Meet the team

Meet the team

Meet the Staff Team

James Major

I’m James and I am the Chief Executive Officer for Aphasia Support. I am passionate about the charity sector and how it can support people through times of hardship. Prior to joining Aphasia Support, I worked in community centres and colleges among other places. I have 2 children, Ben and Jack, and 2 cats, Bobby and Arlo. I live in Leeds and in my spare time I volunteer as the Child Welfare Officer at Pudsey Juniors FC.

Emma Wray

Hi I’m Emma and I’m the Project Support Officer for the charity. I’m involved in processing volunteer applications, keeping our database up to date and creating our quarterly newsletter. Your unlikely to meet me as I’ll be in the office beavering away, but you’ll certainly have email/phone contact with me. I’ve worked in the third sector in Wakefield for over 12 years and really enjoy working for local charities.

Lynne Spirrett

Hello everyone, I am Lynne Spirrett and I am the Charity’s Fundraiser. I have worked as a Community Coordinator in various capacities over the last twenty years, initiating and delivering fundraising projects and events in Leeds and working with volunteers. My role is to design a calendar of community fundraising activities and events that people can get involved with to support the charity.

Gemma Hoyle

Hello! My name is Gemma and I am the Speech and Language Therapist at Aphasia Support. I have worked in a number of Speech Therapy teams across West Yorkshire and have always had a special interest in using technology to support communication. I have worked with Aphasia Support in differing roles since early 2020.

Outside of work, my time is mostly spent walking my border terrier Arlo, catching up with friends and family and keeping fit. I love music, especially going to live concerts or musicals!

I am looking forward to seeing my role evolve with the ever-changing world of technology!’

Ashlyn Fairchild

Hi I’m Ashlyn and I am a Volunteer Coordinator for Aphasia Support. I am really pleased to be part of such a great charity and I’m looking forward to meeting and supporting volunteers as much as I can. Outside of work, I spend a lot of time in Sunderland where I’m originally from and love walking and music – especially Stereophonics. I am also very interested in Reiki and have recently completed a level one course in this.

Emilie Verroken

My name is Emilie and I’m a Speech and Language Therapist. I have worked in stroke rehabilitation for the last 20 years and feel very passionate about supporting people living with aphasia. I currently run the Aphasia Café in Barnsley and have undertaken various projects with Aphasia Support in the past, including an Aphasia Technology Club. As well working as working for Aphasia Support, I also work as an NHS Speech and Language Therapist in stroke services in Barnsley.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and am constantly kept in check by my 2 teenage daughters, Harriet and Matilda. I love the outdoors, especially triathlon training and racing. I also take great satisfaction from making my own bread but more so from eating it!

Meet the Trustee Team

Francesca Coleman

Hi I’m Francesca, I became a trustee to be able to use my skills and experience from my career and help those affected by aphasia after close family members experienced stroke and aphasia. I’m passionate about the good work the charity does and the potential it has to do even more! In my day job I am Head of Programmes at Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity and have worked in not for profit organisations for over 13 years in roles ranging from programme management, business development and evaluation. I love running (though I’m not very good at it!), spending time outdoors and with my family.

Patrick Heaton

I am a partner at Gibson Booth Chartered Accountants in Huddersfield and I have been a Trustee since 2017. I act for a number of charities as part of my day to day work and I became a Trustee as I wanted to give some of the knowledge and experience that I had built up over the years back to the charity sector.

Rachel Sykes

Hello! My name is Rachel. I am a trustee as well as being a client of Aphasia Support and a volunteer at the Barnsley Aphasia café.

I had a stroke in 2012: Emilie was my Speech and Language Therapist – all that time ago!

Obviously, my business activities have been changed in the circumstances but I am very happy to be a Trustee. I have three adult children. I have Various hobbies – including riding a trike!

Michelle Ruddock

I am Michelle, a Trustee, Treasurer and Volunteer for Speak With IT almost since it began! I worked for Nationwide Building Society all over Yorkshire & Humberside for 20 years. When I finally retired I was Area Sales Manager for Yorkshire & Humberside. I had a Stroke in 2009 which left me with aphasia and forced me to retire. I joined Speak With IT about 12 years ago as a Volunteer and Trustee and completed over a 100 visits to clients, ran promotional stands & their accounts. Speak With IT helped my recovery, I wouldn’t be where I am today without having volunteered for Speak With IT, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Speakablity and The Stroke Association.

Peter Osborne

I’m Peter and I am a Trustee for Aphasia Support. A former journalist (based in Yorkshire), now a Public Affairs consultant, I have been lucky to work for a range of private, public and third sector organisations in the UK and overseas on their communication challenges– including a large health and social care charity, supporting people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. I’m delighted to have joined Aphasia Support and am looking forward to using my strategic communications expertise and stakeholder engagement experience to advance its aims.

Andrea Reas

I’m a Trustee of Aphasia Support. I first became involved with this fantastic charity as a volunteer. I have always been interested in supporting people with any sort of communication problem. I am a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist working in the Kirklees area, mainly in schools.

Ian Potter

Qualified as a Solicitor in 1976 and was a Partner until retirement in 2011. Specialised in commercial law and was Managing Partner for 5 years. Served on various Boards and Charities over many years. Retired after 24 years as Trustee of Lamproom Theatre in Barnsley following a stroke in March 2020. The Stroke caused my Aphasia and though I have recovered fairly well I am enjoying a new challenge.

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The impact of your support can be huge.

Want to help? Donate today

The impact of your support can be huge.