West Yorkshire Sight Loss Council: Meet the members

Meet the Staff

Headshot of Iain Mitchell, Senior Engagement Manager for York & Humber. He is looking at the camera smiling. he is wearing a white shirt and grey, patterned tie.

Iain Mitchell

I am the senior Engagement Manager for York and Humberside.

I originate from the other side of the Pennines but fell in love with Yorkshire when I studied at university here.  I jumped at the chance to come back in 2021.

I have two lovely rescue dogs; I enjoy walking them and the unconditional love they provide. I enjoy performance of all types and history is a subject I often delve into as a keen quizzer.

However, my real Achilles Heel is my love for Liverpool FC. I still have my season ticket and go to as many games as I can.

I was born with Albinism, Nystagmus, and photo sensitivity. I strongly believe that we need to keep the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face as an active, open, and ongoing conversation. It is only then we can enjoy the same level of opportunity in accessing the goods and services which are available to all members of our local communities.

We welcome everyone with a visual impairment to join us in the work we do. We want to raise awareness and influence change to help blind and partially sighted people to live the lives they want to lead.

Headshot of Belle Whitely, West Yorkshire SLC member. Belle has long, brown, hair. She is looking at the camera, smiling.

Belle Whitely

Belle is the Sight Loss Council coordinator for Yorkshire and Humberside.

Belle has the genetic eye condition, Stargardt’s disease, and has been losing her sight since she was eight years old. She is passionate about making a difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people due to her own personal experiences of living with sight loss.

Prior to working with Sight Loss Councils, she worked for Opera North. It was here she discovered her love of classical music.

In her spare time, Belle enjoys going to the theatre, spending time with friends, family, and her little dog, and exploring the world.


Meet the Members

Head shot of Pete Hoey, North Yorkshire SLC member. Pete is standing in front of a painting of an old building. He is wearing a flat cap and glasses, and smiling at the camera.

Pete Hoey

Pete was born blind due to Cataracts and developed Glaucoma when he was 12 years old. He lives with his wife in Halifax – near Happy Valley!

Pete enjoys soul and jazz music, loves travelling, and enjoys eating out at different restaurants.

Pete has a background in health and social care. He has also worked in several sight loss charities over the years.

Pete says “I am really looking forward to joining West Yorkshire Sight Loss Council. I am hoping that with my knowledge from being a Peer Welfare Rights advisor, I can help create change for people with sight loss.”

Headshot of Lewis Oldroyd, West Yorkshire SLC member. Lewis is standing against a white wall. He is wearing a blue suit jacket and black t-shirt. He is smiling at the camera.

Lewis Oldroyd

Lewis returned to university in 2017 where he graduated with a First-Class degree in Politics and Criminology. He then completed a Masters in Cyberpsychology with commendation.

At university Lewis joined Student Minds Men’s Mental Health, became a peer mentor, and was a strong advocate for young people’s mental health. During this time his vision was deteriorating, and in the penultimate year of his bachelor’s degree he was registered with a severe sight impairment.

After university Lewis began work as a research partner, and is now working as a technology research analyst. In September 2022 Lewis was appointed to the board of the ASDA Foundation.

Lewis has joined West Yorkshire SLC because he passionately believes in charitable causes and wanted to be an example to other young people experiencing sight loss.

Headshot of Chris Reason, West Yorkshire SLC member. Chris is wearing glasses and looking at the camera.

Chris Reason

Chris was born in Australia, brought up in north London, but has lived in the north of England since he was 18. Chris worked as a musician in theatre before becoming a script writer.

Chris started to lose his vision due to glaucoma, and this contributed towards his decision to retire three years ago.

Chris splits his time between Hebden Bridge and Saltairem and is married with three grown-up children. He enjoys reading and enjoying the “magnificent” West Yorkshire Countryside.

Chris said he is delighted to be part of the Sight Loss Council and to be working with such a friendly and welcoming group of people.

David Quarmby

I have been registered blind since my mid-teens.

I was a social worker for 14 years in Leeds, before moving into the Probation Service. During this time, I was a founding member and Co-Chair of the National Disabled Staff Network for the Probation Service.

I was also proactive in promoting Disability Rights and Equal Rights through the Trade Union movement. I was a member of the TUC Disability Committee for over 5 years.

More recently I have been a founding member and Chair of a user led organisation who provides peer technological support for visually impaired people in Kirklees. This gives people freedom to continue doing whatever they want to do, despite their sight loss.

The issues that visually impaired people deal with are complex and wide ranging. They largely result due to our views and requirements not being understood or included in the design and policy making process.

My motivation for becoming a member of West Yorkshire Sight Loss Council is to look at and promote ways of dealing with these equality issues strategically. I want to help ensure that we can achieve equality in all aspects of our daily life.

Headshot of Anna Lawson, West Yorkshire SLC member. Anna is stood against a black background and wearing a maroon shirt. She is smiling broadly at the camera.

Anna Lawson

Anna began losing her sight at the age of seven and now has no sight.

Anna is from Wales, but has lived in Yorkshire for many years. She works as a Professor of Law and Disability Studies,  specialising in disability equality and human rights.

Kaukub Asia

Kaukub has been blind since birth. She has several conditions, including nystagmus, cataracts, and more recently hearing loss.

Kaukub is passionate about advocating for visually impaired people. She wants to improve their opportunities in education and employment.

Kaukub has spent her professional career working as a social worker in the Youth Justice Service. She strongly believes that blind and partially sighted people have the ability to achieve anything they want to.

Kaukub loves animals, especially horses and it is her dream to have her own stables one day.

Vicky Whiteley

Coming soon!

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