A former primary depute, and Head of Childcare & Health at West Lothian College, Sandra holds a Masters in Education and has 40 years experience of teaching and training. She is now best known as an award winning children’s rights campaigner, author, and actress. She launched the Moira Anderson Foundation (MAF) in 2000 with proceeds from a book on Moira’s case “Where There is Evil” (Pan Macmillan). An update of her book on Scotland’s longest unsolved cold case, spent many months in the Sunday Times 2006 bestsellers lists. It is translated into ten languages and in e-book.
Runner Up Scottish Citizen of the Year, 2000, and voted Scotswoman of the Year 2005, she then received an OBE for services to Child Protection in 2006. Sandra was also a finalist in Clarins UK Woman of the Year in 2013.
She adapted a one woman play “One of Our Ain”from her book: it has been seen by over 12,000 people including secondary pupils in West Lothian, Tayside and Lanarkshire. Teachers can receive preparatory training before the play. Pupil “Stay Safe”workshops then discuss Sandra’s discovery that Moira’s abductor in 1957 was Sandra’s own dad – a convicted rapist. Scotland’s Lord Advocate announced her father would have been indicted if still alive, in February 2014, for Moira’s murder.
Having recently co-written a film screenplay, Sandra is now completing a sequel to her first book, entitled: “No Secret Better Kept.”
Sandra is an inspirational and passionate public speaker, much in demand by agencies involved with child protection conferences, by schools for assembly presentations, and by Rotary Clubs across Scotland. She was invited to speak at the UN in New York on Violence against Women and Girls, in March 2013. As well as many Scottish theatres, she has performed in London’s Soho Theatre, Manchester’s Lowry, Cork Arts Theatre, and Manhattan’s PS 122 venue for Tartan Week.
Due to her campaigning drive, the charity has itself picked up a number of awards; the Moira Anderson Foundation has been nominated as a Charity of the Year, and was a finalist in the Scottish Community of Voluntary Organisations for “Stay Safe” – in the category of Campaign of the Year in 2010-2011. In June 2017, the charity successfully gained Investors in People Gold status after an exceptional report on its vision, its staff, and its services. Former client Matthew McVarish, from East Kilbride, SCVO’s Scottish Charity Champion 2015-16, is MAF’s International Ambassador.
Sandra was voted Runner Up in January for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2018, and received a Woman of Inspiration Award from the Association of Scottish Businesswomen in 2019. She continues to be a ‘hands on Founder’ and a significant champion of MAF’s work.
“Nobody expected that the Foundation would grow the way it has over some two decades,” she says, “but back then few realised child sexual abuse would become such an issue. I came across denial of the extent of it, and doubt that there would be enough work for the charity to do!
When clients say: ‘At last I’ve found the specific support I need, after much searching,’ it is thrilling to hear that the service we provide is so highly regarded. Even if child sexual abuse isn’t eradicated in my lifetime- like, for example polio, which worldwide is almost completely gone- I know that the tireless work done to grow MAF is indeed, a lasting legacy of one small girl; it has made a remarkable difference to survivors and their families, and I am very proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”
Sandra Brown was eight when eleven year old Moira Anderson disappeared from the small town of Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1957. Twenty-seven years later, at a family funeral, Sandra’s estranged father confessed to her that he had been involved in the girl’s disappearance.
Appalled and fascinated by his curious half confession, Sandra began to delve into the case and in so doing discovered that her father was an acknowledged child molester whose activities were known not just to everyone in Coatbridge but also to the police
As a result of her experiences, Sandra founded Moira Anderson Foundation in 2000. She has remained deeply involved and assisted the foundation to grow to where it is today.