Our Trustees

Ross Sibson Nov 2022
Ross Sibson
Interim Chair

Until the end of 2011 I had spent 32 years pursuing a career in Biotechnology. This led to a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester, though it learned towards molecular genetics and recombinant DNA technology. A period at Unilever Research followed, investigating how plants could be genetically manipulated.

Staying with industry, I was a Senior Development Scientist at the first UK company to be privatised under the Thatcher Government, then Amersham International. A chance decision resulted in becoming the Biological Manager for the UK Human Genome Project, the initiative that later become the Human Genome Sequencing Project. A brief return to industry with the Glaxo was followed by appointment as the Director of Research at Clatterbridge Research Trust, and co-founder of a spin out genetic sequencing company, Interaseq.

Clatterbridge provided the opportunity to apply knowledge of the human genome to understanding how best to treat cancers, especially those of the breast and brain. In 2007, I consolidated the Clatterbridge group within the University of Liverpool as part of the regional Cancer Research UK Centre.

It was there that life changed when my wife and colleague suffered a catastrophic subarachnoid haemorrhage, leaving her in hospital for 18 months before returning home to reestablish her new life with me and our daughter. Small world, the life saving surgery was performed by one of our main collaborators.

I continued my university career, in particular researching cancer and teaching medical students. In 2019 I retired from my HEFCE post in favour of an Honorary Professorship, still at the University of Liverpool, where I research how the DNA damaging events that lead to cancer can be directly detected. From 2016 until 2020 I was a trustee for the North West Cancer research Fund.

I have seen first-hand how devastating the consequences of major illnesses can be and continue to work to reducing their likelihood and consequence. I joined HIP as a trustee in 2020 and try to represent carers of people with a brain injury.

Deirdre Healey Trustee
Deirdre Healy

I work for HIP in Cheshire's main sponsors Irwin Mitchell and you can read all about me and my work helping people with brain injuries on the Irwin Mitchell website.

Nick Ankers
Nick Ankers
Secretary to the Trustees

I am a member of HIP and have been a trustee for HIP since March 2014. My personal background is that I am a retired police officer, having served with Cheshire Police for 28 years. I undertook a range of operational policing roles, both within uniform and crime investigation areas. I also undertook specialist strategic roles and have experience of; project and programme management in relation to enterprise wide IT system implementation, Performance Management and Best Value programmes, strategic development of service improvement delivery, performance measurement and information / intelligence management. I acquired my brain injury ( while on duty) in a car crash in June 2009 and the resulting impact of the brain injury resulted in the end of my career. Since then I have taken on a number of voluntary roles including being a governor with a NHS Trust and I am a governor at the local primary school.

My objective as a HIP trustee is to support the charity in continuing to grow and develop an excellent level of support to all of our members, their carers and families.

Ben Thexton Trustee
Ben Thexton

I am a chartered accountant, qualifying in 2018, and I have run an accountancy practice with around 300 clients. In addition, I also own a will writing business and a property development company.

Prior to that I worked in a number of positions as a financial director before I decided to set up my own business.

I am also heavily involved with The Wirral Chamber of Commerce and they have an excellent team of people that access and apply for funding which I hope can be helpful to HIP.

I joined HIP in September 2021 and took on the role of treasurer in May 2022.

Melanie Rowles Trustee
Melanie Rowles

Melanie Rowles worked as a Change Consultant, Solicitor, Mediator specialised in medical law and working with the brain injured. Melanie co-founded HIP with Beth and Bernie many years ago when she met Beth when meeting about one of Melanie's clients. Melanie was struck by the lack of support for those who had an acquired brain injury and also their families and how stretched the state resources were. She and Beth decided to try and provide a small support group for those who wanted it and the first meeting was an afternoon tea on the long sunk flotel in Northwich. Happily HIP has gone on to continue to provide support. Melanie left Cheshire in 2006, to take up a role in Yorkshire and happily handed on to Deidre to continue support through her legal firm.

Melanie retired from full time work in 2020 her last 2 years in full time work was spent as Director of Delivery Services at Medical Protection Society an international medical indemnifier, and during that time she worked with many doctors and health care professionals all around the world.

A product of state schools she went to the University of Leeds studied Law and qualified as a Solicitor in 1985, and a Mediator in 2000. She worked in the fields of Crime, Family and ultimately found her niche in Catastrophic injury and healthcare law.

Having developed an interest in management and change Melanie decided to leave private practice in 2006 and to develop her interests and growing skills in a role in house with the Medical Protection Society the world's largest international medical indemnifier. She grew her career and skills in transformational change ultimately becoming the Director of Delivery Services globally. In her final role she was lead consultant in designing change and lead her team through implementation and delivered £000's millions of savings, improved service, employee engagement and governance processes. This involved moving operations into South Africa and Ireland, during a pandemic she managed to recruit and set up the operations in both countries. She worked with the Government to transfer responsibility for indemnity and ongoing claims management for GPs in England and Wales to the NHSR, she exceeded financial and service objectives, of this project.

In 2020 Melanie developed Fibromyalgia and had to retire from full time work and moved to North Wales to spend more time riding her Pony and walking her dogs, in the mountains of Wales. She reconnected with Beth through Laurie March who has remained a great friend to Melanie. Melanie thought she understood brain injury however having developed Fibromyalgia she now has a deeper understanding of the confusion, brain fog and forgetfulness that survivors of brain injury live with as she is now living with that herself. She was thrilled to be accepted as a Trustee for the Charity and feels that she has much to offer to help HIP continue to provide the support that is needed to the survivors and their families.

Ian Skaife – Trustee Sept 2023
Ian Skaife

Having suffered a brain injury as the result of a road accident in 2012 I know well the lasting effects this can have. The team at the ABI unit were a great help to me and you can find out more by reading my book 'An Unexpected Journey' published in 2018. You will know then why if I was going to be a trustee of any charity it would have to be HIP in Cheshire!

I have had a varied career which has included Teaching Chemistry and Mathematics at a Comprehensive School, Accountancy, Payroll and Management for a retail pharmacy group, Director of Retail Operations & IT and a Business Consultant.

After my brain injury in 2012 I went back to work part time to help facilitate the sale of the company to a larger group. I was made redundant and took the opportunity to set up my own Business Consultancy, which I still have, and do some part-time work with small businesses on IT & systems implementation, policies, administration and training.

In the voluntary sector I have been a Circuit Steward of a Methodist Circuit of 1500 members, 15 ministers and lay workers, 34 churches for 18 years and was treasurer and property steward for 15 at the same time. I am currently a Church Council member Oswestry Methodist Church.

I have been a trustee of HIP since 2014 and treasurer until May 2022.

HIP in Cheshire
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Registered Charity No. 1162365