About SSIT

Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT) raises money to help people living with spinal cord injury in the South and South West of England and to support The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre.

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Our Mission

Our goal is simple: to assist people with spinal cord injury, enabling independence and quality of life. This can mean anything from funding resources for the spinal centre to funding individual needs in respect of specialist equipment or other assistance.

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“SSIT is working for people with spinal cord injury and the extraordinary tragedy of paralysis, giving them the chance to re-experience the fundamental things we all take for granted.”

Therapy Team Lead, DoCSTC

Our Patrons

  • Annie Maw
  • Lady Phillips
  • Sir Hayden Phillips
  • Lady Margadale
  • Geoff Holt MBE
  • Lucinda Green MBE RSA
  • Jonathan Webb FRCS
Annie Maw

Annie Maw

Annie Maw broke her back in a riding accident in 2002. She was left paralysed from the upper chest down and spent nine months in The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre where the expert care she received helped her to rebuild her life as a wheelchair user. Annie served as High Sheriff of Somerset in 2008-9 and became Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Somerset in March 2015. She was a trustee of SSIT from 2009 – 2018 becoming a Patron in 2018.

“The funding that SSIT provides can make such an enormous difference to the life of a spinal cord injured person. A suitable mattress for their bed or even an adequate wheelchair can really help a person regain his or her dignity and the chance of leading a fulfilling and independent life. I am delighted to be actively involved with the charity.”
Lady Phillips

Lady Phillips

Laura Phillips was for many years Chairman of the Siobhan Davies Dance Company and is the Chairman of the Salisbury International Arts Festival, is on the Board of the Rambert Ballet School and is a Governor of Salisbury Cathedral School. She is a founding patron of SSIT.

Sir Hayden Phillips

Sir Hayden Phillips

Hayden Phillips left the Civil Service in 2004 after 12 years as a Permanent Secretary. Since then, among other things, he has been Chairman of the National Theatre and of Marlborough College. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire and a Lay Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. He is a founding Patron of SSIT.

"Spinal cord injury can be sudden and traumatic for the individual, for his or her family and for the community in which they live. The work of SSIT in tackling the consequences is an exemplar of holistic medical and social support. It is a vital and compelling cause which we are delighted to support."
Lady Margadale

Lady Margadale

Amanda Margadale became a patron of SSIT in 2014, having been a trustee since the charity's formation. A keen horsewoman, Amanda is fully aware that spinal cord injury is a risk of the sport and knows a number of people who have been treated at the Salisbury spinal centre.

"I am delighted to be involved with such a worthwhile charity. The funding that SSIT provides to both the spinal centre and individuals can make a real difference to the lives of people who have suffered from appalling tragedies."
Geoff Holt MBE

Geoff Holt MBE

Record-breaking sailor and ambassador for disability, Geoff Holt MBE became the first quadriplegic to sail across the Atlantic in January 2010. At the age of 18, Geoff was one of the first patients to be cared for at the Spinal Centre in Salisbury. Geoff became a Patron of SSIT in 2010.

"I’m delighted to offer my support to the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust. The charity was not around when I was injured but on my regular visits to the Spinal Centre I can see the difference that it has made. The equipment that SSIT has provided helps enormously with the rehabilitation of patients."
Lucinda Green MBE RSA

Lucinda Green MBE RSA

Former world champion equestrian, Lucinda Green won the Badminton Horse Trials an unprecedented six times on six different horses. She now combines a coaching career with journalism. Lucinda, who lives in Andover, is a founding patron of SSIT.

"As someone who has spent their life involved in the equestrian world, I am acutely aware that spinal cord injury is a risk of the sport. I have friends who have sustained an injury resulting in paralysis and so have seen the impact first hand. My involvement with SSIT has made me realise that it's not just dangerous sports which can result in a spinal cord injury. It really can happen to anyone, doing the most everyday of activities."
Jonathan Webb FRCS

Jonathan Webb FRCS

Former England rugby player Jonathan Webb is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. He combined his medical training with a first class rugby career playing for Bristol and Bath Rugby Clubs. He played 33 tests for England, winning two Five Nations Grand Slams and reaching the Rugby World Cup Final in 1991. Jonathan sits on the RFU Board and World Rugby Council helping to shape the future of player welfare and injury prevention.

“My rugby career means that I am all too aware of the risks of a spinal injury and the devastating impact it can have on an individual, their family and friends.
I have seen first-hand the good work that SSIT does supporting the regional spinal injuries centre in Salisbury and individuals with spinal cord injury in the region.

I am looking forward to helping raise awareness of the charity and in so doing increase funds.”

Our Trustees

  • Jeremy Major FCA
  • Joanna Robins
  • Maj Gen Andrew Cumming CBE
  • John Ponsonby
  • Elaine Gaffney
  • Paul Smart
  • Sally Mathieson
  • Sarah-Juliet Harbord
  • Frances Gillett
Jeremy Major FCA

Jeremy Major FCA

Whilst working at Smith & Williamson Jeremy Major was involved in establishing SSIT in 2006 after his secretary Sally Mathieson suffered a spinal cord injury. Jeremy has taken part in many of the charities fund raising events. In 2015 he ran the London Marathon and in 2018 cycled 200 miles in a day to raise funds for SSIT.

"It was only when Sally had her accident that I became aware of the difficulties facing people with spinal cord injuries and the lack of funding available for specialist equipment. It has been wonderful to see how the right equipment can change a person’s life. Raising funds for this whilst having fun is doubly rewarding."
Joanna Robins

Joanna Robins

Joanna is a manager at Smith & Williamson and worked with Sally Mathieson before her accident. The great work that the charity has carried out to help those with spinal cord injuries has been inspiring and Joanna is delighted to have been asked to become a Trustee to help to continue this work. Joanna is also the charity’s treasurer.

"SSIT makes such a huge difference to the lives of those with spinal cord injuries and their families and I was honoured to be asked to contribute to this work by becoming a Trustee."
Maj Gen Andrew Cumming CBE

Maj Gen Andrew Cumming CBE

Andrew Cumming spent most of his life in the army, serving all over the world and latterly in The Balkans. On retirement he spent eight years as the chief executive of the forces charity SSAFA. In both jobs he has seen the lasting damage that a traumatic injury can inflict and he has been involved in the rehabilitation of people who have been badly injured.

"I am a great admirer of these extraordinary people who fight their way back after suffering appalling injuries; people whose every horizon and expectation has been dashed but who nevertheless are determined to lead as full a life as they might have done had injury not occurred. As a one-time parachutist and a rather hopeless amateur jockey, I was ever aware of the potential dangers that both pursuits entailed. I look forward to doing as much as I can to improve the way of life of those who were less fortunate than me."
John Ponsonby

John Ponsonby

John Ponsonby is unusual in having been commissioned into the Royal Air Force in April 1983, after 9 years’ service in the British Army. He served as a support helicopter pilot throughout his career, operating in North West Europe, Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Bosnia. After leaving RAF 2006, he joined AgustaWestland as senior vice-president of training. His most recent position was as managing director of Leonardo's UK helicopter division, (which included AgustaWestland) until December 2017. John is now a Director of Pennant International Plc and Chairman of the Aviation Skills Partnership. He is also an advisor to a leading consultancy firm.

I am delighted to be a Trustee of the SSIT, a charity that does such great work in supporting the needs of those with spinal injuries.  I will do all I can to support the charity going forward to the best of my ability
Elaine Gaffney

Elaine Gaffney

Following 15 years working as a Spinal Nurse Practitioner at The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre Elaine Gaffney is now an established Rehabilitation Case Manager. She provides holistic assessments, reports, recommendations and associated costs relevant to the injury sustained. Subsequently she implements her recommendations delivering a client centred service.

"Elaine states she is very proud to be a trustee for SSIT who are able to assist spinal cord injured individuals to access funds that can improve their quality of life when other funding streams are not available to them."
Paul Smart

Paul Smart

Paul Smart broke his neck in September 2000 in an accident which left him with a high level spinal cord injury. He spent 14 months at The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre where he learnt to rebuild his life and to adapt to face the challenges ahead. He became a trustee of SSIT in 2013 and sits on the awards committee. In 2018 he raised over £25,000 by travelling the 780 kilometre (500 mile) length of the Camino de Santiago assisted by friends and family.

"Being paralysed myself I am fully aware of the equipment that is required by people with a spinal injury, and I'm also very aware that such items are often financially out of reach. SSIT is able to help breach this funding gap, and working with the spinal centre, is able to offer expert help to individuals. It's a privilege to be associated with such a wonderful charity."
Sally Mathieson

Sally Mathieson

In June 2006, after a freak accident falling from a hammock left her with a high level spinal injury, Sally spent nearly nine months at DOCSTC. As a result, Sally was instrumental in setting up the charity to support those treated at The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre (DOCSTC) in Salisbury.

“I had such a high standard of care at the spinal centre that I wanted to give something back. My own experience with wheelchairs and beds offered by local authorities made me realise that there was a desperate need for a charity to help provide quality equipment to spinal cord injured people to ease the difficult process of adjusting to their new lifestyle.
I approached Jeremy Major and his colleagues at Smith & Williamson to create a charitable trust to help people enjoy more independence and provide specialist equipment. We also provide resources for the spinal unit. I am very proud to be a Trustee of the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust."
Sarah-Juliet Harbord

Sarah-Juliet Harbord

Sarah-Juliet known as SJ has worked in the charity sector for many years as a volunteer and full time employment. SJ's wealth of knowledge will be a great assit to SSIT.

"It is with great pleasure that I have joined SSIT as a Trustee and with my fundraising experience I look forward to doing as much as I can to improve the lives of the very brave people who cope with a spinal injury."
Frances Gillett

Frances Gillett

Frances is an Associate Solicitor in the Personal Injury team of Trethowans acting for clients in a wide range of personal injury cases. Frances lives in Dorset with her husband and two young children. Frances and her husband love old properties and are currently restoring their Grade II Listed Dorset Long House.

Frances and her family also enjoy sea kayaking during the warmer months of the year.

"Having worked as a Personal Injury Solicitor for many years I have seen the devastation caused by spinal cord injuries. The support that Southern Spinal Injuries Trust offers is incredible and can make a difficult situation a little easier. I am delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile Charity."