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    Committee Biographies

    Marylin Kilsby

    Marylin is a relative newcomer to Open Ears, having become a member in 2008 and joining the committee in 2010. She was born hard of hearing but over the years has become profoundly deaf. Marylin is a qualified teacher of deaf children but spent sixteen year of her working life as a social worker with deaf people. For the last eighteen years until she retired in October 2010, Marylin worked in a voluntary organisation, with deaf people who are acquiring a sight loss.

    Marylin attends a Newfrontiers church in London and, despite her profound hearing loss, enjoys playing the clarinet and singing.

    Christine Pitts.

    Open Ears Administrator; became a member of HHCF (Hard of Hearing Christian Fellowship as it was then called) in 1994 and joined the committee the same year. Started going deaf with otosclerosis in her late 20’s, now severely deaf with tinnitus. Originally worked as a secretary to the Personnel Director of a large Departmental Store and then in the aircraft industry. After marrying in 1966 became a secretary at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art until starting a family in 1970. When the children were old enough to go to school she worked with adults with learning difficulties and then for 20 years with special needs children aged from birth to 4 years. Since retiring in 2005 she has become a Lay Preacher in the United Reformed Church and has been kept busy looking after Grandchildren.

    Edwin Astill

    Open Ears Treasurer. Since childhood has suffered from loss of hearing in one ear. As a deacon in the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria (he is Deacon Alexander in religion) he is involved in his Church in Doncaster. Now he is retired from secular work he is following an interest in history, especially that of the Great War, and has books published in that field.

     

    Ken Wiggett

    Minutes Secretary. With his wife Jean, he joined the national committee some years ago, and although he has in the past considered himself the only ‘hearing loss free’ member, he is now experiencing some slight hearing loss and tinnitus. And after 40 years managing and designing public green spaces and receiving several national awards for parks in his care, he has now retired from ‘active public service’. He is however, still very much involved with parks and flower show judging.

    He is also a trustee of ILEAP, a charity providing sport and activities for disabled children and young people, and a school governor. He and his wife Jean have a Daughter, Son-in-Law and two Grandchildren. Among his other interests, apart from his family, are playing the piano, reading, crossword puzzles and enjoying the beauties of God’s creation.

    Jean Wiggett

    Committee Member. A World War Two bomb explosion very near to where she was born and lived caused her severe hearing loss. Growing up proved difficult, due to the lack of understanding of her hearing problem at that time. But throughout those early years and beyond; at school, socially and in the workplace, she has always known the real presence of God’s guiding hand; and he has never failed her.

    Most of her working career has been in administration at London and local hospitals, and whilst working at the Royal London Hospital she met and married Ken. During her pregnancy it was discovered that she also had Otosclerosis, but due to previous damage of the ears caused by that initial shell blast, clinicians were unable to address the problem. She first had contact with Hard of Hearing Christian Fellowship, as Open Ears was then called, about 25 years ago and became a National Committee Member a few years later.