Our Trustees volunteer their valuable expertise to support and empower those living with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS)
I have been a part of the BPF for 61 years. It has opened many doors that would have been locked to me and provided lifelong friendships with like minded people.
Since I became a Trustee 3 years ago, I often ask myself that perhaps I became a Trustee at the wrong time. Such has been the turbulence and stormy waters within the Fellowship. However, I am an eternal optimist and felt that the storms would subside and there would be clearer skies ahead.
Also, I have never lost sight that nearly 1,000 members entrusted in me and gave me the mandate to represent them. So, with this in mind, every decision that I have taken has been to the best of my ability and in the interest of the members, who are the Fellowship.
Although I have been a member for 61 years, a Branch Treasurer, Regional Secretary and now a Trustee, I have found some decisions difficult and have had to reach deep into my soul to find the most appropriate answer and way forward.
I am honoured to have been voted National Chairman unanimously by my fellow Board Members. I am also privileged to be the ‘Board’s’ representative on the Expert Panel, which provides very useful information and advice to the members. So, I would like to continue working hard and to the best of my ability in securing a sound and prosperous Fellowship.
National Vice Chairman
I contracted polio back in the 1950’s aged 3 years whilst living in Hong Kong. Initially I was almost totally paralysed retaining the use of my right eyelid only but as with most survivors I regained some muscle use in my head, shoulders and arms. Other than this I have been paralysed below the shoulders and consequently a full time wheelchair user.
I joined the Fellowship many years ago – my memory fails me as to just when – but for a long time I did not have time to be involved with the local branch and was a Central Office member. Following retirement though I attended a number of AGMs and was persuaded by a Bristol branch member to join them and take a more active role which I did. Later I was invited to join the Western Region committee and subsequently was also appointed Vice-Chair of the Bristol branch. Local members became more and more concerned about the way the Fellowship was being run and it became clear that if we were not happy it was up to one of us to stand as a trustee and I was asked to do this on behalf of the Western Region.
I hope to be able to bring 20 years experience running charitable trusts to the Fellowship together with my general understanding of financial matters (both accounting and investments) and my lived experience as a polio survivor.
I became involved with the Fellowship when my friend Andy Mack, until recently a BPF Trustee, asked me to consider joining the Board of the charity’s trading company. Sadly that has now folded, but I got to know a lot about the Fellowship while I was a Director of the company. Now retired, I worked for 27 years as a public sector auditor, which included working with a lot of NHS charities. The BPF Trustees thought I could contribute to the main charity with my financial and accounting knowledge and experience, so I was co-opted onto the Board in July 2019 and elected National Treasurer this year.
From my experience so far I am very aware that the Fellowship provides a vital service to people who have had polio and may now be having to cope with PPS. After a tough time for the Fellowship in recent years there’s a real sense that it has ‘turned a corner’ and my aim is help ensure we stay on sound financial footing going forward. Although my remit is to help with the ‘boring financial stuff’, it’s very rewarding to be involved with a charity that does such good and vital work.
My main interests are music (I have too many guitars) and chess (I play too many online games). I am also Treasurer of the London Mining Network, an organisation that campaigns on the worldwide human rights and environmental impacts of London-linked mining companies.
‘Aiming to support the BPF in being an effective, inclusive and modern organisation which is able to provide relevant and valued services available to all U.K. Polio survivors, whilst continuing its long term and highly valued objective of offering and enabling fellowship for Members and potential Members.’
I’m Jerry Hutchinson. I caught Polio in Castleford, West Yorkshire in the summer of 1957 when I was eighteen months old, so I don’t remember anything about the quarantine, iron lung etc. I’ve lived with the after effects which mainly affected my legs and after a number of childhood operations, led a relatively active life. I was diagnosed with PPS about 12 years ago. The intrusion of Polio into my life for a second time and a conversation with a friend who had also had Polio led to me finding out about the Fellowship in 2010.
I retired in 2019 and having read about some of the problems the Fellowship was having I emailed the Chair early last year offering my services, if he felt that they could be of use. That led to me putting my name forward for the Board last year and being appointed as there weren’t enough candidates for an election. I have served for one year and it has been a steep learning curve, particularly as I am a ‘Central Office’ Member and not affiliated to a Branch. In terms of skill sets, I have been a solicitor for 40 years, although no longer practising and spent 41 years working in local government, 25 of those as a Chief Executive. I have a broad skill base which I try to use to make a difference in the organisations that I volunteer for, and I feel very privileged to now have the time and opportunity to make a difference for the community of Polio survivors which I was oblivious to when spending most of my life dealing with the after effects of Polio.
My ambition as a Trustee is to play my part in formulating a sustainable and effective plan to take the Fellowship forward into the future with the support of the Members we represent and to be able to feel that at the end my Term I have done my bit to make the Fellowship an organisation that can be valued by all of us.
I contracted Polio in 1957 in Northern Ireland, in hospital for about two years; I have muscle loss in both legs and arms, though I can walk with sticks. I was a member of the Northern Ireland Polio Fellowship and benefited from swimming sessions and Christmas parties, but didn't keep the membership up as an adult. Like many people, when trying to understand PPS, I rejoined the BPF.
I joined the Cheshire group, but changed to the Merseyside Branch because it met in the evenings as I still worked. Both groups were a great help and fun with lots of valuable advice. Unfortunately, living now in Cumbria the nearest groups are quite far away.
After retiring in 2009, I did an MSc research project on Polio (thanks to those of you who helped) leading to me joining the expert panel in 2012. I applied to be a trustee as there is vital work to do for Polio survivors, providing information and support, raising awareness of this often neglected community. There has been huge change in the past few years, and a lot of change still to come and I want to help determine the future of the Fellowship - which is needed now as much as ever.
I want to help develop a long-term strategy, which recognises the changing needs of older Polio survivors, and the different needs of younger people increasingly seeking help. I want to help raise awareness and knowledge of PPS in the UK. Lastly - a local group in Cumbria would be great!
'I am keen to help the BPF and its members in order to ensure that the Fellowship actively engages meaningfully and provides the level of support those members need going into the future.'
I have been a member of the Fellowship and Berkshire Branch since the 1970s, currently serving on the committee and representing Berkshire at the South of England Region, where it is great to meet those from other branches and get to hear about their activities, fundraising and difficulties.
I am delighted to become part of the leadership team as a Trustee, even in challenging times, with an eye to forging ahead to keep the Fellowship going to respond to the needs of its Polio members.
I am a non-Polio member but have had years of experience looking after my mother, who contracted infantile paralysis in 1937. Along with the needs of other polio survivors in the branch, it has given me a sound understanding of issues and needs.
My background is in education, as a teacher and headteacher for nearly forty years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The skills of leadership as a head will, I believe, stand me in good stead in taking a strategic view of the Fellowship, making tough decisions, holding people to account and keeping then children, now polio members, at the forefront of decision making.
One thing stands out for me and that is the amazingly strong spirit of our members, the congeniality, and the support they give each other, with a great deal of good humor.
I am really looking forward to working with the other Trustees, experienced and newcomers, and the positive team at Central Office.
‘Passionate about developing innovative and effective projects and actions that can improve the quality of life of Diverse Polio survivors in the UK and overseas.'
I was affected by Polio at the age of two and have been a member of the British Polio Fellowship for over 25 years. Over this time, I have always tried to get involved with local clubs but have not always been active. I am keen for the BPF’s activities to become more diverse and meet many diverse Polio survivors needs and enable them to benefit from BPF’s projects and services. I have tried a few times to join the Trustee Board in the past but have not secured enough votes to be elected. This time BPF members have elected me and I am thrilled, thank you all for voting for me. I will do my best to meet members needs working together with the Board.
I have previously worked as a Grants Officer for the National Lottery Community Fund as well as holding roles in the Spinal Injuries Association; Disability Rights Commission; and other voluntary sector organisations. I am currently the Director of Choice International, a UK based not for profit organisation promoting disability sports; fitness; and diversity in the UK for over 10 years.
I am passionate about using my life experience with Polio, coupled with my professional experience in fundraising, organisational strategy development, diversity management, and people management to support BPF to strive with good projects meeting diverse member’s needs. I am a qualified Personal Trainer, GP referral, and exercise and well-being trainer helping people with long-term medical conditions to keep active and lead a healthy lifestyle. I am also a wheelchair tennis player, as well as a tennis, wheelchair basketball and boccia coach, running regular sessions in East London and Leicester.
I want to use my passion and life experience of having Polio and being from a BAME background, alongside my experience of project management to develop meaningful projects which have a positive impact for disabled people.
I am also keen to identify if money is not being used effectively so I can influence this for the better to improve the lives of those living with Polio.
I do not see any active Branches where I live in East London. I want to see if I can initiate this and look to reactivate activities in my local area as well.
'The charity is dear to my heart and I hope to make a difference.'
I contracted Polio at just three years old which weakened my right-hand side and left me with some breathing problems. I was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital and I have very few recollections of this time apart from the fact the teddy bears seemed huge (I was only tiny); that my legs were being hit with "hammers"; and being dragged by my grandmother to ballet lessons thought to be good exercise. Ballet dancer I am not.
So with a near normal childhood, my life was no different to my brothers and sisters, as I got older I suffered more aches and pains and walked badly wearing my hips out, but two hip replacements later and with the assistance of a wonderful asthma specialist who helped me greatly, I have done a lot with my life. I have three children and five grandsons and have had many lovely holidays around the world and a successful career in banking - followed by 10 years part time working for the BPF.
I feel my experiences (both good and bad) in banking; at Central Office; and within other volunteering roles will prove invaluable in my Trustee role.
As a Central Office member, apart from speaking to Branch and Group members, I have little experience of their meetings etc which I intend to gain by visiting some Branches when we can move around freely again and be able to assist in helping to keeping this wonderful charity in existence.