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South West MS Therapy Centre

Meet the Team

We have eight part-time paid staff and around 15 regular volunteers who support the essential daily work of the Centre. Our charity is managed by a board of volunteer trustees, representing a range of skills and experiences in business and the non-profit sector. If you are interested in joining our board and have skills that could help drive the charity forward and enhance the services we provide, please contact us for more information.

Trustees

Rory Gibson

Chair of Trustees

Rory Gibson

Having retired from his career in banking and finance, Rory and his wife Judith made the move to Exmouth in 2018, to be near family and the coast. Rory's niece lives with MS and is a member of the Centre, and it was through this route that he heard about the work we do. Rory became a trustee in 2019.

Rory brings with him experience of working with small regional charities as well as social enterprise. Rory has a passion for photography, walking and keeping fit, as well as gadgets and technology.

Steve Reardon

Trustee

Steve Reardon

Steve has been a Centre user for more than 5 years having been diagnosed with MS in 2013. He spent 23 years in the Royal Navy, giving him wide experience in the management of people and things, together with a large sprinkling of common sense. 

Currently the assistant town clerk to Cullompton Town Council, Steve lives in Cullompton with his wife, children and dog. He enjoys reading and, whilst enjoying all genres of music, it has to be said that his music collection generally starts to peter out in about 1979.

Mike Holmes

Company Secretary

Michael Holmes

Mike’s working life was spent in the administration of company pension schemes. He is a member of the MS Centre, having had MS since 1988, and attends oxygen therapy and Pilates classes.

 

​Mike is married with four children, two who live locally in Devon, one in Nottingham and the eldest is in Christchurch, New Zealand with his partner and his only two grandchildren - so he doesn’t get called to babysit very often! He is a keen gardener and does DIY on his house when health and energy permit.

Jackie Grainger

Trustee

Jackie Dowden

Jackie joined the board in 2022 and has used the Centre for many years following a diagnosis of MS. She has a background in finance, currently managing a corporate governance team for an international corporation.  She has experience of people and client management, along with strategy and planning in a customer service environment, 

 

Oxygen therapy allows Jackie to fully enjoy living near to the coast and gives her the energy to pursue her hobbies, including country walks, estuary cycle rides and sea swimming. 

Karen Jamieson

Trustee

Kären Jamieson

Kären joined as a trustee in 2020. She is an HR consultant, executive coach and trainer. Kären set up her own business, Oyster Coaching and Consultancy, in 2018 so that she could independently do more of what she loves.

Kären joined because she has a friend with MS and wanted to understand what that meant for her, and she also wanted to use her HR experience in a voluntary capacity. Kären loves living in Devon with access to both Dartmoor and the coast. In her spare time she is a keen gardener and crafter.

Tristan Courtney

Trustee

Tristan Courtney

Tristan joined the board in 2023. He is one of the founding partners of a local law firm, which he and his two partners set up in 2019. Tristan also brings extensive experience of working in the property sector. His skills in financial and operational management help contribute to a prosperous future for the charity. 

 

Tristan’s mother had MS, which has led to his desire to help the charity and those that use the Centre in the years to come. In his spare time he is kept very busy by his two Springadors and plays football locally in east Devon. 

Staff

Caroline Aird

CEO

Caroline Aird

Caroline joined the Centre in 2021 in the new role of CEO. Exeter-born Caroline trained at St Loyes College of Occupational Therapy and worked in health and social care in occupational therapy and in management roles. She moved to the third sector and was with Age UK Exeter for 8 years.

 

Caroline is very active in her local community, having been a parish councillor, and is a Trustee of two village halls. If she gets any free time, it is usually taken up with family and baby-sitting her young granddaughter.

Gardening

Driver & Handyman

Brent

Brent is our hero: he picks up all the odd-jobs around the Centre when he’s not driving our members to and from appointments. He is handy with a lawnmower, jet washer, paintbrush, tape measure, screwdriver and light bulb.

 

He helps out when we’re preparing for events and is quite often seen moving equipment and furniture around. He keeps the Centre ticking over and the garden and grounds maintained and looking beautiful all year round.

Photo Coming Soon

Receptionists

Mandy & Ardene

We have two super ladies - Mandy and Ardene - who work on our reception, helped out by the rest of the team and volunteers. They are the welcoming face of the Centre, but Mandy and Ardene are more than receptionists. They also ensure all members are registered upon arrival, and that payments are processed accurately and recorded on our system. They schedule future appointments and treatment programmes, and provide assistance where needed. They also ensure our shop is well-stocked and keep a plentiful supply of biscuits available! 

Caroline Winyard

Events & Fundraising Manager

Caroline Winyard

Caroline joined the team in 2019 after 17 years working in local government. Her role covers fundraising, marketing, events, and supporting the whole team. Her main challenges are to raise pubic awareness of the Centre and to attract new members, whilst also raising funds towards the annual running costs and specific services or projects that arise from time to time.

 

Outside of work Caroline enjoys drawing and painting, baking (and eating) cakes, and a bit of light yomping or e-cycling on Dartmoor.

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Finance Officer

Pete Freeman

Pete joined the team in 2018 and organises all of the financial procedures for the Centre in a part-time role. He ensures financial regulations are followed, provides advice to the team and updates for the trustees. He has developed new processes and introduced a range of improvements to bring the Centre into the 21st century and make us more efficient, both in time and money.

Pete spends the rest of his week teaching AAT to students, and he enjoys exploring Dartmoor and travelling when he can fit it in.

Katie Head

Centre Administrator

Katie Head

Katie has been with the Centre since 2019 and has a wide range of duties. She oversees the reception and volunteer teams and ensures a warm welcome for everyone visiting the Centre. As well as processing a range of orders and invoices, Katie also manages the stock levels in our shop, making sure we have plenty of vitamins and other items to benefit our members, and also supports fundraising efforts and events.

 

When she’s not in the office, Katie’s hands are full with her three young children.

Photo Coming Soon

Oxygen Therapy Manager

Sarah Benthall

Sarah joined the team in February 2023 after spending many months as a volunteer oxygen operator. Sarah will be getting to know our regulars and newcomers and looking at ways to improve the service, enabling more people to benefit from the therapy. Sarah has previously worked with hyperbaric chambers around the world. If you have any feedback on your experience of the oxygen therapy, Sarah would like to hear from you.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys paddleboarding, running and entertaining her three children.

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