Scotland Council

Our Scotland Council works on behalf of people living with MS in Scotland.

Council members work alongside the staff team in Scotland, as well as with our local groups, to stop MS.

The Council is ultimately accountable to our Board of Trustees.

Our meeting dates for 2018 are:

  • Wednesday 18 April
  • Wednesday 15 August
  • Wednesday 24 October
Meetings (with the exception of occasional confidential items) are open to MS Society members. If you’d like to attend please contact us on 0131 335 4050 or email gillian.sinclair@mssociety.org.uk.

Meet our Scotland Council members:

Mary Douglas (Chair)

I was diagnosed with MS in 1983 at an outpatient appointment and immediately drove home, in shock, it was a 'hairy' journey. Thanks to the MS Society people are now given instant access to support and information. I would like to contribute to the MS Society as a member of Council.

Since retiring early from a career in NHS Management, which gave me many useful skills, I have become involved in the work of the Borders MS group, currently serving as vice chair. We run support groups and fundraising activities in our rural area.

Raising awareness of MS in all its forms and the effects it has on patients, carers and families to the widest possible audience is important to me. In these times of recession the MS Society has to compete with many equally deserving causes, it is essential that research into and services for people with MS continue to be adequately funded through the best use of available resources and engaging with new donors.

Another priority is to end (hopefully) the 'postcode lottery' of care, the services you receive should not depend on where you live, best practice should be the norm nationally.

Robin Briggs

I experienced my first symptom of MS at the age of 19 and after further episodes I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS at the age of 21. I am currently in my final year of university, studying Animal Biology. I also volunteer on my local committee and on the Research Network.

Being 22, I can be a voice for young people affected with MS in Scotland and also for the younger volunteers of the MS Society. This is a voice I believe is under-represented in the Scottish Council. I would like to be part of increasing the number of young people who volunteer with the MS Society by ensuring they benefit from their volunteering as much as the organisation does.

Being from the generation that has grown up online, I’m very PC literate. I believe systems like online applications could help increase volunteers, even those unaffected by MS. This would not only increase volunteer numbers but also increase awareness of MS.

I'm lucky that since starting my disease modifying therapy (DMT) my condition has been very stable allowing me to put a lot of time into volunteering, I’m very committed to continue and increase my impact.

Cliff Davies

I am a 71 year old widower and live in Edinburgh. I was diagnosed with MS in 1990, following a debilitating attack. However, I have been lucky enough not to have had any serious relapses since then and am in fairly good health.

Shortly after my initial diagnosis I joined the MS Society’s Macclesfield group, where I served as an advisor/counsellor for newly-diagnosed people with MS and helped to set up Getting to Grips courses.

I also participated in the Multiple Challenge project which took people with MS on adventurous off-shore sailing holidays.

Following my retirement in 2005 I moved to Scotland and trained as a self-management course leader. Since my move to Edinburgh in January 2011 I have acted as Group Co-ordinator of the MS Society's Lothian-wide group.

I firmly believe that we must work to enable people with MS to live our lives to the full, to self-manage efficiently and effectively, to learn from the experiences of our peers, and to be well-informed about all aspects of our condition. One way of achieving these aims would be to encourage IT literacy in people with MS, so that we can use the internet to access both information and each other.

Keith Dryburgh

I was diagnosed with MS in 2007. Receiving the news wasn’t really a shock, but I had no idea what would happen next.Thankfully, I quickly found out about the wonderful support that the MS Society and MS nurses offer.

I also met people with MS, all of whom challenge MS in their own way. Challenging my own MS has since become a mantra for me, whether it has been running marathons, organising bake sales, or simply speaking in public about my diagnosis.

My professional background lies in challenging policy makers and campaigning for change. For the last nine years, I have led a policy and research team at a national charity, working to improve the lives of our clients. Speaking up for those who may struggle to be heard, and working to achieve positive change, are goals that I share with the MS Society. My experience of MS has been positive and I want to contribute towards the MS Society's work in ensuring everybody's experience of MS is as positive as it can be. I am honoured that my next step in challenging MS is as a member of the Scotland Council.

Lee Holland

I was diagnosed with MS in 2000 and continued for another 14 years in general manager and regional finance manager roles for several large hotel companies covering the entire UK. In that time, and previously in the manufacturing environment, I worked alongside several hundred people from all backgrounds with different levels of ability.

With a growing involvement in the charity and voluntary sector (I hold positions with two other charities) I believe I am equipped to support and develop ideas for the MS Society and believe that there are ample cross-organisation ideas and opportunities.

Awareness (and definition) of the illness is key, in educating people about the challenges and many positives. Never having been one to 'hide', I look forward to contributing to all aspects of the Council including finance, fundraising and general discussions. I do not work currently, and therefore have additional time to dedicate to tasks.

I have been a keen fundraiser, for several charities, over the last 18 years and expect that to continue.

I welcome the opportunity to support the aims of the Society with a fresh pair of eyes, using my professional and personal contacts to raise funds as well as awareness.

Paul Kellas

Throughout my years I have been a great communicator and listener for every role I’ve been involved with. Since leaving school and being a waiter and an IT helpdesk operator I have needed to understand and communicate on various levels to a high degree, and to work to strict deadlines and good standards.

Volunteer work has taken up much of my time over the past eight years, helping with Conservation Outdoors, as a Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 driver, community meals, and a community bakery and social enterprise called High Rise Bakers.

Living with a diagnosis of MS for the past ten years has been difficult and challenging especially, but despite this I have attained an Environmental Degree, participated in the MS Borders fun run and taken part in fundraising for the MS Society in Glasgow Half-Marathons. I have previously helped with a self-managed mindfulness group and have been involved in one at Revive MS Support for the past nine months. It would be a great pleasure to help encourage others with MS to get involved in mindfulness and other services and help many other individuals in their everyday lives.

Currently I am a board member of a Glasgow charity whose remit is to help families, young people transition into secondary school, and encourage community inclusion. My role ensures decisions are made on the direction the business is going and ensures both staff and budgets are sustained.

Sue Polson

Within six months of diagnosis in 1998, I was forced to end my career in education administration. Frustrated with the slow pace of MS research and the battle that had to be fought every time a new treatment appeared, I needed to understand more about this disease and so grasped the opportunity to become part of the MS Research Network at its inception in 2002.

Working with the Network has brought me many opportunities, including the privilege of representing people with MS in the media and on many platforms, giving our perspective to a variety of audiences. I became involved with the Scottish Stem Cell Network’s educational outreach which gave me the chance to put our point of view to wider audiences. I have just completed a term of office on the RN steering group and am a member of the MS Translational Research Centre’s management board in Edinburgh.

I am unashamedly passionate about MS research and I believe my experiences have given me a broader understanding of the workings of the Society as a whole. I would really like to put the experience I have gained to good use by serving on the Council, working towards an exciting future.

Steven Tait

The MS Society’s aim is to beat MS, to beat MS now and in the future. To beat MS now we need to have provision for the best medication, care and support. To beat MS in the future we need to ensure support for world class research and endeavours towards treatment, cure and prevention. My background is in early stage development of new therapeutics from the academic sphere and directing these to industry uptake to develop new cures. I worked on MS research in Edinburgh funded by the MS Society Scotland in the late 1990s.

My background in therapeutics development, communication of science and business ideas to many audiences and my work in MS together with management experience in a senior position I believe will allow me to make a valuable contribution to the aims of the MS Society. I have previously been involved in many community activities in particular as a member of my local community council.

Two childhood friends’ lives have been severely impacted by MS. This and the support I received from the MS Society Scotland makes me enthusiastic, motivated and determined to provide the support I believe I can provide to the MS Society through the council.

Become a National Council member

We are looking for new volunteers to join our national councils. Our volunteers are the backbone of the MS Society and you would be joining a highly committed team of everyday superheroes who are helping our vision become a reality.

You can apply for our national council vacancies in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Download our Scotland Strategy