Cerebra what we do the charity for children with brain conditions.


Our board of experienced trustees come from different sectors and all walks of life. They share responsibility on how Cerebra is governed.

Sean Taggart

Chair of the Trustees

Sean joins the Cerebra board having enjoyed a successful 30-year career in business during which he built up significant commercial experience. This included leading and subsequently selling to his management team his own collection of leisure tourism businesses, sitting on a wide range of boards as a non-executive director and being asked to provide advice to government and ministers on a wide range of business-related issues. For the last ten years he has also chaired the Board of Trustees at Crossroads Care Kent, a large regional charity supporting the needs of both adult and young carers throughout the county. He has a particular passion for developing people and driving performance through great leadership and management and is currently also a director and deputy chair of Investors in People. He remains a director of The Albatross Group, the business that he led for over 20 years and has recently launched The Growth Adviser, his own consultancy aimed at helping owner managers accelerate their growth plans and build stronger businesses. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Institute of Directors amongst others.

David Beattie

A qualified management accountant (CIMA), David has recently become self-employed following 20 years of senior manager roles across IT and financial services sectors. Outside work, most of his time is spent supporting his wife and two children who are immersed in a variety of sports clubs and interests, with any spare time being taken up by golf and his new passion for cycling. David has previously been an active supporter of Bristol charity ‘PROPS’, which raises money to provide opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and special needs, the key focus being inclusion. He is very proud to be a trustee for Cerebra, believing the charity has a unique proposition and is successfully delivering its aims and objectives through the valuable connection between colleagues, supporters and families.

Roland Gooding OBE

Roland Gooding has been involved in special education for 40 years. He has been a headteacher of two special schools and remains the principal of Valence School, Westerham in Kent which caters for children and young people who have physical disabilities and complex medical needs. He has a range of experience working with local authorities and of representing schools on various statutory and non-statutory bodies. His primary interest is in the progress and development of children and young people who have special educational needs and in particular of promoting and enabling their independence. He works closely with families and has supported many to secure the right educational provision for their children. He works proactively with colleagues from health and social care and is keen to promote shared responsibility across agencies for children and young people who have Education Health and Care Plans. In 2014 he played a key role in establishing a Co-operative Trust for 16 special schools in Kent to provide mutual support, collaboration and educational innovation. In the same year he was awarded an OBE for services to education. In July 2017 he was ordained as a permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church. He is married to Esther and has two grown-up children.

Jan Crosby

Jan is a chartered accountant and Fellow of the Securities Institute. He works in corporate finance at KPMG and focuses on capital raising and mergers and acquisitions. He has previously been non-executive at the Land Registry and also leads KPMG’s housing sector where he has led a number of collaborations with the charity Shelter on housing policy.

He has seen the benefits of Cerebra first hand as a parent of premature twins and is delighted to be supporting such an important charity in bridging between the real experiences and needs of children and parents with clinical knowledge to deliver new insight and solutions.

Isabel Shapiro

Isabel joins the board with lived experience as a parent-carer and a career in film fundraising. She began her career at the British Film Institute in Trusts and Foundations fundraising for education and heritage projects to make film culture more accessible. She later joined film foundation Doc Society where she produced Good Pitch, a global programme connecting social justice documentary projects with policymakers and funders. Isabel first encountered Cerebra’s work as a service-user, benefiting from advice and resources for her son Jesse, who had a rare mitochondrial disorder. Jesse’s life was full of fun and adventure thanks to charities like Cerebra. The experience of caring for a child with a life-limiting disease now drives Isabel to improve support services for other families through fundraising consultancy and advocacy work. Most recently, Isabel worked as safeguarding advisor for the First Assessment service at Bristol Children’s Services. She lives with her family in Swansea where she’s learning to surf and speak Welsh. She couldn’t be prouder to be on the board of Cerebra and is excited to help the charity maximise its impact and reach.

Nigel Over

Nigel is passionate to see every person with a learning disability, and/or genetic syndrome, having a fulfilling life within a supportive and understanding community. Everyone has their contribution to make and a role in our community built through collaboration and shared knowledge, skills, and experience, on the foundations of compassion, equality, and mutual respect.

His involvement in the rare disease, learning disability and special needs community has come from personal lived experience through his son, Matthew, who was diagnosed with Smith-Magenis Syndrome in 2001 when 4 years old. Since then, he has been regularly involved with the Cerebra’s projects and the Research Support Network.

Nigel has extensive knowledge and experience with over 20 years of trustee and charity governance for the British Association for the Advancement of Science, ENABLE Scotland, and the Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Foundation UK. In 2020 Nigel became the first CEO of the SMS Foundation instilling an agile, family friendly, fully flexible, work from home culture. With ENABLE Scotland he was integral to the introduction of personalisation, transition planning from school to adult life, governance restructuring and campaigning. He championed revitalising member engagement, involvement, and activism, ensuring inclusive representation for all. Initiating and leading on award winning campaigns enabled him to influence policy and practice in Scotland and across the UK for children and adults living with learning disabilities and rare diseases.

As a Chartered Engineer, Nigel’s career has focused on project management for new product introduction, operational excellence, and compliance, across manufacturing, engineering, and construction sectors. Personal interest led to him providing bespoke engineering solutions to improve the quality of life for individuals with various disabilities.

In his free time, Nigel likes to walk with the Ramblers, ballroom dancing with his wife, Angela, and researching family history.

May Atkinson

May is a solicitor with over 10 years’ experience in civil litigation including acting for children who have acquired brain injuries due to third party negligence. Having acted on behalf of children with acquired brain injuries and their families for many years; she has seen how the impact of a brain injury affects an entire family and how with the right input; these families can remain united and strong and set them up to live the best possible lives they can. May first came across Cerebra after her 2 year old daughter suffered a brain injury following a prolonged seizure. She has seen first hand the amazing work the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) do and her little girl has benefitted from Cerebra’s lending library.

May understands that sometimes life does not go as planned but the research that Cerebra funds, the innovative work that Cerebra does and the programmes which Cerebra offers to families all goes some way in making life a little easier for young people and their families having to navigate life with a brain condition.

May is delighted to be joining the board bringing a wealth of legal experience, business acumen and contacts within the rehabilitation sector and has the benefit of having first hand experience of a child with a brain injury so can provide invaluable insight to ensure Cerebra can maximise the service it is providing to young people and their families.

May lives in the North-West with her husband James and her two young girls. There is not much spare time as a mum of two toddlers but in her spare time enjoys playing the piano, being outdoors and travelling.

Brandon J. Moss

Brandon has over 30 years’ experience in manufacturing and logistics working in a variety of sectors across North America, Europe and the Middle East leading a variety of teams and operations.

Married with 2 daughters, 1 of whom has Autism, EUPD, and Anxiety related issues, Brandon and his family have lived the challenges of getting the right support and help for his daughter, throughout her childhood, teenage years and now adulthood.

Passionate about trying to improve everyone’s lives, both those with health issues and the families of those with loved ones with health issues, Brandon is excited to join the Cerebra team to help continue the excellent work Cerebra does and support our journey of research and support for families.

Living in Northamptonshire on the corner of Rutland, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, Brandon enjoys all sports, playing a lot of rugby in his younger days, but today is more of a golfer and armchair athlete, but enjoys quiet time at home in the garden with his dogs (Frank and Olive).


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