Our team


Dr Sally McVicker founded the organisation in 2017, and continues to co-ordinate the team at Aphasia Re-Connect, whilst also covering a Clinical Academic Role at City, University of London.

We work together in partnership, running peer-led groups, training and peer befriending to support people with aphasia to re-connect with life.

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Sally trained as a speech and language therapist having gained her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Durham. She has over thirty years’ experience of working with people living with the communication disability, aphasia.

Sally worked in a range of therapy roles in the NHS before moving to Connect, the Communication Disability Network, where she worked for 16 years. Sally founded Aphasia Re-Connect to ensure ongoing support continues to be available to people in the longer term. Sally is keen to build upon people’s strengths and to help them move forward with life. Sally’s commitment to student clinical training compliments our work at Aphasia Re-Connect as students enhance and extend what we are able to do.

Contact Sally about:

  • General enquiries

Sioban Zacharek


Sioban is a speech and language therapist. She trained at City, University of London. She works a four day week and is not here on a Tuesday. Sioban takes many groups, runs the buddying scheme, and trains volunteers. She also manages the applications or referral system with Kathryn.

Contact Sioban about: 

  • Our groups 
  • Applications / Referrals to Aphasia Re-Connect
  • Buddy System
  • Volunteering

Kathryn McDonald


Kathryn is a speech and language therapist. She trained at City, University of London. Kathryn takes many groups, runs the peer befriending, and helps to coordinate the newsletter. She also manages the applications or referral system with Sioban.

Contact Kathryn about: 

  • Our groups 
  • Applications / Referrals to Aphasia Re-Connect
  • Peer befriending
  • Newsletter

Alison is a speech and language therapist. She trained at City, University of London. Alison works just one day a week, on a Thursday, taking the Starters Group and Between the Lines.  

Contact Alison about: 

  • Our Starters group
  • Between the Lines

Janet Simpson

Janet has been with Aphasia Re-Connect since March 2023. She manages the administration side of the organisation ensuring that referrals to the organisation are forwarded to the relevant team members. She also manages the process of ensuring that the database is up to date and is Minute Secretary for Trustee meetings.

Board of Trustees

Our Trustees provide the overarching governance of the Charity and support Aphasia Re-Connect’s work and ambition. 

Namrata Walia


I’m Namrata (Nami) and have the privilege of working as the Chair of Aphasia Re-Connect since January 2024. Most of my working career has been as a Finance Manager within the NHS for 15 years. After which I have taken up numerous volunteering positions and most recently with Westminster City Council, as part of the Advisory Committee for Westminster Connects. This predominantly involved recruitment and retention of volunteers.

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The position of Chair at Aphasia Re-Connect was brought to my attention while I was volunteering (Bid Writing for care homes) with Attend, and I was and continue to be truly fascinated by the work of the charity! I hope to use experience in strategic planning, finance, volunteering and importantly working with like-minded people to further the invaluable work of Aphasia Re-Connect.

John Sayers FCIOB MAPM

John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building and a member of the Association for Project Management with a main contractor background with over 45 years experience. Initially trained as a quantity surveyor John was Managing Director of a refurbishment company which he sold in 2005 before taking up the invitation to be an Ambassador, Monitor and Past Director for the Considerate Constructors Scheme acting as Monitor mentoring some of the UK’s highest profile projects including the 2012 Olympic Park, Crossrail, Battersea Power Station and 4500+ others to date over 15 years.

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John is also a member of the Judging Panel for the Construction Manager of the Year Awards (CMYA), Vice-Chairman of Governors for a private girls’ school and has been a Liveryman and Honorary Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Constructors since 2000.

Other voluntary activities include 3 years as a Judge for the Teambuild competition and is a Trustee of Aphasia Reconnect, a registered charity and is driven by the ever changing construction industry in all its forms.

Professor Katerina Hilari

Katerina is a Professor of Acquired Communication Disorders. She is a Speech and Language Therapist with a background in Psychology and she specialises in aphasia and the impact of aphasia on people’s lives. Katerina leads the Trials for Aphasia Panel of the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists and is on the Board of Trustees of Aphasia Re-Connect. Katerina joined City, University of London in 2002. She previously worked at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

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Katerina studied Philosophy, Education and Psychology at the University of Athens before her post-graduate studies in Speech and Language Therapy in the UK. She worked in the NHS for St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and the Royal Free in North London. Her early research focused on the assessment of health-related quality of life in people with stroke and aphasia. She has developed a questionnaire, the Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life scale (SAQOL-39) for use in clinical practice and research.

Katerina’s current research is driven by the priorities of people with aphasia. It explores interventions to address the impact of aphasia on people’s communication, well-being and quality of life. She brings this expertise to her role as a Trustee for Aphasia Re-Connect.

Paul Sayers

Paul Sayers is a member of the KKR Insurance Client Solutions team, where he focuses on business development and supports solutions for KKR’s insurance clients in Europe. In addition to this, he is responsible for the coverage of clients in Spain and Israel. Prior to this role at the firm, Paul worked as a product specialist focused on North American and European Private Equity in the firm’s New York and London offices.

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Prior to joining KKR, he was a relationship manager for HSBC Private Bank, where he was responsible for raising capital and providing investment solutions for ultra-high-net-worth clients. Mr. Sayers holds a BSc in Economics (First Class with Honors) from the University of Birmingham and has passed Level I and Level II of the CFA Program.

Simon Horton

Dr Simon Horton is a retired speech and language therapist and academic. His background is in aphasia and aphasia therapy, and, as a teacher and researcher at the University of East Anglia (UEA), he was particularly interested in collaborating with stroke survivors and people living with aphasia. He has been a Trustee of Aphasia Re-Connect since October 2023.

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Simon studied French and German as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, before doing a Post Graduate diploma in Speech and Language Therapy in London in 1979-81. He worked in the NHS in Norfolk as a speech and language therapist for over twenty years, also completing a part-time MSc and PhD at City University, London. As a member of staff at UEA, he focused on collaborations with people with aphasia, and with the support of Sally McVicker, set up the first Conversation Partners scheme at a UK university in 2004-5. Having worked for many years in collaboration with a wonderful group of aphasia experts in teaching and research, he is delighted to have become a Trustee of Aphasia Re-Connect.

Bill Noble

In November 2017 I had a Stroke. This left me with Aphasia, and the right arm, and the right leg, very much worse. Since going on to Aphasia Re-Connect I have want to do more! Since learning about Ginia wanting to leave Trustees I have asked Sally if I wanted to replace her on the Trustees. She said yes! I went to my first meeting in April 2024.


Peer Supporters

Aphasia Re-Connect has a vibrant team of volunteer peer supporters, people with aphasia who work in a range of roles, from advisers and ambassadors to co-facilitators at our groups.


We also have a team of communication support volunteers who work in partnership with our peer leaders. Our volunteers support people with aphasia to build on their strengths, to support others and welcome them into the Aphasia Re-Connect community.

If you would like to join our energetic team of volunteers in this valuable work, please get in touch with us via this page.