Sue Cummings – Chair
Sue became disabled following a fall down marble stairs whilst working as a Police Officer. She moved with her family to Devon in 1980 and met a man who invited her to a wheelchair dance group. She went along and joined in the dancing and swiftly began competing both in the UK and internationally with her wheelchair dance partner. She took the English Teachers Certificate in Wheelchair Dancing in 1986 and formed the group called The Beacons Wheelchair Dancers in 1986 which is still going and growing in numbers and to date they have a membership of about 40 who meet weekly to practise for demonstrations and competitions and to just dance for the pleasure of dancing. She is a community communicator for the deaf and has used this to allow deaf and hard of hearing people to join in with the dancing. Ruth came to The Beacons with her son 11 years ago and Ruth, together with Sue, have formed a very good, strong working relationship as well as a strong friendship. Sue took her International Level 1 Instructor of Wheelchair Dance Sport examination in 2004, and then went on to take the 2 year Classification course to become a National Classifier for the sport and has regularly classified both National and International athletes for competitions both here in the Uk and overseas. In 2008 she successfully took her Diploma Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport, and together with Ruth went on to form the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) in 2006. She, along with Ruth and a band of volunteers have held 3 National Championships and has jointly written the Level 1 Instructor’s Training Course for Wheelchair Dance and Wheelchair Dance Sport here in the UK. Sue travels around the regions with Ruth hosting workshops and taster sessions for all disabled and able bodied people interested in wheelchair dance. As Chair, Sue is the representative for UK Wheelchair Dance Sport in any World and European level meetings and she works closely with a number of national wheelchair dancing and wheelchair dance sport organisations and represents the views of the membership. Sue is the principle elected member representing the organisation, and chairs all Executive Committee Board meetings as well as the Management and Finance meetings.
Ruth Boyne – Vice Chair
Ruth has 46 years of dealing with a multitude of disabilities including M.S., Spina Bifida, C.P., Hydrocephalus to name a few. She moved back to Devon from Scotland 11 years ago. She joined The Beacons Wheelchair Dancers along with her disabled son, and started to dance and compete in dance competitions with her son and other disabled members of the group. In 2004 she went to Malta to do a Level 1 Instructor’s Training Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport successfully achieving a high score certification. In 2005 she undertook the 2 year training course to become a National Classifier for the Sport, completing the course in 2007 having classified at a number of National and International competitions and is to date classifying national and International World Class athletes. In 2008 after a 6 months training course in the Netherlands, she successfully passed her Diploma Course in Wheelchair Dance Sport. Together with Sue Cummings they started the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) in 2006 which is growing in teams and dancers at a regular and sometimes dramatically fast rate. They have held 3 National Championships and have taken dancers to compete internationally from the start. They travel around the regions undertaking workshops and taster sessions and invariably leave behind a pocket of dancers who then go on to become a group in their own right, often having a member take the training course to become instructors, these now taking place in England and using the training methods and materials that have been written jointly by Ruth Boyne and Sue Cummings.
Patrick McGeough – Business Development and Funding
Patrick is Business Development Director for the WDSA (UK), Patrick became disabled following a series of strokes in 1997. Patrick has spent most of his working career supporting charities to either be open or more accessible or see the business opportunity of the disability market. He has also spent a number of years helping disabled people set up their own charities or businesses across the East of England and London Area. Patrick has worked with and for a number of public organisations like the Regional Development Agency, Business Links, Councils and the NHS. That was until 2009 when he had a second stroke which debilitated him future, this lead to Patrick being able to do minimum activity. One area Patrick formed that supported his rehabilitation was Wheelchair dancing, Patrick and his wife were looking for a first dance for their wedding and the WDSA (UK) supported them to be able to do his first dance. In 2012 Patrick trained to become a level 2 Instructor of Wheelchair Dance and which his wife and he set up a local group in Watford. Patrick is looking forward to developing the association to reach its full potential in working with partners and building Wheelchair dance and dance sport across the UK.
Dr Harbinder Sangha – Medical
Dr Harbinder Sangha, MBChB, MRCGP. DOccMed, PgDip Sport & Exercise Medicine. I am a GP with special interests in sport and exercise medicine and rehabilitation. I am currently practising in the NHS, Ministry of Defence and professional football. In the past I have worked in occupational health and held a university teaching post. I am team doctor to the FA England wheelchair football team and am pleased to also be supporting the work of the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association.
Charlene Low – Contemporary Dance
Charlene is the Director of the Contemporary Dance and Trustee of the Board of the WDSA (UK), born in Penang, Malaysia – Charlene moved over to London at age of five where she discovered she had congenital scoliosis, with fused lower lumbar vertebrae whilst falling in love with dance all in her teens. After training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance coupled with 10years of Shaolin Kungfu and working in Newham Sixth form College, specialising in integration in performing arts, Charlene ran her own projects teaching, performing and choreographing people with learning difficulties and disabled participants of various ages from 2-95yrs. Sardines Dance, a collective of exceptional, integrated, contemporary dance artist’s was brought together by Charlene in 2010. Sardine’s work extends to those with profound multiple learning difficulties in various settings, from that of a relaxed community sharing to a national televised platform. In 2011 Charlene launched ‘Moving Asia’, a series of small integrated dance projects bringing access to creativity in Asia from the UK. The pilot was a success and Sardines Dance return annually to deliver master classes, training and performances to strengthen the disabled community in Asia through dance. Charlene draws inspiration from her participants, bringing mature heartfelt depth; social and ethical integrity to all she does to motivate, achieve and communicate successfully with others of all backgrounds and ages, delivering closer than close contact, accompanied by the deep beats and dream like freedom from Nitin Sawhney, and playing up to the classic romantic cheekiness produced by Frank Sinatra. This has led her to work with companies such as Royal Academy of Dance, CandoCo, East London Dance, Entelechy Arts, Protein Dance, South Bank Centre and many more.
Christa Udell – Ballroom and Latin
My life is about languages and dancing. I studied French and English at the universities of Graz and Klagenfurt where I was awarded with a Master’s degree in these two languages. While studying, I was also competing in ballroom and Latin American Dances and became Austrian Champion in my class. During this period of my life I came to know my late husband Dennis Udell. Dennis, of course was a former World Champion in Ballroom and a world famous coach and adjudicator. We were happily married for 18 years till Dennis died from Parkinson’s Disease. I was fortunate enough to learn from and be trained by one of the best dancers and teachers in the world and hence, got highs qualifications in Ballroom, Latin and Freestyle. Dennis trained me to be a fellow in Ballroom as well as in Latin and I also got a Licentiate in Freestyle. I have been coaching dancing and judging for the last 20 years and I am now an examiner for the NATD, which I love immensely. As Dennis suffered from Parkinson’s, I came into contact with the Parkinson’s Disease Organisation and came to know about movement disorders, children and adults alike. I gave Tango lessons to people suffering from nervous diseases, hence learned to know all about different illnesses. I found this very rewarding and want to keep it up. I also organised big dancing events to raise money for charity, especially for Parkinson’s Disease as Dennis suffered from it. I hope that this background will help me to contribute ideas and help to the WDSA . I have always enjoyed judging wheelchair competitions and I am sure I will also enjoy coaching in this area. My profession, however, is I am a foreign languages teacher at Merchant Taylor’s School, which I just love. I also teach dancing there as enrichment and I am responsible for horse riding in games. Thank you for making me a Trustee of the WDSA and I am looking forward to working with all of you. Great times ahead. Christa Udell MA
Fred Chak – Marketing and Communication Director
Fred is an experienced Project Director and Executive Producer who created some of the most award winning advertising campaign and product launch in UK. In the past decade he collected over 30 awards including Reddot best of the best award, Yellow pencil, Webby awards, LA movie awards, Creative circle Gold and more. Fred worked with brands such as Adobe, AT&T, Calvin Klein, Converse, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, JaegerLeCoultre, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony. He is a fellow at Royal Society of Art and the Chairperson of Slough district Scout
Ann-Marie Martin – Pre-school and Street Dance – Non Executive
After graduating with a degree (BPA) in dance from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Anne-Marie racked-up an impressive ten years’ experience performing professionally, before going on to teach children of all ages and abilities in a variety of dance styles and performance techniques. Anne-Marie’s dancing days included performing in contemporary dance companies, pop videos, on TV – the Brit Awards and Top of the Pops to name but a few – in corporate shows and on dance tours. Anne-Marie is now the founder and director of diddi dance – funky pre-school dance classes for girls and boys.
Sharon Saltigerald – American Representative
I lived between the UK and USA since 2002 and primarily in Appleton Wisconsin for the past three years. I have been involved with dance and theatre since a child and in my adult life I have taken this passion into my work supporting children and adults with both physical and learning disabilities. I have run an inclusive arts group in the UK and this led me to investigate the opportunities for wheelchair dance. I googled my way to Sue and then took the level one wheelchair dance instructor course in 2012 I use the wheelchair dance in my work in the USA and have done displays in Appleton with a dance partner who is a wheelchair dancer from the UK which was received with a lot of interest. I am in the process now of starting a group her in Appleton.
Linda Wilson – Honorary Board Member Non – Executive
As the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association Treasurer, Linda is Chair of the Management and Finance Committee. Linda has been involved in wheelchair dance and wheelchair dance sport for a number of years since she started coming with her brother who has Spina bifida. Since then Linda has competed a number of times with her brother both on a national as well as international forms of wheelchair dance and wheelchair dance sport. Linda is a strong advocate for wheelchair dance sport and believes passionately about the difference it can make to people’s lives.
To ensure that the WDSA (UK) follow our own guidelines as well as those set by our governing bodies we have a Disciplinary Chair and Independent Examiner to review and up hold all of our procedures.
Lyn Holding – Disciplinary Chair – Non Executive
My name is Lyn and I am looking forward to learning more about wheelchair dancing. I have just taken early retirement from work. I have MS and use a scooter to get around. I worked for Ofsted in compliance investigation and enforcement. I managed a national team of staff in safeguarding young people. I attended court and I am used to the court systems. I have chaired a number of disciplinary hearings. I have two adult children and three wonderful grandchildren.
Sam Perkin FMAAT – WDSA (UK) Independent Examiner
“Samantha has many years’ experience in business and accounting, and is a Fellow of the AAT. She runs a licensed accounting practice, with a wide range of clients which is targeted at helping clients prepare and use their accounts to manage their businesses better. Samantha has a wide variety of expertise in accounting and taxation, this includes personal and business tax. She is also qualified to undertake Independent Examination for most charities. Samantha is also a part-time lecturer for Level 4 AAT students specialising in taxation, where she is able to share her enthusiasm and knowledge to the next generation of accountants in order to impart an understanding of the difficulties of business life and the pivotal role an accountant plays within any organisation. Samantha has now taken the role of giving talks on accounts and tax issues throughout the South-West and now around the UK. These talks are given to a wide variety of audiences from business owners to fellow accountants. Samantha joined the forensic accounting team at Matrix in 2012 and has been actively involved in complex cases in the criminal field. With a methodical manner, she is able to provide a clear insight into all accounting aspects of the cases in which she is involved. In addition to her practice work, Samantha has taken a major role in a program of producing e-learning modules for AAT and fellow accounting professionals. AAT have won awards for the quality of these products. This process involved producing clear information aimed carefully at the targeted readers. In a voluntary capacity she is Chair of AAT Cornwall, which won Best Branch in the UK in 2012. This has given Samantha the chance to help the branch grow and thrive. Each branch provides CPD events throughout the year and co-ordinating these events has provided and interesting challenge.”