Presidents and Trustees

Our Founder and President, Peter Hamlyn MB BS BSC MD FRCS FISM


In a medical career that has spanned 40 years, Peter has led change at the elite level of both neurosurgery and sports medicine. He has headed neurosurgical teams in some of London’s elite teaching hospitals such as St Bartholomew’s Hospital and The Royal London Hospital, academic units in leading universities such as Queen Mary University London and University College London. He has worked at the elite level in multiple sports medicine, including motor sports, equine sport, combat and collision sports as well as the performing arts – everything from the NFL to the Royal Ballet. He has chaired Ministerial Working Groups and was pivotal to the creation of Sport and Exercise Medicine as a recognised specialty.

He has worked as medical advisor to the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (first Safe Neurosurgery working group), General Medical Council, Trigeminal Neuralgia Association of Great Britain, British Olympic Association, British Boxing Board of Control, The Jockey Club of Great Britain, UK Sport, Royal Ballet, GB rowing team, England Rugby, plus numerous premier league football and rugby clubs.

Peter was a member of the 2012 Olympic Bid Advisory Panel and has worked as a correspondent for the sports section of The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In 1996, he was awarded Fellowship of the Institute of Sport Medicine for work in the field of head injury in sport. He is founder and president of the Brain and Spine Foundation, has been the Chair of the Football Association’s Expert Medical Panel since 2016 and has been a Trustee of the Grand Prix Trust since 2005. Most recently, Peter has been appointed Medical Director and Trustee of Podium Analytics.

Vice President, Alistair Watkins

Alistair has spent the last 25 years working in the world of international sport at the highest level. He started his career working as the FIA’s Formula One Press Officer 1995 – 1999, an era a great change in sport with safety becoming a primary objective. A change of direction into the commercial side of the sports world followed a year of study and an MBA from the Management School of Imperial College in London. Two year of working for leading consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum on Premier League media rights valuations led to Alistair joining Kirch Media, who acquired Formula One, and subsequent work on the sports long term business plan.

Alistair re-joined the sport of Formula One in 2002 as Marketing Director of Lucky Strike BAR Honda’s Formula One team, which saw Alistair leading the team’s global marketing operations for five years. He was then head hunted to be Marketing Director of Swiss America’s Cup sailing team, Alinghi. Created by Swiss biotech billionaire, Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi was the first European team to win the America’s Cup and defend it successfully in Valencia in 2007.

Alistair founded Influence Associates in 2008 with two other directors, which saw the marketing and PR agency offer corporate clients PR, investor relations, marketing and sponsorship services. Since then he has created Influence Sports & Media for sports clients.

Alistair stepped down as Trustee of Brain & Spine Foundation after six years and was elected as Vice President in 2022. He will be working on projects with our Founder and President, Peter Hamlyn.

Chair of Trustees, Mark Luce

Mark joined the Board of Trustees in July 2017, stepping up to his current role as Chair in July 2018. Mark spent the last 20 years working for global beer giant SABMiller and now runs his own marketing consultancy. Continuing his passion for change, his ambition is to transform the care provided to those living with neurological conditions and in doing so, to make a meaningful difference to many more people. He is a wine maker, avid traveller and motorsport fan.

Trustee, Ian Basden-Smith

Ian is a chartered accountant who worked in the banking industry following a period with KPMG. He worked for Samuel Montagu, Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank across finance and operational activities in the UK, Europe and the Far East. Ian joined the Board of Trustees in 2012 and is both excited by the current plans for the charity and committed to achieving our organisational aims. Ian is a keen golfer and fisherman and enjoys the outdoors and travelling as well as spending time with his children and grandchildren.




Trustee, Kavita Basi

Kavita has over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry. In 2015 she suffered a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage and was told she had a 50% chance of survival and could be left with life-changing disabilities.

After four brain operations and extensive rehabilitation, Kavita made it her mission to make a positive
difference in the fashion industry, be a role model to the next generation and help others that have
suffered a similar illness. She has been a Brain & Spine Foundation Ambassador since 2015, is an author of two books about surviving brain haemorrhage and has shared her story through her podcast and social media. Her two ethical brands promote vegan and gender-neutral fashion. She donates 5% of profits from her brand Ration.L to the Brain & Spine Foundation.

Click here to find out more about Kavita.

Trustee, Joe Bedford

Joe has been a corporate lawyer for over 20 years and is a partner and strategy board member at Stevens & Bolton LLP. Joe was a founder member of the steering committee of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG UK), an organisation focused upon supporting middle market M&A activity and driving the growth of that sector. Joe joined the Board of Trustees in May 2020 having heard the ambitious plans which the Brain & Spine Foundation has to expand its footprint and enhance its ability to make a positive difference to those affected by neurological issues. He is now a member of the Finance and Governance Sub-Committee.



Trustee, Peter Brickley

Peter leads the Business Process & Technology organisation at Coca Cola European Partners. Peter has over 25 years’ experience leading technology for global businesses including Heineken, Centrica & BAT. Before Coca Cola Peter was the Global CIO and Managing Director of Global Business Services at SABMiller. Peter is also the non-executive chairman of Newbury Building Society and a Parish Councillor.

Peter joined the Board of Trustees in April 2020, given his enthusiasm for the cause.

Trustee, Paul Fleming

Paul has spent the last twenty years working as a financial restructuring lawyer, based in London but travelling around the world. He has worked on a variety of cases including the fall out from the Lehman collapse in 2008. He likes difficult problems! Paul joined us in 2020 with an enthusiasm to support the crucial role the Brain & Spine Foundation plays in covering significant gaps of neurological health and wellbeing.

Trustee, Asli Guner-Paul

Asli is currently working as Associate General Counsel at Lightsource BP, a global solar company, heading up projects in the EMEA region. She holds a Bachelor of Law (with first class honours equivalent) from Galatasaray University and an LLM degree (with merit) in corporate and commercial law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She speaks Turkish, French and German. Asli joined the Board of Trustees in May 2020 after a close family member was diagnosed with a neurological illness. She is passionate about contributing to the invaluable work of the Brain & Spine Foundation. Asli enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, pilates and collecting vintage crockery.

Trustee, Jeroen Huysinga

Jeroen has spent 35 years working as a portfolio manager covering equity markets globally. He was a Managing Director at JPMorgan Asset Management for 20 years.
In 2020, Jeroen chose to retire from his work in the City and embark on a Master’s degree in Charity Accounting and Financial Management at the Cass business school. His ambition is to combine commercial experience and rigorous learning to make a difference and to build a second career in the charities sector. Jeroen joined the Board of Trustees in April 2020 and is passionate about the potential to create positive change.

Trustee, Elizabeth Manuel

Elizabeth survived a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) in 2011. Having grappled with the failings of a health service that neither prioritises nor generally meets the needs people affected by neuro conditions, Elizabeth has sought to make things better for others. She has a LLB (Hons), was a barrister for twenty years, a Judge for sixteen years, and gives motivational speeches to educate and inform health professionals and patients about how to achieve better outcomes. She has given TV and media interviews about her experiences and made short films to highlight disability and petition Parliament about the need for better rehab. Elizabeth is testament that improvement can be made at any stage and life can be better. She loves to paint and has exhibited her art (most recently at the 2021 Bloomsbury Festival). She enjoys exercise, improving her French and Spanish, and travelling the world.

Trustee, Carolyn Turner

In 2008 Carolyn was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumour. She lived with it for 5 years before having complex spinal surgery in 2013. In 2014, she reached out to the Brain and Spine Foundation for support and began fundraising in 2015. This is when she became an Ambassador for the charity.

Carolyn comes from a nursing background, having worked as a staff nurse at the Leicester Royal Infirmary NHST for 15 years, initially in the Central Operating department. She then transferred to Ophthalmology, gaining experience in theatres, on the wards and clinics before joining the hospital agency and working in the recovery suite of the Women’s Hospital.

Following her surgery, she worked as support staff at a pre-school and now dedicates her time to the Brain & Spine Foundation. She is the Volunteer Facilitator for the charity’s peer support groups: Neuro Social, Neuro Creative, Neuro Social Midlands and Neuro Writing.

Carolyn also joined the Brain & Spine Foundation’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion working group. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2023.

Trustee, Lauren Downie

After suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage in 2004, Lauren was discharged from hospital and given a leaflet from the Brain and Spine Foundation.  A few months after, she realised her recovery was taking longer than expected and as she had no follow up appointments booked with the hospital, Lauren called the Brain & Spine Foundation’s Helpline. The advice she received was extremely helpful, explaining what Lauren might expect in terms of recovery time.

She went to meet the team and was invited to support the Brain and Spine at the London marathon. She was asked to run a 5k to raise funds, and that was her introduction to running.

After a follow up procedure in 2006, Lauren was persuaded to run the marathon to raise funds for the foundation again. This is when she met all the team and was inspired by the charity throughout her recovery.

Along the way, Lauren has contributed to a book written by Alison Wertheimer, called “A Dented Image, Journeys of Recovery from Subarachnoid Haemorrhage’’, and attended conferences run by the charity.

She was appointed an ambassador several years ago as she raised awareness of the charity by getting running friends to join her on fundraising runs.

More recently Lauren has been working as a peer support volunteer for the Neuro Social group where survivors of neurological illnesses meet once weekly online.

Support for people with neurological conditions is lacking throughout the UK and Lauren feels very grateful to the Brain and Spine Foundation for the support the charity has given her in the past. She is so happy to help in any small way towards improving services for others!