Our Community Ambassadors
Our Community Ambassadors are 8 volunteers who represent the Brain & Spine Foundation in their local communities across the UK. They are dedicated to helping us achieve our mission to improve understanding and awareness of neurological problems, raise the profile of the charity to enable more people to access support, and encourage fundraising activities in their local community. Scroll down to read all of their inspiring stories!
John Kedge - Essex
The annual Clacton Triathlon Weekend was born in 1999, and I have been a member of the organising team of five from the beginning. It is of a high standard and dedicated to raise funds for the Brain & Spine Foundation for two reasons – a quadriplegic friend. and a fatal subarachnoid haemorrhage friend. Over those years our donations have raised over £80,000; in 2015 I box- collected £501.90 at the exit gates! We began with 25 competitors and now have over 400 each September when the tides are ready for the swims, and to date we have 159 entries. The meaning of Community Ambassador is ‘official messenger’, and I will do my best to carry that responsibility to whomsoever I meet. My email contact.
Carolyn Turner - Leicester
My name is Carolyn Turner and I live in Leicester. I first contacted the Brain & Spine Foundation back in October 2013 following surgery for a spinal tumour. After I was discharged from hospital I felt very much on my own . I didn't know anyone else who had had a spinal tumour and there was no one to talk to regarding my ongoing symptoms. I came across the BSF by chance as I trialled through the Internet and spoke to the neuro oncology nurses who were really helpful. It was really reassuring having someone to speak to that understood how I was feeling and gradually as I began to feel stronger I felt I wanted to actively get involved with fundraising and an awareness campaign. My email contact.
Simon Hensley - Staffordshire
In February 2013 my close friend, Chris ‘Fin’ Findley, was attacked as he was walking home from a night out with friends. Fin was struck from behind, knocked unconscious and sustained life threatening brain injuries. He was placed in a medically induced coma and later underwent brain surgery but died ten days later of the injuries sustained.
Fin was a serving Police Officer and only 33 years old. He was unique, charismatic, the life and soul of any event and was loved by many. After a lengthy trial the person who inflicted Fin’s injuries received three years in custody for the Manslaughter of Fin. A plaque on a bench did not seem befitting of Fin, so I started Finfest a small festival whose sole aim is to get all of his loved ones together to have a good time and raise money to help people affected by injuries such as Fin sustained. I had zero experience of organising events prior to my first one but took the plunge and I am now a fully fledged festival organiser!! Don't be scared of aiming high, I was amazed by how many people will help you once you take the first steps! I chose the Brain & Spine Foundation as the festival's charity of choice and we now proudly donate all of our profits from Finfest to BSF.
My family have also got in on the action, my sister Sarah Anderson and my wife Rachel Hensley have completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon and the London Marathon for the Brain & Spine Foundation, I have completed a Spartan Race and we have held three 'Finfests' and two standalone concerts to raise money for the Foundation. To date we have collectively raised over £7,200.
I am also a cluster headache sufferer so I have firsthand experience of how neurological conditions can have an impact on individuals and their families.
The Brain & Spine Foundation are an awesome charity, who is most worthy of your support. Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to get involved.
Gavin Tovey - Kent
I am proud to be a Community Ambassador for the Brain & Spine Foundation. I first heard about the Brain & Spine Foundation from my Dad, Norman Tovey, who was part of the Foundation’s 2004 London Marathon Team, when he was 80 years young! He had previously received help from the Brain & Spine Foundation earlier in his life. He was a very keen sportsman, playing rugby for the mighty Harlequins, and organised half marathons at Cobham Hall where he taught Physics. He always helped and encouraged all his 8 grandchildren in everything that they did. I ran the London Marathon with my daughter Emma last year (2015) in his memory and to raise money for the Foundation. This year we went to London with my family to support the runners - well done to all who ran this year!
Paula and Charlie Pearson - Cheshire
Charlie and I have now completed all 6 major world marathons (London, New York, Tokyo, Boston, Berlin and Chicago) together and are in the process of finding out if we are the only married couple ever to have done so! So far, we have raised over £25,000 for the Brain & Spine Foundation. This year in September, Charlie and our close friend, Phil, are going to cycle round Holland calling at towns and cities that spell Brain and Spine Foundation, but not necessarily in that order. If you would like to be involved and join us for a section of this cycling challenge then please get in touch!
David Phillips - Warwickshire and Pembrokeshire
Back in late 2001 I saw an advert in the Daily Telegraph asking people who were running in the 2002 London Marathon if they wanted to run for the Brain & Spine Foundation. Well, probably like most others who saw it, I wondered who and what is this charity? Anyway I called the number and spoke to the then Head of Fundraising, who told me all about the Brain & Spine Foundation and so with a bit of persuasion I decided to give it a go.
Mike Thompson - Lancashire
I am truly honoured to be a Community Ambassador for this fantastic charity. I first encountered the Brain & Spine Foundation in 2014 through an appeal to represent them in the 2015 London Marathon. From first contact with the team I immediately felt the welcoming and supportive stance of everyone involved. I have just completed my second marathon for them and fully intend to tackle a third in 2017… if you are thinking of running, why not get in touch and support the Brain & Spine Foundation?