Our Ambassadors work with us in a voluntary capacity, acting as advocates for the Charity and the Sport in the UK . They broker introductions to key networks, provide pro bono services, or support the Charity in an advisory capacity in their own areas of expertise.
Helen Jackson is currently Managing Director at Bush & Company, part of NAHL Group Plc, having spent four years at the Group as Group HR Director, sitting on the Operating Board.
Helen is responsible for overall strategy and leadership within the division as well as business development, quality and clinical independence.
Previously, Helen held HR leadership roles at Everest, BUPA and Tesco. Helen holds a BSc (Hons) and an MBA.
Trishna Bharadia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2008 and has become an avid campaigner for raising awareness about the condition, at a local, regional, national and international level. She was thrown into the national spotlight when she danced onto our television screens via the BBC1 show “The People’s Strictly for Comic Relief” in 2015. She has become a positive role model not only for people affected by MS but also for people affected by other chronic conditions and both visible and hidden disabilities.
Diagnosed at the age of 28, after experiencing a variety of symptoms, Trishna still manages to work full-time as a translator for a business information company. Her work to raise awareness about MS and disability is done in her spare time and has had far-reaching consequences for both the MS- and non-MS communities. She has been recognised by a number of high-profile organisations, including the Women of the Year Foundation, MS Society UK and Sue Ryder.
As someone living with MS herself and who has a huge passion for dance, Trishna understands first-hand the importance of inclusivity and “dance for all.” She regularly attends Zumba classes, where the emphasis is on everyone being able to join in. Following her time on “The People’s Strictly,” she was particularly keen to highlight to people that being able to dance wasn’t contingent on being able to stand upright. She says, “there are many people with MS who are in wheelchairs and who have said to me that they couldn’t do what I did on Strictly because they’re in a wheelchair. Para Dance UK helps to dispel these myths surrounding the ability to dance. Dance can be for everyone!”
Chrissie has officially retired from a career in international health policy. For over 30 years, she worked with international companies, institutions, governments and the 3rd sector. She originally specialised in international law before focussing on healthcare law and policy. She now just dabbles occasionally. Dancing has always been her passion, which may have contributed to spine disease. She’s needed a wheelchair (off and on…) for 8 years, but dances whenever and however she can. She has taken up boxing in the last few years, which can be done sitting or standing, and is great for spine strength & mobility. Her boxing gloves are the same colour as her ballet shoes. Dancing is not just a passion, it’s an obsession. #EveryoneCanDance.
I have been dancing since the age of 2, started dancing socially and then onto competitions of an International standard. 2010 – 2012 was the top ranked position in Wales! In 2011 won the UK Closed Championships, 2012 won the Welsh Amateur National Ballroom and Latin Championships. Selected to dance at the World and European Championships, getting a Bronze medal in the World Championships, 2015 Celebrity Just Dance Winner.
I am happy to be a Patron for this great organisation and look forward to working with Para Dance UK and creating a bright future.
A former top class amateur and a professional competitor is well known in the dance world and over the last 30 years has organised many dance festivals, dance holidays and recently presented the United Kingdom Formation Championships at the famous Tower Ballroom Blackpool.
For many years, he has adjudicated the International Championships at the Albert Hall and has great teaching experience from Beginner through to World Champion. He is also known for his ability to teach in a friendly, relaxed and practical style suitable for all. He has been recognised by the world of dance receiving the Carl Alan Award and British Dance Federation Award for ‘Outstanding Services to Dance’.
Philip is pleased to be supporting Para Dance UK and hope the organisation grows from strength to strength.
Dr Richard Weiler
Consultant Physician in Sport, Exercise & Musculoskeletal Medicine
MBChB FFSEM (UK) MSc SEM MRCGP PGCME FHEA
Dr Weiler treats musculoskeletal conditions and sports injuries at any age and level of activity. His focus is on helping patients return to function and reach their goals. He works with athletes of all abilities, from Team GB athletes at the London 2012 Paralympics to Premier League footballers. He has wide experience in the non-operative management of sports injuries, rehabilitating athletes across a wide range of sports as well as non-athletes with musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain and joint pain. An enthusiastic off-road runner and multi-sport participant, Richard has experienced numerous sports injuries over the years, which helps him appreciate the frustrations and needs of his patients. He is undertaking a PhD in disability sports injuries at VU Amsterdam.
Recent and current appointments
Club Doctor, West Ham United Football Club
Lead Medical Officer, England and Team GB Disability Football, The Football Association
Honorary Consultant, University College London Hospitals
Lecturer and Module leader, UCL Institute of Orthopaedics, The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Lecturer and External Tutor, UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health
Board Member, The Institute of Sports Medicine
Fellows Board, Map of Medicine
Macmillan Cancer Physical Activity Expert Advisory Group
Patron, Wheelchair Dance Sport Association
Fellow Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine
Member British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Member American College of Sports Medicine
Fellow Higher Education Academy
Maggy Pigott CBE FRSA
Maggy only discovered dancing in her late 50s, taking classes in a range of styles, including Argentine tango and ballet. In 2017 Maggy became a member and Trustee of Sage Dance Company, a performance dance company for older dancers with a wide range of experience but who all share a love of dance.
She is passionate about the importance, benefits and joy that dancing brings, giving a Keynote Speech on the topic at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ Annual Conference and regularly tweeting on the subject.
Maggy wants to help promote and make dance inclusive and available to all and is truly honoured and delighted to become an Ambassador for Para Dance.
Prior to dance and dancing becoming a large part of her life, Maggy had a 37year Civil Service career in the Ministry of Justice and its forerunners, including in a CEO post. She job-shared for 23 years, is a Vice Patron of Working Families, and was thrilled to be awarded a CBE in 2011. Maggy is also a barrister and Governing Bencher of Middle Temple Inn of Court.
Since retiring, Maggy has become a member and Vice-Chair of the charity Open Age, and, in 2019, was appointed an Independent Member of the Public Service Honours Committee. She has served twice on the Olivier Awards Dance Panel.
Maggy has recently written her first book ‘How to Age Joyfully: Eight Steps to a Happier, Fuller Life’ (with a Foreword by Dame Judi Dench) and dancing features heavily! It was published in 2019, with half her royalties going to Open Age. https://HowToAgeJoyfully.com
Louise is a Fellow of the ISTD and UKA and holds a BDC Adjudicator Licences for Competitions and Championships in three Genres. She is also a Para Dance UK Instructor and Assessor and has adjudicated at the UK National Wheelchair Championships.
Before turning professional at a very young age, Louise enjoyed performing and competing, securing top finalist placing on a number of occasions.
Louise is the principal of her own school, ‘Rhythm & Dance’ based in the South of England, specialising in Standard Ballroom, Latin American and Classical Sequence, offering both private and group tuition to a wide age range, workshops and dance holidays. The school offers opportunities to pupils within the school that have specific medical conditions and learning difficulties.In addition to her UK work, Louise is a free-lance teacher at the Euro Dance Centre in Germany and hosts professional residential study courses in France.
During her career, she has successfully trained new professionals across all three genres. She promotes a positive atmosphere and encourages pupils’ participation in medal examinations and competitions. Louise is proud to have trained ISTD Blackpool finalists and Open Ranked Mixed and Same Sex Competitors across different categories and genres.
In addition to teaching, Louise is a member of the ISTD Sequence Faculty. She enjoys organising dance events including Dance Holidays, Seasonal Balls, local competitions and more recently, assisted the Eurodance Centre Team in organising the German Medalist Festival.