In 2005, as the result of a severe head injury, I lost my sense of smell. Before then, like most people, I took this sense for granted and had little understanding of the contribution it made to my quality of life.
Told that I would just have to live with it by my doctor, I spent over six years thinking I was one of a handful of people on the planet affected by this hidden condition, but without fully understanding or engaging with my loss. In 2011 I read a book called Season to Taste about Molly Birnbaum’s experience of anosmia, which was a revelation. I was subsequently introduced to Carl Philpott who had established the UK’s first NHS smell and taste clinic and realised that there was a huge need for a charity in this area.
My goal was to create the organisation that I wish had existed to support me with my loss; a charity to help and inform people affected by smell and taste disorders, transform society’s understanding of the importance of these senses and drive research into better understanding and treating these conditions. I’m incredibly proud of the organisation we’ve created, our values and ethics and our fantastic team of staff, trustees, volunteers and advisors.
I’ve worked in the Higher Education sector for many years and enjoy leading projects that bring together people and organisations with different skills/experiences and creating the conditions that enable them to achieve shared goals, something I’ve done a lot of at Fifth Sense.
Before starting the charity, I was involved in music for many years as a guitarist and worked on an eclectic range of projects. I’ve applied my creativity to Fifth Sense along with the experience I’ve gained from the music business of delivering projects with minimal resources.
I still love to pick up the guitar when I get the opportunity and I enjoy getting out into the countryside, on foot or on my bike. I love food and cooking – I’m known for making a mean curry – and have a strong interest in how we can use our other senses to compensate for the lack of flavour that results from anosmia.