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Registered Charity Number: 504366

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About MREA

Governing Body

The Governing Body — History

We are an independent charity working towards improving the quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families across Merseyside and Cheshire.

For over 60 years, we’ve been providing a free and confidential community service which aims to give support and information on a personal basis.

A Brief History

The Association was founded in 1956 by a Liverpool Social Worker, Dorothy Kealing, and was named Merseyside Epileptics Society. The Society’s President was Lord Cohen of Birkenhead and its Chairman Dr RR Hughes.

Over the next ten years it functioned as a branch of the British Epilepsy Association and in that period changed its name to British Epilepsy Association – Mersey Branch.

In 1966 the Chairmanship was taken by neurosurgeon Richard Hannah with his wife Kay as the Honorary Secretary. They recruited Peter Rogan and David Renison to the Committee.

In 1974 the relationship with BEA ceased and an independent charity, Mersey Region Epilepsy Association, was formed. It grew and prospered to serve Mersey Region population offering support and guidance to all those who lived with epilepsy as well as those who cared for them.

In 1992 Dick and Kay Hannah retired as Chairman and Honorary Secretary respectively and their roles were taken over by David Renison as Chairman and Nancy Marsh as Secretary with Peter Rogan becoming Vice Chairman.

The next four years were eventful seeing groups formed across the Region and two Fieldworkers were employed, viz. John Garrod, who covered the North Wales area and Colette Rogan who covered the Merseyside area. They visited the homes of newly diagnosed patients referred by the Walton Centre to offer support and advice. In 1995 David Renison resigned the chairmanship and Nancy Marsh retired as secretary. David undertook the role of Vice Chairman and Honorary Secretary with Peter Rogan becoming Chairman and Derek Shanks the Honorary Treasurer.

From 1995 –2020, Peter, David and Derek steered the Association to become nationally recognised as a leading patient support charitable organisation for people with epilepsy. Professor David Chadwick became President and on his retirement Professor Tony Marson undertook the role. Colette Rogan trained as a counsellor and, supported by the Association, took up an honorary contract with the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery. The Association played a leading role in the Joint Epilepsy Council of the UK and Ireland with David and Peter both serving terms in the Chair.

In 2019 the Officers, Peter Rogan, David Renison and Derek Shanks made the decision to retire and seek new leadership to take the Association into a new era. They were successful and as of 2020 Simon Keller, Guleed Adan, Pete Dixon and Susannah Keller were elected Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary respectively.
Professor Tony Marson remains as President of the Association.

The New Officers

Prof Tony Marson MB ChB MD FRCP
President
About me

Professor Marson is a consultant neurologist and epileptologist at The Walton Centre and Professor of Neurology at The University of Liverpool. The team at The Walton Centre runs one of the largest epilepsy services in the UK, providing a comprehensive multidisciplinary service. His research has focussed upon the assessment of treatments and interventions for epilepsy.
He led the National Audit of Seizure Management in Hospitals and chairs the current NHS England review of epilepsy specialist commissioning. He has coordinated two of the largest randomized controlled trials in epilepsy and is chief investigator of the ongoing SANAD II.

He is Director of Research Programmes for Liverpool Health Partners, Board Member of the European Academy of Neurology where he chairs the Congress Programme Committee, Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Epilepsy Group, Deputy Director MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research, and he sits on the advisory panel on neurological conditions for the Secretary of State for Transport.

Dr Simon Keller BSc MSc PhD FHEA FAS
Chairman
About me

I am a neuroimaging scientist at the University of Liverpool who specialises in epilepsy. I have been researching and teaching epilepsy for over 20 years. I am Director of the Liverpool Brain Research using Advanced Imaging in Neurology (BRAIN) lab at the University of Liverpool. Links to the lab can be found in the research section of our website. I am also a member of the Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) Scientific Advisory Committee and advise the ERUK board of Trustees on scientific matters, including an annual research grant funding process.

My main research interest is to use neuroimaging techniques, mainly MRI, to understand what causes epilepsy, why some people with epilepsy have cognitive problems and what can predict a good response to epilepsy treatment. I also have interests in other neurological disorders and try to bring together the excellent clinical work specialists do at our local NHS Trusts with University-based research. Despite my interest in other neurological disorders, epilepsy touched my heart early on, and will always be my main interest and motivation in research.

Guleed Adan MBBS BSc MRCP (London) MSc
Vice Chairman
About me

I am an adult neurology specialist trainee at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and a clinical research fellow at the University of Liverpool. I am working on the Association of British Neurologists and the Guarantors of Brain funded project “Predicting seizure recurrence following first unprovoked seizure”.

I am an aspiring epileptologist and I have an interest in improving the early diagnosis of epilepsy and the development of multi-modal, non-invasive biomarkers to appropriately prognosticate and risk stratify patients following their first seizure. I acquire research data at the University of Liverpool and see patients at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Pete Dixon BSc(Hons) PhD
Treasurer
About me

Although with a background in botany, I have worked with the Epilepsy Research Group at University of Liverpool since 2007. I have primarily been involved in health services reach and my projects include developing alternative care pathways for emergency department users with epilepsy; analysing routinely collected administrative datasets to improve emergency care pathways in epilepsy, COPD and alcohol-related liver disease; and the first ever national audit of emergency department care for patients presenting with seizures.

I have sat on a national epilepsy commissioning working group, and am currently a member of the Steering Committee of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient and Outcome and Death (Epilepsy).

Susannah Keller
Secretary
About me

I am currently working in the skincare and cosmetic industry. This has given me the fantastic opportunity to be involved with delivering regular workshops; helping to give women and men the tools to feel better about some of the physical side effects of cancer treatment.

I feel very passionate about helping people who are going through difficult times. This has recently led me to pursue a qualification in counselling. My aim is now to offer counselling to people diagnosed with epilepsy.

Having been married to a Neuroscientist with a particular expertise in epilepsy for the last 20 years, I have taken great interest in his work.

I am also the first line of communication for MREA.

As Chairman of the Association I offer you a very warm welcome to our newly developed website.
Read Simon’s statement.

We are a charity, so your support is vital for us to continue helping epilepsy sufferers in the region.
Find out how you can help us.

If you have any questions about the role of MREA or want to discuss opportunities to get involved with our work, please contact us.