Ian Pratt: A legacy of unbreakable determination and hope

As a true Aussie and honorary Yorkshireman, Ian fought MND with unwavering determination. Through the Ian Pratt MND Foundation, he has remained unyielding in his mission to raise awareness and funds, raising over £160,000 for SITraN.

Ian Pratt smiling at the camera

An honorary Yorkshireman 

Ian was born in Gympie, Australia on the 14th of October 1969 and was the youngest of five. Ian was proud to have grown up in the bush, and even though he preferred the city and the mod-cons, he was still a bushy at heart. He cherished his adventures at their childhood farm in Woolooga, where his Mum and Dad ran drought-master cattle on 520 acres of land. 

Ian’s humble beginnings saw him evolve from the son of a cattle farmer to a highly educated and successful project manager and business owner.  He moved to the UK in 2001 and loved it so much that he became a British citizen. After living in London for a few years, he moved to Barnsley. He married his best friend Catherine and they had a daughter, Georgiana, and Barnsley became his forever home.

Ian Pratt MND Foundation

In 2012, Ian received a life-altering diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND). From that pivotal moment, his determination was unwavering – he aimed to raise awareness and establish a lasting legacy that would provide crucial support to those affected by this devastating disease. While personally battling MND and facing the gradual loss of his ability to walk, talk, breathe and swallow, Ian became a fierce advocate for all those enduring the same diagnosis. He dedicated himself to fundraising for MND research, to improve treatments and ultimately, find a cure. 

In May 2020, Ian used his legal right to refuse treatment and ask for his breathing mask to be removed. The Foundation remains dedicated to supporting SITraN through ongoing donations, and a laboratory has been named in his honour.

The Ian Pratt laboratory will help us drive forward our research programmes. Within that lab, we can make skin cells donated by patients into motor neurones, cells that get damaged in MND.”

Professor Dame Pam Shaw

Professor of Neurology, Director of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN)

Karl Richardson, Georgiana McGaw-Pratt, Richard Dawson, Catherine McGaw-Pratt, Johnny Beardsmoore and Professor Dame Pam Shaw at the opening of the Ian Pratt Laboratory and unveiling of the plaque.
Karl Richardson, Georgiana McGaw-Pratt, Richard Dawson, Catherine McGaw-Pratt, Johnny Beardsmoore and Professor Dame Pam Shaw at the plaque unveiling of the Ian Pratt Laboratory.

Ian was a remarkable man, a true gentleman, generous of heart, a techno-wizard and an Aussie larrikin who had the best laugh and the wickedest of wits. He was a friend to many, a son, a brother, a loving husband to Catherine, a devoted father to Georgiana and now a beacon of hope for all those who persist in their battle against MND.