Award winning actress Celia Imrie is to open the new office of national child health charity Best Beginnings on Thursday May 27th 2010.

Celia will cut the ribbon at 11am to launch a new chapter for Best Beginnings, a charity dedicated to giving every baby in the UK the healthiest start in life.

Set up in 2006, Best Beginnings works to change the unacceptable health inequalities that exist in the UK. A baby born in Birmingham is six times more likely to die in infancy than a baby born in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Celia, who has a 15-year-old son, said: “I count my blessings every day for my son Angus. Giving our children the healthiest possible start in life is absolutely crucial. It is shocking to think that in this day and age, it could make a difference to a baby’s survival if they are born in the north or south of the country. We are all born equal, and we should all enjoy the same chances from the very beginning. Best Beginnings offers this kind of encouragement, help and advice to parents wherever they live, and I am delighted to champion their excellent cause.”

Best Beginnings has created a DVD for every pregnant woman in the country, and is developing the ‘Small Wonders’ project to help parents of sick and premature babies.

Also at the launch will be Sky Sports presenter and Best Beginnings Ambassador Charlie Webster, and up-and-coming actor Leon Ockenden, who was most recently seen in Secret Diary of a Call Girl alongside Billie Piper.

Leon is getting married in October and is having an unconventional stag party – he is taking part in a Best Beginnings London to Paris bike ride in September. Along with 10 of his actor friends, he is training for the three-day challenge by undertaking a boot-camp style programme devised by the super-fit Charlie.

Charlie and Leon will be encouraging the public to get on their bikes and join them on the ride to raise vital funds for Best Beginnings.

Leon said: “It’s not the usual stag do, but you know what? I’ve been to enough bars and clubs in my time – I’d like to do something meaningful. I’m chuffed that so many of my actor buddies are rising to the challenge and a little bit scared at what Charlie has in store for us. I’m looking forward to celebrating my new beginning by supporting Best Beginnings!”

Our new office marks a new era for the charity as we embark on the Small Wonders project to create a DVD for the parents of premature and sick babies in the UK. We rely heavily on the support of individuals, so I’m thrilled that so many people are cycling with Charlie, Leon and I to the Eiffel Tower. Already signed up are midwives, our Patron James Sainsbury and people from all walks of life. The more the merrier – please join us!

During the launch Charlie Webster will be putting Leon through his paces and a short film about ‘Small Wonders’ will be shown.

The ribbon will be cut at 11am by Celia Imrie. Best Beginnings is located at 112 Mill Lane, London NW6 1NL.

For further press information please contact John Smithies on 07881-552297 / [email protected].

  • Best Beginnings works to give every baby in the UK the healthiest start in life. We use innovative approaches to ensure families have the information and support they need to protect their children’s health. For further information visit
  • Celia Diana Savile Imrie (born 15 July 1952) is an Olivier Award-winning English actress. In a career starting in the early 1970s, Imrie has played Marianne Bellshade in Bergerac, Philippa Moorcroft in Dinnerladies, Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques, Diana Neal in After You've Gone and Gloria Millington in Kingdom. She has been described as "one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades".
  • Charlotte "Charlie" Webster (born 9 November 1982) is a television presenter. Charlie attended Tapton School in Sheffield where she participated in elite junior athletics and went on to study Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University. At Newcastle Charlie worked as a fitness instructor, amateur model and actress. Charlie is a lifelong fan of Sheffield United. Charlie is now a full time roving reporter and sometime presenter on Channel Bee alongside Tim Lovejoy. Charlie can currently be seen regularly on Sky Sports Speedway interviewing riders before and after races.
  • Leon Ockenden (born 1978) has played supporting roles in a number of television dramas since 2003. He grew up in the resort town of Looe, in Cornwall, starring in plays at his school before pursuing a career in acting.  Ockenden is probably most notable for his performances in the episodes of the Australian/English television series Tripping Over in which he played gay wild boy carpenter, Callum. He appeared in the film adaptation of Clive Barker's Dread in 2009. Ockenden lent his voice and likeness to the critically acclaimed video game Heavy Rain, in which he played FBI profiler Norman Jayden.
  • Stags taking part in the London to Paris bike ride are: Leon Ockenden, Michael Dixon, Philip Bulcock, Sam Heughan, Ben Batt, Samuel Roukin, Rupert Young, Joseph Chance, Harry Lloyd and Scott Brooksbank.
  • The move to the new office has been made possible because of funding from the Tedworth Charitable Trust.