Peterborough’s Rowley goes back to the future at The British Polio Fellowship
Following what has been an extraordinary 75th Anniversary year for the charity, The British Polio Fellowship has announced that its Peterborough Branch Chairman, Bryan Rowley, is now also the new national Chair of Trustees. The move for Bryan, who passed his own personal milestone of 80 years young, recently, was the very first child member of the charity. Bryan’s father was one of the charity’s founding members and spent a number of years as national Chairman himself.
“I’m tremendously proud to have been elected as the National Chair of Trustees and especially to have followed in my father’s footsteps,” said Bryan. “The British Polio Fellowship has always played a huge part in my life, right from childhood following my initial recovery from Polio and adjusting to life with major disability, up until my current battle against Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). Because of my personal experience and connection with the charity, I am in a fantastic position to help our members at a time where the general public remain blissfully unaware of the problems facing those with the late effects of Polio and PPS.”
In 1935, Bryan, who was at the time 15 month old, was taken into hospital after contracting Polio. He was one of thousands of members of the British public who contracted Polio before the vaccination was available, and although surviving he has been left with a number of health implications. He is now one of 120,000 people in the UK living with PPS, a neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, aches and pains and a greater sensitivity to the cold.
Bryan will now look to serve the members and wants to offer a great amount of regional support and will attempt to meet as many members as possible during his time in office. He said: “Although it may be impossible to visit each branch, I hope to visit each region and will be listening to all of our members’ questions and concerns, as well as any feedback on what the charity is already doing well.”
Aside from his long period of working with the British Polio Fellowship already, Bryan brings a varied commerce and industry career – in aviation research and latterly as a Science teacher – whilst he also has a track record running his own business. Once PPS began taking hold, Bryan then moved to the City Council Housing department until retirement and it’s this wealth of experience across a number of positions that charity CEO Ted Hill MBE, believes has given British Polio members confidence in his ability.
“Bryan is a seasoned businessman with a unique combination of industry experience and a highly personal connection with the charity,” said Ted. “Bryan’s journey from the first child member in 1945 to being the National Chair of Trustees is remarkable. He has a determination to live his life to the full and not allow the late effects of Polio and PPS to get in his way. I think that resonates with and inspires the vast majority of our members, and played a big part in his election. He will certainly be a great asset to the Board and I wish Bryan every success in his new role.”