InterAction magazine May 2008: One year on and New Trustees

The recent article published by Third Sector contained the following quote:

“A spokeswoman added that AfME required the majority of its trustees to have had ME, and that all but two of the current 10 board members were either sufferers or carers.”

The May 2008 issue of AfME’s InterAction magazine, is published this week. In Issue 64, Sir Peter Spencer introduces two new members to the Board of Trustees:

Lionel Godfrey, a senior advertising and marketing executive with an large international agency, has a family interest in ME.

Chris Cundy is an executive board member of the VT Group. The VT Group is a corporate sponsor of AfME; in addition to donating funds to AfME, AfME is one of the VT Group’s three partnership charities for 2008.

Before taking up the position of CEO of AfME (in order, he has said, to give something back to society) Sir Peter Spencer was a former Second Sea Lord who had recently retired as chief executive of the Defence Procurement Agency.

According to VT Group Annual Report & Accounts 2005, Admiral The Lord Boyce is listed as a Director of the VT Group:

“Admiral The Lord Boyce, Non-Executive, age 62

After a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy, culminating in his appointment as First Sea Lord in 1998, Lord Boyce was subsequently appointed Chief of Defence Staff in 2001. He retired from the latter role in May 2003 and was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in July 2004. He is a non-executive director of W S Atkins plc and he was appointed to the VT Group board in July 2004.”


Reproduced with permission of

InterAction magazine, Issue 64, May 2008

Page 1: One year on

Looking back on my first year at Action for M.E., I am struck by how isolated so many people are because of this horrible illness and how generous some people are in giving their time, to try to make a difference – carers, volunteers, fundraisers and of course our members themselves.

During M.E. Awareness Month, we will be highlighting serious shortcomings in health and welfare services across this country and the injustices which result. The information which informs this campaign comes directly from those of you who responded to our recent questionnaire. Thank you for investing so much effort. I will be announcing the results on 12 May, M.E. Awareness Day.

In this issue of InterAction, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the contributions of those volunteers who staff the support-line (p15) and record InterAction on CD (p 37). Other volunteers write for us, proof read (see opposite), draw cartoons (Lindsay), run our postal library (Moira), provide admin support (Mary, Sue, Bridget, Alexis) and of course raise funds.

Personally, I am indebted to the many people who have shared their expertise and experiences with me over the past 12 months. In particular I would like to thank those members, colleagues and local group representatives who brought home to me the realities of M.E.

I have also drawn heavily on the wisdom of our trustees, who give Action for M.E. its strategic direction. It is very clear as we become a stronger and much more powerful organisation that the soul of the charity rests upon it continuing to be led by people with M.E. This retains an essential moral authority at the heart of all of our corporate decision making.

Today, the Board is preparing to welcome new members (see p 4). They bring with them a wide range of skills, which will stand us in good stead as we expand our operations.

One year on, I am looking forward to the next set of challenges in our fight to improve the lives of people with M.E.

Sir Peter Spencer
Chief Executive


Reproduced with permission of

InterAction magazine, Issue 64, May 2008

Page 4: New trustees

Action for M.E. was founded by and is led by people with M.E., for people with M.E. It is the policy of the charity that the majority of trustees should have, or should have recovered from M.E. Trustees also include carers for people with M.E. and professionals whose expertise helps to provide additional skills in deciding the strategic direction of the charity and its activities.

As InterAction goes to press, six people who either have M.E. or who are carers are being interviewed for trustee roles. Two prominent new members – Chris Cundy and Lionel Godfrey – have already been appointed.

Lionel Godfrey

Lionel Godfrey is Worldwide Client Service Director with Ogilvy & Mather. He has spent his entire career in marketing and communications and has been a member of the Worldwide Board of Ogilvy, one of the top five global agencies, since 1994. His principal client responsibility is Unilever, (the world’s largest advertiser outside the US), an account which Ogilvy runs in 80 countries.

In addition to an impressive career history, Lionel understands what it is like to care for someone who has M.E. He told InterAction:

“My younger daughter Clemmie went down with M.E. in her final year at university. She was a highly talented sportswoman who played lacrosse for England but when the illness struck, she didn’t even have the energy to walk down the stairs.

“It was heartbreaking to watch, but we were fortunate to have an excellent and sympathetic GP and with his help and a lot of TLC from my wife, after a few months there was some improvement.

“As her strength returned, the next issue was to rebuild her confidence and help her believe that some sort of normal life would be possible.” A
temporary job helped. “Eventually, after 18 months, she felt well enough to leave home and start her post-graduation life in London. Four years on, she has now built a successful career in sports marketing and she has recently got married.

“She still has to be very careful about pacing herself and energetic sports are no longer on the agenda. But we all feel very lucky and grateful that she has made such a good recovery.”

Amongst the famous campaigns that Lionel has led, the repositioning of Lucozade from a convalescence drink to an in-health energy boost, featuring Daley Thompson, in the early 1980s, is one of the most successful. More recently, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty has achieved enormous publicity around the world and this year won the coveted Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival.

“Action for M.E. was an invaluable source of information and support during Clemmie’s illness,” says Lionel.

“Having lived through my daughter’s M.E. and seen the support that Action for M.E. can provide, I am very gratified to have the opportunity to try and help the charity in whatever way I can. I hope my professional skills will be of some use, and I really look forward to working with the other trustees and with Peter Spencer.”

Chris Cundy

After studying for an Economics and Accounting Degree at Bristol University, Chris joined KPMG Audit Pic in 1982 and subsequently spent 11 years in the profession.

He qualified as an ACA in 1985 and transferred to KPMG’s Brussels office with responsibility for its multinational clients. On his return to Southampton in 1989, he was responsible for a number of plc audits.

In 1993 Chris joined VT as Group Accountant with particular involvement in the Group’s acquisition activities and development of its Support Service business. He became Group Finance Director in November 1997 and became an executive board member in 1999. After 10 years as Finance Director, he has now taken the role of Commercial Director, responsible for strategy, government relationships and business development activities.

Chris told InterAction:

“I am delighted to be joining Action for M.E. as a trustee. When VT Group agreed to become a corporate sponsor I was impressed with the work done by the charity and the people involved and look forward to being able to make a contribution to the charity’s development.”

When he is not busy with his corporate responsibilities, Chris’ interests include rugby, football and walking. Earlier this year, Action for M.E. was delighted to be selected as one of the VT Group’s three partnership charities for 2008. In addition to donating monetary funds, VT is encouraging staff to volunteer and take part in fundraising generally.


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