Who we are

The Trustees are a group of like-minded people who are concerned for the future of the Phoenix Stroke Club. The original idea was that the Trustees should include, from the local community, as a minimum a doctor, a solicitor, and a speech therapist.

The Trustees elect a Chairman from their midst. The Trustees meet on a regular basis.

Below is a profile of each of the Trustees:

DON BURSTOW

In 1979 when the Phoenix Club was formed, I was asked by Kay Comley to assist with legal issues on creating the club and registering it as a charity. I became a Trustee in 1979 and have remained one ever since.

I have been a solicitor in practice in Horsham for over thirty years. At the time the clubhouse at Forest School was originally built, I was a member of Horsham Round Table and helped, with other service clubs in Horsham, with the building of the clubhouse.

I believe the Phoenix Club has provided a lot of support and happiness to a lot of people over the last 25 years and I do hope that during my period of chairmanship I can help the club continue to develop and meet the needs of those who have been unfortunate enough to suffer strokes or similar problems, as the club goes into the 21st Century.

RICHARD BAILEY

I have been a trustee since 1986, soon after the Phoenix club opened.

I am a retired hospital doctor who trained at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, and I worked in Crawley and Horsham Hospitals since 1980. I was involved with the new stroke rehabilitation ward at Crawley Hospital since September
2004 until I retired in 2012 I had worked at Horsham Hospital with Kay Comley, the speech therapist who conceived the idea of Phoenix and made it into a reality with the support of local benefactors.

My role is to liaise with the Health Service and the other agencies involved with stroke, and involvement with the Carer’s support Group.

CELIA WILLIAMS

I joined the Club quite soon after Cliff Michelmore opened the Clubhouse.

I had two young children and wanted to do some Voluntary work in the Community and take the children along with me so that they grew up with a caring and understanding of disability from an early age. This obviously worked, one is a nurse and the other a teacher!

My early duties at the Club included collecting the subscriptions and other general help. I then was invited to become a Trustee in 1986 and this led to me taking over the Chairman’s role when, sadly, Jenny Filby lost her battle against cancer in 1987. I remained Chairman for many years and only stepped down recently due to the pressure of full-time work and additional family commitments with my grandchildren.

I still remain a Trustee and continue to help with day to day management of the Club and it’s finances.

LESLEY NIVEN

I was invited to become a Trustee in 1994 at a time when I was a member of Horsham District Council and had some experience of working with disabled people through my involvement in the West Sussex Association for Disabled People.

I have been an occasional helper at the Club and although now living in Scotland, I continue to enjoy my involvement as a Trustee. I help to maintain the club’s policies and procedures and organise an annual holiday for Phoenix Club Members and Carers.

MATTHEW HAVERSON

I was asked to join the board of trustees in 2012 following providing advice around budgeting and financial management.

My father suffered a stroke in 2005 and received the benefit of the club as part of his rehabilitation process. I have seen the benefits of the club and the energy I see in our members encourages me we are providing both themselves and their carers with an unique offering.

I am responsible for the budgeting and preparation of the financial accounts of the club given my background as a chartered accountant working for a major international accountancy firm.

LIZ KITCHEN

I have been a District Councillor representing Colgate and Rusper for over 20 years. and have,last year I also became a County Councillor for Slinfold Rudgwick and Warnham.

I am also a trustee of a local Trust whose remit is to help the older people of Colgate and Rusper, at the moment we are working with Age UK Horsham.

I was asked to become a trustee of the Phoenix club last year and was very happy to accept. I only hope that I will be able to contribute in some way to this excellent club.

PAULINE ROADLEY

I joined the Phoenix Club as a volunteer in 2015 after reading an article in the West Sussex County Times about the Club advertising for volunteers. The Phoenix Stroke Club is very dear to my heart as my late mother and step father also volunteered here and it is where they also met.

I started helping on a Tuesday in the Kitchen alongside Ron Shire who was the cook at this time and joined in helping with the activities in the afternoon. Since Ron left, I have taking over the cooking on a Tuesday and continue helping with the activities in the afternoon.

I qualified as a nurse in 1977/78 and took early retirement in 2013 due to ill health. The experience I have gained over the years I hope to continue to bring to the Phoenix Club especially after working closely with patients who had suffered strokes and neurological diseases. I finished my last few years of nursing as a trainer on Dementia.

I recently became a trustee in 2019 so I am still on a learning curb but find it very interesting and hope I can bring my experience of being a volunteer into the position.

JILL WAKEMAN

I had a successful career in the housing industry around Horsham and the surrounding areas for over 20 years before I suffered a major stroke in June 2013. The aftereffects were considerable. The long term effects have been significant, reduced mobility, dexterity and Aphasia. The consequences of a Stroke affect people differently. I understand everything but I cannot speak clearly. Some words come easily, others do not at all. Frustrating.

In January 2014 I was introduced to the Phoenix Stroke Club for which I will be forever grateful. After my stroke, I was determined to do everything I could to recover my health and take on new challenges. I decided reluctantly to run, I was slow, it was difficult initially (I am still slow, I am no Usian Bolt). However it helped me achieve a number of the goals I had set myself. When I run my disability disappears, it helps my mental health.

I wanted to raise money for the Phoenix Stroke Club, running seemed the best way to achieve this. This spurred me on to apply for the 2015 Brighton half marathon, which I ran with my sons. I also applied for and was successful in getting a place in the London marathon of 2016. The funds I raised were donated to the club. Everyday I strive to get better. I care about people and want to do everything I can to help people who have Aphasia and suffered a stroke.

I am very proud to be a Trustee of the Phoenix Stroke Club. The club gives so much to its members. The volunteers are amazing. Never give up!!!

NATALIE BROOMHEAD