to win the bid. As part of its pitch, Andy, 37, who is waiting for a lung transplant, shared his moving story with Thales employees. He said being diagnosed with an aggressive lung disease in his 30s, when he was previously feeling so fit and well, was a real shock. He said that research into respiratory conditions is key to helping people like him get their lives back on track.

Asthma + Lung UK’s cause resonated with the company’s 7,000 employees, who work at sites across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Many people who voted for the charity said they have a lung condition or have loved ones who do, while others said they wanted to back an ‘underdog’ cause, now realising how underfunded and under-researched respiratory illnesses are.

The partnership is in two parts. Thales in the UK commits to donating between £20,000 and £30,000 a year, and fundraising from staff who will be able to take part in activities including quizzes, sponsored cycling events and steps challenges.

One of the corporate partnership’s key aims is to fund 4,500 hours of vital research into lung health and disease. Asthma + Lung UK, the UK’s leading charity fighting for everyone with a lung condition, launched its new strategy last week revealing its ambition to increase publicly-funded research to at least £150 million a year. The charity would like to see more effective diagnostic tests, new treatments which could reduce symptoms or even cure some lung conditions, and new technology that could help people better manage their condition.

The research is vital to help the 12 million people in the UK who will develop a lung condition in their lifetime to have a better quality of life and to cut the number of deaths from lung conditions, which are currently at over 100,000 a year in the UK1. Research into lung conditions has been chronically underfunded for many years, making up less than 2% of medical spend despite lung disease being the third biggest killer in the UK2.

Asthma + Lung UK, which has a telephone helpline, support groups and health advice on its website, will be offering lung testing to employees at Thales’ sites, running health advice workshops (‘lung and learns’), and providing employees with regular information and health advice about various lung conditions including asthma.

Sarah Woolnough, CEO of Asthma + Lung UK, says:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the charity of the year by everyone at the Thales Group. With their support through fundraising and donations, we will be able to kick start research funding into potentially life-saving treatments that will help people living with lung disease for generations to come. Research into lung conditions has been chronically underfunded for too long and the research funded through our partnership with Thales will help to give hope to the 1 in 5 people who will develop a lung condition in their lifetime. We’ll also be working closely with Thales’ employees over the next two years to help support them with information and advice about lung health, which will no doubt be of great direct benefit to the company’s thousands of employees and their loved ones.”

Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales in the UK, said:

“Over the last decade, our employee chosen corporate charity partnership has made a real impact to research, development and lives across the UK and we are excited to start this next chapter with Asthma + Lung UK. Many of our employees have a close connection to the charity and are passionate about helping an underfunded area over the next two years. Through a series of fundraising events across our Thales sites in the UK, we will not only raise money, but also awareness of the hard work the charity does.”



Notes to Editors: 

For more information or for interview requests, please contact Katie King, Senior Media Officer, on 07710707871 or


1 – Eurostat data for 2011-2018, Causes of death – standardised death rate by region of residence. Available at:

2 – UK Health Research Analysis 2018


Asthma + Lung UK

Asthma + Lung UK is the only charity in the UK fighting for everyone with a lung condition, aiming for a world where everyone can breathe with healthy lungs. We fund research. We provide advice and support for the 12 million people who will get a lung condition during their lifetime. We campaign for clean air and we campaign for better NHS diagnosis and treatment. For further information visit