Who we are
Sam Thomas (Founder and Charity Director): Sam founded MGEDT in Spring 2009 following his own experience of an eating disorder throughout his teens. Having had bulimia for eight years, he managed to recover in his early twenties. Reflecting on his experiences he realised being male was largely why he found it difficult to get appropriate support. In response to this he set up the original MGEDT website with the support of Fixers UK to raise awareness of male eating disorders and provide information and advice that is specific to men’s needs.
Sam is dedicated to raising awareness of male eating disorders and frequently talks about his experiences and of the issue of male eating disorders in the media and at conferences. Sam’s work has been recognised in the Shelia McKechnie Campaigner Awards, Beacon Prize, Beat Awards and the Talk Talk Digital Heroes Awards.
Neil Holmes (Chairman): Neil has worked in the community and voluntary sector for 18 years in the field of mental health. Working to develop, grow and sustain charities and community groups. He is passionate about neighbourhoods and communities and the role of the third sector within these. He is committed to influencing health in-equalities and social injustice, in-particular issues relating to well-being and mental health. Neil believes in challenging prejudice, discrimination and stigma.
Neil is also a qualified Counsellor and Supervisor. Outside of work Neil’s interests include modern art, cinema and enjoying walks in the great outdoors. Neil is involved locally with the social enterprise sector and believes this is a means towards social change and equality.
Lynn Crilly (Trustee): Lynn became a counsellor when one of our beautiful daughters fell into the evil trap of Anorexia Nervosa and OCD, at the age of 13. Watching her disappear before her eyes, and the huge impact it was having on the rest of my family, especially her twin sister, and felt no option but to train and learn as much as she could about eating disorders and mental illness.
Through using her unique and very effective form of counselling she has now established herself as one of the country’s leading private therapists, working with people from all walks of life, ages and genders. She is admired for her passion and understanding– something she attributes to the strength and loyalty of her family and friends, with whom she spends as much time as possible. In 2012 Lynn written and published her first book ‘Hope With Eating Disorders.’ and co-authored her second book in 2015, ‘Fundamentals, a guide for parents, teachers and carers on mental health and self-esteem.’
Jenny Langley (Trustee) – Since her son recovered from anorexia 13 years ago, Jenny Langley has campaigned to raise awareness of eating disorders in boys and men, and also to provide practical help and support to families affected by eating disorders in the South East of England.
Through her website and book (www.boyanorexia.com and Boys Get Anorexia Too) Jenny provides support and hope to many families from all over the world who are struggling with a male eating disorder in their midst. For the past five years Jenny has also worked closely with Sam Thomas at Men Get Eating Disorders Too to raise awareness and provide support in a proactive and sensitive manner.
Jenny is passionate about providing support to carers. Jenny and her husband facilitate a Beat affiliated carers support group in Kent. ( www.eda-westkent.org.uk). In addition Jenny works closely with the Eating Disorder Research team of The Institute of Psychiatry, and is trained in the New Maudsley method. She has become an “expert carer” coach for the research programmes and delivers regular skills workshops for carers in Kent.
Jenny is also an Associate Trainer for Beat and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and delivers a wide range of sessions on eating disorders , body image and self esteem, and the whole range of teenage mental health issues to students, school staff and parents.
Jenny won the Beat Volunteer Recognition Award in 2014 for Outstanding Service to Education and Awareness which was presented at the House of Commons.
Jenny lives in Sevenoaks in Kent and has six children age between 26 years and 12 years.
Hugh Smith (Trustee): Hugh works in London with adults experiencing severe and enduring needs related to substance use and mental health. He is a graduate of the University of Nottingham and has experience in the charity and voluntary sector in areas including media relations, communications, partnership working, and public policy. Hugh has experienced first-hand the issues that MGEDT campaigns on and has used this experience to contribute to academic projects and national media.