" "

Our trustees

Our trustees are from all walks of life and bring a wealth of passions, knowledge and empathy with them. Together they’re responsible for ensuring we’re governed brilliantly and are delivering for people with spinal cord injuries across the nation.

Faisal Hussain

chair

Faisal – a C6 tetraplegic since 1989 – is married to Rachel and lives in Leicestershire with his two Siamese cats.

He is a highly experienced leader with over 37 years of knowledge and skills gained across the private, public, and charitable sectors and committed to ensuring people are valued, developed and supported so that we can continue to provide excellent services to spinal cord injured individuals, their families and carers.  Faisal is committed to diversity, equality and inclusion and ensuring our services are accessible and equitable to all and that our board, staff and volunteer teams are reflective of the communities we serve.

A huge film buff and vinyl music collector, Faisal loves theatre, live gigs, travel – especially cruising – and is a big Leicester Tigers and England Rugby Football Union fan.

 

Ron Dunning

treasurer

Ron became an incomplete C4 tetraplegic following an accident in 2016 where he fractured his neck. He became a member of SIA shortly after being injured. He’s keen to help spinal cord-injured people unleash their potential, especially young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A football and rugby fan, Ron is also interested in current affairs. He’s also our honorary treasurer.

Mark Henderson

Mark became a T11 complete paraplegic following an accident in 2018. A trustee since 2019, Mark’s expertise is in governance and campaigning, and forming links with parliamentarians. He’s a barrister with over 25 years’ experience, and following his injury battled tirelessly to improve disabled access to courts. He successfully overturned government policy on the Gurkha settlement, and acted for the survivors and bereaved at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Mark is a big part of ParaPride which celebrates disabled and LGTQA+ communities. And he features on the This Is Spinal Crap podcast.

Picture of Leanora

Leanora Volpe

Leanora has a wealth of health policy experience in her current role as Senior Policy Advisor for NHS Providers (the NHS Trusts membership organisation). She has good knowledge of and contacts within the NHS, as well as a campaigning background on disability rights in a previous role with Leonard Cheshire.

Lea is passionate about climbing and represents Great Britain in paraclimbing.

Photo of Stephanie

Stephanie Whitmore 

After a close call with SCI and extensive rehabilitation following a road traffic accident, Steph has been involved as a volunteer and fundraiser for us for many years – attracted by our sense of community. She is currently an associate partner at Buchanan, a leading financial communications consultancy and has a background in corporate communications, reputation and investment management.

Picture of Pete Watts

Pete Watts

Pete was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome in January 2022, due to a slipped disc from picking up a pair of shoes!  After emergency surgery he has been able to walk again but has nerve damage which limits his mobility but not his determination. Since surgery he has climbed Snowdon, walked a marathon to raise money for us and competed in the Superhero Tri event in August 2022.

A chartered environmentalist and chartered waste and resource manager, Pete has 15 years’ experience in the renewable fuel and recycling industry. As a trustee he is committed to ensuring that change happens and that we remain as leaders in providing the voice, expertise and support for SCI people.

James Wood

James received a T7 complete injury following a motorcycle accident as a teenager.  He went on to study law at Exeter and qualified as a solicitor some years later.   He was previously a trustee at the SIA between 2006 and 2010 and CEO of Aspire Law.

James has worked at the highest level of SCI claims and brings with him significant experience in the legal and professional sectors surrounding SCI.  He is keen to see charities embrace and grow their commercial and trading activities to cement and broaden their revenue streams.

Richard Brindley

Richard Brindley

Richard received a C6/7 incomplete spinal injury following a skiing accident in 2001.  He worked for Mars Wrigley for over 27 years and has wide ranging commercial experience.

A member of the SIA since his injury, he is passionate to use his commercial and lived experience to support the charity to deliver its strategy to help ensure everyone with a spinal cord injury can fulfil their potential.  Richard is a keen sports fan especially England rugby and enjoys playing wheelchair rugby for Harlequins.

Our trustee Gareth Hillier

Gareth Hillier

Gareth sustained his SCI in 1998 and is injured at C5/6 level. He spent 11 months in the Spinal Injuries Unit at Sheffield.

He is currently employed by Herts County Council as head of digital technology, performance, business improvement and modernisation and also works as a non-executive director at Cambridge Housing Society, and chair of the Customer and Home Committee.

Gareth is an experienced manager in the public and third sector, with extensive vocational experience in digital, data and technology, transformational programme and contract management, business development, performance management, operational management, and compliance.

Our trustee Andrew Dickinson

Andrew Dickinson

Currently employed as head of analysis, analytics, product and delivery functions at Farsight Consulting. Andrew previously worked for Back Up for 4 years as their family outreach manager, and prior to that as the senior family support coordinator, developing their Family Support service.

“Fourteen years ago, on the 21st of December 2009 , my brother broke his neck. His life, my life, our family’s life were completely turned on their heads in a matter of seconds. We would not have been able to go on this journey, navigating the challenges and finding the opportunities to thrive, without the transformational support of SIA and its partner organisations. You helped us to see the future and navigate the complex world of life after spinal cord injury throughout the ups and downs of the past decade.”

Our trustee Claire Guy

Claire Guy

Currently employed as a principal SCI physiotherapist at the Welsh Spinal Cord Injuries Rehabilitation Centre at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff. Claire previously worked at the NSIC Stoke Mandeville and the Oxford Centre for Enablement (neurorehabilitation) over a 25 year period in clinical, operational and managerial roles promoting patient centred care and multidisciplinary working.

Claire is a member of the UK MASCIP Committee and a member of ISCOS. She co-chaired the Wales Horatio’s Garden fundraising committee and has a keen interest in adaptive outdoor sport.

Previously a trustee with Regain, a charity dedicated to improving the independence of people who’ve become tetraplegic through a sports injury.

Anne Rhind

Anne Rhind

Anne is currently the deputy CEO of YMCA Milton Keynes and has significant experience, knowledge and skills on all aspects of charitable operations including strategy, opportunities, challenges and board relationships.

Crucially, she has significant experience of fundraising, cultivating donors and increasing commissioning/contracting arrangements with public sector bodies – a gap on our board, and an area where her input and support for the charity will be invaluable.

Anne worked for SIA between 2004-2016, primarily on the fundraising side but also helping to develop our services. She’s also married to Jamie Rhind, who used to work for SIA and lives with tetraplegia.