Sarah Jane Brown
|Sarah Brown in 2008|
|Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
27 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Cherie Blair|
|Succeeded by||Samantha Cameron|
|Born||Sarah Jane Macaulay
31 October 1963
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
|Children||Jennifer Jane (Deceased)
|Residence||North Queensferry (private)|
|Alma mater||University of Bristol|
Sarah Jane Brown (née Macaulay; born 31 October 1963) is the wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She is also the founder and president of PiggyBankKids, a children's charity. She was a founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company.
Born Sarah Jane Macaulay in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on 31 October 1963 to a middle-class family: her mother Pauline was a teacher and her Scottish father Iain (who died in Ireland in 2007) worked for publisher Longman. Macaulay spent her early childhood in Fife, before moving to Tanzania. When she was eight, her parents separated, both remarried, and she with her two younger brothers, Sean and Bruce, went to live with their mother and stepfather in North London.
After leaving university, Macaulay worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. At the age of 30, she founded the public relations firm Hobsbawm Macaulay, in partnership with an old school friend, Julia Hobsbawm. Their clients have included New Statesman (owned by Geoffrey Robinson) and the British Council.
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 London to Scotland for the Scottish Labour Party conference. After this meeting the two began seeing each other regularly.
The relationship was kept secret until 1997, when the News of the World published a picture of them together in a restaurant in London. They were married on 3 August 2000 in Brown's home town, North Queensferry, Fife.
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 the 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. Gordon Brown has spoken of Sarah's bravery after the death of their daughter.
On 17 October 2003, she gave birth to their second child, a boy, John and then on 17 July 2006 they had another boy, James Fraser. In November of that year, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Friends from the worlds of politics and media have included journalist and television presenter Mariella Frostrup, Labour spin doctor Charlie Whelan, Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi and his daughter Elisabeth, the television presenter Claudia Winkleman and newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks.
As wife of the Prime Minister, Brown was by and large favourably 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. 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." The 2010 general election saw no party command an overall majority, but the Conservative Party led by David Cameron had the most seats, and ultimately formed a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats on 11 May 2010 after Gordon Brown's attempts to keep Labour in power failed.
Brown published a memoir of her role as the Prime Minister's Spouse, entitled Behind the Black Door through Ebury Press in 2011.
The book received an unfavourable reception from most reviewers. Written in a diary style, the London Evening Standard describes it as "perhaps the dimmest diary ever to have been professionally published" and "one long, formulaic press release in praise of Gordon Brown." The Telegraph concludes it is a "strange book" and "plea for redemption" though the reviewer decides that Brown's description of the international charity circuit is "fun at last". The Irish Independent describes the book as a "disturbingly giddy, schoolgirlish, exclamation mark-littered diary form" and "nothing in the slightest bit revelatory about it", though with "enough gossipy details to satisfy star-hungry readers."
Brown founded her own charity, PiggyBank-Kids, in 2002, which raises money for the Jennifer Brown Research Trust and supports a range of projects to help disadvantaged children. Brown is the patron of domestic violence charity Women's Aid (from 2004, ongoing in 2013) and of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres (since 2007, ongoing in 2013).
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 organisation. She is a former patron of Gingerbread.
She is a member of the High Level Panel for Global Education.
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- Sarah Brown (11 November 2006). "Why I want you to get behind Maggie's". The Scotsman.
- Ben Leach (20 September 2008). "Harry Potter author JK Rowling gives £1 million to Labour". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- "Gordon's women". London: The Guardian. 13 May 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Official Website, accessed 28 March 2013
|Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom