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John Dowson - Chair (reappointed for a second 4 year term in 2017)

John joined the board in 2013 as an independent director to establish the finance committee. He succeeded David Hadfield, now President of BISFed, as Chair in June 2014.

His background is in business where he trained as a chartered management accountant in the manufacturing and retail sectors before joining Coopers & Lybrand in 1985 and becoming a partner in 1991. He worked all over the world on corporate restructuring mainly in the telecoms and postal sectors while holding senior roles in the firm (which became PwC in 1998). He co-led the development of the PwC Consulting global strategy in the lead up to the sale of that business to IBM for $3.5 billion in 2002 then led the global development of new business in intelligent transport systems at IBM. He rejoined PwC in 2007 to become the UK industry leader for all of the private sector (excluding financial services) and retired from the firm in 2012.

He is also an independent director on the board of UK Sport (which he joined in 2015).

His outside interests include anything to do with sport and the arts while also being a 'petrol head' with a backround as a classic single seater motor racing driver.

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Abby Laybourne - Finance Committee Chair and SID (appointed 2014)

Abby is a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers with over 16 years’ experience of auditing large, complex multi-national audits in the FTSE 100 (as well as family owned corporations) predominantly. She is a chartered accountant and has significant experience of working with Groups undergoing transformation, whether through acquisitions, system and controls implementations, or operating model changes. Abby spent 6 months living and working in Berlin on PwC's Global leadership development programme and currently leads on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives with PwC.

She is married with two young boys which when not keeping her busy, she also enjoys cooking, reading and travelling.

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Lara Hayward - Safeguarding Lead (reappointed for a second 4 year term in 2017)

Lara was a Legal Advisor at UK Sport where she managed all regulatory aspects of investment into Olympic/Paralympic sport including anti-doping, funding eligibility, complaints, governance and athlete welfare matters. She trained and qualified as a solicitor in private practice at Mills & Reeve LLP and, since 2011, has worked in-house in business and healthcare regulation roles in both New Zealand and the UK. Aside from her legal career, Lara has worked in Athlete Services at London 2012, the England 2015 Rugby World Cup and at various ITU triathlon events. 

She has a particular interest in the welfare of athletes and dancers and now works as a freelance consultant, advising individuals and organisations on legal and welfare issues, career development and transition. 

Her outside interests include most sports and dance, particularly rugby and triathlon, and in her spare time she is a keen trail runner, triathlete and dancer.

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 Fiona Reid - Equality Champion (appointed 2017)

Fiona was appointed CEO for Disability Sport Wales in July 2017, but has worked for the organisation for 10 years prior to that appointment as Education and Training (and more latterly) Innovation Manager.  She came to DSW after 10 years as a Senior Lecturer in Sport Sociology within Higher Education.

Fiona has a PGCE (FAHE), an MA (Sport Studies), and experience of acting in Head Coach capacity for not only Special Olympics Wales and Special Olympics GB badminton teams in multiple National Games and at the World Games in Shanghai (2007), but also as one of the team of Welsh Coaches to the Para-badminton squad until 2011.

She has volunteered within sport as a coach, and developer of inclusive coach education resources for many years, and still plays badminton locally.  She has a small son and a cockerpoo to share adventures with.

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Gavin Macleod - PDC Chair (Appointed 2014)

Gavin joined the board in 2014 as the director representing Scottish Disability Sport. He was appointed Chair of the Performance Development Committee in 2016 .

Gavin is the Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Disability Sport (SDS), the governing and co-ordinating body for all sports for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory and learning impairment in Scotland. In his previous role, Gavin was Youth Development Manager for Disability Sport with sportscotland.

With over 25 years of sports development experience, Gavin held a variety of posts with local authorities south of the border before returning to Scotland to pursue a disability sport focus. Educational qualifications include a BA (Hons) Degree in Sport Studies from Sheffield Polytechnic, a PGCE (Further Education) from Notts Trent University and a Diploma in Community Education from Dundee College of Education.


Kevin O'Neill (Appointed 2011)

Kevin is the Chief Executive Officer of Disability Sport NI, Northern Ireland’s main disability sports charity working to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities through sport and active recreation.

Kevin who has a degree in Social Policy and a masters in Sport, Exercise & Leisure, has worked in the charitable and disability sports sectors for over 25 years and was instrumental in the formation of Disability Sport NI in 1998. 

He is also founder and Director of Live Active NI and sits on a number of key UK and regional organisations and committees including the British Paralympic Association’s NPC and the Northern Ireland ‘Active Living No Limits 2021’ Forum.

Kevin joined the board of Boccia UK in 2011 and more recently facilitated the development of the organisation’s new Strategic Plan for the 2017 – 2021 period. He is also a member of the appeals committee.

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Chris Ratcliffe (Appointed 2018)

Chris has been the Chief Executive Officer of Boccia England since September 2016.

Chris is a graduate in Recreation Management from Sheffield Hallam University and is an experienced senior Leader, with a proven track record in supporting organisations through transformational change and strategic development.

Prior to joining Boccia England, Chris has held a number of senior Executive positions in a number of significant charities as well being the Chief Officer for The Children and Young People's Commissioner. He has a life long involvement in disability sport as a volunteer and professional and was Chef de Mission for the GB Deaflympics Team in Melbourne 2005.

A former athlete, Chris has represented GB in the 1985 Deaflympics (Water Polo) and Wales Deaf Rugby.