Our Board of Trustees meets four times a year and is responsible for strategic oversight and monitoring of all aspects of the Macular Society's policy and operations.
John Dunston - Chairman
John’s son has Stargardt disease, an inherited form of macular disease. He was head teacher at Leighton Park School in Berkshire and Sibford School in Oxfordshire. Since his retirement John works as an independent educational consultant. He is also a reporting inspector and trainer of inspectors for the Independent School Inspectorate, in the UK and Internationally. John was a Trustee of the Society from 2005 to 2011. He has recently rejoined the Board.
Alison Guthrie – Vice Chair (Optometry)
Alison Guthrie is a registered optometrist and dispensing optician; she has a longstanding interest in low vision management and service provision. In the last 15 years she has been involved with visually impaired patients within the hospital eye service in both macular and low vision clinics. In addition she is involved in optometrist undergraduate training, postgraduate assessment and examining, fitness to practice and works in the voluntary sector in sub-saharan Africa. She is currently researching the quality of life changes that result from vision loss.
Paul Ryb - Vice Chair (Finance)
Paul currently holds board positions in the commercial, public and charity sectors, while also managing an investment portfolio for a private family office and advising on various social impact investment projects. He was managing director at the Royal Bank of Scotland operating within the Global, Banking and Markets Division having previously worked in the City of London for over 20 years at a number of investment banks. Since losing his central vision in 2007 to macular dystrophy, he has joined a number of boards as a non-executive director, specialising in his area of expertise: assisted technology, cyber security, angel investing and business strategy, as well as becoming involved in a number of sight charities including RNIB, the Macular Society and Blind in Business, where he continues to use his experiences in dealing with sight loss to benefit others. In 2017 Paul has become a non-executive director for Kings Access Tech Ltd and the NHS Mental Health Board (covering Barnet, Enfield, Haringey). Paul is a keen sportsman and has held the British number one VI Tennis title for the last three years, a brown belt in kickboxing and enjoys various extreme sports in the Alps every summer with his children including mountain biking, white water rafting and canyoning. Paul has two children and lives in London.
Richard Piller FCA, CIOT - Honorary Treasurer (Finance)
Richard's mother has macular disease. Richard is the retired network tax leader and an operations director of PwC. Richard's international career in professional services spanned 36 years, including 2 years living and working in Eastern Europe and work in numerous other countries. Richard became a Trustee and Honorary Treasurer in 2017. He is responsible for overseeing the Society's finances and is Chairman of the Finance and Fundraising Committee. Richard enjoys performing arts and most sports.
Timothy ffytche (Ophthalmic research and care)
Timothy ffytche LVO, FRCS, FRCOphth is a retired eye surgeon who specialised in medical retinal conditions, including macular disease and diabetes. He was a consultant at St Thomas’s Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital, and also at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD). Before he retired, he was Chairman of the European region of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. He was a founding member of the Macular Society having been approached by Elizabeth Thomas, and gave the opening lecture at its inaugural meeting in October 1987. He has been a member of its Council and a Trustee ever since.
Margaret Packham – HR
Margaret has family members with macular disease and has been a member of the Society for 20 years. She is an independent HR consultant and also volunteers for the Society through our Reading support group. Margaret became a Trustee of the Society in 2011.
Stephen has been an archivist, university researcher and lecturer, public affairs consultant, a senior executive with Toyota and with Hyundai in Brussels, and the managing director of a European road safety charity. He is a trustee of The Ehlers-Danlos Support UK. Family members have had eye sight conditions and he is keen to work with others committed to overcome the challenges these present.
Anna is an experienced employment lawyer and trainer with over 25 years' experience. She is a director in the employment and equalities team at an international law firm working with in-house HR and legal teams in sectors including aviation, aggregates, retail and manufacturing. Anna also co-chairs the firm's disability network. She has suffered from PIC, which affects her central vision for over 20 years and is a keen supporter of the Macular Society. She is also a school governor.
Cecilia brings to the Board her experiences of working in medical, pharmaceutical, digital health and wellbeing companies. A science graduate with an MBA focused on international strategic marketing and leadership training from the University of Oxford, her career has involved the development and delivery of products and services that help change the way healthcare is delivered. Cecilia has created marketing campaigns to promote the understanding of the benefits of new approaches to health and care management and has been responsible for building technology enabled services and software apps for use in supported living environments. Cecilia enjoys yoga and is a keen gardener, recently becoming a Board Trustee for Plant Heritage, a national charity involved in the conservation of cultivated plants.
Bill has central vision loss in both eyes through dry AMD. Now semi-retired, he was head of housing at a District Council for over 20 years. He then spent a similar amount of time as a senior manager in the private sector, leading both bidding and contract management teams on social housing related regeneration projects before setting up a specialist management consultancy with colleagues. Bill became a Trustee in April 2018. He is a member of both the Manchester and Leeds W@M Groups.
Steve spent over thirty years in Local Government Economic Development. He also ran his own consultancy business advising local authorities on economic development issues and problems for 5 years and he retired in 2010. In 2011 Steve formed a local charity (Dementia Harborough) which was established to support those recently diagnosed with Dementia and their family carers and supporters to access information on the condition and identify relevant services. In 2016 Steve joined the Macular Society, after discovering that he had been suffering from Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy for ages before anyone told him! This is now under control, but requires support from the local Ophthalmology Service at Peterborough Hospital.
Ms Sheena George is a Medical Retinal Consultant Ophthalmologist, at Hillingdon Hospital in West London. Her special interests include Diabetic Retinopathy, AMD, Retinal Vein Occlusions and Cataract surgery. She leads an active Clinical trials Unit within her department, conducting numerous commercial and NIHR sponsored multicentred clinical trials. She has won local and national patient nominated awards for clinical excellence in providing an efficient and patient-centred Medical Retinal service. She is also the Clinical Lead for the North West London Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, the largest in London.
Professor Sobha Sivaprasad is a Medical Retina Consultant Ophthalmologist in Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and a Professor in Retinal Clinical Research in University College London. She received the Macular Society Rising Star Award in 2017 and she was named the NIHR RCOphth Researcher of the year in 2017. She specialises in medical retina conditions such as AMD, diabetes and other macular conditions. Her main research interests are clinical trials, imaging and risk prediction. She works collaboratively with a large number of institutions both in the UK and globally. She has been a Trustee of the Macular Society since April 2019.
Robin Hamilton is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Ophthalmology, London. He has been the Director of Moorfields medical retina service since 2016 and is also Clinical lead for Moorfields age-related macular degeneration service and Chair of the Laser Safety Committee since 2008. He was the clinical lead for the diabetic eye screening program for north west London for three years and has run multiple service delivery training programmes for injection and medical retina services nationally and internationally.
His research interests include lasers for retinal disease, novel laser therapies, novel therapies for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and venous occlusive disease, service delivery and innovations in clinical pathways.
He has been trustee for the Macular Society since September 2019.
Chris has worked in government affairs, public policy, and political strategy for more than 35 years – in UK government at the Department of Energy (1984-90), where he was Private Secretary to the Minister for Coal and Electricity; at the Public Affairs consultancy Rowland Sallingbury Casey (1990-95) , where he advised a wide range of clients, and became Managing Director; and at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithkline (GSK) from 1995-2017. At GSK, Chris worked with varied stakeholders across most parts of the world, and played a leadership role in developing and implementing the company’s approach to improving access to medicines for the world’s poorest countries.
Chris retired from GSK in 2017 as Senior Vice-President, Government Affairs, Public Policy and Patient Advocacy, and Special Adviser to the CEO. He now works on a part-time basis, and has developed a portfolio of advisory and trustee roles with public companies and not- for-profit organisations.
Anthony MacQuarrie M Ed B Phil DASE Cert Ed
Originally from the Western Isles, senior secondary school in Glasgow and higher education in Liverpool.
After teaching in a city comprehensive school, moved into special education teaching pupils with emotional, behavioural and social difficulties and became a head teacher of a day special school and then on to St Vincent’s Residential school for Blind and Partially Sighted Children for 7 years. Completed a degree in the education of children with visual impairments from the University of Birmingham, leading the school through successful OfSTED and residential care inspections.
Approached by Royal Blind School, Edinburgh to become Principal of the school, which consisted of 2 campuses, pupils with sight loss who accessed a mainstream education and pupils with MDVI (Multi Disabled and Visually Impaired) and a number of residential premises. The roles in both schools involved overall management of day-to-day running of sites, managing budgets, leading the multi- disciplinary teams, which included teachers, care staff, nurses, therapists, mobility officers, administrative, maintenance, domestic and ancillary staff.
With this experience, the next move was to become an Executive Director with Priory Education Services, playing an instrumental role within the senior management team, with responsibility for a number of schools, children’s homes and fostering services and for the effective management of ever changing requirements.
After 2 years of retirement, I was diagnosed with AMD, dry in one eye and wet in the other and I continue with my treatment, currently an intravitreal injection every six weeks. This diagnoses alerted me to the imperative work and support of the Macular Society and when a vacancy occurred, I felt the need to apply and am delighted to have been offered a position as a Trustee, where I aim to contribute positively to the ongoing success of the Charity.