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’s 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.
Margaret Packham – Vice Chair (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.
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 are 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.
Toby Evans (Due diligence and audit)
Toby became a Trustee in April 2013. He is a civil servant, working for the National Audit Office and volunteers for the Society as deputy leader of the London support group for working age people with macular disease (W@M).
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.
Lucy Howe (Ophthalmic research and care)
Lucy has been a Trustee since 2007. She is an ophthalmologist specialising in conditions of the retina. She works at Dorset County Hospital
Martyn Long CBE (Local government and NHS)
Martyn’s career was in dairy farming. From 1970 to 1993 Martyn was involved in both East and West Sussex County Councils, where he held numerous chairmanships, including Social Services, Policy & Resources and Chairman of the County Council. From 1973, he become associated with the NHS and from 1981 to 1994 was chairman of Mid-Downs Health Authority. He was also chairman of the then National Association of Health Authorities (NAHA), and was chairman of Sussex Ambulance Service. He has been involved with many charities and voluntary organisations over the years. He has retired with his wife Veronica and has been married for 56 years. He now lives in Lincolnshire and has four daughters.
Alan MacFarlane (Engineering)
Alan is a retired design engineer. He has led our Peterborough support group and Peterborough W@M group for many years, joining the Trustee Board in 2012. He was a founding member of the Peterborough Disability Forum and Peterborough Low Vision Forum, which he currently chairs. Alan is a member of the local eye clinic patient user group and Cambridge CCG stakeholder group. Alan is a trustee of the Peterborough Association for the Blind and chairs their management committee. Alan was diagnosed with Best's macular dystrophy in his late twenties and is registered blind.
Alison Guthrie (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.
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.
Alan is severely sight impaired with Stargardt disease and has a guide dog called Velma. He started his working life as a secondary school teacher but later changed careers for the civil service. He worked as a training manager and then moved into equal opportunities with particular reference to compliance with disability legislation. Since retirement Alan has been both a trustee and chairman of a prominent county wide sensory charity. Alan also has extensive experience in the field of disability and has been an access manager and advisor to London’s Barbican Arts Centre. A keen sportsman Alan has run marathons and many half marathons and skis regularly. He is married with two daughters and four grandchildren.
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 Opthalmolgy Service at Peterborough Hospital.