If you would like to discuss what it involves to be a Trustee, please contact Sue Millman at the office and she will arrange for you to have a discussion with the Chairman of Ataxia UK Trustee Board, Dr Harriet Bonney, or herself.


Dr Harriet Bonney
was initially diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia in 1991 but the diagnosis has since been revised to an idiopathic cerebellar ataxia. She grew up in Lancashire and moved to Glasgow in 1995 to study Medicine at the University where she graduated with a BSC(Med Sci) and an MBChB. Harriet has been a Friend of Ataxia UK for over 20 years now, and a trustee for the past four. She has recently taken early medical retirement from her job as a Speciality Doctor in General Adult Psychiatry, and now lives in Lytham St Annes. Dr Bonney Chair's the board.


Richard Brown is Chair of Ataxia UK West Midlands Birmingham Branch. He has Friedreich's ataxia. Richard has an honours degree in European Social Policy and has just taken early retirement after a successful career in local government, working in Oxfordshire and the West Midlands and specialising in equality, diversity and housing management. He has a very good understanding of linking strategies to action, delivering excellent customer service and is an experienced manager of resources and people.


A close friend of Russell Brown's has Friedreich’s ataxia and requires 24-hour care. This has given him an understanding of the need to invest in research for better treatment for the ataxias, and for the ultimate goal of finding a cure. He has been involved in a number of fundraising events for the charity, including the ‘Big Bad Bike Ride’. He was co-opted onto the Board of Trustees in December 2011 and elected by the Board as Treasurer in April 2012.

Russell is an associate chartered accountant with a broad range of professional experience. He is currently employed as a Financial Controller of International Specialist Communications at WPP Plc, where he is responsible for a portfolio of around 20 agencies, along with a number of associate investments. He gained experience of working for a charity while on a six-month sabbatical as Project Director for Trade Aid in Tanzania, during his six and a half years with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He recently returned from Australia and now lives in Cambridgeshire.


Alison Love has spent 20 years living and working in Lancaster, returning ‘home’ two years ago to Renfrewshire, Scotland where she lives independently. She was diagnosed in 1996 with Friedreich’s ataxia and uses a manual wheelchair all the time. She is active in a number of disability related groups, campaigns and initiatives, including Renfrewshire Access Panel and Disability Equality Training. Alison is also chairman of the Ataxia UK West of Scotland Branch. She enjoys going to different places and meeting different people and spending time with friends and family. She has taken part in lots of different activities and will try doing most things at least once to see if they are fun.


Professor Barry Hunt has been a trustee of Ataxia UK since 1999. He chaired its Scientific Advisory Committee from its inception in 2000 until March 2012, and continues to be the Committee’s link with the Board of Trustees. 

Barry has a doctorate in pharmacology, and was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences of the University of Hertfordshire in 2005, and its Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2009, positions which he still holds. In addition, he is Chairman of the university’s ethics committee. He has had a long-term association with the review of clinical trials and now chairs a National Research Ethic Service (NRES) ethics committee. He is also a Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and of the British Pharmacological Society.

He is currently a shadow governor and member of the Involvement Committee of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, and has previously held numerous other governance roles in health and education.


After serving as an army officer and inspector in the Hong Kong Police, Howard Marshall started his career in financial services initially with large national and international firms before setting up his own business seven years ago. He is Vice Chair of Disability Action Yorkshire a charity that provides services that create opportunities for disabled people to live the lifestyle of their choosing.


Peter Reeves is a retired Finance Director with experience in several commercial sectors (including private healthcare) and in the NHS. Non-executive board/trustee experience includes a hospice, a community centre, a secondary school, a college, community and acute NHS hospitals and a charity running care homes and other services for the elderly. He is a qualified accountant with a Master's degree from a business school. Peter has a young grandson with Friedreich's ataxia.


Ann Truscott
is a retired Probation Officer, and (now retired) founder of the first Mediation service in Cornwall. After many years of living, working and travelling abroad, Ann has for the last 20 years lived in Cornwall, with husband and family who have now taken over the farm. Being a Soroptimist (international women's service club) is important to Ann, as is having been a volunteer support worker and trustee with a local womens’ organisation, and doing voluntary work with children in Africa. Ann’s 15 year old granddaughter Chloe was diagnosed with Friedrich’s ataxia on her 13th birthday. As a grandmother, Ann sees her role as being a fundraiser, awareness raiser, seeker of knowledge and promoter of benefits for all types and aspects of ataxia.  She is co-founder of the Cornwall Ataxia Support Group.

After spending many years travelling as an Army wife, Grace Kay started work in the voluntary sector in 1998.  She worked initially as a Manager in small charities providing support to families with young children in a variety of settings. Grace worked at Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) for eight years and recently made the move to Dimensions UK where she head's up the Volunterring division. Dimensions UK provide research-based, outcomes-focussed services for people with learning disabilities and autism. Grace’s son, Jonathan, has Friedreich's ataxia.
















John Abbott was born in Bristol and is married with two sons and a grandson. After University in London he Joined NCR as a management trainee. Then a 20 year stint at Rank Xerox, which included Sales Management and Training in the UK and Internationally. Moving from Rank Xerox he became Marketing Director for AirCall communications in the early days of mobile phones, on the sale of this company to Bell South in the US he became Commercial Director of Trafficmaster: an innovative, real time motorway congestion data operation which became a FTSE Company. On retirement he helped launch and was a Director of a Canadian health supplement company. Diagnosed with idiopathic Cerebellar ataxia some 6 years ago he became involved with Ataxia UK and became a lay member of the Scientific Research Committee in 2013. His aim is to use his sales and marketing expertise to help Ataxia UK to raise more funds to support its research programme.


Gemma Fish was born in London and has been living in Derbyshire since she was eight. She was misdiagnosed with epilepsy at the age of one and after a lengthy process of other diagnoses, Gemma was finally and correctly diagnosed with episodic ataxia type 2, just two years ago. As our youngest trustee, Gemma is passionate about inclusion for all; "no matter what your experience or age, everyone she be able to have their voice heard." Gemma ha always had a keen interest in helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those with learning difficulties. She has taking a keen interest in our 16-30 project, and will be speaking to the group members at this year's annual conference.

Andrew Downie is a recently retired professional who has held posts within multi-national IT companies at executive board level, and has set up and successfully developed his own business in partnership with others. He has significant experience of business strategy, marketing and sales, and has helped companies win bids totalling in excess of £2bn. He is currently supporting the launch of an in-vehicle technology product.

He lives in Surrey, is married to Bernadette, and they have a married son with FA, who chairs Ataxia South Downs Branch. Andrew spends his time between the UK and France. He is a keen cyclist, and supporter of Woking Football Club, in addition to being a trustee of Ataxia UK since 2014.