Cauda Equina Syndrome Festival

Mon 27th Sept - Fri 1st Oct 2021

Main Festival sponsors are RapidCare

The Event Schedule

Monday 27th September

Tuesday 28th September

Wednesday 29th September

Thursday 30th September

Friday 1st October

We invite you to
the CESFestival 2021

We are both proud and excited to present our first CES Festival and Conference as part of our International CES Awareness Day on October 1st 2021.

Drawing on our experience, friends and colleagues over the last ten years, we wanted to showcase the very best efforts being made to help cauda equina patients.

Our Festival is a celebration of everyone who is affected by cauda equina syndrome.

It may affect your working life when managing CES patients, you may care for somebody with disabilities, or CES may have left you adjusting to a new version of yourself you never imagined. Whichever hat you wear we aim to bring us all closer together, driving change and improving outcomes for patients. CES Festival will be a beacon of hope and a window into what can be achieved for cauda equina patients everywhere.

Some of our Speakers

Claire Thornber

Cauda Equina Champions Charity was founded by Claire following her own CES injury. A huge, herniated disc in her lower back compressed the nerves at the base of her spinal cord, leading to permanent, life changing injuries.

Her traumatic experience of emergency treatment, followed by a lack of support and services, highlighted the need for a patient support group. From a small Facebook group the charity has grown with over 3500 members across the world. It is now the leading voice, and only dedicated UK charity for cauda equina syndrome…

James Martin

I work as a Charity Manager at Cauda Equina Champions Charity.

I have never had such job satisfaction in my whole working career, than I do working for the charity.

Leading up to my diagnosis I worked as a Bank Manager for an organisation I had been with for 10 years.

I was diagnosed with CES in September 2020, and have been supporting the charity ever since. I started fundraising whilst in hospital…

Stuart Wheeler

‘’Freedom Wheelchair Skills offers peer-led teaching of everyday skills and techniques to help people get the most out of life while using a wheelchair. Many wheelchair users can struggle to be independent; to confidently push down to the local shops or to see friends, negotiating curbs and potholes, and open doors on their own. I started Freedom Wheelchair Skills can teach people who need to use wheelchairs how to use the chair effectively, safely and positively.

Being injured as a young person, I can fully understand the irritations people face. I have experience of teaching young people the vital skills…

Sally Hatfield

Sally has specialised in clinical negligence cases for many years, acting predominantly for Claimants. She has experience of the full range of medical presentations, although since taking silk has concentrated on the most severe cases, particularly resulting from birth or paediatric injury, wrongful birth claims, neurological or orthopaedic injury (including cauda equina cases), cancer, stroke and cardiac cases. She is interested in the psychiatric and psychological issues which frequently accompany serious injury and seeks to ensure that totality of the impact on the lay client is acknowledged, so far as the litigation process can do so.

Michelle Donald

Michelle Donald (PG Dip PST) is an Accredited Psychosexual Therapist; a senior member of the College Of Sex and Relationship Therapists. (COSRT)

Her expertise is in the areas of sexual issues related to spinal cord injury and the strains on a relationship that SCI may bring with it. Her long-term aim is focused on the development of a comprehensive sexual education programme within rehabilitation centres and care agencies.

Michelle believes it is necessary to address the issue of how important sexuality is…

Clive Coleman – BBC news

As the BBC’s Legal Correspondent for the past ten years, Clive was the face and voice of legal coverage and analysis across the BBC news output on radio, television and the website.

Drawing on his years as a practicing barrister, he covered a vast range of domestic and international legal stories and issues including 2019’s momentous…

Nish Srikandarajah

Nish Srikandarajah is a senior neurosurgical trainee who works at The Walton Centre in Liverpool, UK. He has completed a PhD at the University of Liverpool where he developed an international core outcome set for Cauda Equina Syndrome. This was done with CES patients and healthcare professionals across the world. He is a keen researcher and surgeon when it comes to patient outcomes in spinal conditions, especially in CES. He has been involved in many publications, presentations and is involved in many ongoing spine and patient outcome projects.

Catrina Farnell

Catrina is a Health campaigner for People First charity in Keighley and Craven, a role she took on after volunteering and then working for Champions Charity. Despite her immense pain and other issues, Catrina’s tenacity and grace, mean she is able continue to do some wonderful work as a disability advocate, both at People First and with Bradford District Care Foundation.


My name is Catrina Farnell, I had Cauda Equina in 2012…

Brigitte Collins

Brigitte has over 25 years’ experience in the field of bowel dysfunction. Her career has progressed from working within an acute colorectal ward to becoming a CNS in Stoma Care and up until just over 2 years ago was the Lead Nurse within the Biofeedback service at St Marks Hospital, London for 14 years, where she was able to complete an MSc in GI nursing and degree module for Nurse Prescribing.

Since 2018 she has taken up the post of ‘Global Clinical Education Manager’ for MacGregor Healthcare Ltd. Her role is to develop and execute strategic clinical and educational plans…

Helen Smith

Helen is a consultant clinical psychologist, working part-time at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre (“Stanmore”) since 1998, and one day per week working with amputees.

Helen studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and then did her Clinical Psychology training at the Institute of Psychiatry in south London. She became interested in neuro-rehabilitation and worked in brain injury units for some years, before joining the Stanmore team. She developed an interest in patients who walk, and with help from some out-patients, established a “walker’s group”, to provide peer support…

Sue Lennon

RGN. BSc Cancer and Palliative Care.
PG Dip Psychosexual Therapy
MA Healthcare Ethics and Law.

Sue Lennon worked in Oncology throughout a 27-year nursing career, ending with 14 years as a senior Macmillan Nurse in Uro-Oncology in Harrogate

Recognising that the sexual impact of urological malignancies was largely ignored despite the massive collateral damage patients suffered, she studied…

Mr Mecci

Mr Munawar Mecci graduated in India, completed training in General Surgery in Dublin, Urology in Belfast and Scotland and worked as a Urologist in the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh.

He joined Spinal Cord Injuries in Salisbury UK in 1996 and trained in the Northwest Regional Centre in Southport and secondment in Oswestry.

Appointed as a Consultant in the newly built Golden Jubilee Regional Spinal Cord Injuries Centre, Middlesbrough in 2000.

Jennie Sharpe

On 25th December 2018 I suffered a life changing injury and was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome.

I had major emergency spinal surgery, my L5/S1 collapsed and crushed my nerve Canal, leaving me with permanent damage and a new disability I had to come to terms with, I was told I’d never walk again unaided and definitely wouldn’t ride again…

Sadie Wiseman

Sadie Wiseman Lives in Norwich, Norfolk born in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

I enjoy holidays abroad to relax and soak up the sun. My most treasured memory was going to The Maldives with my wife and one day I dream we return. I am a qualified chef that worked my way up to sous chef for Hilton Hotels. Then went on to be Catering Manager and have worked in the industry for over 30 years. I have recently found a love for painting…

Anannya Sawant

I am Anannya ( in Sanskrit it means unique or having no equivalent ), I am 42 when I was diagnosed with CES in July 2019.

The picture you see was the last holiday we had as a family, we went away for our daughter’s birthday. A little tradition that my husband had for years to take me away for my birthday to treat me and my daughter wanted to be treated the same as she barely saw us at home together due to work commitments…

Anna Elwell

Anna works in the PPM Department at Anthony Collins LLP as a Legal Caseworker – helping support Court of Protection clients who often have catastrophic injuries and disabilities.

She assists clients with life administration – including applying for benefit, challenging DWP decisions – particularly the Personal Independence Payment benefit that is available for people with disabilities. She also help with care fees, financial assessments, care workers, applying for direct payments.

Michael Brownlee

Michael is a trainee solicitor who is currently experiencing a variety of legal practice at Anthony Collins LLP and will qualify in 2022. Having completed one his training seats in the Employment Team, he has a natural interest in employment law and has a passion for ensuring people are treated fairly and within the law in the work place setting.

Hollie Batson

Hollie comes along to Champions Charity support group meetings in the south of England and demonstrates bowel irrigation products to our members…

Eliot Stackhouse

Elliot Stackhouse is the Clinical Marketing Assistant for iMEDicare.

‘We offer a dynamic and exciting range of medical products for patient use in the fields of Urology and Continence Management / Treatment throughout the UK and Ireland.’