Journalist Anne Diamond, who campaigned to prevent cot death, made OBE

Journalist Anne Diamond, who campaigned to stop cot death, has described being made an OBE as the “crowning achievement” for all those who helped her.

The broadcaster, 68, who has been named in the New Year Honours for services to public health and charity, dedicated the achievement to her late son Sebastian.

She said: “This OBE is literally a crowning achievement to everyone who helped me and upon whose ground-breaking research my campaign was based.

Anne Diamond
Broadcaster Anne Diamond with her co-presenter Nick Owen (David Jones/PA)

“This is also testament that the media can be a force for good. By the Government’s own report, 80% of parents who got the life-saving advice got it from the TV ads.

“But mostly this is for Sebastian, whom we still miss, and all of those tragically lost lives.

“Today I’m thinking of the parents, so many of whom I have come to know over the years, who lost their children and never got the chance to campaign as I did.”

Beginning her career in regional news, Diamond became a star of daytime in the 1980s and 1990s.

She presented programmes like BBC One’s Good Morning With Anne And Nick, TV-am’s Good Morning Britain and TV Weekly.

Diamond Celebrity Big Brother
Anne Diamond leaving the Big Brother house in 2002 (Tim Whitby/PA)

In 1990, she and her then husband Mike Hollingsworth lost their son Sebastian after he died from sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) – commonly called cot death.

She then joined forces with the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), now known as The Lullaby Trust, and the Department of Health, to launch the successful Back to Sleep campaign.

The national media campaign, started in 1991, warned parents that babies should sleep on their backs not their fronts, and has been credited with a reduction in deaths.

In the 1980s, The Lullaby Trust says about 2.35 per 1,000 live births ended with cot death.

In 2015 in England and Wales, there were 0.27 unexplained infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

This means there was a reduction of more than 2,000 deaths between the 1980s and 2010s.

Diamond was also awarded a college medal by the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health for her work on the campaign.

She has also worked with other charities like Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, the National Obesity Forum, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, a national charity empowering limbless military personnel since after the First World War.

In 2002 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and became the second person to be evicted.

Diamond has also been a presenter on radio shows on LBC, Radio Oxford, BBC London and BBC Berkshire as well as a panellist on Loose Women and The Wright Stuff, which was a topical debate show hosted by journalist Matthew Wright.

She has also filled in for journalist Jeremy Vine on his Channel 5 show of the same name, which replaced Wright’s programme.