Our Research & Operations Director, Dr Neil Abbot, retires this week after 15 years service. At his recent retirement lunch, he explained that reaching retirement age was a new experience, sobering in many ways but also the start of a new phase of life. Fortunately, he will continue to be involved with the charity in a voluntary capacity as Hon Secretary to the Scientific Advisory Board, allowing continuity in dealing with research applications and on-going projects, and giving advice when needed.
Neil was one of the founding trustees of ME Research UK in 2000, before leaving the board to become the full-time Research & Operations Director. The aim was simply to get biomedical research off the ground and, to date, the charity has provided £1.4 million of funding for 41 biomedical projects in the UK, Australia, Canada, Belgium and Sweden (read more). As he says, “I have enjoyed the challenge of the science but also the interaction with patients by email and phone which has led on to some interesting and important projects, such as the investigation of pain, the detection of problems with eyes and vision, the clinical assessment of muscle weakness, and the creation of the UK ME/CFS Biobank. One of my favourite quotes is from the anthropologist Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has’. Commitment is the quality that sustains individuals and organisations over the long haul, and thoughtfulness is what keeps their eyes on the prize – in this case uncovering the biological causes of ME/CFS.”
We wish Neil a long and happy retirement from full-time work, and thank him for his service over the years.