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About Us

About the Foundation

The Skull Base Foundation has developed through a collaboration between the Frances Barbara Thornley Trust and the Manchester Skull Base Unit.

The Skull Base Foundation is a collaboration between the Frances Barbara Thornley Trust and the Manchester Skull Base Unit. We aim to support development in the care of patients with skull base disease through education of surgeons and through clinical and basic science research.


There has always been a strong link between the FBT Trust and the Manchester Skull Base Unit and the Trust has facilitated numerous research projects.The Frances Brenda Thornley Trust was set up in 1978 following a generous donation from Frances Brenda Thornley. Mrs Thornley had been diagnosed with a large vestibular schwannoma.  She went on to have the tumour removed by John Dutton, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Richard Ramsden, Consultant ENT surgeon, at the Manchester Royal Infirmary. They had just started working together after Richard Ramsden’s appointment to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and were to go on to become a very influential team in the world of skull base surgery. Her surgery went well and she made an excellent recovery. There was no recurrence of the tumour. Very soon after her operation Brenda said she would like to make a donation to the fledgling skull base unit in Manchester of around £20K.  This was placed within a charitable Trust to which further funds were added from a number of sources over time.

The Trust has facilitated numerous research projects and helped run many skull base related courses over the years. It has also supported a number of senior ENT trainees from around the world who wished to develop an interest in skull base surgery. Many have gone on to become leading skull base surgeons in their own country securing the legacy of Ramsden, Dutton and Frances.

The current Trustees

Professor Gareth Evans

Professor of Genetics, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester

Mr Scott Rutherford

Consultant Neurosurgeon, Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester

Professor Simon Lloyd

Manchester Royal Infirmary and Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester

If you would like to read more about the skull base team in Manchester or learn more about skull base disease please click here

The Manchester Skull Base Unit is the largest skull base unit in the UK dealing with over 500 new skull base tumour referrals a year, 200 of which are new vestibular schwannomas. We carry out around 150 skull base procedures a year a third of which are for vestibular schwannomas. We also look after many patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 and have extensive experience in auditory brainstem implantation in adults and children allowing restoration of hearing to those that have no cochlea or cochlea nerve. We pride ourselves on our co-ordinated multi-disciplinary approach to the care of our patients. We also train the next generation of UK and overseas skull base surgeons. Our team consists of:

  • Professor Andrew King

  • Mr Scott Rutherford

  • Miss Charlotte Hammerbeck-Ward

  • Mr Omar Pathmanoban

  • Mr Simon Freeman

  • Professor Simon Lloyd

  • Mr Raj Bhalla

  • Miss Emma Stapleton

  • Mrs Andrea Wadeson

  • Mrs Helen Entwhistle

  • Many other team members including neuroradiology, genetics, oncology, audiology, head and neck surgery

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