Meet Our Founder

Founder and Honorary President

Elizabeth Burton-Phillips MBE

Since founding the charity in 2006, Elizabeth has campaigned tirelessly to ensure people affected or bereaved by a loved one’s addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling have the support they need. She actively engages with policymakers, researchers, and communities to drive positive change. From speaking engagements to advisory roles, she has deeply impacted countless lives.

Over the last 18 years, Elizabeth has delivered over 1,000 lectures and keynote speeches to clinicians, practitioners, and other stakeholders at schools, prisons, and conference events, further amplifying the message of support and understanding.

Elizabeth’s remarkable contributions have not gone unnoticed. From being nominated as a Woman of Achievement to receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and an MBE for her services to those affected by addiction, her courage and determination continue to inspire change worldwide.

“Every day, I am reminded of the importance of our work at Addiction Family Support. The need for our support is greater than ever, and I am immensely proud of the impact we’ve had in helping thousands of individuals and families navigate the challenges of their loved one’s addiction.”

Elizabeth Burton Phillips MBE | AFS Founder & Honorary President

Elizabeth was a teacher and mother who had always tried to do the best for her children; she never imagined that her identical twin sons, who had been doing well at school, would become involved in drugs.

She was shocked when they were suspended from school for smoking cannabis, but this was just the start of a terrible descent into personal and family heartbreak. The gut-wrenching journey ended in the way Elizabeth had always dreaded – a knock on the door in the middle of the night by the police, giving her the devastating news that her son Nick had killed himself in despair at his heroin addiction.

Remembering Nicholas Mills

On February 19, 2004, we lost Nicholas Mills, son of our founder, Elizabeth Burton Phillips MBE. Elizabeth’s experience of Nicholas’s battle with addiction and the profound impact of his death inspired her to create Addiction Family Support.

The images below are of Nicholas’s life – from the joy of childhood with his twin brother to school days, and family gatherings. His story unfolds, capturing moments that ultimately led him and his brother down a challenging path of addiction.

Tragically, addiction’s grip took a toll, leading Nicholas to a place of deep despair. At just 27 years old, he passed away. His death ignited a flame in Elizabeth, who felt a void in the support system for those grappling with the impact of a loved one’s addiction.

Elizabeth's Book

Mum, can you lend me twenty quid?

‘Mum, can you lend me twenty quid?’ was written by Addiction Family Support’s Founder and Honorary President, Elizabeth Burton-Phillips MBE. The story, which has been read by thousands of people in the UK and translated into six languages, describes how an ordinary family was devastated by drug addiction, which drove Elizabeth’s twin son Nick to end his life in 2004, aged just 27.

This inspirational book doesn’t hold back and guides the reader through the entire saga step by step.

“I cannot praise this book highly enough. Born out of personal pain and tragedy, this story will lead you to the birth of Addiction Family Support. What has been and continues to be achieved through this story is truly inspiring and wonderful.”

Sir Anthony Seldon | FRSA FRHistS FKC, Headteacher, contemporary historian and author