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Sarah Brown (née Macaulay; born 31 October 1963) is the wife of Gordon Brown, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was also a founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company.

Early life

Brown was born in Buckinghamshire, Englandmarker to a middle-class family: her mother was a teacher and her Scottishmarker father worked for publisher Longman. Gordon Brown has been quoted as saying "my wife is from middle England". She spent most of her early childhood in Tanzania. When she was seven, her parents separated and she with her two younger brothers went to live with their mother and stepfather in North Londonmarker.

She was educated in North London at Acland Burghley Schoolmarker and Camden School for Girlsmarker, and went on to take a psychology degree at the University of Bristolmarker.

After leaving university, she worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. When she was 30, she went into partnership with her old school friend, Julia Hobsbawm, starting the Hobsbawm Macaulay public relations firm together. The firm landed contracts with the New Statesman, owned by Geoffrey Robinson.

Marriage and children

She first met Gordon Brown briefly at a Labour event, but they did not speak at length until 1994 when they shared a flight from Londonmarker to Scotlandmarker for the Scottish Labour Party conference. After this meeting the two began dating.

The relationship was kept secret until 1997, when the News of the World published a picture of them together in a restaurant in London. Allegedly, the scene was staged by spin doctor Charlie Whelan and had to be reshot when Brown failed to look suitably loving.

They were married in a surprise wedding on 3 August 2000 in Brown's home town, North Queensferrymarker, Fifemarker.

In 2001, she left Hobsbawm Macaulay after finding out she was pregnant with her first child. On 28 December 2001 she gave birth prematurely to a daughter, Jennifer Jane, who died when she was only 10 days old. In 2002 she founded charity Piggy Bank Kids, which began as a research fund to tackle complications in pregnancy, and has now expanded into a range of projects helping disadvantaged children.

On 17 October 2003 she gave birth to her second child, a boy, John and then on 17 July 2006 she had another boy, James Fraser. In November of that year, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Brown listening to her husband's speech at the Diversity Reception, Labour conference, 2009
She is the patron of domestic violence charity Women's Aid and of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, set up in memory of a breast cancer victim, among others. Brown is also a close friend of writer J.K. Rowling (who donated £1 million to the Labour Party in 2008), and the two co-authored a children's book for the One Parent Families charity organization.

Public perception

Brown has often been compared with Cherie Blair, the wife of her husband's predecessor. Cherie Blair was often portrayed as eccentric and outgoing by the media. Brown has been portrayed in contrast to this as a more reserved, though nonetheless amiable, figure. British newspaper, The Guardian, noted her public image, saying, "her positive profile could be the best thing Labour has got going for it with the election looming."

Brown, a member of the social networking site Twitter, has approximately 940,000 members on Twitter following "SarahBrown10", her account, making her the second most popular UK user after Stephen Fry.

References

  1. Gaby Hinsliff "Lady in waiting", The Observer, 2 October 2005. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.


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