Peter Apps

Peter was one of the founding members of Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research (SMSR) and recently moved to an Ambassador role.  Injured on an assignment in Sri Lanka, Peter became a tetraplegic, bringing new perspective to his life. Peter has many interests and is a widely respected commentator on risk in all its forms, working with Thomson Reuters. In addition to his voluntary work with SMSR, Peter is actively involved in his local community. You can read more about his work by visiting his Facebook page here

Peter Apps Journalist

Ralph Charlwood 

Following a mountain biking accident in 1997 Ralph, then a young Chartered Surveyor, went on to complete his MBA during which he undertook a  secondment to a company that he subsequently joined, and set him on a career change into real estate finance.  He later became involved in growing a start-up business which was then sold enabling him to become financially independent. Ralph is involved in various hobbies and is a supporter of SMSR's research into tackling key complications of spinal cord injury that can impact on quality of life.

Nikki Emerson 

In June 2008,Nikki was involved in a car accident whilst driving back from university,  crushing her T10 to T12 vertebrae which led to paralysis from below the middle of her back. After a week in intensive care, she was transferred to Stoke Mandeville National Spinal Injuries Centre and after a period of rehabilitation returned to Oxford to finish her degree. 

After graduating, she went on to represent Great Britain on the track, alongside working in Commercial Negotiations at the London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee. She currently works as Business Development Manager at Premier League.

Nikki Emerson

Ali Gibson

Ali sustained a spinal cord injury in 1996. She went on to study at the University of Nottingham and graduated with a first class honours degree in Psychology. Ali values peer support and maximising the outcomes of rehabilitation following spinal cord injury and other long-term neurological conditions. 

Nick Hutton 

Nick, a Copy Writer at TBWA London, sustained a high level spinal cord injury more than 25 years ago,  He was one of the original founding Trustee members and has recently moved from this to the role of Ambassador.  He is a strong supporter of the research that SMSR is involved in.

Emma Douglas  

Emma sustained her injury in August 2005 and having been a keen horse-rider all her life, got back on a horse in June 2006.  In 2010 she started her para-dressage journey and between 2010 and 2018 represented Great Britain 7 times.  She travelled to the Rio Olympics as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Team and is now actively helping SMSR to educate people about the importance of improving the quality of life after paralysis.  

Heidi Herkes  

We met Heidi when she was rehabilitating at the National Spinal Injuries Centre following an injury sustained by a fall down the stairs in 2014.  Heidi is now a passionate advocate of helping people with spinal cord injury to feel good about themselves through understanding style and its impact on wellbeing.  She now runs her own bespoke style consultancy and we are delighted she is sharing her insights with our stakeholders to help them regain confidence and self belief following injury.  You can find out more about Heidi at and follow her on Instagram @heidiherkes.