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.

Vanessa Venables

Vanessa is a principal speech and language therapist specialising in facial rehabilitation. Involved in planning the Facial Palsy UK charity since 2010, Vanessa is dedicated to ensuring that everyone throughout the UK has easy access to good quality information about the management and treatment of facial palsy. She set up a Sussex-based Facial Palsy UK support group, the first of its kind in the UK, and is keen to promote similar groups so more people can access informal support and advice within a friendly and caring environment.

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.

Gareth Price

Gareth is a management accountant with experience in the forensic science and service sectors. Gareth’s daughter was born with facial palsy and for the first 9 years of her life, Gareth and his wife Emma felt isolated, with little support from the NHS. Finding the charity two years ago has helped Gareth & Emma share experiences with other parents, gain advice from adults that have grown up with facial palsy and help their daughter make lots of new friends. Gareth’s goal is to ensure any children born with facial palsy, and indeed their parents, have access to the support and resources the charity has to offer.

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.

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Last reviewed: 21-08-2019    ||    Next review due: 08-07-2020