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The Staff Team

Dr Ava Easton - Chief Executive

Dr Ava Easton is the Chief Executive of The Encephalitis Society.  Ava has produced and published several papers, and more recently a book (Life After Encephalitis) on various aspects of encephalitis and its after-effects; she also speaks at conferences and provides lectures and training on acquired brain injury, and encephalitis and its consequences, for health, education and social care professionals, worldwide.  Ava is involved in a number of research studies looking into the processes and outcomes of encephalitis and is an Honorary Fellow at The University of Liverpool, UK.  Ava also provides consultancy to various press and media, and is on the editorial boards of Brain Injury and B21 magazine. 

In her spare time Ava is a Marine Mammal Medic, enjoys reading, movies, listening to music, fine food and wine, and loves all animals. Follow her day to day work on Twitter and see a more detailed profile on LinkedIn


Phillippa Chapman - Director of Operations

Phillippa is local to the Society's headquarters, having grown up in, and recently returned to Malton. Phillippa joined the team in 2012. Phillippa studied Business Administration at the University of Bath and did her MA in Human Resource Management at the University of York. Phillippa has worked for a variety or organisations, large and small all over the country. In her spare time she likes to run and play squash, she is very close to her family and is Auntie to 3 beautiful children.


Jon Ainley - Member and Support Coordinator

Jon is the voice most readers will be familiar with, Jon has responsibility for the Support line and has been a lifeline for many people. He will not only listen and give information and advice but will also go away and find the people and services needed to make a difference. Jon is also responsible for supporting people with their fundraising efforts. Prior to joining the society Jon worked as a day centre officer for North Yorkshire County Council. He has two children, is keen on classic cars, old buildings (neither of which he owns) travel and all things wildlife.


Alina Ellerington - Projects and Information Coordinator

Alina joined the Society in 2008 initially setting up the Regional Representative Volunteer Scheme, and then becoming the Operations Manager. Her current role is a new one for the Society and allows her to use her expertise and spend quality time with her new daughter.  Originally from Romania where she practiced nursing for almost 10 years, she now lives in York enjoying the Yorkshire life & even picking up a Yorkshire accent.


Caroline Clark - Finance Coordinator

Caroline joined the team in June 2009 and has a wealth of finance experience, she lives in Sherburn with her husband Richard and spends most of her spare time riding horses and gardening. Previously a racehorse trainer, Caroline now concentrates successfully on dressage and unaffiliated eventing. She also enjoys gardening and has a German Shepherd called Roxy. 


Andrew Pitt - Communications Coordinator

Andrew joined The Encephalitis Society in 2015, bringing with him a wealth of experience as a journalist in North Yorkshire.

After earning a degree at Southampton, he enjoyed travelling the world over a period of two years, before returning to work at the BBC, Channel M, and other organisations.

Andrew has lived in Yorkshire for the past 10 years, enjoys travelling, most sports (especially basketball), cinema and singing in his barbershop quartet. 


Julie Welburn - Administrator

Julie joined the Society in 2012 and prior to working for the Society she worked for many years as an administrator for the Court Service.  Julie is a Yorkshire lass born and bred and lives in a small village on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband Ian.  She loves the outdoors and when not in the garden she enjoys mountain biking and walking - weather permitting! 


Community Fundraising and Event Coordinator - Carolyn Jackson

Carolyn, who was born and raised in Scotland, arrived at The Society from Saint Catherine's Hospice in Scarborough and brings with her several years of fundraising experience. A keen swimmer, cyclist and gardener, she was originally a registered nurse and now hopes to continue to grow as a fundraiser and learn more about encephalitis during her time at The Society.


Julia Clark - Director of Income Generation

Julia has many years experience as a fundraiser and is passionate about raising money to support the amazing work of charities both large and small. Her most recent roles have been in London with SSAFA: the Armed Forces Charity but in 2015 Julia returned to Yorkshire and took up the Director of Fundraising role with Yorkshire Cancer Research. She joined the Encephalitis Society as Director of Income Generation in November 2016. Julia lives in Scarborough with her long-suffering Husband and has two daughters and a sprocker spaniel. In her spare time, she is a volunteer at a music venue and also loves to walk the Yorkshire coastline. Don’t be surprised if Julia asks you to help raise funds and awareness for the Encephalitis Society and if you have any ideas or comment around fundraising she’d be delighted to hear from you.


Carol Sampson - Clinical Neuropsychologist

Carol recently joined The Society after a 25 year career as an NHS Clinical Neuropsychologist, working with adults with a variety of neurological conditions. Carol has a special interest in adjustment to brain injury and completed her doctorate thesis on adjustment and ABI in 2000. She also provides training to staff, carers and other professionals to promote and support evidence-based person centred practice. In her spare time, Carol is an active member of her local church, advocates for children living in poverty and abandoned donkeys. 


Andrew Cleaton - Trusts and Foundation Coordinator

Andrew joined The Encephalitis Society in early 2017.  Having worked for Arts Council England and The National Foundation for Youth Music he has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to putting together bids for money!  He has also spent a great deal of time working with children and young people in Special Educational Needs and Disability settings.  As a musician, he is an accomplished composer, pianist and guitarist and, in his spare time, can often be found making all manner of strange noises in his home studio. Though born in Wiltshire and raised in Dorset, he has lived in Yorkshire for so long now that most of the county has forgiven him!”


The Encephalitis Society is the operating name of the Encephalitis Support Group which is a registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 4189027. Registered Office as above. Registered Charity No. 1087843.