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Meet the Unique Staff Team


Beverly Searle BSc(Hons) PhD CBiol MRSB
Chief Executive Officer

Website Editor

Hello! I'm the CEO and have been passionately involved with Unique since the birth of my daughter Jenny in 1990, first as a volunteer and since 1999 as a staff member. Before that I was a research biologist with an interest in the biochemistry and genetics of yeast. What a coincidence then that Jenny should be born with a chromosome deletion! Jenny was profoundly disabled and very medically complex; sadly we lost her when she was 21 years old but we are very proud to have had her in our lives. My son Jonathan is a doctor and my husband Trevor is a software specialist; together Trevor and I have developed and maintain Unique's members' database and website. I am responsible to the Trustees for the day to day running of Unique and development of our services; I respond to enquiries from new families and professionals and aim to raise the profile of rare chromosome disorders and the work of Unique

Explanation of website editor's qualifications:
BSc(Hons) - Batchelor of Science degree with Honours in Applied Biology
PhD - Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biological Sciences
CBiol - Chartered Biologist
MRSB - Member of the Royal Society of Biology

Craig Mitchell BA(Hons), PGCE, MInstF(Dip)
Chief Operating Officer

I'm Unique's Chief Operating Officer and work on fundraising, administration and infrastructure, basically anything to support the frontline staff as they deliver services to families and professionals. My background is in HR, operations management and communications and I joined Unique in 2008 having previously been a member. I am married to Gemma and have two girls: Ella who has a deletion on chromosome 6 and Holly who has normal chromosomes. Please do get in touch to discuss fundraising, making a donation or if you have any skills that you feel may be of use to Unique.

Prisca Middlemiss MA(Oxon), Dip Health Promotion
Senior Information Officer

As a carrier of a balanced translocation that spans three generations, I have had many chances to discover for myself the vagaries of chromosome rearrangements. Professionally, I have worked in medical journalism for most of my life, editing the then British Diabetic Association's journal Balance, writing for the medical and consumer press, and writing three child health handbooks. Working as Unique's Senior Information Officer offers a wonderful opportunity for the personal and professional strands of my life to intertwine.

Anna Pelling BSc(Hons) PhD
Senior Information Officer

I was very happy to have been given the opportunity to join Unique in 2015 as one of the Information Officers. I am responsible for researching and writing or updating Uniqueís information guides. I have a BSc(Hons) in Biology, a PhD in Molecular Biology, and worked as a postdoctoral research scientist for many years. With the recent advances in genetic technologies, children are being diagnosed with rare chromosome disorders at an ever increasing rate and for a great number of these genetic changes there is very little information available for parents. Uniqueís guides are not only written with information gathered from scientific literature and related databases but with information gathered from families who can give a more personal insight as to the effects of such changes. I contact families by email regarding each guide but would be more than happy to answer any genetic questions you may have so please donít hesitate to contact me!

Arti Patel, BSc (Hons)
Information Officer

I was delighted to join the Unique team in August 2015 as an Information Officer. My role is to answer queries from new and existing family members and professionals, to provide information about specific rare chromosome and single gene disorders and to help match up families on the basis of their rare chromosome disorder, symptoms or treatments. I also help in the production of the Unique magazine. I was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) - a rare genetic condition caused by a single gene mutation. As a result of my TCS, I also have a moderate hearing loss in both ears and wear a bone conduction hearing aid. It is with the endless support of my parents and elder sister that I am able to be in a position to share my experiences and hopefully offer some support to families affected by rare chromosome and single conditions.

BSc (Hons) - Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physiology and Pharmacology

Marion Mitchell
Family Support Officer

I joined the group in May 1995, just after my son Robert was diagnosed with an inverted duplication of chromosome 15 (idic 15). In 2012 he was re-diagnosed with a very rare partial octasomy of chromosome 15 (8 copies). In 1996 I became Information Officer for the group and in 1999 Administrative Officer. In June 2003 I became Family Support Officer. I send out all the new members' welcome packs, I manage our social networking groups on Facebook, I coordinate our local contacts around the world and since 1996/7 I organised/co-organised Unique's past conference weekends. I also source and write Unique's parents' guides on practical matters. As area representative for West Sussex, I help to raise the profile of Unique in the Sussex area.

Jenny Knight
Finance Officer

I was appointed to the post of Finance Officer for Unique in July 2011 having been a member of Unique for many years. I have one son who will be 29 this year and twin boys, George and Henry, who will be 18 this year. George possibly has a rare chromosome disorder although we don't have a chromosome disorder diagnosis as yet. He has been diagnosed with Worster Drought Syndrome and has a very severe speech and language disorder. We have recently joined the "Deciphering Developmental Disorders" study which will hopefully provide a further diagnosis for George.

Caroline Pocock
Fundraising Officer

I joined Unique as a part time member of staff in May 2014, my background is in business development in book publishing and Iím keen to use this expertise to help grow Unique so we can help more and more families. I have two children, Jonah and Maya who keep me busy when Iím not working. If you are looking to raise money for Unique and arenít sure what to do, then do please get in touch. I will support you throughout your challenge and help you with every aspect of your fundraising, including creating an online giving page.

Rachel Nixon HND (Business Studies)
Fundraising Officer

I am very excited to be joining the team of Unique and look forward to helping the team with all aspects of fundraising, plus getting to know the families that we support. I am returning to work after having two children, Annabelle and Ollie, with my husband Paul. I previously worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrenís Charity, where I worked for seven years within the Fundraising Department and where I learned the difference support, knowledge and care makes to families. Please do get in touch if you need any help with your fundraising and I will do all I can to help.

Email: Rachel@rarechromo.org