UK Deaf Sport Board
The people behind UK Deaf Sport.

UKDS Board and Advisory Groups

Our Board meets quarterly throughout the year and sub committees regularly between meetings.

We have five advisory groups supporting our work and reporting to the Board –

Board Members

Joanne Cholerton 

CEO & UKDS General Secretary
Joanne has over 25 years’ experience of successfully winning and delivering Government funded programmes, implementing transformational change and improving performance across the public and third sectors. She has proven ability as both a CEO and consultant in leading individual organisations and partnerships of diverse stakeholders to implement robust infrastructures that deliver their vision and goals. Joanne was named two years running as one of the Natwest Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise, which recognises the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise and mission driven businesses in the UK. Joanne is passionate about the benefits of, and equalities in, sport. She is delighted to be the CEO of UK Deaf Sport and work with the Board and partners across the deaf community to ensure that there are more opportunities for deaf people to participate in sport and physical activity throughout their lives and more deaf athletes performing on the world stage.

Lara Lill

Senior Independent Director
Lara Lill is a leading expert in health, wellbeing and physical activity. She is a respected senior manager with extensive experience in building effective partnerships. Lara trained as a secondary school PE teacher at Liverpool University, she taught for a while in the North East before being appointed to the Amateur Swimming Association. Lara is Head of Health and Wellbeing, responsible for developing strategy and building influential partnerships to improve the quality of life for people with health conditions and contribute to the public health of the population. Lara is also a member of the European Women and Sport Board responsible for promoting leadership and gender equality for women in sport. Lara is delighted to be appointed as a trustee to UK Deaf Sport.

Nick Brookes

Chair of the Board
Nick brings to the Board knowledge of risk management, corporate governance and finance. He is a chartered accountant and qualified treasurer with over 30 years international business experience from his time at 3i Group plc, a FTSE100 investment company specialising in private equity and infrastructure; Santander bank, and Ernst & Young. Nick is Deaf and has a long history of being involved with Deaf sport. He was involved in the set-up of UK Deaf Sport and was the Deputy Chef de Mission for the GB team at the 2005 Deaflympics in Australia. He was also the Chair of the British Deaf Tennis Association and helped to host the first World Deaf Tennis Championships. In addition, he was a trustee of the Friends for Young Deaf charity and facilitated its eventual merger with the National Deaf Childrens Society. He still remains active in sport and has completed several Iron Man triathlons as well as regularly participating in road biking events across Europe.

Jacqui Traynor

Non-Executive Director
Jacqui has spent more than 10 years working in the sports industry. Working for British Rowing she is the Anti-Doping and Integrity Officer with a key role in shaping governance and welfare policies and best practice and has received training by IOC/Interpol as a sport investigator. In 2020 Jacqui will complete a Masters in Sports Law which has had a significant focus on sport governance, ethics and integrity. Jacqui has been profoundly deaf since birth and is passionate about inclusivity diversity and access for deaf people in sport believing there should be no barriers to participation. Ex-rower herself she hung up her oars since the birth of her twin girls but remains a keen runner and volunteer at her local running club.

Tom Seabrook

Non-Executive Director
Tom is a dual qualified chartered surveyor and solicitor, practising as the latter and specialising in property advisory and disputes work. Tom was a keen a reasonably able sportsman in his youth particularly enjoying rowing, athletics and rugby. He is late deafened, having first noticed his hearing loss in his early 20’s. This progressive loss meant that Tom had to give up most competitive sport before his time (he assures us he would have been an Olympian given a few more years). Tom received a cochlear implant in 2014 which he describes as life changing. He has a passion for sport particularly at grass roots and junior level and is a qualified rugby union coach and referee.

Andy Mawdsley

Non-Executive Director
Andy’s involvement in UK Deaf sport arises from his eldest son Daniel; he was born deaf, has bilateral cochlear implants thoroughly enjoys taking part in a wide range of sports. Andy himself has a background in sports performance, teaching and coaching. He has a degree and master’s degree in Physical Education and Sports Science from Loughborough University. He has been involved in education for over 25 years and is currently a Primary School Headteacher in North West Leicestershire. In his spare time, he coaches junior rugby and is passionate about ensuring all deaf young people and adults can access and enjoy all the benefits of participation in sport and physical activity.

Peter Fitton

Non-Executive Director
A senior media and entertainment executive with experience commercialising content in global, regional and local roles, Peter was most recently General Manager Benelux for The Walt Disney Company overseeing content distribution, consumer marketing, product licensing and television channels. He founded and led Disney Media+ EMEA, the company’s integrated marketing promotions division, and has driven business launches in the UK, NL, USA, France, Spain, Australia, Russia and India. Peter is now consulting for a range of content and entertainment businesses.

Anneli MacDonald

Non-Executive Director
Anneli has worked across the sporting landscape for over 15 years; running national and international events including World Championships, national championships, and mass participation events. Passionate about inclusive sport, Anneli is currently leading the British Paralympic Association’s pre-Games Preparation Camp for the Tokyo Paralympics. Anneli lives in Cardiff but on weekends she can usually be found recharging her batteries at the beach or in the countryside. A keen runner and open water swimmer. Anneli moved to the UK from Tasmania in 2004.

Toby Burton

Non-Executive Director
Toby Burton is the Chief Financial and Operating Officer for Fastmarkets, part of the FTSE 250 listed business, Euromoney Institutional Investor.  Previously, Toby spent 11 years at The Economist Group where he was the Chief Financial Officer of the Publisher Team. At the Economist he was responsible for the circulation, media, digital and data teams, which together were part of a global business with revenues of £300m. Prior to this, he started his career at Unilever as a management trainee.  A lifelong member of the Deaf community who is proud to be Deaf and a British Sign Language user, Toby was the former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Royal Association for Deaf People, committed to supporting Deaf culture, history and language and ensuring accessibility. Toby’s passion for sports comes from a wide range of sporting experience, including being a hockey goalkeeper, playing competitively for 22 years and running marathons. He adds an international perspective to the UK Deaf Sports Board being born in Belgium and having played table tennis growing up there and is now actively involved in Deaf badminton in the UK.

Vincent Pericard

Non-Executive Director
Vincent Pericard is a former professional footballer who played at the highest level of the game including in France with Saint-Étienne and UEFA Champions League with Juventus before moving to England, where he played for several Premier League clubs including Portsmouth FC and Stoke City. He has also played for the France U21 team. Vincent retired from football in 2012 at 29. Following his retirement, Vincent has achieved a First-Class BA (Hons) in Business Management & Entrepreneurship and a Distinction MSc in Accounting & Finance at the University of Portsmouth. He is now following a corporate career in Customer Success Management. Vincent is also an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and director of a start-up called, The WhatsUp? Tech. WhatsUp? is an innovative digital platform helping organisations to provide better support for the wellbeing and mental health challenges faced by their people.  In addition, Vincent is a mentor for Elite Academy Manager to help the Premier League to develop world-class leaders to lead progressive Academy systems capable of developing home-grown talent. A Personal Devolvement & Success coach to help millions of people around the world to become successful and achieve their goals & dreams. A as well as a public speaker in Mental Health, Diversity & Inclusion, and Success Mindset.

Presidents & Vice Presidents

Craig Crowley MBE

Vice President
Appointed as Honorary President in April 2014, Craig is Chief Executive of Action Deafness, a national voluntary organisation based in Leicester, East Midlands. He is first Deaflympic medalist to have served as President of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (Deaflympics) 2009-2013. A qualified sports coach and key strategist, Craig was also instrumental in co-founding UK Deaf Sport in 2003 and served as its Chair until 2009. A keen advocate of visibility and recognition of Deaf athletes, Craig is also heading a team of international Associates at Efficere Sports International. He was awarded an MBE for services to sport at The Queen’s 80th Birthday Honours in 2006.

Vincent Dickson

Honorary Vice President
Vincent was born Hearing until an illness of meningitis at the age of 5 years caused his profound deafness. He has been involved in Deaf Sport for over 60 years. Starting as the Football Secretary of Manchester Deaf Club in the 1950/60’s moving to become the Indoor Games Convenor for Southern Deaf Sports Association in1983 where he served for approximately 10 years. During this time the association remained unbeaten in the Regional Indoor Games Championships for 5 years, Vincent was part of the British Deaf Sports Council’s Financial & General Purpose committee and later became a Trustee.

Philip Gerrard

Honorary Vice President
Philip is Chief Executive within the third sector, with over 20 years experience. He currently heads up Deaf Direct, overseeing all strategic and operational work of this charitable company with a turnover of £800k. As one of the founding members of UKDS, he has served as a trustee since its inception in 2003, being Vice Chair and Chair of UKDS. Philip has represented Great Britain Deaf Sport on the global platform, attending every international deaf sport congress since 2005, he has lead GB Deaflympics teams competing at Deaflympics, and has been a member of European Deaf Sport Organisation Legal Commission Group since it was set up in 2011. He has served on various local and national committees including the national complaints panel for BSL/English Interpreters. Philip joined Midland Deaf Sport Association Committee as Secretary in 1990 and remains so. He is an active member of his local community, playing football regularly with a Deaf team and supporting his deaf sons’ sporting endeavours. He is passionate about access to opportunities in sport, and particularly keen to see that the elite deaf athletes receives the recognition they deserves, on a par with the Olympics and Paralympics.

Stuart Harrison

Honorary Vice President

Jodie Ounsley

UKDS Honorary President