Our trustees

Our trustees are from all walks of life and bring a wealth of passions, knowledge and empathy with them. Together they’re responsible for ensuring we’re governed brilliantly and are delivering for spinal cord injured people across the nation.

Dr Rupert Earl


Rupert developed complete tetraplegia following a car crash in 1979, while a student at Oxford University. He’s been a trustee since 2007 and was elected Chair in 2017. He’s particularly interested in our campaigning to improve the lives of spinal cord-injured people. He’s led key negotiations to improve SCI people’s experience of neurogenic bowel management on the NHS – and has helped boost continuing healthcare and personalisation.

Faisal Hussain

Faisal – a C6 tetraplegic since 1989 – is married to Rachel and lives in Leicestershire with his two Siamese cats. He’s especially interested in disability rights, from access to work to improving leisure opportunities. Faisal has worked with several employers to remove potential barriers to disabled people. A huge film buff and vinyl music collector, he loves to travel and go on cruising holidays with his wife.

Ron Dunning

Ron became an incomplete C4 tetraplegic following an accident in 2016 where he fractured his neck. He became a member of SIA shortly after being injured. He’s keen to help spinal cord-injured people unleash their potential, especially young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A football and rugby fan, Ron is also interested in current affairs. He’s also our honorary treasurer.

Christa Dyson

Christa became an incomplete C4/5 tetraplegic following a spinal stroke in 1993. From being completely paralysed she went on to become an unsteady walker able to cover short distances, though she never regained her hand function. She was elected as a trustee in 2012 and is a passionate advocate of using adaptive tech to give SCI people more independence. Her service dog, Van, is the most popular member of our trustee meetings! 

Peter Hamilton

Peter became a C5 complete tetraplegic following a skydiving accident while working in New York. He joined the board in 2014, bringing with him a invaluable background in financial services. He’s also a member of the Audit and Assurance Committee and the Continuing Health and Social Care Working Group.

Dr Ram Hariharan

Ram is a consultant in spinal injuries at the Princess Royal Spinal Injury Centre within Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. He specialises in rehabilitation medicine and has established close links between us and the centre. He brings a wealth of clinical experience to SIA’s governing council and is a cheerleader for the vital role we play in the nation’s spinal cord injury centres.

Mark Henderson

Mark became a T11 complete paraplegic following an accident in 2018. A trustee since 2019, Mark’s expertise is in governance and campaigning, and forming links with parliamentarians. He’s a barrister with over 25 years’ experience, and following his injury battled tirelessly to improve disabled access to courts. He successfully overturned government policy on the Gurkha settlement, and acted for the survivors and bereaved at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Mark is a big part of ParaPride which celebrates disabled and LGTQA+ communities. And he features on the This Is Spinal Crap podcast.

Martin Hibbert

Martin was seriously injured in the 2017 Manchester Arena bomb, leaving him with a T10 complete spinal injury. His teenage daughter was also seriously injured. In 2021 Martin is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair in one of the most astonishing feats ever attempted. He’s raising vital funds for SIA and much-needed awareness about life with a spinal cord injury.

Michelle Howard

Michelle was paralysed at the age of 16, sustaining a C6 complete spinal cord injury following a routine operation. She’s served as chair our trustees and represents us nationally and locally. A non-practising solicitor and business leader, she has a wealth of legal and business acumen that helps us oversee our governance, charity law, strategic and financial planning. Michelle is passionate about equality and diversity in SIA and beyond.

Chris Keogh

A freak accident while playing football left Chris with a C6/7 spinal cord injury in April 2018. He’s since become a leader in PWC’s financial services team supporting the firm’s key banking and insurance clients. His business nous and commercial leadership give SIA a unique perspective on how to get the best from partnerships and in reaching our strategic goals.

Claire Martin

An undiagnosed spinal cord tumour (L1 to L3) haemorrhaged while Claire gave birth to her son. 

Multiple surgeries and four months of hospital and rehab followed. That same year, she took on the Superhero Triathlon for us and was elected trustee in 2021. Claire is determined to improve awareness of the ‘hidden disabilities’ that underly spinal cord injuries – such as mental health and bladder issues. A healthcare communications director, Claire has a passion for bringing people’s stories to life and getting SCI people’s voices heard.

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser

Aliyyah-Begum is driven by her Islamic faith – that we must use our own gifts to help support and improve the lives of others. In her role as director of a specialist neurological rehab service in Cambridgeshire, she’s been a keen supporter of our work.  She is also a dedicated volunteer in her faith community and is a trained mediator, helping people to resolve commercial and civil conflicts. 

Mark Ridler

A married father of two young children, Mark became a T10 (complete) paraplegic following a road traffic accident in 2003. Since 2014 he’s been mentoring recently-injured people, providing them with emotional and practical support to help them adjust to life with a spinal cord injury. A member of SIA since his injury, Mark brings the organisation life skills, business acumen and plenty of experience in governance.