Trustee Board

Dr Rebecca Black (Chair)

Becky is a social researcher with the civil service. Having completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh exploring children’s and parents’ experiences of childhood epilepsy and children’s involvement in their own health care both formally in a hospital setting and informally in the home. Her research interest in children’s experience of medicine and care came from her own experiences of being born with facial palsy and the two corrective surgeries she had growing up. Becky is also a dedicated volunteer having undertaken a number of roles for a range of charities over the last fourteen years. Becky is a passionate advocate for Facial Palsy UK community and improving health and social care for all.

Mr Charles Nduka (Volunteer CEO & Trustee)

Charles is a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon based at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. He has a specialist interest in facial palsy, and together with colleagues set up a multidisciplinary facial palsy clinic. On hearing patient feedback, Charles realised there was a huge unmet need for support for people with facial palsy. He is passionate about raising awareness of this often devastating condition.

Fiona Hawthorne

Fiona Hawthorne is a visual artist who lives in London with her husband actor Colin Salmon and their four children. Her line drawings grace the pages of Vogue & Tatler, she was artist in residence to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and her portrait of Barack Obama hangs in the Library of Congress. Fiona developed Bell’s palsy in 2010 following a successful operation to restore her hearing. Unrecognised by the out-of-hours GP who ruled out a stroke, Fiona’s journey to seek information, treatment and support began. She is keen to help the charity raise awareness and funds for research.

Jan Jutsum

Before taking early retirement Jan managed a large team of staff in a major central government department. Prior to that she had directed and carried out internal investigations. She developed facial palsy following surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma in 2011 and has benefited greatly from the support group run from East Grinstead. She has been involved with the charity from the outset and has a particular interest in raising awareness of the condition and the help that is available.

Sheila Crowley

Sheila is a chartered physiotherapist and has held a variety of NHS posts in acute and community settings. She helped to set up and co-runs the Norwich based Facial Palsy UK Support Group. Throughout her work she has seen the value of good quality information as central to high quality healthcare. Sheila is keen to promote awareness and management of facial palsy.

Sue Parsons

Sue has a predominantly Commercial Sales and Marketing background. Having spent over 28 years working within the corporate arena Sue took the decision in 2015 when her daughter was born with facial palsy to take some time out to focus on her family. Sue and her partner Les struggled to get information and support from the NHS so quickly turned to Facial Palsy UK. Subsequently Sue became involved in coordinating fundraising events and she is keen to continue doing this to help the charity grow and develop. Sue is dedicated to raising awareness, providing support and guidance to those affected by facial palsy.

Debbie Byles

Debbie is a teacher and has taught in both secondary and primary schools, and is currently a deputy head of a primary school in Essex. She has two grown up daughters of her own and also fosters two siblings. When Debbie’s husband Steve was misdiagnosed when he had Ramsay Hunt syndrome, they found information, advice and guidance from the Facial Palsy UK charity and website and decided to raise money for the charity to go towards raising awareness amongst GPs. Debbie is keen to boost community fundraising for the Charity and is passionate about supporting those with facial palsy because she understands the impact it has on families when a loved one is affected.

Mandy Brailsford

For the last ten years Mandy has worked in various roles for a large aerospace company where they make flexible fuel tanks and flotation devices for civil and military aviation. Born with facial palsy, Mandy has undergone many surgeries over the years. She has been involved with the charity from its launch in 2012 and is passionate about raising awareness and fundraising, as well as supporting those that need it. She especially likes volunteering at the much loved Facial Palsy UK Family Days, something she wishes was around when she was growing up. Knowing what it’s like to grow up with facial palsy and feel alone, she never wants another person affected by the condition to experience this. Mandy is dedicated to helping the charity grow and reach all those that need it.

Monica Letts

Monica is an experienced finance professional and Chartered accountant. She awoke with Bells Palsy in 2018 and her experience with high street opticians and hospital eye clinics impressed on her the complete gap in knowledge on the condition amongst general professionals. After the vital role played by Facial Palsy UK, she is passionate to support the charity’s aims to raise awareness, educate and enable patients to access the support they need to achieve the best possible recovery.

Ben Haynes

Ben is a chartered accountant whose employment has mainly been in the not for profit sector where he has held roles such as Financial Controller and Finance Business Partner. In 2015, Ben’s mother had two episodes of Bell’s palsy and still suffers with some effects five years later. Ben came across Facial Palsy UK’s website when trying to find answers for his mother’s diagnosis. Ben is keen to use his experience of working for charities to help Facial Palsy UK in any way that he can to improve awareness, fundraising, and compliance.

Last reviewed: 28-02-2021    ||    Next review due: 30-06-2023