Liz Thorne – Chair
I first became aware of EKS in 2010 when I was working at an Ashford charity for people with communication difficulties. I was asked to give a talk to EKS members at one of their lunches about aphasia, and how strokes can cause this condition. Then I met Tim and Tarnia Redfearn in 2011 at a fundraising football match, when they had just started EKS Childhood Strokes, and the two charities did some fundraising together.
When I saw an appeal in 2018 that the charity needed a new Chair, I happily offered my services as it’s such a worthwhile cause. Peer support is one of the greatest forms of communication for anyone who has a disability, and preventing isolation is so very important in our society. I love meeting our members and hearing their stories of strength and determination. My day job involves being the CEO of a charity working with older people. In addition, I am a volunteer driver once a month for Contact the Re-engage (formerly Contact the Elderly), and a local Community Councillor in Ashford.
Tim Redfearn – Vice Chair
I got involved with East Kent Strokes over ten years ago after my daughter suffered a stroke. A stroke affects the whole family and for me it's important the every family member is supported. I have held a number of positions at EKS from Chairman to the joker at a comedy quiz night (hopefully the photos won't make it on here) and some in between
I earn my crust as an engineer on the railway looking after the commuters of Kent; I spend my free time with Tarnia who I have been married to for nearly 30 years.
Hugh Ellison – Treasurer
I was introduced to EKS by one of the founders John Towner; he took me to a “lunch” where I could see his enthusiasm for helping stroke sufferers and I could see their reaction to his enthusiasm; he asked if I would act as Treasurer for the club and more than ten years later I am still the Treasurer of EKS.
In the past I was a practising Chartered Accountant and although now working part time I hope my knowledge and experience helps in the relative smooth running of EKS.
Enthusiasm and drive from Robin and John still lives on in EKS.
I started volunteering for EKS in 1990 after my husband had a stroke. We received a lot of help and support from EKS. After my husband died in 2005 I began helping on the committee, attending outings and helping out at coffee mornings.
Since retiring in 2006, I spend a lot of time in my garden tending to my plants and vegetables. I am a Charlton season ticket holder and go along to all the home games. I enjoy playing table tennis and joined the drama club at my local WI. Every year we do a pantomime which always goes down well.
I became involved with EKS after my daughter had a stroke aged nine. We looked everywhere to find some sort of support for us as a family. We contacted John Towner who had set up East Kent Strokes, and we met for lunch. We met many other older stroke heroes and John agreed that we could seek out other childhood stoke heroes . This did not take very long, and so East Kent Childhood Strokes was born.
Over the years we have stuck to EKS aims of offering social trips, meet ups, and giving children and their families the chance to get to know other families who understand what they are experiencing. My daughter is now 21 but still joins in with EKS. Being involved has given me the opportunity to be involved with children and their families; sharing knowledge, tips and laughter. I work for the local authority and enjoy spending time with friends and family.
Franciose Belman - Secretary
I was aware of Tim and Tarnia starting EKS through a mutual friend and their involvement with stroke survivors. One day I was asked to take the minutes at a committee meeting and have done so ever since. I have always admired their commitment to the charity and in particular the support they have given to young stroke survivors. I have friends and family members who have suffered strokes and know how isolating it can be for them and their family so appreciate the advice, support and fun activities EKS willingly give. I am retired now after what feels like a lifetime of teaching. I am enjoying gardening, walking the dog, looking after my grandchild and volunteering.