Past Shows

Dr Dorothy Cowie – BOLDkids Brain Organisation in Limb Differences

Previous speakers at our Annual Family Weekends, Dorothy and her team at BOLDkids and collaboration with Professor Tamar Makin, an expert on brain plasticity at the UCL Plasticity Lab are no strangers to Reach!

Dorothy will be discussing the research project where every day behaviour and brain development was studied in children with limb differences, aiming to keep building a better understanding of the amazing ways in which these children develop to not only cope with, but thrive with, their limb differences.

Nate Macabuag & Alex Lewis - Koalaa

Nate Macabuag alongside Alex Lewis talking with Alastair about Project Limitless and their mission is to provide every child in the UK who needs one with a prosthetic limb.

Lots of Reach children are already involved from its launch last March. Now with its a partnership spearheaded by The Douglas Bader Foundation, The Alex Lewis Trust and Koalaa (formerly Mitt).


In 1964 Pat Johnson, an engineer with ICI, decided to help his disabled sister by making some improvements to her home because as a wheelchair user, she was experiencing difficulties in managing daily life. By 1968 a network of groups or panels of volunteers were set up across the country.  The acronym Remap officially stands for Rehabilitation  Engineering  Movement  Advisory  Panel but these days it is now known as Resourceful Engineers Make Anything Possible. Remap now covers the whole of the UK and completes 3,500 projects every year helping young and older disabled people to become more independent.

Cornwall Mobility

Cornwall Mobility is the largest mobility centre in the UK. Mobility centres aim, is to provide solutions, services, support and reassurance to people of all ages who face independence and mobility challenges. Some of the most commonly asked questions we have enquiries about, are about learning to drive with an upper limb difference.
Sascha Jacob and Joanna Dixon from Cornwall Mobility will be sharing a presentation which will enlighten and inform, covering license application, coding on licenses, assessments, costs and adaptations. They will also be demonstrating various adaptations that can be fitted in a car.

Joanna Allen

Joanna, proud mum to 8 year old Daisy and 6 year old James, wife, CEO of graze, and co-chair of enableUnilever‘s employee network for people with disabilities alongside Nakul Gaur talks with Alastair and shares her story of how early support gave hope, viewing her pregnancy ‘the opportunity to reflect on my own behaviour and bias’  and on how inclusive Joanne previously viewed herself – as an individual, as a friend, as a marketeer.

Ruth Lester

A member of The British Society for Surgery of the Hand, Ruth holds the position of honorary consultant plastic surgeon at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Originally trained as a plastic surgeon, Ruth became a consultant as a Burns Surgeon at the Birmingham Accident Hospital, where she discovered a need for hand surgery. Around 1990, Ruth was contacted by the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, requesting that she join them to help with children’s hand conditions. She then went on to negotiate a transfer to The Birmingham Children’s Hospital as she found that she wanted to operate on children at a younger age and therefore needed the facilities of a children’s hospital.

A valued member on the Reach Board of Trustees, Ruth was a key speaker at the 2017 Annual Family Weekend and regularly helps advise and supports members. Ruth will be discussing ‘How does a surgeon think?

Amy Truesdale & Limb Power

Para Taekwondo fighter, Amy Truesdale has had quite the impressive medal tally over the years and is best known for her World Championship wins in 2014 and 2017. In 2019 alone Amy won a bronze medal in the European Para Taekwondo Open Championships, Gold in the Asian Para Open Taekwondo Championships, Gold in the Korea Open Para Taekwondo, and in the African Para Taekwondo Championships, Amy won yet another Gold!

Representing GB, Amy’s primary aim is to win gold at Para Taekwondo’s debut at Tokyo in 2021 and then hopefully do the same in Paris in 2024. Amy is also a keen advocate for disability sport and has made it her mission to raise awareness, she will be talking with Alastair about her sporting journey also focussing on her training and how she adapts exercise and methods to best suit her needs.

Limb Power was launched in November 2009 to engage amputees and individuals with limb impairments in physical activity, sport and the arts to improve quality of life and to aid lifelong rehabilitation. In July 2014 LimbPower became a National Disability Sports Organisation, sitting alongside WheelPower, Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport), Dwarf Sport, British Blind Sport (BBS), UK Deaf Sport, Mencap Sport and Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB). Through this association and our work with the English Federation of Disability Sport and Sport England LimbPower help amputees and people with limb impairment reach their sporting potential. LimbPower also run arts based activities including confidence workshops and a photography club.

Hollie Arnold

Hollie represents Wales in the Commonwealth Games and was the youngest ever field athlete to ever compete in the Paralympics/Olympics, at the age of 14 at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing throwing a personal best. Hollie also threw a personal best in 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, winning a gold medal in the F46 javelin in the 2016 Summer Paralympics at Rio, also throwing a new world record at the same time.

In 2018, she became the first ever Javelin thrower in history to hold all four major titles in the same Paralympic/Olympic 4-year cycle: Rio Paralympics and world record 2016, London World Championships and world record 2017, Berlin European Championships and course record 2018 and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and world record 2018. She also holds four consecutive world titles: 2013 Lyon, 2015 Doha, 2017 London, and 2019 Dubai.. Hollie was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to field athletics. Facing a new challenge in November 2020, Hollie joined the cast of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out, The Castle

Rupinder Kaur

Rupinder is the award winning founder of Asian Women Mean Business, AWMB, a British Asian woman Rupinder has experienced and excelled in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments. With eighteen years experience in the world of human resources, psychology, coaching and mentoring Rupinder is a mother to Daya and Sahib who has an upper limb difference. She understands the challenges that working mothers face but also how becoming a mother can challenge your identity as a woman, your life aspirations and trying to understand who you really are.

Experiencing postnatal depression after giving birth to Sahib in 2017, Rupinder struggled to talk openly at the time. Very few close family members and friends knew, there were feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment to admit it, but Rupinder managed to shift it by treating the cause and addressing the symptoms. ⁣

Anoushé Husain

Reach member, Anoushé is a champion for all those experiencing barriers and self-limiting beliefs. Born missing her right arm below the elbow, living with multiple health conditions, a cancer survivor, a Muslim and coming from an ethnic minority, Anoushé has never let what society or culture thinks she should do limit her or dictate the direction of her life. She is constantly breaking the mould and challenging not only her own beliefs about her own potential but also that of society and her own culture.

Anoushé has become a role model to anyone facing a self-limiting belief or barrier and is sharing her journey to help others unlock their potential. Anoushé candidly talks about her life, how she has remained resilient in the face of huge obstacles and talks about issues that we as a society do not talk about enough.

Wayne Williams - Bionics for everyone

The number of bionic hands on the market is growing with each passing year. Competition is heating up and helping to drive prices down.

The immediate goal of Bionics for Everyone is to give those who have lost physical or neurological capabilities information on the latest bionic options available to them.

Everything you need to know about bionic arms and hands, including all the current devices, technologies, and the latest research is continuously updated, Bionics for Everyone is intended as your one-stop repository for information on upper-limb bionics.

Melissa Johns

Actor & disability advocate

She is most known for playing Hannah Taylor in Mike Bartlett’s BBC One drama LIFE and Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street.

Melissa is an ambassador for disability in the arts and advocates for better representation of disability on and off screen and stage.

Órla Duncan

Returning key speaker from The Reach Annual Family Weekend in 2018, psychosocial practitioner Orla Duncan will be sharing advice on how to cope when answering those ‘trickier’ questions from strangers, friends and family. Other discussion points will include, as a new parent, grandparents, toddler and young school age children, residentials, starting high school/secondary school

Orla, who for many years, has worked closely alongside the charity Changing Faces, helps children with a wide range of conditions that can affect appearance. In offering specialised emotional and practical support to children with scars, markings, upper limb difference and other conditions that affect appearance, Orla can help build self-confidence and teach strategies and ways of coping with negative comments.

Frank Letch

For many years Frank has campaigned for a fair deal on behalf of families and individuals with disabilities. His breadth of knowledge around Disability Living Allowance has been invaluable to many and Frank has represented several cases with families at Disability Appeal Tribunals.

Frank has many, many strings to his bow! A father of 5 and Grandfather of 6, Frank lives a remarkably independent life. He can ride a modified bike, drive an automatic car, and also enjoys sailing. Frank is extremely skilful using his feet completing daily tasks with ease, writing, working on a computer, gardening, playing darts to name but a few.

In 2015 he received an MBE for services to people with disabilities and to the wider community in Crediton, and for the 12th year Cllr Frank Letch was elected chairman of Crediton Town Council and Mayor of Crediton May 2020.

Later this year Frank will be featured the fourth documentary film about his life, we will keep you posted!

Cornel Hrisca-Munn

Cornel is a Senior Access Officer – Disability Manager at Cheshire West and Chester Council , a disability and partnership strategy expert, employability professional and Oxford University graduate.

Alongside the day job and in his spare time, Cornel is a professional musician, with a number of prestigious performances and an illustrious musical portfolio to his name. An avid fundraiser from the age of 6, Cornel raised thousands of pounds which was recognised when he received the Pride of Britain Child of Courage Award in March 2004.