England Council

Our council members in England are ambassadors and advocates for people affected by MS across the UK.

During 2017, the Council will meet at the MS Society National Centre on the following dates:

  • 9 February
  • 20 April
  • 29 June
  • 19 October

Meetings are open to members – you just need to register at least two weeks in advance by contacting englandcouncil@mssociety.org.uk or 020 8438 0757.

Meet the council members

David Denholm (Hampshire and Island)

Looking forward, the organisation faces many issues contained within our campaigns of 'fighting back'. These cover emotional, social and work issues, and pushing for improvements in health care, independence and support as outlined in the 'MS Manifesto'.

We have to fight back on behalf of different individuals and groups affected by MS across the English regions – and those in the other nations. The Council will play a key influencing role with members, volunteers and those living with MS, as well as with trustees, MS Society staff and the Board. In addition, we have to be key opinion leaders both locally and nationally to help the Society address the health service inequalities that exist.

We cannot underestimate the challenges in the current economic climate. I want to use my experience and knowledge as a trustee of the organisation and my business background to help us continue to 'fight back', move forward and secure the best possible future for those living with MS.

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John Josephs (London)

Shortly after my eldest son was diagnosed with MS, I joined the North of England regional committee, editing the newsletter for six years and raising substantial amounts of money towards its cost. I served as Treasurer for four of those years. My personal experience and work on the committee have given me a deep understanding of the impact of MS on people’s lives.

My background as a Chartered Accountant, with thirty years experience in broadcasting, has given me a unique skill base to help design successful strategies and communicate them effectively, and is very relevant to the issues facing the MS Society today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve on the England Council.

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Jim McGown (East Midlands)

My daughter was diagnosed with MS in 2001, following her first ‘episode’ in 1999. Having followed her progress in coping with the condition, I joined the MS Society to help others and became a volunteer with the Kettering Group, assisting with fundraising and publicity.

I am confident that my experience in project management, sales and marketing, financial services, and running my own recruitment business, has equipped me with the skills to add value to the role of England Council member.

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Sarah Schol​ (Chair)

My mother bravely battled MS for over 25 years until she sadly passed away in 2010. Having seen and lived with the effects of this destructive condition, I am passionate about finding a cure.

Through my work as a senior HR professional, I have extensive experience in working with diverse teams to create and lead business strategy and implement large projects. I will listen to members and those living with MS, bringing an unbiased view and the ability to think creatively and practically to generate the interest and revenue required to deliver the right solutions with the greatest return on investment.

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Phillip Gamble (Lancashire and South Cumbria)

I first became aware of the MS Society after my wife was diagnosed 19 years ago. In those 19 years I have watched as the organisation has got stronger and delivered more for people with MS.  

I have been a local group Chair, Regional Vice Chair, Regional Treasurer and Area Treasurer. I have worked with some amazing volunteers and could not praise highly enough the work that they do. The strength of the MS Society is the local groups and volunteers, offering opportunities and support to those who need them.

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Diane Lucas (West Midlands)

Shortly after she emigrated to Western Australia, my daughter was diagnosed with MS. I couldn’t support her directly but knew I could use my ex-headteacher skills and ‘can do’ approach to help other people’s daughters and sons. That led me to the MS Society.

As a local group Chair I am now in a position where I can work alongside people with MS, listening and supporting at our fortnightly social and support group meetings and our weekly Tai Chi sessions. I am starting a young person’s group and am driving forward our Action Plan, focusing on innovative fundraising, support and fun (including making crazy Raku-glazed sheep!) as well as on ‘Local Group Essentials’.

Nikki Young (East Anglia)

I have actively volunteered with the MS Society since 2005 in a number of roles. These include Group and Regional Chair, England Council Member, Member of Mutual Support and Benefits Adviser for Veterans and their families.

My first MS symptoms occurred when I was serving in the army in Berlin nearly 30 years ago. Shortly after this I studied Politics and Social Work at UEA Norwich and I retired as a Social Work Manager in 2014. In the last year I have participated in the SMART MS Trial and the Sailing Sclerosis Challenge in Turkey with 39 people with MS from seven nations.

As someone with secondary progressive MS, I am committed to enabling members of the MS Community to participate in activities that are important to them, including sports, work and volunteering, family and friends, research and holidays. Participation at any level requires a strong voice for people with MS - something I've always had at the forefront of my volunteering roles.

Jackie Mumby (Yorkshire)               

I have been aware of MS since childhood through a close friend of the family and I helped to fundraise over many years. I was diagnosed with MS six years ago at the age of 29.

I would welcome being involved with implementing the proposed changes to local networks. Since diagnosis I have been involved on a local level as an Assistant Treasurer and Committee Member, by organising local groups and I have also been involved more recently with the campaigns team. I view the England Council as a vital link between those with MS and trustees and staff at the National Centre.

I have tried to change the negatives of having MS into positives. For example, since losing my career as a coach driver after diagnosis I retrained as an accountant and have returned to university to study a degree in Management with Business. I have gained many friends through the Society’s local networks and would like to be able to help many others like myself.       

David Kozlowski (North of England)      

I am 52 years old, married with two children and reside in Windermere in the Lake District. Before this, our family lived in Los Angeles and I was employed as a Research Scientist in the Space and Aerospace industry. I was originally diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2008 and this transitioned to secondary progressive MS in 2013, at which point I retired. I'm originally from Kendal in Cumbria and our family moved back home to the UK in the summer of 2015.

While in Los Angeles, I participated in many MS Society, Neurology and Biokinesiology programmes and over the last two years I ran a highly successful men’s MS group. I'm now back in the UK and I am currently a member of the “Clinical and Scientific Advisory Panel” for the MS Society.

I believe that as an England National Council Member I can offer my professional expertise, as well as insight into the role of the care giver and insight into how the family can be affected by MS. I understand, and have experienced, the impact disability can have on employability and the dramatic effect it can have on the family. I have a keen interest to fight for improvements in medicine, diagnostics, treatment and care of those affected both directly or indirectly by MS.     

John Pullin (Kent)

My ‘relationship’ with MS started before I was born: my father was diagnosed when my mother was pregnant with me. He quickly deteriorated and needed a wheelchair. Then he became bedbound and was dependent on others. From an early age I became one of the carers ensuring that his needs were met before he finally succumbed to the condition. It is probably not surprising that I trained to be a general nurse and began my long career in the NHS.

Then in 1990 I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. Compared to my father, I have been lucky. My symptoms are under control and I have been able to live a full life – wife, kids, job etc. I think the point I want to make is that I understand. I understand from a professional basis ensuring the provision of high quality care. I understand from a carer’s perspective, recognising the pressures that this puts on individuals, family and friends. And I understand, of course, from having to directly live with the condition – the obvious and subtle, the physical and emotional impacts.

In short, I have always known that the MS Society was there for me. I want to give something back.

Lynda Tubbs (South West)

I have lived with relapsing and remitting MS for 12 years and was granted early retirement from my job as a Primary School Teacher within two years of diagnosis. I have served on the committee of my local group and also worked as a volunteer tutor with the Expert Patients Programme, working with groups of people living with long-term conditions, including MS.

People with MS have been facing new challenges in recent years and I believe that we should ensure information about living with MS is available to everyone who's affected. It is crucial that we inform and raise awareness of MS within our community.

I produced our group newsletter until recently, including information about research, treatments and services available both locally and nationally. I have also helped the committee produce an information pack for the newly diagnosed and flyers for events and activities.

As a committee member I have been an enthusiastic fundraiser attending variety of events in my local community to raise funds and awareness of MS. I believe that as a Council member for the South West region I could use my skills to work with groups, staff and everyone living with MS.

Anna Holmes (Thames Valley)

I was born with spina bifida and diagnosed with MS in my early thirties. My background is in administration and running a taxi company. I’m Chair of my local group and have been serving on the Committee this past year as Welfare Support, Secretary and Social and Fundraising Coordinator.

I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the MS Society at the moment is the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) process. Applying for PIP or transferring from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP is very challenging for people with MS for numerous reasons. It’s important that we support everyone going through this process.

I have been involved in setting up a partnership with our local Citizens Advice Bureau. Anyone with MS can access a member of their care team to assist them to complete the PIP forms correctly and reduce the risk of a claim being rejected and going to appeal. I feel it's so important to our community to have this support in place, especially when reports are published as to how detrimental this process is to a person’s physical and mental health.

I am a keen fundraiser – I’ve shaved my head and been gliding. It would be an honour to serve on the Council.

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Page last updated: 30 Aug 2017

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