Gary Hector

Trustee

Hello, I’m Gary Hector, and I have a diverse entrepreneurial background spanning 25 years. Until recently I have been managing the software company I founded 10 years ago, delivering educational solutions to schools in over 60 countries.

My personal connections with several people living with MS, as well as my two-decades-long friendship with EJ, the Centre Manager, have given me valuable insights into the impact of MS on people’s lives, let me witness the incredible work accomplished by EJ and the entire team at the Centre, and made me passionate about helping to make a difference. So, after closely observing board meetings for some months, I became a trustee in May 2023.

The knowledge and expertise I have acquired through my entrepreneurial endeavours can provide valuable support to the Centre, and I aim to contribute from both a business and a technical standpoint. I am honoured to serve as a trustee and work alongside such a dedicated team.

Helen Turner

Helen Turner Admin and Operations Support

Admin and Operations Support

Helen Turner joined the Centre in October 2021 to support EJ and Rebekah, Monday – Thursday with all things admin and operations.

She has a background in sales, marketing and corporate development from her time working in the hotel and recruitment industries, as well as for charities and start-ups and will be putting those skills to good use.

Please say hello when you see her, she also makes a good cup of tea!

 

Samuel Gritt

Deputy Chair

I began attending board meetings as an observer during 2020 and officially became a Trustee for the Centre at the start of 2021.

I am a local government professional with management and leadership experience in many services including the bereavement services and investment teams. My career has been very ‘people orientated’ and I care deeply about the needs of the community.

Whilst I do not have MS, my wife was diagnosed in 2011 which has provided me with a greater understanding of the condition, treatments and therapies available to help ‘live your best life’.

I hope to be able to use my drive and ambition to help the centre and in turn help out local community.

Ken Starnes

Treasurer

I was born in Brighton, and educated in the local school system.

As my career developed I became a professionally qualified Banker and Treasurer, working locally, in London and internationally at various financial institutions and commercial organisations including the Royal Air Forces Association and West London Mission.

Since retiring in 2012 I have volunteered with local charities including Homestart, East Sussex. I have also volunteered with a non-profit organisation, National Approved Premises Association – London.

As a recently appointed trustee at the MS Centre I look forward to using my knowledge and experience as we move forward.

Rebekah Walker

Operations and Community Fundraiser

Rebekah started working at the Centre in July 2023. Previously, she worked as a Primary School Teacher and continues to channel her passion for supporting local communities into her work at Sussex MS Centre.

Rebekah assists with all things operational and is responsible for community fundraising (e.g. our Christmas Raffles and other sponsored events such as the London Marathon). If you have a great idea for helping to raise funds for the Centre, please speak to Rebekah or email her on events@mssussex.com

Alastair Hignell

Patron

Alastair is a former England rugby union player and also played county cricket for Gloucestershire.

He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2008 for his work in spreading awareness of multiple sclerosis. In 2009 Alastair was awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours for his services to sports commentary and for his charity work in raising funds for MS.

Debbie Kennard

Patron

Debbie Kennard has previously served four years in as County Councillor for Shoreham, and one year as the Deputy Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life.

She is the Director of an organisation Blueprint 22 and the Sussex Art Academy. Debbie is the Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities for West Sussex County Council.

Emily-Jane Stuttard

Emily-Jane Stuttard

Centre Manager

Emily-Jane (known as EJ) has been full-time Centre Manager since December 2018, before which she worked as a manager in the Arts and Education for 18 years.

She has always been interested in complementary therapies and is passionate about helping to enable those with MS and other debilitating illnesses to live their lives to the fullest potential possible.

She has a broad remit including the day-to-day running of the Centre, HR, financial management, and working with Trustees to ensure effective governance. Her most important aim, though, is to provide a safe, warm, welcoming space for all the Centre’s members. If you’ve not yet spoken to her, please do introduce yourself – she’d love to meet you.

Alison Walter

Trustee

I was diagnosed with MS 40 years ago and have been coming to this marvelous and supportive Centre for since 2005.

I attend the Yoga and Pilates classes when I can which are very beneficial to me and I’m a volunteer receptionist on Tuesday mornings.

Peter Cook

Trustee

I am a retired senior Royal Naval Officer having served Queen and Country for 35 years.

I became a member of the Centre when I was diagnosed with MS in 2009 and have used the oxygen chamber weekly throughout that time. Now retired, I feel that I am able to give something back to the Centre in a way which I hope will enable the Centre to move forward by using my life skills and my understanding of MS.