I was honoured indeed to be asked to become president of Andover and District Mencap in 1975. At a similar time I was also invited by the newly appointed Head Teacher of Icknield School to apply for the position of physiotherapist. This role allowed me to support people with a learning disability in a practical way and ensure almost daily contact with Andover and District Mencap. I held the post for 10 years and made many friendships which have continued over the years. Nothing gives me more delight than past ‘patients’ continuing to greet me and keep me up to date with their achievements. In 1994 when I became a Church of England Priest I formed ‘Churchfriends’ a group for adults with a learning disability who have a church connection. This ensured that there was a holistic approach to the support received by people with a learning disability. I am able to pursue my lifelong hobbies of gardening and history and where possible using these passions to support the members of Andover and District Mencap.
In 1984 my daughter Cathy was born with severe learning disabilities, challenging behaviors, no speech or language, is on the Autistic spectrum and is tactile defensive. The following year Colin my husband, Cathy and I moved from South East London to Andover. Soon After my son Phil was born, and he too has become a member of the Board of Trustees. Once in Andover, I became a volunteer with Andover Toy Library which was originally set up and run by Marie Atkins and Rosemary Wilson and other mothers who were members of ADM. Through this connection I joined the Fundraising Committee and then the Board. I have served on The Children’s Service’s Committee which organised the setting up of Stephen’s Ark. I was also in the past the founder Chair of the Andover and District under 5’s Forum which later became the under ‘8s and then Families Forum. 21 years later and I am now the Chair of the organisation and very much enjoying the opportunity to support the development and growth of the organisation.
I have been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2000. Having seen friends bring up their Child who has a learning disability, I decided I wanted to support a local organisation that could provide the specialist services that both my friends and others with learning disabilities need. Since joining the organisation I have been able to use my skills and knowledge to support both the business side of the organisation but also the property portfolio. I have project managed repairs, maintenance and the ongoing development of the Bonhomie site. Our previous offices.
I have been involved with Andover and District Mencap since 1984 when My husband Tony, My Son Gary and my eldest Daughter Zoe and I returned to Andover with our 7th Month old Daughter Sabine who has Downs Syndrome. The family has supported the organisation in many forms, from fundraising to chairing the Board of Trustees of which both my husband and I have done. Advocacy and advocating for people with a learning disability plays a big part in the work I have done and currently undertake with ADM. I have been a member of many committees which have been set up to support service users and their families and I am currently a member of the Campaigning Working Group.
I became a trustee for Andover District Mencap in April 2011, but have been involved with the charity for some years now in both a voluntary and fundraising capacity. I first came to know the charity through my family as my sister Cathy has a severe learning disability and has autism, whilst my mother Ann has been a Board Member now for approximately 20 years. I was born in Winchester and attended Anton Infant, Junior and John Hanson schools. I then moved on to Queen Mary’s college in Basingstoke. After this I moved down to Bournemouth where I attended University to study my Law degree which lasted for 4 years, one year of which I spent working for Wiltshire Constabulary and Wiltshire Crown Prosecution Service. Once I had completed my degree I successfully applied for the Legal Practice Course and resultantly became a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This included studying Business Law, Litigation, Criminal Law and Property Law as well as Business and Solicitors accounts. I am currently working in the insurance sector in Basingstoke.
When the opportunity to be involved in a hands-on charity that provides front-line support and services to children and adults with learning disabilities in my hometown and local community came along, I jumped at the chance. The last 15 years of my career have included two stints at Andover-based family-owned and run food wholesale business Cooper Foods, supplying the catering industry across the South of England. In the three years away from Coopers I worked for Bunzl Catering Supplies, a FTSE100 Company also in the Hospitality and Catering sector. Having held various positions in this time I have acquired and developed a broad range of skills and abilities. Those I seek to bring to Andover and District Mencap are for the benefit of the commercial aspect of the organisation, which, whilst not the reason ADM was created, is critical to sustaining the services and support it provides its clients. I also provide support by donating my time to fundraising activities and by raising the profile of ADM throughout my network of business contacts, some of which have already “put their money where their mouth is” by donating prizes and incentives to the cause!
In 1980 our daughter. Danielle was born in Aldershot with both Down’s Syndrome and a serious heart problems and fought very hard and overcame her illness. In 1982 we moved to Middle Wallop and began using Andover and District Mencap’s services, when we subsequently moved to Andover we both became involved with the society in various ways. Our son, Craig, was born in 1984 and via various roles is now in the Police. Danielle went to Anton Infants, Norman Gate and Mark Way schools. She does voluntary work at The Little School, The Bridge cafe and works part time at Sainsbury’s. As the years progressed, I became more involved in the organisation with mini bus driving and collecting old newspapers for sale to a recycling company. I have held the post of Chair and continue to support the organisation to grow and develop.
I have been aware of Andover and District Mencap for a number of years through various means and was able to get to know more about the services and what they offer to the community. I then became a Trustee in 2015; I currently work in Business Change for a local company and hope to continue to use my experience and knowledge from this to be able to help in growing and developing the organisation.
I became Treasurer of Andover & District Mencap in April 2017. My background is 40 years in finance working with a wide range of organisations including local councils, housing associations, charities and private sector companies. I moved to Andover over 30 years ago and became interested in Andover & District Mencap’s work through my wife’s involvement as a Board Trustee and because my daughter has learning disabilities and had received much support from the organisation.