Our trustees are people from all walks of life who want to use their own experience to ensure Sight Support Derbyshire is run effectively and efficiently. This is a voluntary role.
This experience may be personal, such as being visually impaired or having a family member who is, or professional, such as a background in healthcare, the law, finance, or marketing.
Our trustees are required to attend six two-hour meetings a year, and are asked to contribute to areas where they have particular expertise. They are also encouraged to take part in our fundraising activities and events for volunteers.
Find out more about our current trustees below.
The Duke of Devonshire, KCVO, CBE, DL
Sight Support Derbyshire Patron
The (12th) Duke of Devonshire succeeded his father in May 2004. He was educated at Eton and Exeter College Oxford. After Oxford he worked in the book publishing until his early thirties. Since then he has devoted the greater part of his time to his family businesses, including assisting in the management of the family estates in Derbyshire, Eastbourne in Sussex, Lismore in Ireland, and Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire.
He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to racing” in 1997. The Duke was knighted in the New Year’s Honours list (Jan 2009), for his services to the Crown. In August 2008 he was appointed to the position of Deputy Lieutenant for Derbyshire and was installed as the third Chancellor of the University of Derby.
In November 2010 the Duke joined the Shadow Board of the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire Nottingham & Nottinghamshire.
The Duke has followed on from his father the 11th Duke of Devonshire in being the Patron of Sight Support Derbyshire.
Martin Wilson, MA Oxon
I joined Derbyshire Association of the Blind in 2003 as a volunteer driver on the Mobile Resource Centre and the minibus. A native of the County of Essex and a graduate of Oxford University I spent 34 years in the Marketing, Sales and Commercial areas of Rolls-Royce based principally in Derby but also nearly three years in New York. This entailed working with customers all around the world. Married to wife Gill, we have two children and one grandson. I became a board trustee in September 2009.
Other interests are aviation ( I held a Private Pilots Licence for nearly 20 years), driving (including articulated lorries) , D.I.Y, travelling and golf.
Robert J Gill, FCA
I am Derby born and bred and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1981. I run an accountancy practice with my wife Margaret; we have two grown-up daughters and two grandchildren.
Sight Support Derbyshire were a tremendous help to me in many ways when I became visually impaired in 2009, so much so that I felt I wanted to give something back to the charity and became a volunteer and trustee in 2011.
Amongst other events I have abseiled off Jurys Inn in Derby and “Firewalked” to raise funds for the charity. In my spare time I support my local football team and enjoy spending time with my family and listening to music.
Jean Sharp, BSc, RMN, DipSW
My first experience of sight loss was in the early 1960s when as a young child I was fascinated to visit my mother on the eye ward at the DRI following surgery. I was intrigued that the doctors could make her eyes see better.
My interest in visual impairment was cemented when I met a former CEO of Sight Support Derbyshire, a formidable and inspiring woman.
I joined Sight Support Derbyshire as a volunteer in the fundraising team in 2009. Since then I have enjoyed the exhilaration of abseiling at Monsal Head, worn Rudolph’s antlers whilst Christmas bag packing at Morrisons, and got thoroughly wet at the Duck Race a few years ago!
I have travelled extensively as a sighted guide including standing in Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, horse riding in the Cuban mountains and visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. I have made some amazing friends on these holidays and am in awe of their personal achievements.
I have over 45 years’ experience of working in both Health and Social Care in various positions and bring that wealth of knowledge to the Board. I am also the proud mum to my daughter, who is a solicitor, and my son, who is a computer engineer for Google, and intend to draw on their expertise to enhance my role as a trustee!
I have served on the Board of Trustees for Sight Support Derbyshire since 2015. Currently I work part time as a mental health specialist for Nottinghamshire Police which gives me more time to commit to this worthwhile charity.
I moved to Derby in 1973 having been brought up in Liverpool. Having married, raised three children and worked locally throughout my career, I am well and truly rooted in Derby and the East Midlands. I trained as a social worker in Leicester and worked in Social Services in a variety of practice, planning and managerial roles for Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and Leicestershire County Council. I retired from Leicestershire County Council in March 2015 after 8 years as Director of Adults and Communities. This entailed managing the council’s adult care services and latterly also included the management of libraries, museums and adult learning.
I am keen to remain active in retirement and saw volunteering as a good way to do this alongside pursuing a wide range of personal interests and family commitments. This led me to apply to become a trustee at the beginning of 2017. I have worked with people with visual impairments in a number of ways throughout my career and with organisations providing services to them. This has given me experience and insights which I hope will be useful to Sight Support Derbyshire as I develop my trustee role.