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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


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.


Chris Keogh

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A freak accident while playing football left Chris with a C6/7 spinal cord injury in April 2018. He’s since become a leader in PWC’s financial services team supporting the firm’s key banking and insurance clients. His business nous and commercial leadership give SIA a unique perspective on how to get the best from partnerships and in reaching our strategic goals.

Ron Dunning


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.

Claire Martin

An undiagnosed spinal cord tumour (L1 to L3) haemorrhaged while Claire gave birth to her son. 

Multiple surgeries and four months of hospital and rehab followed. That same year, she took on the Superhero Triathlon for us and was elected trustee in 2021. Claire is determined to improve awareness of the ‘hidden disabilities’ that underly spinal cord injuries – such as mental health and bladder issues. A healthcare communications director, Claire has a passion for bringing people’s stories to life and getting SCI people’s voices heard.

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.

Dr Ram Hariharan

Ram is a consultant in spinal injuries at the Princess Royal Spinal Injury Centre within Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. He specialises in rehabilitation medicine and has established close links between us and the centre. He brings a wealth of clinical experience to SIA’s governing council and is a cheerleader for the vital role we play in the nation’s spinal cord injury centres.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Samantha Cole

Samantha decided to become a doctor because of her experience of having a rare spinal cord arteriovenous malformation, needing surgery overseas in the USA at the age of 12.  She has an incomplete T11 injury as well as conus medullaris syndrome.

Samantha is currently completing further postgraduate training to become a GP.  She is a passionate advocate for those living with SCI related neurogenic bladder and bowel difficulties as well as the psychological impact of having an SCI.

Samantha enjoys giving key note speeches and is a member of Toastmasters public speaking organisation. She also enjoys singing in a contemporary choir and is currently learning to play the piano.

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.