Diana Findley, Chair
Diana Findley was elected as Chairperson at SOPA’s AGM on 26 July 2018.
Born and educated in Angus, Diana attended Business College after school During her working life she was a Personal Assistant at director level in three different international companies in England. She also worked in hotel management, and latterly worked with her husband in their own business. On retirement, Diana became involved with Better Government for Older People and was the Chairperson of its Scottish section, the Scottish Older People's Advisory Group. She has served on Age Scotland Board and is currently their Regional Ambassador for the Borders as well as a Trustee of SOPA. Locally, she is chairperson of Borders Older People's Forum, is on the Borders Social Enterprise Chamber and attends various other groups in relation to Older People and their concerns with Scottish Borders Council and NHS.
"I believe it is most important to strengthen the voices of our older people and make these known and understood by those who have the power to make changes and improve lives."
Eileen Wallace, Vice Chair
My name is Eileen Wallace and I was born in Stirling so I am a daughter of the Rock. My primary education was local then up to Aberdeen to further education in Pre-Nursing College where I did a Diploma in Anatomy and Physiology then on to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to obtain my first Nursing Qualification. I was about to sit my finals in June 1964 when Aberdeen was hit by the Typhoid Epidemic. It is still very clear in my mind, my nursing friends were in other hospitals within the City but we were in Lockdown and not allowed to visit. I got on with my studies, my duty shifts. With my Nursing Career I have travelled extensively but returned to Stirling in mid-eighties to look after my father and help run a local business with my brother. I looked after my father and then became his full time carer whilst taking a senior Nursing post locally. My brother became ill after my dad died and I helped look after him and closed our building business. My caring and nursing roll has always been my mantra and that's why today if I see an injustice or can support someone who needs help I will.
Alan Sidaway, Vice Chair
I always enjoyed pension work, so when I came to the end of my working life I joined the Retired Members Association of the Trade Union. It was not long before I became Secretary and was elected on to the regional and the national committee of the RMA.
To further my interest I joined the Over 50’s committee, so I could help a wider public, I am now chair of this committee. I have represented the Forum on Digital TV steering group, also Scottish Senior Alliance and NPC. I go to the Pensioner’s Parliament at Blackpool every year and enjoy every moment of this aiding fellow pensioner. I have been awarded the trade union “Gold Medal” for work done beyond the call of duty, which I felt very humbled and pleased to receive. I want to continue helping as much as I can, as we all have a part to play.
I was on the executive of the Seniors Forum, for about twelve years but owing to funding it had to close down. Out of the ashes of the forum the Dumfries over 50s group was formed, I was glad that we still had a voice in Dumfries. I am also on Dumfries Councils Older people Consultative Group (O.P.C.G) as a representative for the U.R.M., working along side my colleagues from the over 50s.The strength of us being united is paramount to our great cause, which can be achieved through the U.R.M., and the Dumfries over 50s and being a part of S.O.P.A.
Catriona Mason, Trustee
My name is Catriona Mason and I have been a Trustee of SOPA since October 2020.
I am Chairperson of Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire, a founder member of Hamilton and District u3a and a volunteer tutor with R:evolve, an upcycling charity in South Lanarkshire.
Having spent almost 38 years in education, I am using my retirement to help provide a voice for older people, to promote lifelong learning and to help prevent unwanted textiles ending up in landfill.
I am interested in helping older people remain active, healthy and involved in life choices. My hobbies are crafting, quilting and motorhoming and try to do them all at once when possible!
(Cllr) Elaine Thornton-Nicol, Trustee
Born in Dundee, brought up in the Highlands, educated in Aberdeen and now living in the beautiful Scottish Borders via South Africa, Elaine is the elected member for Selkirkshire and honoured to be the Older People’s Champion for Scottish Borders Council.
Elaine spent over sixteen years in the hotel industry in various roles and then spent another sixteen years in the third sector. Latterly, the services she oversaw were specifically for Older People. After being made redundant, Elaine decided to give back to her own community that had looked after her through a very difficult few years by volunteering and leading the project to renovate Newtown Community Wing to make it usable for all ages.
Elaine finds it difficult to accept that services for Older People are designed without engaging the Older People! Elaine’s passion is that Older People are engaged at every level to inform policy makers what changes are required to make sure they are able to live the best later life they can.
SOPA could and should be the conduit to all levels of decision makers that our members can raise issues that are impacting negatively on their lives and the things that are making them better that can be shared around Scotland.
John White, Trustee
John spent 40 years working in the National Health Service. In 1987 appointed District Superintendent with responsibility for the Radiology departments in six hospitals including a Health centre. In 1996 invited to commission the Radiology department of the Capua Palace Hospital in Sliema Malta following the commissioning and managing of departments in three new build hospitals.
In 2007 graduated with a BA degree in Politics whilst obtaining the Diploma in politics and Government.
John was chairman of the Dumfries Public Partnership Forum and the founding Chairman of the ‘ Over 50’s’ and latterly their Honorary Life President and a trustee of the Scottish Older People’s Assembly.
Prior to retiring from the NHS, I was a director of two local mental health charities and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
Following retirement, I joined the NHS Retirement Fellowship subsequently being elected as treasurer of the local branch, honorary secretary of the Federation of Scottish Branches and country representative on the national Board of Trustees where I am a member of the benevolent committee and the audit, risk and investment committee. I was elected as chair the Falkirk Older People’s Network in 2019 and am a volunteer befriender and volunteer advocate.
With my background in management and understanding of the third sector, I believe I can contribute to the aims of the Scottish Older People’s Assembly.
My name is Mrs. Harriette Campbell. Retired Nurse from the NHS since 2004. An Activist in my community, I advocate lobby and campaign tirelessly for equality and diversity. In July 2021 I was awarded an Honorary degree (Doctor of Science) from Glasgow Caledonian University in recognition of my outstanding community engagement over 30 years supporting African and Caribbean women in Scotland, many from the nursing profession. I have been attending SOPA’S events since December 2013 as an individual. I noticed that there has been absence of my community in all the events that I have been attending for years.
I am interested and I wish to apply for the role of a trustee in SOPA’s Board. I am team player, also been volunteering for decades in forums and organisations. I am confident I will follow the guidelines as require to be a trustee as I will be someone representing from a minority group. I will use my expertise, also willing to learn as I go along. I love helping and bringing people together. The reason why I help set up the African and Caribbean Elders in Scotland (ACES) which is a recognised member of SOPA.
I worked in local authorities in planning and evaluating public services and, in the last 10 years, I worked specifically in health and social care services. Five years of that time were spent co-ordinating work on the Scottish Government’s Reshaping Care for Older People in Stirling and in Renfrewshire.
I did a lot of work in public consultations on services and in building relationships between service providers and service users. Much of my work was organising and supporting the strategic work of senior managers in Health and Social Care in developing, delivering and evaluating services. I also did a lot of work with voluntary sector organisations to help them develop in ways that equipped them with the business skills to bid for, and deliver, local services under contract with local authorities and the Health and Social Care Partnerships.
Between 2004 and 2009 I was a self-employed consultant, providing research, business and strategic planning services for public agencies and voluntary sector organisations.
I am enjoying my retirement, spending time on my hobbies and recreational activities but I have also been considering how I might use the skills and the knowledge acquired throughout my working career for some worthwhile purpose on a voluntary basis. In my field of work I was, of course, aware of the work of SOPA and I think that I could offer some useful support in SOPA's activities.
I retired this year from Board/Director Agile Operations and Business Development roles delivering Housing, Social Services, Finance systems, Business Process and Change Management, Contact Centres and Software Development for both the Public and Private sector. Contracts have ranged in size from £10k pa to £100m pa. I have had a lot of engagement with Scottish Government Officers and MSPs, as well as Councils, NHS and Education, so understand how they operate, their processes, procurement and culture. Example Projects I have been involved with are Dallas Living it Up an NHS Digital Portal initiative, Patient Pathways, NHS Education, Fair Start Scotland (getting people into work), delivering one of the Care systems for Pensioners as used by Edinburgh Council, Highland Council merging of Adult Social Care and the NHS etc.
For the last 5 years I have been Co-Chair of Action for Children Byte Night, helping homeless children by raising money and creating awareness across the Central belt. I live in Edinburgh and I am keen to be involved in unpaid/paid Senior Charity roles in Scotland. I believe I could add a lot to the SOPA Board, as I am now over 50 understand older people's needs and wishes, while still having significant skills and experience from the business world, as well as significant charity/volunteering over the last 30 years to the present ranging from Coaching Rugby to Kids, Homeless Kids and Project Managing the procurement and delivery of our Tennis and Bowling Club roof and exterior walls. Came out of retirement to help the NHS Covid vaccination software development
I have 20 years experience working in the Scottish Parliament of influencing change to government proposals and policy. Having been involved with Parliamentary Committees in scrutinising government I have seen how this is developed and understand the ways in which change can be proposed and made. In particular I have worked with Parliamentary Committees in recent years with a focus on local government, education and latterly on healthy and social care. These skills and experiences can assist in expanding SOPA’s role and influence as funding increases.
SOPA should be at the vanguard for suggesting constructive change to both improve the lives of older people and ways in which their skills can be utilised, with SOPA’s views being sought on behalf of older people when all new policies are being considered. My vision is of SOPA as an organisation whose views are both sought and actively listened to by all authorities.
I am a qualified and experienced in human resources and for twenty years served as a non-legal tribunal member with the Employment Tribunals Service before retiring last year. I also worked hearing appeals for certain disability social security benefits. During my career, I lived in Inverness working for Highlands & Islands Enterprise, following ten years co-managing a limited company consultancy business from start-up. My experience also includes marketing, finance and business studies training. I now live in Glasgow.
My tribunal work and training in equality and diversity has made me more aware that attitudes to old age and age discrimination, despite legislation, have not improved over several years within society to the same extent as have attitudes towards some other protected characteristics. I would like to work towards improving attitudes towards older age and believe mental and physical health and being as active as possible are important. As growing older is common to everyone in life, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background, it should ideally be a happy, healthy, fulfilling experience we work towards in a modern Scotland. I would like to be able to contribute to that goal.
SOPA Trustees: Diana Findley, Alan Sidaway, Eileen Wallace, John White, Elaine Thornton-Nicol, David Paterson, Catriona Mason, Harriette Campbell, Brodie Shepherd, David Callum, Teresa Lavery, Margaret Fisher.