£124,000 raised for The Christie and Prostate Cancer UK

Deloitte UK Executive Sharon Thorne was crowned the winner of Funny Business 2013, splitting sides with her risqué wit. It was a close competition and the 7 other champions of comedy held their own thanks to months of training with their mentors. Elaine Birchall, Tom Bloxham, Petar Cvetkovic, Richard Duerr, David Pollock, Vanda Murray and Caroline Shaw delivered laughs a plenty and raised some serious cash for our cancer charities.

Thanks to New Look, our corporate sponsors, all our donors, the Comedy Store, Justin Moorhouse and the mentors for helping Funny Business be such an amazing success.

On 2 October 2013 8 pillars of the Manchester Business community took to the stage to raise money for The Christie and Prostate Cancer UK.

Appearing alongside Caroline Shaw of The Christie and Deloitte UK Executive Sharon Thorne was Elaine Birchall of PZ Cussons, Urban Splash Chairman Tom Bloxham, DX Group CEO Petar Cvetkovic, Richard Duerr of Duerr’s Jam, founder of Chess Telecom David Pollock and Senior Independent Director of Fenner Plc Vanda Murray.

Guided by their professional mentors participants worked tirelessly on their material for almost a year in a bid to be crowned the funniest act of the night.

The inaugural event was a complete sell-out, with the likes of New Look and Manchester Airport Group as sponsors and comedy star Justin Moorhouse as headline act and compere. It was such a success that plans for next year’s event are already in place.

If you’re interested in supporting us next year, taking part, sponsoring or mentoring then please email funnybusiness@mcmc.co.uk.

Funny Business is a charity fundraising event produced and promoted by MC2 Manchester Ltd. Thanks to the incredible support of The Comedy Store and all our sponsors all income raised by the event directly benefits our chosen charities.

Elaine Birchall

Area Director Africa, PZ Cussons Plc

Elaine moved to the NorthWest in 2008 to join PZ Cussons, where she is currently a member of their Global Executive, responsible for their substantial African operations. Prior to that she had an international career across three continents with Colgate Palmolive.

However, Elaine’s attitude to and aptitude for new adventures is wavering as she comes to terms with having to actually face down the assembled hordes of comedy aficionados. She is being mentored by comedian Phil Walker.

Tom Bloxham MBE

Chairman, Urban Splash

Tom Bloxham is chairman and co-founder of the award winning regeneration company Urban Splash. In his role at the company, Tom has been responsible for development projects across the entire country, including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Bristol, Plymouth and Morecambe and has received (at last count) over 300 awards for architecture, design and business success.Tom was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and urban regeneration in 1999.

Tom is clinging to the notion that the Mancunian spectators may tone down their inevitable merciless heckling out of respect for his efforts regenerating their city. He is being mentored by comedian Brennan Reece.

Petar Cvetkovic

CEO, DX Group

After graduating in Business Studies, Petar became a multi-drop driver in London. During his ensuing 30 years in the logistics industry, Petar has worked in parcels, both contract and shared-user distribution as well as supply chain and international logistics. Petar joined DX in April 2010 as Chief Executive Officer, previously holding the positions of CEO at Target Express Parcels and MD, Norbert Dentressangle UK.

Petar realises however that business challenges pale into insignificance when set against the monumental task of getting a room full of Mancunians to laugh. He is being mentored by comedian Andy Wilkinson also known as Smug Roberts.

Richard Duerr

Sales and Marketing Director, F. Duerr and Sons

Richard started his career with an ill-advised stint as a fax machine salesman. When this inevitably went south, Richard moved into the family business. Duerr's is the oldest family-owned jam maker in England, and Richard has worked here in one form or other for 25 years. A prolific thrill-seeker, he has run the London Marathon, participated in several triathlons, cycled from London to Paris and spent 2000 minutes on the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for charity.

Richard's addiction to thrills however stops dead at the foot of a comedy stage, and he is now steeling himself for what is set to be the most humiliating evening of his professional life. He is being mentored by comedian Alex Boardman.

Vanda Murray OBE

Non Executive Director - Carillion plc, Chemring plc, Manchester Airport Group and Fenner plc

Vanda was a graduate trainee with ICI plc and spent her early career in European marketing roles with GTE Inc and BET plc. Between 2001 and 2004 she was CEO of Blick plc, a FTSE quoted support services group, where she doubled the company’s market capitalisation prior to its sale to The Stanley Works Inc. Vanda now serves as a Non-Executive Director on a number of Boards, including Carillion plc (where she also chairs the Remuneration Committee), Chemring plc, Manchester Airport Group and Fenner plc where she is Senior Independent Director. Vanda was appointed OBE for Services to Industry and to Export in 2002.

Despite all her accomplishments, Vanda is facing up to the harsh truth that there is no achievement quite so challenging as getting a tight-lipped mob of Mancunians to crack a smile. She is being mentored by comedian Mick Ferry.

David Pollock

Founder & Chief Executive, Chess Telecom

David’s business career began at school, where he spent his teenage years promoting bands and making music videos in Los Angeles. His business portfolio then expanded to include property development, energy, organic food and online marketing before he went on to found Chess Telecom in 1993, a company named ‘79th Best Company to Work For in the UK’ in 2013.

For all his previous success, David is now painfully aware none of it offers even the smallest shred of assistance in facing down a baying crowd the likes of which is lying in wait for him at Comedy Store. He is being mentored by comedian John Cooper.

Caroline Shaw CBE

Chief Executive of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Caroline Shaw has worked in the NHS for 28 years, where she rose from midwife to Chief Executive of The Christie, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres - treating more than 40,000 patients a year - and an international leader in cancer research.

Under her visionary leadership The Christie has opened the largest Phase I clinical trials unit in the world, installed the largest chemotherapy unit in the UK as well as launching The Christie 20:20 Vision strategy, and developing The Christie charity, the second largest hospital charity in the country with 20,000 supporters.

Caroline is desperately hoping her medical expertise will help protect her from stage fright when she is caught in the unforgiving glare of the comedy spotlights. She is being mentored by comedian Lou Conran.

Sharon Thorne

Deloitte LLP

Sharon is a member of the Deloitte UK Executive, a non-executive director and Chair of the Audit committee of the CBI and a Trustee of Prostate Cancer UK. She has over 26 years of experience auditing and advising clients across a wide range of sectors, including newspaper publishing, manufacturing, engineering, contracting, retail and technology, although she specialises in retail.

Sharon led Deloitte’s regional audit practice for three years, led the North West Consumer Business practice forover 10 and sat on the company’s global board for four. She is currently responsible for Deloitte’s services in each of its 17 practice offices outside London.

Sharon is hoping desperately that her ice-cool business demeanor will go some small way towards staring down the mercilessly unforgiving crowd of comedy zealots. She is being mentored by comedian Kiri Pritchard McLean.

The Christie

The Christie has been pioneering cancer research breakthroughs for over a century. It is the largest cancer centre in Europe, it treats well over 40,000 patients each year and it is the first UK centre to be officially accredited as a comprehensive cancer centre. Based in Manchester, with radiotherapy centres in Oldham and Salford, it is a national specialist that treats a full quarter of the country’s cancer patients.


Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK is the leading UK charity for men with prostate cancer and prostate problems. The charity fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. Aided through its passionately argued MANifesto, the charity’s aims are threefold: support men and provide information about prostate cancer, find answers by funding research and lead change to raise awareness and improve care.


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