Getting to know our SIA Trustees
Our Board of Trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing SIA and directing how it’s managed and run. With a legal responsibility to make sure SIA carries out its purposes for the public benefit and that its resources are managed appropriately, they act in the charity’s best interests at all times. What you might not know, is that at least 75% of our Board must be people with lived experience of spinal cord injury. This means SIA is truly led by SCI people, for SCI people. Let’s meet our SIA Trustees…
CLAIRE MARTIN (chair)
L3 incomplete (tumour) + cauda equina syndrome
- Describe yourself in one word – Friendly
- One thing you wish you spent more time doing – Writing the novel I started 4 years ago!
- Would you make a good spy? – I once interviewed for MI6, unsuccessfully. I’d say that’s a firm no!
- Your greatest achievement – Crossing the Superhero Tri finish line having walked the 1k unaided for the first-time only months post-injury
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – Community, passion, making sense of my own SCI as well as helping to make the world better and fairer for others
MARK HENDERSON (senior vice chair)
- Describe yourself in one word – Committed
- Your favourite food – Milk chocolate• Your favourite word – Not for public consumption!
- Your greatest achievement – Overturning the ban on thousands of Gurkha veterans settling in the UK, which involved a twin track strategy of judicial review combined with a public campaign which led to the government’s defeat in the House of Commons following the winning judgment.
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – Ensuring that SIA is true to its mission to support the SCI community and defend the disability rights of our members, never forgetting that a fulfilled life for all means campaigning for the policy changes we need and against the obstacles created by societal discrimination
CHRIS KEOGH (vice chair)
- Describe yourself in one word – Positive
- One thing you wish you spent more time doing – Playing golf with my dad
- Your favourite word – Tranquillity
- Your greatest achievement – Walking my wife down the aisle on our wedding day
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – It has been incredibly fulfilling to work side by
side with our members to create a better tomorrow for everyone affected by spinal cord injury
RON DUNNING (treasurer)
Describe yourself in one word – Reliable
- Your favourite food – Sunday Roast
- One thing you wish you spent more time doing – Exploring the world
- Your greatest achievement – Obtaining lottery funding for a small housing association for a new development of single people accommodation
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – The chance to give back for the help and support I received when
first injured. And to help our organisation grow and develop to meet the needs of our community and enable everyone with a SCI to lead an enriching life
C4/5 incomplete following a spinal stroke
- Describe yourself in one word – Optimistic
- The way to your heart is – Flowers
- Your favourite word – Thank you or Dank u wel (I’m half Dutch)
- Your greatest achievement – Surviving 21 years on the expatriate circuit – 17 following my SCI – which involved relocating across four different continents and more house moves than I care to count, whilst bringing up two children
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – My biggest motivation to being a SIA Trustee is that all affected
by a spinal cord injury may live, love and work with as much independence, choice and control as possible.
Cauda equina syndrome incomplete
Describe yourself in one word – Determined
- What are you afraid of? – Frogs, they make me scream like a child!
- Who makes you laugh? – My gifted 11-year-old daughter Lydia, who can quote every Monty Python sketch verbatim
- Your greatest achievement – Competing in the Manx 100, one of Europe’s toughest mountain bike races
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – This is a huge opportunity for me. I will be able to use my 20 years
operational and development experience to support and assist the SIA to provide essential help to those that need it. Also, being actively involved with SIA helps me to come to terms with my injury and to live a fulfilled life myself.
Look out for news on membership elections to our Board of Trustees coming soon – we want to hear from you! If you’re interested in becoming a Trustee, contact Claire, our current Chair ([email protected]) for an informal chat
Sensory ataxia from a spinal malformation at C1/2
Describe yourself in one word – Tenacious!
- Your favourite food – My mum’s tiramisu
- What are you afraid of? – Getting locked out of my house
- Your greatest achievement – Winning gold at the recent paraclimbing world cup in Austria
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – It’s a privilege to be able to put some of my skills and experiences in advocacy, campaigns and research to support SIA’s work.
No SCI. Fractured C1, C3 and C5 plus pelvis in 2013
- Describe yourself in one word – Tenacious
- What are you afraid of? – Swans
- Would you make a good spy? – If I told you that I’d have to kill you
- Your greatest achievement – Making the pages of ‘Rugby World’ magazine as a Cobham Under 8 – the only girl in a big tournament – kicking some a**e!!
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – Since 2016 being part of the SIA community has been incredibly important to me. The value of the team’s work, and the unique role in changing lives that the organisation plays, are
life changing. The opportunity to join the Board at this incredibly exciting time, as the association reaches record momentum, is an absolute honour and one of my proudest moments to date. I look forward to getting to know wider members of the SIA community and offering my council as a Trustee.
- Describe yourself in one word – Curious
- Books or films – 2001 A Space Odyssey
- Your favourite word – Family
- Your greatest achievement – Making a 5-day ascent of the Triple Direct route on El Capitan in California (pre-injury)
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – To be able to potentially make a difference to the lives of others like me helps me to feel purposeful. I also currently have the highest-level injury on the board so I feel I can help represent people with greater physical, care and mobility challenges.
DR RAM HARIHARAN
Spinal injuries rehabilitation consultant
Describe yourself in one word – Seeker
- Your favourite food – Spicy south Indian
- Your favourite word – Gratitude
- Your greatest achievement – Bringing a smile/tear of joy for someone.
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – Privileged
Describe yourself in one word – Determined
- One thing you wish you spent more time doing – Things that really matter i.e., family and friends
- Your favourite word – Serendipity
- Your greatest achievement – Too many, but one would be returning to university to complete my degree (which was interrupted by my car accident and SCI) as well as securing a Master’s too
- What does it mean to you to be a SIA Trustee? – It is a huge honour and privilege to be able to support the organisation that gave me so much information, advice and help when I needed it most. I want to ensure we continue to be able to do this for all SCI people.
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