Our staff

We have a staff team of 32 who – working with a wide range of experienced volunteers around the UK – deliver our services, help raise funds, and act as advocates for our work. To find out more about any of our staff members, please click on their photo.

The Management Team

Abigail Lock

CEO

Abigail joined Back Up in January 2020 with broad experience gained from a variety of organisations across the private, public and third sector. This includes Scope and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  Abigail grew up as a child carer, this lived experience makes her appreciate the truly transformative impact that Back Up has on people’s lives.  Abigail is a passionate proponent of community and is keen to champion the amazing work of volunteers, as well as the peer led approach to Back Up’s services. She has day to day responsibility for ensuring that Back Up and its people thrive, through the development and delivery of the strategy, in consultation with the board and key stakeholders. Outside work, Abigail loves open water swimming and is an avid traveller who is always up for an adventure.

The Services Team

Kevin Filby

Director of Services

In a career spanning more than twenty five years, Kevin has worked in a variety of roles supporting disabled children, young people and adults.

Starting as a community support worker, he went on to gain experience in a range of different settings covering health, social care, education and information, advice and guidance services.

As his career has developed, Kevin has managed individual projects and services as well as geographically spread programmes across the UK in both the private and voluntary sectors – including developing new services whilst supporting organisational growth and design.

Kevin remains passionate about high quality services and achieving good outcomes for the people we support.
In his spare time, you can catch Kevin following his local football team, playing the guitar (very badly!) or on long walks with his partner and their dog, Bailey.

Kevin Filby

Kevin Filby

Director of Services

Andy Masters*

Head of Services

Injured in a rugby accident nearly 20 years ago, Andy first got involved with Back Up through volunteering in the office. In that time he worked across the team, gaining a great insight into how the charity operates whilst becoming a wheelchair skills trainer and group leader. Andy became an Outreach & Support Coordinator, before eventually managing the team. He is now Back Up’s Interim Head of Services, leading and developing our work across the UK. Andy is still an avid rugby follower with his match day hospitality at Twickenham gaining legendary status amongst the team.

Andy Masters*

Andy Masters*

Head of Services

Ally Ward

Services Development Manager

Ally is our Services Development Manager – a new role overseeing the vocation service and leading on the management, training and engagement of Back Up’s wonderful team of over 400 volunteers. Ally is a volunteer group leader and has seen Back Up grow hugely over the past 11 years in her previous role. She is motivated by working with volunteers and is looking forward to engaging with them, both present and past. Outside office hours, Ally is kept busy by her two young children and enjoys family time with them and her partner, although loves Mummy free time when she can get it!

Ally Ward

Ally Ward

Services Development Manager

Michael Hipwell*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Michael  helps manage relationships with the 11 UK spinal centres and ensures inpatients and staff are informed about and have access to Back Up services.  Michael broke his neck at C6 playing rugby in 2000 and then toured the world playing wheelchair rugby for Great Britain. After settling down to family life after the birth of his son, Michael began volunteering at Back Up before joining the staff team in 2008.

Michael Hipwell*

Michael Hipwell*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Luke Dolan*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Luke is a member of our Outreach and Support Team who was injured in 1995 in a diving accident. As part of his job, he coordinates our wheelchair skills and patient education sessions at Stoke Mandeville and Glasgow spinal injury units. Luke also visits patients and staff in general hospitals to increase awareness of Back Up and our services. When in the office, he’s often flanked by his French bulldog and office mascot, Monty (regularly featured in twitter). He also enjoys going out to the pub, cinema, watching sport and, at the tender age of 36, has rediscovered a love of video games.

Luke Dolan*

Luke Dolan*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Andy Adamson*

Outreach and Support Manager

Andy has responsibility for the day to day running of the Outreach and Support service. He has worked at Back up for more than four years, having first got involved as an office volunteer, schools advocate and wheelchair skills trainer. He loves the way that Back Up volunteers really want to improve our services and are so passionate about supporting other people with spinal cord injury. Andy recently adopted a goat called Leo and likes spending as much time with him as possible. He has a picture of Leo by his desk and some on his phone too. In short, he’s a big goat fan.

Andy Adamson*

Andy Adamson*

Outreach and Support Manager

Richard Cheshire *

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Richard works alongside the Sheffield and Pinderfields spinal units in delivering wheelchair skills and offering peer support. He sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident in 2010, and since found his love in sport.

He enjoys his free time playing wheelchair basketball and rugby, doing half marathons, and watching Japanese animated films. His favourite colour is purple.

Richard Cheshire *

Richard Cheshire *

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Chris Yeates*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Chris looks after wheelchair skills and patient education sessions at Oswestry, Rookwood and Middlesbrough spinal injury units. He also helps the Courses team with their post-course questionnaires, ensuring we monitor the impact that our sessions make. Chris was involved in a road accident in 2006 which resulted in a permanent spinal cord injury. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son and has become a master of negotiating his wheelchair around his toy-filled living room.

Chris Yeates*

Chris Yeates*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Rich Osborn*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Rich is a member of our Outreach and Support team, responsible for conducting wheelchair skills and patient education sessions at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries unit in Glasgow. As part of his role, he also provides telephone support and visits patients and staff in general hospitals and outreach clinics throughout Scotland. This is to further promote the services of Back Up and what we can offer. Through his love of adventure sports, he sustained his injury through a scuba diving accident in 2009. However, that wasn’t stopped him because when he’s not working, Rich can be found blowing bubbles and taking in the underwater beauty off the coast of Scotland, regardless of time of year!

Rich Osborn*

Rich Osborn*

Outreach and Support Coordinator

Jacques Liebenberg*

SCI Mentoring Senior Coordinator

Jacques looks after volunteer mentors and their mentees. He spends a lot of time on the phone talking to people so if you speak to someone with a strange accent, it’s most likely him. Jacques sustained a spinal injury in 1993 while he was in the South African Army. His experience as a wheelchair user makes him a jack (or Jacques) of all trades, but master of none when it comes to wheelchair maintenance. In his spare time he likes to research the latest gadgets and toys for his man cave.

Jacques Liebenberg*

Jacques Liebenberg*

SCI Mentoring Senior Coordinator

Sophie Elwes*

SCI Mentoring Coordinator

Sophie first got involved with Back Up after meeting some wheelchair skills trainers at Stoke Mandeville while she was an inpatient there. They told her about the ski course and she signed up as soon as possible. It was a life-changing experience for Sophie and she has been a Back Up groupie ever since. She joined the outreach and support team in 2016 and now works as our SCI Mentoring Coordinator, matching mentees with our team of mentors and coordinating their relationships. In her spare time she spends as much time waterskiing and wakeboarding as she can!

Sophie Elwes*

Sophie Elwes*

SCI Mentoring Coordinator

Alice Jackson**

Family Mentoring Coordinator

Alice is a Northern girl currently living in London. Alice has been a professional dancer for the last 7 years. She’s travelled the world on several world cruises performing on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria in their production shows. Her cousin sustained a spinal cord injury in 2015 so Alice understands the importance of supporting all family members. Alice has decided to hang up her dance shoes for now and has found her new passion here at Back Up. In her spare time, you will find Alice in her home town Cleethorpes walking along the beach with her family, at a cabin in the countryside with her fiancé, or on her friend’s canal boat.

Alice Jackson**

Alice Jackson**

Family Mentoring Coordinator

Nicole Scott**

Family Outreach Coordinator

Nicole first came across Back Up after her husband had a spinal cord injury following a motorbike accident in 2009, so she understands the importance of supporting family members. She then volunteered for a number of years, first as a mentor, then buddying on courses and latterly as a group leader on various courses. Nicole joined the Back Up team in August 2021 as Family Outreach Coordinator and is looking forward to working within the Family Support team. Outside of work Nicole enjoys playing (plus enthusiastically supporting from the sideline) her local hockey team, socialising with family and friends and walking her dog, Elliott.

Nicole Scott**

Nicole Scott**

Family Outreach Coordinator

Ella Provan*

U18s Services Manager

Ella was ten years old when she had her spinal cord injury, but didn’t get involved with Back Up till some time later. While she was at university, she started doing lots of volunteer work and this prompted her to apply for a position here. As our Under 18’s Services Manager, she works across the team to provide support for children and young people and ensures that they are involved in shaping our services. Outside of work, Ella loves travelling whenever possible. She should also have several Blue Peter badges for her arts and crafts endeavours which include knitting, writing, baking and making jewellery.

Ella Provan*

Ella Provan*

U18s Services Manager

Jo Teager**

Education Inclusion Coordinator

Jo’s job is to support children and young people returning to education after a spinal cord injury. She coordinates our wonderful education inclusion advocates who visit schools, nurseries and universities, and work with staff to ensure that all students with a spinal cord injury can fully participate in all aspects of their education. Jo has worked in education for over eight years and enjoys travelling, collecting vinyl and hanging out with friends and family. Jo, a born and bred Londoner, learnt about Back Up’s services after her father sustained a spinal cord injury in 2014.

Jo Teager**

Jo Teager**

Education Inclusion Coordinator

Merryn Thomas*

Courses Manager

Merryn is our Interim Courses Manager. She works closely with volunteer nurses, PAs and buddies on courses to make sure everyone is fully supported and having a good time. Merryn brings her own ‘unique’ blend of witty banter to the office and certainly wins the award for the most interesting desk space which currently is home to a whisk, a squeaky frog and a pair of rather fetching reindeer ear muffs! When she’s not helping to make our courses happen, Merryn enjoys playing wheelchair rugby and singing as part of a choir.

Merryn Thomas*

Merryn Thomas*

Courses Manager

Karim Dafallah

Courses Coordinator

Karim is our Courses Coordinator. He supports with the planning of all the courses as well as ensuring all course attendees are completely supported, so they can get the most out of the experience. Karim has a degree in History and is mainly interested in politics in the UK – which is anything but boring at the moment! Outside of the workplace Karim is a bit of a gamer, enjoys reading and is a football fan – it’s coming home… One day!

Karim Dafallah

Karim Dafallah

Courses Coordinator

The Communications Team

Jack Phillips

Communications Coordinator

Jack joined Back Up in 2018, having previously worked in charity communications as a comms assistant for his university’s student union. He is interested in using his communication skills to make a positive change, creating work with a strong emotional resonance.

Outside of work Jack likes long bike rides around London, watching (and often over-analysing) movies, and photography. His biggest secret is that he likes pineapple on pizza, and he isn’t remotely ashamed by that fact.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Communications Coordinator

The Fundraising Team

Sean McCallion*

Head of Fundraising

Sean is our Head of Fundraising and is responsible for delivering our fundraising strategy and supporting his great team to meet their targets. He loves getting out of the office to meet our supporters and spread the word about our work. Having been involved as a volunteer and staff member for over 15 years, Sean has seen Back Up grow immensely and has been a key part of that change. At weekends, when he’s not spending time with his baby daughter, Sean enjoys getting outdoors: handcycling, swimming, sit-skiing and, with help from some willing friends, he has also made it to the top of the UK’s three highest peaks.

Sean McCallion*

Sean McCallion*

Head of Fundraising

Tori Monks

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Tori joined the Back Up team in August. Having worked in fundraising for 10 years in a number of different roles, she settled on corporate partnerships as she loves building relationships with supporters and showing them the incredible impact their support has for Back Up.

Outside of work you can find Tori watching musicals at the West End or enjoying an espresso martini with friends. When she can’t be in a cocktail bar, she loves spending time outdoors running Tough Mudders, exploring the Surrey Hills or simply taking her niece and nephew to the playground.

Tori Monks

Tori Monks

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Janet McQuade

Fundraising Manager

Janet works as part of the fundraising team, focusing on our individual supporters and community fundraisers. She also co-ordinates our Legacy Giving and In Memory Giving programmes, writes appeals, and looks after the shop. Outside of work, Janet is a keen foodie and loves creating in the kitchen (but not baking, which she is notoriously bad at).

Janet McQuade

Janet McQuade

Fundraising Manager

Jonathan Ashton

Trusts Manager

Jonathan has worked as a grants fundraiser for 25 years. However, he feels a particular connection with disability and spinal cord injury charities after he spent a year looking after a friend with cancer of the spine. He writes applications to grant makers, explaining what people need, the impact that the work can have and how Back Up’s services help people move on with their lives. Outside the office, Jonathan can often be found wandering around art galleries, taking part in some kind of activism, or in the gym.

Jonathan Ashton

Jonathan Ashton

Trusts Manager

Emma Sargent

Events and Challenge Manager

Emma is our Events and Challenge Manager and looks after our calendar of fundraising events, including the legendary Back Up Ball. Emma has always loved organising events and is passionate about bringing people together to support the charity. In her free time Emma enjoys travelling, relaxing in the pub with friends and as a Yorkshire lass also loves a trip to the countryside and a roast dinner!

Emma Sargent

Emma Sargent

Events and Challenge Manager

Reece Remedios

Challenge and Events Fundraiser

Reece is a member of our fundraising team and organizes challenge events like the Snowdon Push and London Marathon whilst also helping with running of our major events including the Back Up Ball. He really enjoys the sense of community at the charity and how everyone goes out of their way to help each other out. As part of his role, he regularly speaks to Back Up’s many supporters and is always delighted to hear about the different ways they want to support the charity’s work. Outside the office, Reece fills his time with sports and outdoor pursuits like running and climbing, and is always looking for his next adventure.

Reece Remedios

Reece Remedios

Challenge and Events Fundraiser

Sophie Caudwell

Fundraising Assistant

In September 2019 Sophie joined the fundraising team, supporting people every step of the way as they raise money for Back Up. A big part of her role is ensuring that those who fundraise for Back Up are made to feel appreciated for all that they do for us. Sophie studied Russian and Spanish at university, but she soon had her heart set on working in the charity sector after volunteering around her hometown of Bristol. Outside of the office, you might find her tucked away in the corner of a cafe doing a spot of crochet.

Sophie Caudwell

Sophie Caudwell

Fundraising Assistant

Holly Butler

Trusts Fundraiser

Holly joined the Back Up fundraising team in February 2021. She has enjoyed a varied career, including previous experience of trust fundraising, and finds it rewarding to play a part in supporting our life-changing services. Outside work, she is a proud mum, enjoys being outdoors, and is looking forward to being able to socialize and travel again.

Holly Butler

Holly Butler

Trusts Fundraiser

Suzy Duggan

Trusts Fundraiser

Suzy raises money for Back Up’s high impact services by writing funding applications to charitable trusts. She enjoys finding out about the huge positive changes that so many people experience after turning to Back Up. She also finds it very satisfying when a cheque arrives that will help this vital work to continue! Suzy only recently moved to London from the Somerset countryside, so she is keen to explore the city and see the sights. She did a degree in German and Italian and enjoys singing in choirs, relaxing in pubs and eating her many favourite foods.

Suzy Duggan

Suzy Duggan

Trusts Fundraiser

The Finance & Operations Team

Salvatore LaMonica

Head of Finance and Operations

Salvatore makes sure the office runs smoothly and keeps everyone on budget. He is the most avoided person in the office when the budget time comes, and the person most in demand when there’s an operational issue. He is much beloved by all the team for helping them with all their technical mishaps. Better known as Salvo, he brings some classic Italian style to everyday office life.

Salvatore LaMonica

Salvatore LaMonica

Head of Finance and Operations

Tara Rakhes

Finance and Operations Coordinator

Tara has been working with the finance and operations team since March 2017 and officially became our permanent coordinator in June.  She mostly assists with financial tasks but can be seeing tackling the odd IT issue. Tara holds a Level 1 in British Sign Language, has abseiled down St. Guys Hospital Tower for charity and enjoys long walks on the beach!

Tara Rakhes

Tara Rakhes

Finance and Operations Coordinator

Aneta Matyasik

Finance and Operations Administrator

Aneta joined Back Up in December 2018. She is responsible for the smooth running of the office and general health and safety.
Aneta coordinates the volunteers and supports with the recruitment process. She also looks after the suppliers invoices and payment processing on Sage. In her free time, Aneta enjoys hiking, gardening and salsa dancing.

Aneta Matyasik

Aneta Matyasik

Finance and Operations Administrator


* spinal cord injured
** immediate family member has a spinal cord injury