After ten years of hard work volunteering and developing Alopecia UK, the Spencer-Bowdage family have decided the time is right to step down from their roles as Trustees and Volunteers in order to spend more time with their growing families and pursue long held career ambitions.
In 2002 Vicky Rees (nee Spencer-Bowdage) developed alopecia and felt that there wasn’t enough information or support out there for people with alopecia. As such in 2003 Vicky and her sister, Sarah Brasnett (nee Spencer-Bowdage), decided to set up an information website with a forum, a place where over the years thousands would visit to either chat with others or just take comfort from reading about others with whom they could empathise. Vicky also started a London Support Group. This all soon developed and grew and charity registration was gained in 2004 when Alopecia UK was officially born. At this point they established a structure for volunteers, the Management Committee and of course a panel of Trustees. After a short period of time Sarah and Paul Brasnett got Dr Sue McHale and Dr Nigel Hunt on board along with a wig expert from Trendco and Ruth Bowdage got Dr Fenton and Margaret Baker on board and they set up the ask an expert. They subsequently started further support groups, a membership scheme, the suppliers' directory and the email account for questions.
All of the Spencer-Bowdage family have worked extremely hard over the last ten years giving up huge quantities of time to volunteer for the charity and provide information, advice and support to people with alopecia in their time of need. Family members working on the charity includes Vicky’s mum, Ruth, who managed all of the admin for the charity as well as answering phone calls, emails and enquiries. Vicky’s dad Paul,was also involved. As treasurer he made sure that the charity used hardworking fundraisers money carefully and also built up some money to ensure the charities future security and sustainability. Vicky’s sister Sarah had a lot of experience within the field of psychology and was able to support the development of much of the content on the website, as well as being a Trustee of the charity. Sarah’s husband Paul was also a Trustee and ensured good governance, as well, technical aspects to the website.And finally Vicky, again a Trustee, was always online moderating the forum, and answering emails and enquiries from people.
Vicky has been amazed at what they have achieved over the years and how the charity has steadily grown. I think we can all agree that they have far surpassed their initial aims to provide people with more information and advice as well as support to anyone dealing with alopecia.
Asking Vicky to reflect on her achievements with Alopecia UK…
“You can really see now what we did. We have a strong team of volunteers and Trustees, a network of support groups, and an active forum. We are the registered website with the LETB (what used to be NHS) and have good ties with health professionals. We have and continue to organise events and above all we support those people that need to be supported.”
And so the time has come to say goodbye to the founding members, Vicky, Sarah, Paul, Ruth and Paul. We would like to give all of you the opportunity to express your thanks and gratitude to the Spencer-Bowdage family who have made such huge progress for all those who have been touched by alopecia.
You can go along and meet them in person at the next London Support Group meet on Sunday 13th October 2013. For those of you who are unable to make it to London we are opening up different message threads on the Forum and Facebook for you to post your messages which will be transferred in to a book of thanks which will be presented to them at the meeting.