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Janis Hickey

Janis was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease in 1984, an experience that led her to set up the BTF in 1991. She was BTF’s volunteer National Coordinator until 2001 when she left her job at Leeds University and became employed as Director of the BTF. In 1996 Janis was presented with a Yorkshire Woman of Achievement Community Award for having set up the BTF.

Janis says, ‘Stepping back from the day-to-day tasks it’s very interesting to see how far we have travelled since 1991. When BTF was in its infancy patient support groups were few and far between, and there was quite a gap between patients’ and doctors’ perspectives. I’d like to think that we have played a part in bridging that gap, in the thyroid world at least!’

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Cheryl McMullan

Cheryl began working at BTF in February 2008 as the Personal Assistant to Janis Hickey, the Director. Cheryl’s role is often varied and extremely interesting juggling membership, office management, accounting and managing medical queries with never a dull moment.

Cheryl says, 'The office has a good team of both staff and volunteers. We are all kept very busy, but the atmosphere is great. I have worked in administration for most of my working life taking a break to have my three children. I find it very rewarding to work for the BTF and support people with this very complex disorder. I do not have a thyroid disorder, but in my time here I have learnt so much about the thyroid and find there is something new to learn everyday'.

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Julia Priestley

After studying history at university, Julia trained and worked as a solicitor before taking a career break to have her children. She became involved with BTF initially as a volunteer in 2011 and is delighted to be helping the organisation with the varied and important work it does.


We have many volunteers, both at our head office in Harrogate and further afield. If you would like to join us visit our volunteering page.

Lorna Panketham

Lorna Pankethman

Lorna volunteers at BTF HQ one day a week. She is a retired orthoptist, having worked most recently at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. She helps answer medical queries received on the phone and by email from BTF members.

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Jan Ainscough

Jan has been coming to help out in the BTF office since 2002. She originally started by helping to pack Christmas card orders. For a long time now she has been checking the bank statements against the membership database so that we know who has paid their subs. Jan has secondary hypothyroidism as a result of radiotherapy after a mastectomy 16 years ago. Jan says, 'It took many months for the blood test readings to confirm the condition, but it is reasonably under control'.

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Angela Hammond

Angela is married and has two children, one step-daughter and seven grandchildren. She trained originally as a carpet designer, but after marriage worked with her husband in the family pharmacy and later ran a gift shop in Ilkley.

Angela is a member of Soroptimist International and has held office as Treasurer and President of both her club and her Region. She is also a member of Inner Wheel.

Since retiring Angela has renewed her interest in painting and drawing and now exhibits (and sometimes even sells!) her artwork. Other interests are her garden and family history, along with voluntary work for BTF.

Angela has volunteered at the BTF office since 2009 and has been a trustee since 2011. She is a former BTF Local Group Coordinator and a volunteer telephone contact and now works one day a week in the office.