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Teen Faculty


After having spent years on the sideline as the "spouse" of one of the faculty members, Neil Benchell decided it was time to get involved with CWD and Friends for Life®. As one of the Teen Staff members, Neil is always in the thick of trying to make the conferences a more memorable experience for all. In addition to his work with CWD, Neil is an attorney practicing in the area of intellectual property litigation, and has represented a number of diabetes-related organizations.


Jake Head, 28, is son to Ash Head and Shayne Weldon, brother of Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). He is an Event Manager at EFI Logistics, responsible for managing International Exhibition and Trade Show Logistics at events all over the world. He is a keen motorcycle enthusiast and recently rode his motorcycle up to the northern reaches of Norway on a camping holiday. Jake has worked with the Teen Group here at FFL UK since 2015 and assists with move-in.


Emily Newhouse, BSc (hons), has been a Paediatric nurse since 2007 and worked at UCLH, initially on the adolescent unit, and later with the paediatric diabetes team. She is passionate about working with teens, particularly helping them find the ways and motivation to gain good control of their diabetes. She enjoys working through particularly complex and challenging situations, and partnering with patients and families throughout their diabetes journey. Emily teaches both established and newly diagnosed families, as well as nursing and school staff, about good, safe diabetes management that can be incorporated into the daily home routine.


Jon Peel is the Sensor Manufacture Lead for the FreeStyle Libre system at Abbott Diabetes Care. Jon has been with Abbott for 15 years in various roles, so knows a lot about glucose monitoring for diabetes. In his spare time, Jon enjoys listening to music and is a regular regular festival goer. He also enjoys both watching and playing cricket and taking his mad dog out for walks. Jon has run five full marathons, over 20 half marathons, and might attempt another one!


Becky Thomson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009 at the age of 24. She is a writer, director and actor who posts far less frequently than she would like on her blog, Instructions Not Included. Over the last eight years, she has been privileged to work with new pump users during their start up and take her one woman show about diagnosis and life with Type 1 to northern audiences and medical students in Leeds. She has attended two Orlando Friends For Life conferences and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to assist with the UK conference.

Tween Faculty


Chelsea Carr has grown up around diabetes; her brother Jeremy was diagnosed in 2000. She attended her first Friends for Life conference with her family in 2003 and has been to many CWD regional and annual conferences since that time. It was through the FFL conferences that she first met her husband, Martyn. Chelsea now lives in Glasgow and recently completed her masters degree in history at the University of Edinburgh. She loves working with kids and has worked as a dance and acrobatics teacher for young children. She is also an aerialist and spends all of her free time hanging from the rafters on a trapeze!


Martyn Carr, BSc, RN, lives in Scotland and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Martyn earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University West of Scotland and currently works with different age groups with diabetes. Martyn would like to become a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN). Martyn met his wife Chelsea at the Friends for Life Conference in Orlando. Martyn has participated in the Friends for Life conferences and the UK Friends for Life conferences for many years. Martyn has worked with the Elementary, Tween and Teen age groups, and he loves helping out and being with his friends at CWD conferences.


John Broadbent is a Quality Engineer at Abbott Diabetes Care. Before doing this role, John took part in the Abbott Professional Development Program, and spent two years in different roles in Witney (UK), Ireland and India. Johns’ hobbies include football, rugby, hiking, travelling.


Jack Gillum attended his first Friends For Life Conference in 2009, the first UK conference. Jack has an interest in type 1 diabetes from when his sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. Jack is currently in his 3rd year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading where he has taken an interest in the role of International Organisations in policy making. He is looking forward to volunteering in the faculty again this year.


Faye Wheller is mum to Morgan and Summer, who are both excited to be in the Elementary group this year. Morgan was diagnosed type 1 at two years old, when Summer was just two days old. Over the last few years, Faye has helped organise and run One Walk events for JDRF, has been to the Houses of Parliament with INPUT, and brought a self-trained (ish) hypo dog into the family; Chuckles, the cockapoo! Faye used be be a Science teacher, a college lecturer and now is studying Food Science MSc at the University of Reading.


Marissa Wylie has worked for Abbott Diabetes Care for just over 10 years and is now the the Sensor Manager, looking after Navigator and Libre Sensor manufacturing lines, and the cleanrooms in which the sensors are produced. Marissa has a degree in Science and a Masters in Business Administration. Marissa loves horses and is lucky enough to have have her own horse called Bob. They spend time together going for rides and jumping (small jumps!) in competitions. Marissa also loves the mountains and spends as much time as she can in them scrambling, climbing and walking with her husband. In June, Marissa completed the 3 Peaks Challenge with come of her Abbott Colleagues to raise money for the charity, Special Effects.

Elementary Faculty


Laura Braid has been a volunteer for FFL since the first UK conference. Laura has a family history of type 1 diabetes, completed research in diabetes technology as part of her Master’s Degree, and currently works as an engineer for a Diabetes technology manufacturing company. Originally from the US, Laura lives in the Scottish Highlands with her husband, two guinea pigs, a flock of chickens and tankful of fish. Laura is a proud Auntie to seven nieces and nephews and in her spare time plays trombone in several bands, enjoys mountain biking, loves home brewing and is a keen gardener. She loves volunteering for FFL because of the huge support network that it creates for families impacted by diabetes and because of the sheer joy and laughter the conference brings.


Aileen Durkan attended her first Friends for Life UK conference in 2009, volunteering with the elementary group. She was inspired by the opportunity to bring both siblings and children with diabetes together, enabling and encouraging them to express their feelings about diabetes and learn while having lots of fun. She has a younger brother with type 1 diabetes, and she has worked with LifeScan and Animas in Ireland for the past 17 years. She believes it is important to be at the forefront of what's happening in diabetes care, and she enjoys keeping her brother well-informed and motivated. Prior to working in the diabetes world, Aileen was a midwife for 17 years. In her spare time she volunteers for charity work involving children, believing that every child deserves the best possible chance in life. She also enjoys salsa dancing, attending sports games - especially rugby, traveling and meeting new people.


Samantha Abbott, BSc, qualified as a paediatric nurse in 2004. She has spent the last 12 years working in acute paediatrics in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (accident and emergency/paediatric assessment units). Samantha joined the diabetes team at University College London Hospitals in 2016. She really enjoys working with children and young people of all ages as well as their families. This will be her first Friends for Life UK Conference.


Shahid Ali is a scientist with Abbott Diabetes Care. He is currently undertaking a placement at Abbott Diabetes Care, before returning to the University of Bath, where he will complete his degree in biomedical sciences. Shahid has a passion for science, and aims to work in the healthcare industry in order to help the wider community. During his spare time, Shahid enjoys watching football (Manchester United fan), going to the gym and watching movies at the cinema.


Nicola Carpenter started at Abbott over 20 years ago. Nicola is a Principal Technologist, working in Technical Services managing projects involved with raw materials that are used in the manufacture of blood glucose and ketone strips. Nicola enjoys singing and has sung in the same choir since joining the junior choir many years ago, which has led to performing all around the country and abroad. She also loves dance, especially tap dancing, and likes to regularly visit the theatre.


Marc Hillis, 24, from Glasgow, has just completed his BSc in architecture and is continuing to study for his masters degree. He is also an avid campaigner for equal access to insulin pump therapy in Scotland. Marc attended the first CWD UK conference in 2009 where he felt normal for the first time since his diagnosis. He has since attended several conferences in the UK and enjoys seeing other kids experiencing the same sense of community as he does.


Claire Webster is a support worker for adults with complex disabilities. She is mum to Lewis, aged nine, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since the aged of 22 months. She also has Josh, age 12. Claire first attended Friends for Life UK in 2014 and FFL UK 2017 will be the third one she has attended. Claire loves attending diabetes-related conferences and enjoys meeting new people and old in the same situation.

Childcare Faculty


Shayne Weldon is wife to Ash Head and mother to Jake (28) and Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). She is a Community Nursery Nurse, working for the NHS in Sussex, responsible for mother and baby education, home visits and check-ups. Shayne has volunteered in Child Care at FFL USA since 2009 and at the UK events since the very first here at Beaumont.


Chloe Gillum, BSc, RCN, is 24 years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. She is a Qualified Children's Nurse currently working at Bristol Children's Hospital on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and studying for her first masters module in critical care. In 2009, Chloe began using an insulin pump. The same year, she and her family attended the first Friends for Life conference in Windsor, and has since attended five times, as both a member of the teens and a helper with childcare and elementary groups. This year Chloe looks forward to helping in child care.


Phoebe Head, 22, Dx T1D 2001, graduated from the London Contemporary Dance School with a degree in Contemporary Dance in summer of 2016. She has performed on stage in London (at Sadlers Wells), Paris, and New York. She is currently studying for her PGCE to enable her to teach Contemporary Dance in Secondary Education here in the UK. She has worn an insulin pump since 2005 and currently uses a pump and CGM. Phoebe has attended and or volunteered in Child Care at Friends for Life in the USA since 2008 and here in the UK FFL.


Sue Kimche attended her first Friends for Life UK conference in 2010 in Windsor. She has since attended all Friends for Life UK conferences, the last one in 2015 as a volunteer with the elementary children, which she really enjoyed. In 2015, Sue travelled to Florida for Friends for Life Orlando with her son Sam, who is now 20 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 12 years ago. They had a great time and made lots of new friends. Sue loves her job as an early years teacher in an East London community nursery. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking and catching up with friends often from the T1 CWD family.


Abby Morell started at Abbott as a student statistician in Research and Development, and after graduation began working in Technical Services, again as a statistician, and has been in this role for just over a year. Abby dances Ceroc/Modern Jive, and has previously danced Latin & Ballroom and Salsa. Additionally, Abbey sings and plays the ukulele (badly!), and enjoys pub quizzes, and going to the theatre and cinema.


Rebekah Sutherland was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998, aged 3. She attended her first Friends for Life UK Conference in 2010, her first Friends for Life Orlando Conference in 2013, has attended both ever since and joined the childcare team at both in 2014. Bex graduated from Aberdeen College in Social Science in 2016 and is continuing her studies at Open University majoring in Psychology with Counseling with a view to becoming a Diabetes Psychologist and Educator. She is a JDRF T1 Youth Ambassador, and, since aged 13, has delivered many speeches on Life with Diabetes at business lunches, fundraising Balls, Oil Industry events, fund-raising events, school assemblies and since 2015 has been invited to speak to the 2nd year medical students at Aberdeen University during their lectures on Diabetes. She also talks to parents of newly diagnosed T1s to show them that despite T1 you can still achieve your dreams and ambitions. In her spare time Bex plays competitive netball, is a swimming teacher, loves reading books, going to the gym, swimming, spending time with her dogs, doting on her nephew Aaden, keeping up with her friends wherever they are in the world and enjoys relaxing with a Vanilla Latte.

  Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes

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Last Updated: Monday September 18, 2017 16:08:52
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