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Meet our Founder, Patron and Ambassadors

Andrew Douglass

Founder of Parallel
As well as being the founder of Parallel, Andrew, alongside his wife Claudia, founded the award-winning events agency, innovision. Andrew is a passionate advocate of celebrating diversity and encouraging greater inclusion in work, home and play.

Nick Ashley-Cooper

12th Earl of Shaftesbury
Nick Ashley-Cooper is the patron of Parallel. In 2009, while horse riding, he fell and cracked his L1 vertebrae. It was unclear if he’d ever be able to walk again. He regained his mobility, and went on to run ultra-marathons whilst supporting spinal research charity, Wings for Life.

Mik Scarlet

Broadcaster, journalist & access expert
Mik has had a colourful and eclectic career as a singer/songwriter, a DJ, an Emmy award-winning TV presenter, a prolific writer and columnist, and was the first disabled actor to appear in a UK soap. He also advises organisations on best practices regarding accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.

Matt Hampson

Founder of the Matt Hampson Foundation
Matt is a former England U21s rugby player who was injured in 2005 during a practice scrum session and is a C4 tetraplegic. In 2011, he established the Matt Hampson Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting young people who have been seriously injured through sport.

Samantha Renke

Actress & Non-Executive Director at Born This Way Media
A former teacher and trustee for the Brittle Bone Society, Samantha moved to London five years ago to peruse a career in acting. Making her debut in indie film Little Devil, she won best actress at the LA diversity film festival. Since the success of Little Devil, Samantha has featured in many projects including last year’s ground breaking Maltesers advert featuring disabled actors.

Emily White

Emily was born with Spina Bifida. Despite her limited leg use, Emily is a ball playing, martial arts practiser, canvas painter, cartoonist and head of a new comic that's hoping to inspire a generation.

JJ Rosa

Singer, Songwriter & Musician
JJ not only possesses a wonderfully evocative voice, but has many critical guitar fingers trembling in awe! She has been compared to Prince, however she's taller and less purple than the US legend, although those comparisons are not hyperbole! She will be headlining the main stage this year!

Crista Cullen

GB Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Player
She has 197 international camps and has represented GB at three Olympic games also attaining a Bronze medal at the London Games. She also was recognised in the world all stars team twice, and managed to get on the scoresheet in the Olympic final, but more than her Olympic success she is passionate about inclusivity in sport, and this lent itself to her inclusion with Parallel. "Giving opportunities to all, to enjoy and participate on whatever level cannot be underestimated!"

Baroness Jane Campbell

Equality Campaigner
Baroness Jane Campbell is a leading campaigner for equality and a respected advocate for the rights of disabled people. The Baroness, amongst her many achievements, has served as Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2006-2008.

Jo Grace

An inclusion & sensory engagement consultant
Founder of The Sensory Projects. All of the projects that make up The Sensory Projects run on the principle that with the right knowledge and a little creativity, inexpensive items can become effective sensory tools for inclusion.

Tony Heaton OBE

Sculptor & Performance Artist
Tony is a sculptor, workshop leader, lecturer and chair on the board of trustees at Shape, a disability led art organisation. Famous pieces include: ‘Monument to the Unintended Performer’, which was installed on the Big 4 at the entrance to Channel 4 TV Centre in celebration of the 2012 Paralympics.

Mark Bullock

Advisor in international inclusive sport development
Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in Paralympic/disability sport, sport development and the broader social impact of sport. He is passionate about diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, healthy lifestyles and nutrition. He is an experienced leader, manager, coach and a consultant working with a variety of organisations to promote and develop inclusive sport.

Mike Goody & Sara Trott

Invictus athlete & Canine Trainer
Mike, an injured ex RAF regiment gunner and 8 x Gold winning Invictus medalist is a hopeful GB swimmer in training. His partner, Sara Trott, from Canine Partners, specialises in training dogs for the disabled.

Martyn Sibley

Named third most influential person in Britain with a disability
Blogger, author, podcaster, CEO, adviser and adventurer, Martyn believes in social justice for all, and living life to the max. He achieves this through projects with technology, media and networks of amazing people. “I live life and work identically - smiling, enjoying, with ambition for new experiences, and all alongside great people.”
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