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Posted By Donna Wicks, March 15, 2013

Norman Lamb

Our Patron and Trustee

The HMSA is proud to announce that we can now confirm that Mr Norman Lamb MP and Shadow Health Secretary for the Liberal Democrat Party has kindly agreed to act as our first ever Patron.

We would also like to thank member, Tabitha Van Der Does for her initial approach to Norman.

Who is Norman Lamb?

Norman Lamb has lived in Norfolk since 1971 – apart from university, law school and a job at Westminster for a year. He is married to Mary and they have two children, Archie and Ned.

Norman’s family moved to Norfolk when his father, Professor Hubert Lamb, established the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The Unit has become a world renowned research institution.

Achieving a degree in law, Norman was President of the University Law Society in his final year. He then qualified as a solicitor after working for a year as a Parliamentary Assistant for Greville Janner, QC, MP.

Norwich City Council was Norman’s first employer. He worked there as a senior assistant solicitor before joining Norfolk solicitors Steele and Co. A year after joining the company Norman became a partner, and went on to head the firm’s specialist Employment Unit. He was recognised as a leader in employment law in the two national guides to the legal profession: the Legal 500 and Chambers Directory (he is described as “charismatic”!) and is the author of a book on employment law: Remedies in the Employment Tribunal, published by Sweet and Maxwell in 1998.

Norman’s Political History

Norman Lamb’s first entry into politics was in the unlikely role of researcher for a Labour MP in the early 1980’s. But with the launch of the SDP and the Alliance with the Liberal Party, Norman set about winning the formerly solid Labour seat of Nelson Ward on Norwich City. After a number of years of hard work for local residents in Nelson Ward, Norman not only got himself but also a further three Liberal Democrats, including his wife Mary, elected as County Councillors.

After quickly being spotted as a rising star of the Liberal Democrats, helping organise Paddy Ashdown’s successful leadership bid in Norfolk and becoming leader of the opposition on Norwich City Council, Norman was encouraged to move his talents on to a Parliamentary seat.

In 1991 Norman was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for North Norfolk Liberal Democrats and, after a string of local council by-election victories, established himself and the Liberal Democrats as the clear rival to the Conservatives in North Norfolk.

Following his election to Parliament, in the autumn of 2001 Norman was appointed Lib Dem Deputy Spokesperson for International Development. In November 2002 he moved to become Shadow Treasury Minister in the party’s Treasury Team and in January 2003 he was elected to the influential Treasury Select Committee. In October 2003 he was appointed PPS to Charles Kennedy.

He has built a strong reputation in Norfolk as a campaigner for improved health services. He has been a critic of cuts in bed numbers and has highlighted the resulting unacceptable level of cancelled operations. Within his first six weeks as an MP he secured an Adjournment Debate on orthopaedic waiting times in Norfolk.

Another of Norman’s concerns is the provision of local public transport; his second Adjournment Debate focused on the lack of school transport services in North Norfolk. Since then, he has led Adjournment Debates on police funding in Norfolk, the HIV/AIDS crisis facing Africa and Asia, the controversial sale of military air traffic control system in Tanzania and the situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, with a particular focus on how the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has allegedly been prolonged by multinational actors. In 2004, Norman led Adjournment Debates on funding for Further Education Colleges, and the provision of care for people with dementia.

Following the 2005 election, Norman Lamb was appointed to the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet, with responsibility for Trade & Industry. In this role, Norman put forward radical proposals to save the post office network. In March 2006, Norman was appointed as Chief of Staff to the new Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell. In December 2006, Norman was appointed as the Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary.

Hannah Ensor

Author and Illustrator, Patron

As a child Dr’s decided there was nothing wrong with Hannah Ensor and that her problems were ‘all in the head’, but her Mum concluded she was bendy, injured more easily than most people and took longer to heal. She also decided that this wasn’t indicative of anything serious, just ‘how Hannah was’. Something to respect, but not to worry about, except make sure Hannah stood with good posture, kept as active as possible and didn’t get too exhausted. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed that Hannah realised just how wise her Mum had been.

Hannah got through school with good grades despite an unusually high level of sickness absence – including missing 6 months in year 7, and went on to complete A-Levels and get a 1st Class Honours degree in Environmental Health from King’s College London, followed by a career in Environmental Health. Within 2 years of starting work, the random joint issues and fatigue had reached disabling levels and she was diagnosed with EDS, and a year later with POTS.

It was when hospitalised with her first severe POTS attack, which left her too weak to hold a proper conversation for months that the first bendy stickmen appeared. Posted on the HMSA’s forum they proved popular and soon became a booklet.

She continued working until 2009, adapting her hours, role and office around her complex requirements (joint strain, temperature, rest breaks etc.), and drawing stickmen primarily because she thinks they are funny, but also to raise money for the HMSA and awareness and understanding of HMSs, until her medical retirement in 2010 – age 29.

After retiring, Hannah worked a few of hours a month as a Maths tutor, but being an author and illustrator has now taken over. She has 4 disability cartoon books (a fifth is well on the way) raising money for the HMSA, 2 children’s books raising money for Whizz-Kidz, plus stickman wheelchair signs, communication cards, other disability related products and commissioned work including T-shirt designs for comedian Lost Voice Guy, the CMTA – and of course the HMSA!

In addition to the awareness raising work of each book she has created, Hannah is increasingly in demand at events, disability fairs, book signings, and schools – working to create a better future for us all.

A combination of physiotherapy, learning to control her movements, pacing, medication, respecting her limits, pushing her boundaries, making the most of everything and generally choosing to focus on the positives means that she lives a full and happy life. So what if she uses wheels to get out and about, rests frequently and owns enough supports to create an entire exoskeleton?

Although proud of her stickman empire, Hannah thinks her greatest achievements have been in learning to manage her EDS and POTS and keeping up with her physio regime. It is an ongoing learning process, but has made so much difference to her life. Having said that, her proudest day of all time has to be 26th April 2012. The day she was officially appointed HMSA Patron for Kids and Teens.

To contact Hannah please click here to email her

Kaliya Franklin

Disability and Awareness, Patron

Living by the sea with an old lady feline known as BendyCat, driving about in the Bendy Bus and tweeting as Bendygirl you could be forgiven for thinking Kaliya Franklin has an obsession with bendy things or is a contortionist* but in fact its simply sums up her approach to life.

One of the first things you notice about Kaliya is her humour, a throaty laugh is never far away, she takes things seriously but never to the point of forgetting the human being she is talking to, writing about or throwing tea over**.

Kaliya didn’t grow up thinking she would be a campaigner or advocate for people living with JHS/EDS or anyone who had no voice lost in the endless bounce between NHS departments, services and a world that thinks unless you can see someone’s impairment it isn’t true.

If your wondering what Kaliya grew up wanting to be, I’m sure she would says 5 foot 1”, good job, nice house and adventures to tell people about when too old to climb a mountain. Life never quite works out the way you might think, Kaliya takes her passion, strength and laughter into each new day.

You won’t get a long list of things to try, or an opinion on the latest treatment necessarily but what you will get is a clever, articulate woman using her skills, optimism and disarmingly clever brain to charm people into not only listening but taking action even if they look back later and wonder just what they agreed to.

Kaliya takes her role as a Patron seriously and will use all those talents, skills and knowledge to bear when gently persuading someone to think a little differently.

*contortionist – I’m sure you have all heard the ill informed jokes about bendy people. Kaliya’s main focus will continue to be on disability rights, awareness of HMSs .

**Tea throwing episodes are a known occurrence when in polite company it’s a badge of honour some politicians and important people wear with pride

To contact Kaliya please click here to email her

Kate Monaghan

Media Awareness, Patron

Named as one of Broadcast’s Hot Shots for 2010 and a Fast Track graduate, Kate Monaghan is markthree’s Managing Director and in-house ideas factory. Most recently Kate has been producing and executive producing content for the BBC – from the one hour documentary ‘Are You Having A Laugh? TV and Disability’ with David Walliams to ‘Mismatch’ on BBC Comedy.

Kate has many strings to her bow. Starting her TV life on children’s favourite Blue Peter, she then went behind the scenes at the Beeb working on Doctor Who Confidential, before moving into the TV development world at a number of indies. Kate was then headhunted to direct a half-hour documentary for Channel 4 at the ripe old age of 22 as part of the New Shoots series for directors with a disability. Kate’s disability keeps things interesting as we never know if she’ll be walking around or wheeling in her purple chair. Whichever it is, it’s always done at high speed!

Kate’s main focus as a HMSA patron will be to bring the charity into the media and raise awareness amongst the public and professionals of how HMSs can impact on an individual.

To contact Kate please click here to email her


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The information provided by the HMSA should not take the place of advice and guidance from your own health-care providers. Material in this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes in your treatment plan. Articles were last reviewed by our Medical Advisors as being correct and up to date on 5th June 2004.

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