Our Ambassadors represent us at a wide variety of levels - industry, business, sports and disability. They're all dedicated to changing lives for the better.
Tanja is the Events Manager at Jagex Games Studio.
“I first had the chance to meet the wonderful people of SpecialEffect as part of Jagex’s live streamed 24-hour games marathon for the charity’s GameBlast fundraiser in 2015, where I was mainly responsible for sponsorship management. In 2016, I was able to extend that role and thanks to the support of our games’ incredible communities and a dedicated team of Jagex employees, we were able to raise $152,000 for the charity!
For people, especially children, in devastating health situations, gaming can be a big relief and a great distraction from their daily lives. I am delighted to see the direct impact and difference we have made so far by coming together and supporting SpecialEffect’s extraordinary efforts, and I am proud to take up a role as Ambassador.”
I first became aware of SpecialEffect when my wife, Louise, was assigned to a SpecialEffect team for the 2010 Walk4Matt. It was clear that the people we met were honest, generous, passionate about what they did - and keen to embark upon crazy challenges to raise funds for their charity!
"I was lucky to have enjoyed a long and relatively successful professional rugby career. I was able to pursue my dream and play rugby for a living but I am well aware that, for some, the dream that's pursued is a much simpler one - just to be able to live a normal life."
Zac is the Head of Community at Frontier Developments.
“I have so much admiration for the work that the SpecialEffect team do. Giving people the power to access and enjoy games and technology has an indescribably huge impact on their day to day lives and the team work tirelessly to support and spread awareness of this incredible cause. I’m honoured to be able to support their fantastic work.”
Ron is the Founder of AtomHawk.
“Having taken part in two Twin Town Challenge events to help raise money for SpecialEffect, I’ve seen how amazing their work is and what a difference it can make. I hope that as an ambassador for the charity I can help the team extend their expertise and support to even more families and raise awareness of the awesome things they can do.”
Mark is the Community Manager at New Star Games.
"I've been in the games industry for 20 years and I had never really given it a second thought that people with disabilities were missing out. I've now made it my aim to do what I can to highlight the expert work done by the expert team at SpecialEffect as I believe that there can be no greater reward than bringing a measure of happiness back to peoples lives and in this aspect SpecialEffect excel."
Dean is a partner at Charlbury Garage.
"I first came across SpecialEffect through working on their vehicles, and I was totally amazed at how much they do for people all over the country. They have a great team of professionals and I am lucky that after Twin Town Challenge 2016 I can call them friends. As an ambassador I will be helping in any way I can."
Simon is the founder of Bradford-based independent game developer Four Door Lemon.
“It's been a true privilege to learn about the work and meet the team of SpecialEffect over the last couple of years. My aim is to continue supporting and spreading awareness of SpecialEffect so that more people with disabilities of any kind are able to enjoy games as much as anyone else.”
Colette Barr is an experienced videogames/tech PR professional and dedicated gamer.
“I first started gaming when I was a child and have extremely fond memories growing up with videogames over the years. Being able to play any game I wanted, when I wanted was something that I always took for granted, when in fact it’s something that should be treasured. This is why I have loved supporting and raising money for SpecialEffect and over the years it has always been a great and humbling experience. The good that Team SE do to help those with disabilities enjoy interactive entertainment is incredible and it’s so wonderful to see the lives they have changed with their work.”
Steve is a Senior Associate at The M Group.
“I first became aware of SpecialEffect whilst working for The MGroup back in 2013 and it didn’t take long to see what an incredible charity it is. I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the team and couldn’t wait to support such a great cause. It’s a huge honour to be an ambassador for this truly amazing charity.”
Becs is fantastic friend of the charity and a member of the Nomad Games team, who have provided generous support over many years.
“SpecialEffect is the perfect name for this fantastic charity, they have really touched my heart with the dedication and enthusiasm from the whole team of staff and volunteers. It’s amazing how something as simple as video games can transform people’s lives, such a worthy cause that I am proud to support”
Alison BeasleyAlison has been an amazing supporter of SpecialEffect for many years.
Hollie is the UK Digital and Community Manager at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
"I've been lucky enough to play games for as long as I can remember - this exciting and creative medium is something I feel so passionately about. SpecialEffect help people who normally wouldn't be able to play to have access to them and all the amazing experiences they have to offer. They make sure that nobody has to miss out and that means so much to me and so many others."
Joel is one of the leading videogame Agents and Partner at Interactive Studio Management. He represents the business interests of top game developers all round the world.
Joel and his wife Kimberley Robinson run the annual 'Games Guns Giving' videogame industry clay pigeon shoot in aid of SpecialEffect.
Imogen is a Release Manager at Xbox.
"For as long as I can remember, I've loved to play games. As I became older games often became a means of escapism, a way to wind down after a hard day or get lost in a far-flung world when things were all just getting a bit much. Upon discovering the work of SpecialEffect, I was struck with the harsh reality that this was a privilege, one that up until then I had taken for granted. I've been fortunate enough to develop my career in the games industry, and I knew that I wanted to give something back and that there was no better way to do that than through supporting the work of SpecialEffect. Every moment spent fundraising, running, gaming and conversing for SpecialEffect has been time that I've cherished - even that one time I ended up in hospital after a Spartan Race.
It's nothing short of an honour to support the team at SpecialEffect in helping them change the lives of differently-abled gamers and their families, and I can't think of a charity more deserving of your time or support."
Dave is the Art Manager at Sumo Digital.
“After being invited to take part in the Twin Towns 2016 event for SpecialEffect, I was deeply moved when I saw the presentation about the huge difference the charity made to young lives. As a member of the UK games industry, I felt like I should try to do more. So I made a decision that very moment to try to help SpecialEffect as much as possible, in any small way that I could. Since then, as a keen runner, I have undertaken Marathons and 100km Ultra-Marathons to raise funds and awareness for the charity, and have plans to do many more in future. I am immensely proud to represent them as an Ambassador”
Graeme is a popular figure in the games industry and has been hugely supportive of us both in terms of fundraising and spreading awareness. He’s run the British 10K for us twice, and was part of our football squad when we graciously let a team of Arsenal celebs beat us 6-3.
“Since I was a wee boy I’ve been taking for granted that I can play videogames whenever I want," said Graeme. "That’s what really hit me when I first heard about SpecialEffect – being able to play the games we love is a privilege that we should all cherish."
“SpecialEffect made me realise that everyone should have the right and the opportunity to play games. And by showing me the amazing work they do with people of all ages, they’ve shown that gaming can be a truly positive force in improving the quality of life for people with physical and mental disabilities."
Tracy, Executive PA at EA, has been a friend of SpecialEffect for many years.
"Working for the best video games company in the world allows me to support SpecialEffect and the incredible work they undertake to make gaming possible for everyone, which fits in perfectly with our own purpose and beliefs that allow us to put “Players First” regardless of their ability or disability."
Emma is the Community Manager at UK Xbox studio Rare.
"I’ve been playing games since before I could write my own name and it’s easy to take these experiences for granted. Games really do bring people together, whether it’s a family in a living room or friends playing online. For someone to be excluded from this experience due to disabilities is completely unfair and this is why I so passionately back the work that SpecialEffect does. Gaming is for everyone and they’re making that true for people every day!"
Aaron has been a fantastic supporter of the charity for many years.
“I support SpecialEffect in the work they do to enable people who wouldn’t normally be able to game enjoy the fun and freedom that games can allow. What the charity can do with controllers and technology is amazing to see.”
Neil is the Community Manager at Wired Productions.
“A few years ago I remember driving to Oxfordshire, to sit in the beautiful SpecialEffect offices with a PowerPoint of what I was planning support wise with my then employer. I’ll admit, it was bonkers. Really, it was bananas bonkers. But… we did every single crazy thing! In the space of a few months, we’d taken part in Gameblast16, building a makeshift studio and getting some of the biggest publishers and games around involved, played football at Wembley, drove to France and back in a taxi covered in grass (oh yes!) and talked to thousands of gamers about SpecialEffect, raising what at the time, was a record breaking amount. It was an incredible honour to be involved in and something I am so proud to have been able to continue in my career. Please support SpecialEffect, not just with your time and money, but also by sharing what they do to those who need their help”
Tim is the developer of Alt Controller, the crucial software link in many of the successful eye-controlled video game setups that we provide.
“SpecialEffect kindly invited me to visit them and showed me some great technology and videos about the work that the charity does. It was really inspiring, but it was also clear that they were often constrained by the lack of accessibility features in many PC games. We discussed the idea of writing a program to emulate game controls in a way that was independent of the games themselves.
So I beavered away for a few months and created Alt Controller. It's a bit experimental and certainly not perfect, but it has created a couple of ways for people to play games where they couldn't before, so that's great.”
Michael Brookes is the Executive Producer at Frontier Developments.
“All too often video games are represented in a negative light, but the work of SpecialEffect demonstrates the positive aspects that video games can bring to people’s lives – especially those who already face challenges with physical disabilities.”
Ali Butler is the Assistant Brand Manager at Wychwood Brewery, part of Marstons PLC, and manages local events and sponsorship for the brewery.
“Having been introduced to SpecialEffect a few years ago it soon became clear that this small team of people were absolutely dedicated to bringing whatever enjoyment they could to those in completely debilitating situations. The focus and determination to ensure that ‘fun’ was still firmly on the agenda for those in need was truly humbling and they fast became the brewery’s adopted charity. Their appreciation for our contribution, however small, is always one of overwhelming gratitude which is why we will continue to offer our unconditional support for the foreseeable future.”
Marta is a senior web designer at SEGA Europe Limited.
"Being fully able to enjoy technology is a blessing many of us take for granted, so it is an honour to an ambassador for SpecialEffect and the amazing work they do. I grew up playing video games and to this day that allows me to be happy and to keep pursuing dreams when times are difficult. I believe that what gaming does for your mental well being is so positive that I will keep helping SpecialEffect in any way I can in order to bring the joy of video games to people's lives."
Gillian has had an extensive career in business both as an executive and non executive director. She has also worked with a number of different charities.
"SpecialEffect came into our lives when we needed them most. It is an amazing 'can do' organisation, filled with truly wonderful people."
Ian is a veterinary surgeon specialising in horses and the managing director of B&W Equine Vets.
"The SpecialEffect team could not have done more to help our son Rob see that there could be a level of independence following a most tragic accident that left him paralysed from the neck down and seemingly unable to do anything for himself. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect and hope that by raising awareness many more people can be helped in a similar way."
Rob has been an inspiration both for ourselves and for many people with high spinal injuries. In 2015 he was the first tetraplegic to complete a Tough Mudder course in a powered wheelchair.
Chris heard of SpecialEffect through playing Frontier Development's Elite Dangerous community, who at the time were holding a charity livestream.
"It really rung true to my heart."
"As I grew up as a small child my older cousin Richard was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. It became a family tradition to visit him and his family every second Friday night to play games and have fun. As Richard’s condition worsened I saw him go from being in a wheelchair quite happily tapping away on consoles and his laptop, to losing the use of his hands and arms. As a last resort he was playing Civilisation with a wooden spoon in his mouth to press the keys. Not long after, he passed away."
"SpecialEffect to me is an amazing charity that does great work to offer support to those in similar scenarios to Richard, giving them tools so they don't have a last resort like Richard to play games. That's why SpecialEffect means the world to me."
"I first learnt about SpecialEffect when an email was sent around my team at Codemasters back in 2011. The email asked if anyone fancied running the Brighton Marathon for SpecialEffect the next year. After taking a look at fantastic work they were doing and the way they helped people, I knew I wanted to help.
I’ve been gaming since I was little, so I know how amazing games can be. The fact that they can help everyone enjoy games is amazing and I will continue to shout their praises."
Alex Chapman is an intellectual property expert and leading lawyer in the interactive entertainment, leisure and creative industries.
Charlie is founder of sports game developer First Touch Games and has been a supporter of SpecialEffect since 2011. He, along with other staff from his company, ran the 2011 British 10k for the charity.
"I first came across SpecialEffect in early 2011 when I was still with Exient, and we'd donated a load of games. In truth I didn't know much about them and the work they did, but donating some games seemed the least we could do. Looking back though, it wasn't until I had the chance to visit them later in the year that my eyes were really opened to the amazing work they do, and the lives they change."
"I've played video games since the days of the ZX Spectrum and I've taken for granted the ability to be challenged, relaxed, and enthralled in equal measures. So when I was asked to be an ambassador I was delighted to accept. Videogames are often portrayed pretty negatively, and the work SpecialEffect does proves (in their words) that games can be a force for good. Most importantly though, they really do change lives, and I'd urge people to check out their videos or track the team down at the various events they attend."
We first met Tim through the BBC, who were filming a documentary piece about eye gaze control.
"Playing games with my Eye Gaze's my favourite pastime. My record's playing continuously for seven and a half hours until my mum forced me to rest."
"On first meeting the team at Special Effect it was clear that they are incredibly caring, intelligent and professional people. The work they do dramatically enables so many people to live a far richer life and share in the joys of playing with friends. SpecialEffect recognise that life is about more than surviving. It's about living. It's a privilege to be a part of supporting the work they perform and to see the joy it brings to so many amazing people."
Martyn is the Branch Sales and Operations Manager at Routeco.
“SpecialEffect inspire me daily, and so many others, with improvements to the quality of life the team are able to bring to people’s lives young and older. Over the years knowing the team it is the joy that they bring motivates them to deliver these life-changing benefits to so many more people.”
"I love how the team at SpecialEffect are making sure that everyone can experience the sense of autonomy, competence and escape which makes gameplay amazing. The benefits, however, are more than just about play - they are about removing physical limitations and allowing players to focus on reconnecting with friends and family around shared experiences."
Will is a Tetraplegic Liberal Democrat County Councillor for the Lakes Ward of Cumbria County Council and a proactive charity worker.
"Following a cycling injury in July 2012 which left me paralysed below the shoulders. I was told I would never be able to do many things again, including playing computer games. The SpecialEffect team could not have done more to dispel this. Within 30 minutes of visiting SpecialEffect I was playing FIFA on the Playstation in two-button mode using my shoulders and chin. I now play regularly against friends. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect and hope that by raising awareness many more people can be helped in a similar way."
Nina is a familiar face in events and networking
in the games industry. She has been helping promote SpecialEffect via her own channels for some time and in 2012 she appointed
SpecialEffect as the charity partner for the GameHorizon Conference, helping raise money and the profile of the charity
to around 300 games industry executives.
“SpecialEffect is an incredible charity that is making phenomenal steps in using gaming technology for good. Through their efforts in working with people with disabilities and industry, they are making games truly inclusive and changing lives."
"I’ve been overwhelmed by the enormous energy the SpecialEffect team has created, it’s infectious. They are an inspiration and I am truly honored to have been made an ambassador.”
Harry has supported SpecialEffect
in numerous activities, helping mainly with PR but also taking part in fundraising events. He helped to manage PR around
David Cameron’s visit to SpecialEffect HQ in 2011, pushing the visit into the press. He's also helped with various
other press activities to raise the charity’s profile. As an ambassador Harry has built numerous business relationships
for SpecialEffect and continued to spread the word of the work it does as an active member of the UK’s games industry.
Harry ran the British 10k for SpecialEffect in 2012 alongside a semi-clothed man dressed as Blanka, and played for both sides in the SpecialEffect versus Arsenal Legends football match, appearing in both team photos.
“I met SpecialEffect for the first time two years ago and I’d signed up to support them with PR and marketing within five minutes! I don’t regret it, as you can’t put a value on the importance of the work SpecialEffect do. The charity is a real positive for the games industry and I’m very proud to be an ambassador alongside such an incredible group of people.”
Suzanne’s involvement with SpecialEffect started after meeting Nick Streeter at another charity event many years ago. They stayed in touch and she was always glad to help where she could including supporting SpecialEffect as one for the last four years via Walk4Matt.
“SpecialEffect has a huge place in my heart due to the specific work they do and the difference they make to so many lives. Everyone works so hard trying to support all the requests that they receive and I was so inspired after seeing the videos and watching the faces of the children and the parents. It’s amazing and I am truly humbled by the people who work at SpecialEffect and I’ll continue to support their hard work.”
Spencer has been a great supporter of the charity for several years.
"Imagine you have a happy life, friends, enjoyment, comfort, frivolities. Now imagine that the enjoyment only happens for a small fraction of time. Comfort occurs only in a certain position, or when your mind is totally occupied concentrating on something, and frivolities don't really exist. SpecialEffect create those missing moments, the dedication and ingenuity of the people there give these children and people that enjoyment, comfort and frivolities.
I first came across SpecialEffect through playing Elite Dangerous, and then met a couple of the crew at some of the conventions that sprung up, Since then I've been a fan and supporter, having been interested in computer games most of my life, I find their work moving."
Rose is the International Marketing Manager at Bethesda.
"During my time as a Trustee of GamesAid I have seen first hand the amazing work that SpecialEffect do. I have met the team, visited their HQ, met some of the people who have benefitted from their efforts. I have never failed to be impressed. I am a firm believer in the positive effects offered by gaming for everyone."
Beth is a mum of three from Chipping Norton who was heavily involved in the Walk4Matt fundraising for SpecialEffect and continues to be an all-round star supporter.
Rod has been supporting SpecialEffect for a number of years. His fund-raising activities have included the 'Real Marathon' in Greece, the Three Peaks Challenge and the famous football match against Arsenal celebs. In 2010 he raised the SpecialEffect flag at Everest Base Camp.
“I’ve worked in the audio industry for three decades. It is remarkable to see someone suffering from Motor Neurone disease who is able to continue to produce music by controlling a computer audio workstation using only his eyes. It's that kind of help to improve quality of life that originally inspired me to get involved with SpecialEffect, and I’m delighted and honoured to be an Ambassador.”
Sophie was an intern at SpecialEffect before becoming Community and Communications Officer at Ukie.
“I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work as part of the SpecialEffect team, and have therefore seen first-hand the incredible impact they have and the amount of hard work that everyone on the team puts into the charity. The enormous difference that they make to the lives of people with disabilities and their families is impossible to miss, and the energy of everyone involved in supporting the charity is a brilliant thing to be a part of. It’s a huge privilege to remain part of the SpecialEffect world as an ambassador for the charity.”
Bo De Vries
Bo is the Community Content Manager at Frontier.
"Working with SpecialEffect has been one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences of my life. We are lucky to have the support of two incredible gaming communities (Planet Coaster and Elite Dangerous) who frequently come together to raise money for this wonderful cause. Seeing up close what kind of a difference they can make in someone’s life is amazing."
David is the Business Development Analyst at Sumo Digital.
"Since getting involved with their 2016 TwinTown Charity Rally, it has been an honour being able to help raise charity and awareness for SpecialEffect during my career in the gaming industry. As a game developer, one of my core goals is to bring enjoyment to those who play our games and SpecialEffect's work helps extend that mission. Their efforts are important in not only allowing disabled people across the UK and beyond to enjoy these games, but ultimately improving their quality of life as a whole. Seeing the smiles and laughter from those who have received SpecialEffect’s helping hand is amazingly heart-warming and inspirational. As an Ambassador, I’m looking forward to continuing to help fundraising and building awareness for an amazing cause!"
Keren's support has been greatly appreciated by all the team at SpecialEffect.
"I came to see the amazing work of SpecialEffect first-hand when I attended an open evening with my husband Steve. I was both moved and astounded by the work the charity do, changing and making an incredible difference to people's lives by giving them access to computers and gaming. I decided there and then that I would raise money for SpecialEffect when I ran the London marathon in April 2016 - it certainly helped to keep me going knowing what a great cause the money is going to."
Steve is the CFO of NAHL plc and a non-executive director at Oxford United.
"I first heard about SpecialEffect from Brendon Cross. Having refereed the football game v Arsenal and met Mick and Nick I decided I wanted to get more involved. I was also inspired by the work they did with Rob Camm. I’m now a fully paid up member for Twin Town 16 and looking to help where I can going forward with this very special charity!"
Sally runs her own personal training business specialising in rehabilitation and has been involved in many fundraising events for SpecialEffect over the years.
"I am delighted to become one of SpecialEffect's ambassadors. Through my work with the charity and personal connections I know just how important it is to keep up the momentum of the amazing and life changing work that the charity does. As an ambassador I will be doing everything I can to offer support to SpecialEffect."
Phil is the Sales Director of STL Communications Ltd. He and a number of other STL staff were involved in the inaugural Twin Town Challenge event in 2014, which raised over £130k for SpecialEffect.
"I've been aware of SpecialEffect for a number of years, although my first real involvement came leading up to and during the Twin Town Challenge event in 2014 – an event conceived and organised by STL’s MD and SpecialEffect Trustee Brendon Cross. Having been lucky enough to spend time with some of the great people involved with the charity and also having witnessed first hand the work that the guys do, I’ve seen the amazing difference that SpecialEffect makes to peoples' lives, and I’m honoured to be involved as an Ambassador for the charity"
George has been a great supporter of the charity for many years and we're honoured to have helped him with his own gaming setup.
"The help and support you’ve given me over the years has meant a lot to me. Being able to game again helped me through a tough time and gave me back a platform where I could compete on a level playing field with my friends and others!"
"From the moment we first saw SpecialEffect we were amazed by the work they did. So much so that we choose them as our charity for 2015. During that time we realised that they not only did the most awe-inspiring work that transforms lives but that they were the most down to earth team of people. When we got to meet Dr Mick earlier this year it was no surprise that we felt so inspired by his passion, commitment and drive for helping others through technology. As an Ambassador I hope to be able to play my part by not only raising some cash but by introducing them to other businesses for further support and awareness."
Craig Duncan, lifelong gamer, family man and games industry leader lucky enough to turn his passion into his day job. Craig is the Studio Head of Rare Ltd, a Microsoft Studio with a 30 year legacy of creating hit games.
“SpecialEffect is such a special charity which does incredible work to bring the enjoyment of play to gamers with disabilities. I’m thrilled to be an Ambassador for the charity and I look to helping and evangelising about the amazing work the SpecialEffect team do wherever I can”
Andy is the Production Manager at First Touch Games.
"From the moment I was first introduced to the SpecialEffect team, and the work they do, I’ve been blown away by positive impact they make upon people lives, and the industry. So when asked to become an ambassador, I was truly honoured. I will be doing everything possible in the future to help support this fantastic charity."
After getting rather excited by home computing in the early 80s, Rich has worked in the computer and video games business for over 25 years. Initially on the editorial side of the early games magazines, he moved into communications for games developers and publishers. He now works for Jagex. In his spare time, he's a gold medal-winning amateur gardener and sits on the committee of the Warwick Society, a civic society dedicated to the preservation the town’s heritage and environment.
“Growing up, with my mother working as a teacher for kids with special needs within a regular school, I gained an appreciation that it's the inclusion in the everyday things that's vitally important for anyone with any level of disability, especially when they’re young. Today, we like to think that gaming can be a regular facet of anyone’s entertainment make up and the work SpecialEffect perform makes it possible for it to be truly part of everyone’s entertainment experience, no matter what their physical abilities. I've seen the difference that the SpecialEffect team makes to the lives of young people who want to continue to be part of the gaming community and I've been repeatedly impressed and inspired by their dedication and success in enabling anyone to enjoy and benefit from the stimulation, immersion and just plain good old fun that gaming offers all of us.”
Jon is the Managing Director of Urban Element Design Solutions Ltd. As well as being the head of the company that designed this very website that you're looking at, Jon has been instrumental in organising (and taking part in) many of our fundraising events.
"When we decided we wanted to run a gaming marathon for charity we really wanted to raise money for a cause we could believe in. After some research on-line, we found a few American-based gaming charities but we felt we wanted to support something a bit closer to home. When we came across SpecialEffect we knew that these were the guys we could get behind - genuinely excellent human beings who are helping people every day, not just to take part but to compete."
Caroline Rae is Senior Partnerships Manager at the Football Association.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect back in 2008 after my friend Stuart suffered a devastating spinal injury whilst playing rugby. I saw with my own eyes the positive effect this charity had, and I have since done what I can to support these clever tech-y people in order that they can continue to provide a glimmer of hope and happiness to those in need. I am honoured to be an Ambassador for this amazing charity and look forward to plenty more fundraising events!"
John is the Director of Amber Wealth Creation.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect five years ago via my participation in the Twin Town Challenge and other events. It inspired me to become actively involved and participate in the 2018 London Marathon where clients, friends and family helped me raise over £8,000 towards their life-changing work. I never cease to be amazed by Dr Mick and his commitment to helping more and more people. It’s an honour to become an Ambassador for such a great charity."
"As a Paralympian, and currently part of the Great Britain Men's Wheelchair Basketball Squad, I have always been a competitive person. I was born with only two fingers on each hand and no feet or ankles, yet this was never going to hold me back. I soon discovered sport and realised it was an ideal platform to show that my disability didn't affect or bother me."
"Since that moment I have played sport at every level, participated in numerous sports, and represented my country. Growing up I found gaming was a great way of relaxing, escaping from external pressures, but also allowing me to be competitive. When I was young, I managed using a joystick with my hands, but as computers/consoles evolved, so did the number of buttons, making it harder for me to compete on an equal level. Since I found someone to adapt a controller for me, so I can use my legs, I have been able to be competitive and can now win again!"
"I have since been introduced to SpecialEffect, and it was fantastic to find a charity which is enabling children to access gaming and have the opportunities I had growing up: to escape from the world around me, have fun, and play with my friends equally. I hope I can spread the good work of SpecialEffect and look forward to enabling fun to happen."
YouTube and Twitch personality Will 'QuickyBaby' Frampton and his wife Tanya have been fantastic supporters of the charity and rallying the help of their generous community in fundraising for SpecialEffect.
“Games have enriched my life in ways immeasurable. I often find myself taking the countless worlds, only limited by imagination, for granted. Within these environments I have met amazing people with whom true friendships have developed; some so close that said bonds have transcended the virtual. I can’t envision my life without these experiences and accordingly it’s incomprehensible that others should not have the same opportunities I have been gifted. This is why I will always support SpecialEffect and the truly life enriching work they do”.
Henrietta's been a great friend of SpecialEffect for many years.
"I’ve always been a big gamer, from the Gameboy Colour to the PS4. My progressive condition means I’m paralysed from the neck down. Therefore I found myself quickly unable to play my PS4. Luckily SpecialEffect gave me the opportunity to try chin controls and buddy buttons. Currently I play using a sip and puff controller. I’m grateful to SpecialEffect for encouraging me to get back to gaming."
Ralph is the Founder and Creative Director of Playground Games.
"I first heard about SpecialEffect when they visited Playground a number of years ago. Everyone who saw their presentation was moved by the work they do and we’ve been enthusiastic supporters ever since. It’s easy to take playing video games for granted and difficult for us to really quantify the positive effect they have on our leisure time, our wellbeing and our friendships. The work SpecialEffect do to help people whose disabilities mean they can’t enjoy games, and the profound effect that work has on their lives, is humbling and I’m proud to do what I can to support them."
Mike is a passionate and longstanding supporter of SpecialEffect who, among other things, has organised a series of successful football-based fundraising events.
"I have been into playing computer games since I was about five years old. I really enjoy them but it has been difficult over the years playing some of the games. Since I knew about SpecialEffect they have helped to improve my gaming experience by modifying a controller. That's why I'm be happy to help them and support them. When they asked me to become an ambassador, and I was pleased to become one."
Des is a the Founder of Altered Gene Ltd.
"I’ve always loved playing sports and, partly due to an over estimation of my talent, I have had a couple of serious injuries. One time I dislocated my knee cap playing American football and the other was a neck injury trying to escape from under a ruck in a rugby match. Both injuries left me lying on a slab in a cold corridor wondering if I’d ever be able to play again. Not being able to join the battle with my friends and teammates again. The thought of being excluded from doing something I enjoyed so much was devastating."
"Fast forward about a decade and I was introduced to the wonderful people at SpecialEffect. When I was told of the work that they do modifying and creating bespoke controllers to enable people with disabilities to play games, I was immediately intrigued."
"One thing that I find particularly gratifying about working in the video games industry is actually seeing fun being experienced on gamers' faces. Seeing this fun on the faces of people that thought that this part of their lives was over for them is priceless. On top of this, seeing the effect this has on family members also is truly special."
"The work that SpecialEffect do is incredible and when they asked me to become an ambassador for them, my decision took nanoseconds."
Sjoerd is the Co-founder and COO at Gambitious.
"Like most kids I've been playing games since I was young. Gaming is fun for hours and it lets you escape reality for a while; you can be a superhero while sitting in a (wheel)chair. Everybody should be able to play games, no matter what disabilities you might have. SpecialEffect is determined to make gaming possible for all. A truly awesome cause of which I'm proud to be an Ambassador."
"Having always been a keen sportsperson (athletics and swimming when younger and taking up ladies rugby later in life), it's something I have always taken for granted. Becoming involved with SpecialEffect has been a very humbling but amazing experience: such a fantastic organisation changing lives daily. I was extremely honoured to be asked to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect and I'm proud to support them in the future."
Alison is a Director of Limelight Interactive
"SpecialEffect absolutely blew me away from the moment I met the inspirational people who work so tirelessly and selflessly to allow those with life-changing disabilities the opportunity to access video games, something we all take for granted. Seeing the look on the faces of those that the charity help really does speak a thousand words and is the greatest motivation to become involved... something that you never forget! I am very proud and truly honoured to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect, and can’t wait to support the charity in whatever way I can"
Silvana is the European Operations Director at 505 Games.
“SpecialEffect work so tirelessly with people coping with disabilities, by giving them the opportunity to play video games by creating ingenious tech and modified hardware in their own homes. This is truly humbling and gives me all the motivation I need to support in whatever capacity I can, I’m truly proud to be part of their Ambassador team!”
John is the Director of Sales at IT Solutions & Service Provider NCE.
"From the moment I became aware of SpecialEffect I have been eager to help this great cause in anyway I can. With a family that love computer games, social media and all of the modern day luxuries that interactive technology offers, I fully appreciate the daily importance of this to so many generations; myself included! The talented and caring team at SpecialEffect who provide the ability to maintain continuity with such technology when people are faced with extremely difficult life-changing challenges are admirable. I am extremely proud to be an ambassador for this very special charity."
Tommy has been a great supporter of the charity for several years.
"As a passionate gamer I know what it feels like to get that last minute winner on FIFA and what it’s like to overtake someone on the last corner to win a race on Gran Turismo, and SpecialEffect can make it possible for anyone to feel like this. Their hard work and determination to make a positive difference to disadvantaged people’s lives made it almost a no brainer to become an Ambassador for this incredible charity."
Natalie has been in the games industry since 1991, taking in design, journalism, and PR roles before establishing her own PR agency, Press Space PR, in 2013. A long-time supporter of SpecialEffect from the sidelines, she ran her first ever British 10K for the charity in 2013.
"I've been a gamer since before we thought to call ourselves that and have very fond memories of my earliest experiences of Spectrum gaming and the Game-And-Watch devices. I never imagined back then that it would continue to be such a major presence in my life, not to mention the bedrock of my career, but it's an incredible and exciting industry that doesn't get nearly enough positive press."
"I came across SpecialEffect's work via Twitter and was amazed and impressed at the lengths people were going to in order to raise money, and it inspired me to find out more – the more I learnt, the more I was impressed. Now when the Xbox or the iPad is fired up in our house and I watch my own kids play, digital natives in the truest sense, it brings home in a very real way how the work that SpecialEffect do is invaluable – disabled people in the 21st Century need more than ever to feel as included and connected as their able-bodied peers and the SE team are doing just that."
"I'd urge everyone to take a look at the amazing work that SpecialEffect do – they're not only helping to change the image of a too-much-maligned industry but they're genuinely changing lives into the bargain. I'm deeply honoured to have been asked to be an Ambassador and hope that I can play my small part to help them help others."
Karl is the Director of CPC Finance.
"It’s a pleasure to be involved with SpecialEffect, as the work they do really makes a difference for people who would otherwise struggle to interact with other people. They really don’t get the recognition they deserve."
Dan is the CEO of Fantastic Books Publishing.
"When we heard about SpecialEffect from one of our authors, Kate Russell, we were amazed at the wonderful and positive impact stories their technology and support had given to families. One story that really stuck in our minds was that of a little boy, his sister and their family. Due to his condition's symptoms manifesting as quadriplegia, the little boy didn't really have a very strong bond with his sister as they couldn't 'play' together in the traditional sense. Thanks to the augmented gaming tech supplied by SpecialEffect, the little boy could now not only play competitive games with his sister but he would regularly kick her butt too!
From that point on, we were hooked on helping SpecialEffect expand their work in as many interesting and positive ways as they could. Both ourselves and Fantastic Books Publishing as a whole are proud and honoured to be helping such a worthy organisation."
Gabi is Head of Publicity and the Creative Design Team at Fantastic Books Publishing.
"When we heard about SpecialEffect from one of our authors, Kate Russell, we were amazed at the wonderful and positive impact stories their technology and support had given to families. One story that really stuck in our minds was that of a little boy, his sister and their family. Due to his condition's symptoms manifesting as quadriplegia, the little boy didn't really have a very strong bond with his sister as they couldn't 'play' together in the traditional sense. Thanks to the augmented gaming tech supplied by SpecialEffect, the little boy could now not only play competitive games with his sister but he would regularly kick her butt too!
From that point on, we were hooked on helping SpecialEffect expand their work in as many interesting and positive ways as they could. Both ourselves and Fantastic Books Publishing as a whole are proud and honoured to be helping such a worthy organisation."
Ken is the Manager of West Oxfordshire Motor Auction
"To imagine the lifestyle of a person with a physical or mental disability and who is unable to communicate with the outside and everyday world we live in is almost impossible. I have seen the difference that SpecialEffect makes to many individuals and have been humbled to see the first words of communication to a loved one via the amazing technology developed by all the team. To be associated with and stand alongside the SpecialEffect team in all they do is an honour."
Paul, who works for Gambitious, has been of immense help to us during our kickstarter campaigns.
"To me the sight of the genuine smiles and the happiness that SpecialEffect brings to disabled gamers (be it infants or adults) is really heart warming. SpecialEffect is an incredible and effective charity that is changing lives through video games. I am truly honoured to have been made an ambassador."
Jamie is a Manager at Lloyds Bank plc and has been a fundraising tour-de-force for us, including throwing himself off the top of a hospital in the name of SpecialEffect. Luckily he was tied to an abseiling instructor.
Isaac has been a fantastic supporter of the charity since it's inception.
"I have a rare disability called Limb pelvic hypo aplasia. I have also had many operations on my back due to me having curvature of the spine. And on top of all that I have almost continuous leg pain. Even though I have these troubles I consider myself a gamer as I play videogames with my feet. I have known SpecialEffect for a while now and I feel that their goal to help children with physical disabilities is a step forward for their lives. Gaming is a growing technology and if they can use this then we can all be part of the gaming community."
Paige is a Social Media Manager at Frontier Developments.
“Being able to work with SpecialEffect is a privilege and an honour. As a disabled gamer myself I can’t say how freeing it is for someone whose body limits them to be able to be included in worlds and activities they couldn’t usually experience. If you’re able, find time in your life to spread a little joy to others, and help SpecialEffect get disabled gamers back in the game.”
Lauren Haxell is Senior Social Media Manager at King Games.
“I’d been aware of SpecialEffect for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until I met them at the opening of the Games Room in 2016 that I truly understood the magic they create. The impact they have on people’s lives is astounding and I’m proud to be an Ambassador. They are also a super genuine team, and working alongside them is a pleasure.”
Martin has been a fantastic supporter of the charity since its inception in 2007.
Nick is the Senior PR Specialist at Razer.
“SpecialEffect has been my go-to charity ever since I discovered them at an Insomnia event too many years ago. Since then, I’ve supported them at every opportunity, either through direct fundraising, such as a 24-hour Rock Band session, the GameBlast18 24-hour gaming challenge or with kit support direct from Razer. To be an Ambassador for such an awesome charity, run by the loveliest bunch of folk you could ever meet, is a humbling honour. And so I’ll humbly not shut up about Special Effect and the fantastic work they do.”
Tom is a Co-Founder of Digital Sports Mgmt.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect when I worked at EA Sports. I was amazed by the stories and innovation and it is just incredible to see how SpecialEffect uses technology and gaming to give people with disabilities new experiences and new means to improve their lives. Put simply, it is inspiring, and I hope now as an Ambassador I can help inspire more people to get involved and support this incredible charity."
Stephen is a video game marketing consultant at Hey.
“I am constantly humbled by the work of SpecialEffect. Games have always been a big part of my life and I love being a gamer, but SpecialEffect take games to a whole new level, beyond entertainment, to truly transformational and life enhancing experiences. This is why I am so happy to represent them in any way I can.”
Shaz is the founder of www.flipbookproductions.co.uk has been an integral part of SpecialEffect since it was began. He has supported us on countless occasions with fundraising, event demos and awareness-raising.
“Having grown up in a world where Nintendo and SEGA were two words that would instantly make my head turn, it is easy to say that gaming has always been a massive part of my life. From the days of Street Fighter 2 and Super Mario World, to today’s Gran Turismo, there’s no comparison between the decades of gaming. However with the evolution of games comes with the ever-increasing number of buttons, moves and the need for to be faster, which can be difficult for someone with a disability.
I was only 25 when I entered my first international online gaming contest, the QuickSnooker World Championship. I think it was unofficial at the time and there were no prizes up for grabs but I was so excited that someone with quite a severe disability such as me could compete against others around the world! That is why I think SpecialEffect is an amazing charity. They focus on the quality of life of an individual which is something that is often overlooked for people with disabilities. And it is not just about gaming but sometimes the simple feat of being able to communicate.
Since meeting up with SpecialEffect I am now not limited to a particular console or a specific type of game and I have managed to see the huge difference they make to some very special individuals. This is why I find it an honour being able to represent them as an Ambassador.”
Craig has been a valued supporter for many years, not only personally but also through his leadership roles at Reading RFC.
"Once you have had the pleasure of Mick Donegan's company and listening to him talk so passionately about the incredible work that the SpecialEffect team carry out, why wouldn’t anyone wish to be part of this fantastic charity and help them continue to deliver such remarkable work."
Jamie is the founder Slingshot Cartel. He has been magnificent supporter of SpecialEffect over many years.
Kathryn has been an amazing supporter of SpecialEffect for many years.
Alex is a Partner Account Manager at Dropbox UK.
"Having failed my entrance exam to NASA's Space Program I had to rethink my career ambitions at an early age. Fortunately my degree in History meant a career in IT sales was the obvious choice. I currently work for Dropbox and it was via our Dropbox for Good initiative that I came into contact with SpecialEffect. Amazing charity and people. It's an honour to support the incredible work they do!"
Sonia is a Director of Opendoorz Ltd – Business Networking in Oxfordshire.
"The fabulous team at SpecialEffect revolutionise lives through the technology they’ve created and adapted. It’s an honour to be part of such an amazing team – I very much hope through business connections and crazy fundraising ideas I can support them as they continue to grow."
Chris is Head of Brand Marketing for Marston’s Beer Company.
"I became aware of SpecialEffect through our Wychwood Brewery brand… or more to the point the enthusiasm of Nick Streeter! The Wychwood Brewery has adopted SpecialEffect as our chosen charity. The work that Dr Mick and the team do is truly humbling and possibly best described as selfless. To bring joy and happiness through video gaming is amazing to see and once witnessed you are compelled to help and support wherever possible."
Darren is a software tester and former video games tester.
"Every year, myself and the rest of the Gaming For Others team raise money and awareness for SpecialEffect through a gruelling three-day gaming marathon. We're consistently humbled and delighted by the generosity of the donators who want to see us do well and want to see SpecialEffect continue their excellent work."
Kelly Jean is a UK cosplayer and video game streamer on Twitch.
"I used to be a health care assistant and I worked for a girl with muscular dystrophy, who I introduced to Special Effect as she loved to play games with her younger siblings but was pretty limited. I've since fundraised multiple times for the charity, via print sales and Twitch streams and hope to do even more in the future."
Samantha Key worked in the video games industry for ten years for Acclaim, Konami and Microsoft. After leaving the industry in 2009, she changed career to become a Personal Trainer, but kept faith with her gaming roots to raise funds for SpecialEffect over the intervening years.
"I've seen first hand the joy and pleasure that SpecialEffect bring to gamers through their work. It really was a no-brainer for me to put all my fundraising efforts into such an incredible organisation and I'm so proud to be an ambassador. Being able to promote the charity to new audiences and increase awareness is something I care greatly about and I genuinely believe SpecialEffect deserve all the exposure they get, because it is such an inspiring cause.”
Lee is the Marketing & PR Director at Bandai Namco Entertainment. He has worked in the games industry for nearly 20 years and has launched major hit-titles through GT Interactive, Infogrames, Atari and Bandai Namco.
"SpecialEffect is the one charity in the industry that I have been very passionate about since it started and supported as much as possible. To enable everyone to have the opportunity to experience videogames and technology is very important and the work SpecialEffect put in alongside all the fun raisers allow everyone to escape from normal life and have fun. Having fun is part of our DNA and it’s important to help others less fortunate this opportunity by working on unique experiences allowing a level playing field.”
Alex was one of the first people we helped, and has been a magnificent Ambassador for us over the lifetime of the charity. A video of him playing Minecraft with a specialised gaming setup went viral in 2014.
"SpecialEffect is more than just a charity which helps people play videogames. They change lives. Through their knowledge and expertise, people like myself can now join in on the fun and play with friends on an even playing field, experiencing all the benefits of social interaction. It may be hard for some to imagine, but being included in such activities makes a huge and positive difference in our lives."
Dan is the Managing Editor of IGN.
"I've run 10K for SpecialEffect three times now, which given my natural distaste for running can only be down to the consistently inspiring and unique work they do."
Patrick is the Digital Communications Manager at Electronic Arts, Chillingo.
"SpecialEffect is a wonderful charity that makes a difference in so many people’s lives. Providing disabled gamers with a form of escapism that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them is such a noble thing. It’s an honour to be a SpecialEffect Ambassador and I look forward to helping out in any way that I can for years to come."
Fee is the Director of GaMaYo and Project Lead in Games at Leeds City College.
"As a game developer it has always been important to me that everyone should be able to enjoy the games we make. SpecialEffect makes that happen and that is why it is incredibly important to me to support SpecialEffect in any way I can. Just seeing the joy and happiness the ability to play games brings to people is such a uplifting feeling to us all and makes making games a wonderful thing to do."
Kate lives in the town of Le Touquet in France.
"I was introduced to SpecialEffect and their enthusiastic team when Le Touquet offered to host a fundraising event, the Twin Town Challenge. A fun-filled weekend gave great results and six months later, SpecialEffect generously donated equipment to our charity run 'afternoon school' for autistic children in Le Touquet.
Not being of the gaming generation it took me a while to understand the impact SpecialEffect make, but seeing technology opening doors to friendship, communication, fun and inclusion is inspirational. Vive SpecialEffect!"
Clare is a retired Speech and Language Therapist.
"I had the privilege of working for several years with Dr Mick Donegan. When he called to ask if I could help him with his charity SpecialEffect, I was honoured to lend my support. It is not just the life-changing work they do, but the way they carry it out that makes such a difference. It is inspiring for me to play a small part in this charity."
Elspeth has been a valued supporter for many years.
"I've been inspired by the work SpecialEffect do. It's not only amazingly clever but it actually changes the quality of life for hundreds of people year on year. It's been fantastic to work with the SpecialEffect team on a number of fundraising events that I have organised, and I've also taken part in a couple of races as part of the team. It's always been a pleasure to support such a great cause organised by such a lovely bunch of people! Keep up the good work guys!"
Geraldine became a health therapist after an extensive business career.
"Having two healthy sons myself who grew up having hours of fun paying computer games (going right back to the Commodore 64 with educational games for counting and spelling such as Pirates and Snowman and basic table-tennis!!) I feel the work SpecialEffect does in bringing this amount of fun and pleasure to others is amazing. I first met Nick Streeter when a leaflet dropped on my desk about what SpecialEffect were doing. Being in the fortunate position of running a charity I went to see him to find out how we could help. Nick's passion and dedication for what he does was so contagious that I left our meeting with a plan to donate 0000's rather than the 000's that I had in mind originally. It is an honour to be associated with SpecialEffect and especially this team of amazing people."
Mike is a hugely valued supporter who has provided essential help to the charity in its first few few years.
Rob is an Executive Producer at EA Partners.
"SpecialEffect occupy a unique position through the service they provide to children and adults with disabilities; allowing them to access the worlds of interactive entertainment in ways that were not thought possible before to bring engagement, involvement and a genuinely enhanced quality of life. As devices evolve and technologies advance, bringing touch, gesture, voice, gaze and brain-computer interfaces into the realms of gaming, SpecialEffect are at the centrepoint of this revolution, moulding and adapting these experiences for children who otherwise would not be able to participate and proving that games can be a force for good. I have seen the delight and enjoyment that SpecialEffect’s work brings first-hand with my own son Henry and so am a huge proponent of the amazing work they continue to perform."
Ed is the Community Content Manager at Frontier Developments.
"Getting to work with SpecialEffect has been such an incredible, humbling and rewarding experience. We’ve seen a lot of amazing contributions and support from the Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster communities, but their generosity and positivity during our 24 hour Christmas livestream in aid of SpecialEffect was truly astonishing.
It just goes to show what an incredible thing the guys at SpecialEffect are doing… they inspire so many people to be the best possible versions of themselves. Thanks for helping to bring so much to joy to so many people’s lives."
David is Managing Director at Gamer Events Ltd.
Tony's a fantastic supporter of the charity and plays a mean game of golf.
"As video games have developed and become more advanced, so has the control interface. The need to press more buttons/triggers within these games meant I wasn't able to play them. Thanks to SpecialEffect and their understanding of my needs, I now have my controller linked to the Xbox Adaptive Controller and five buttons I use with my feet. Being able to use these buttons with my feet has opened up the whole catalogue of games to me that were previously impossible, like Call of Duty, Batman Arkham Knight and Star Wars Battlefront. They're now now playable and enjoyable. I'm not very good, but at least I can play them now!
With SpecialEffect's help, these controls have also made the games I could play a lot easier too. This has meant that when I play FIFA or NHL with my son, he hasn't got quite the advantage he once had. Now I can hit all the buttons I need to, the balance of gaming power in our house is levelling out nicely."
Michele is the Centre Manager at Hexagon Business Centres.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect as part of the organising team for Twin Town Challenge 2014. It’s wonderful to be involved with this great charity which is all about putting fun and enjoyment into so many people’s lives."
Dan is the Head of Comms at Insert Coin.
"It's easy to forget that something as simple as picking up a controller and playing a videogame can be impossible for some people. But gaming is an escape from the everyday that everyone should be able to enjoy equally. The team at SpecialEffect work tirelessly to create bespoke systems that open up whole universes to people who would otherwise never be able to experience the joy, independence or satisfaction of playing games. They continue to show the world that gaming can be an overwhelmingly positive force for good - by improving the lives of people living with physical and mental disabilities."
Rich is Co-founder and Director of Well Played Games.
"I first learnt about SpecialEffect while working at Exient in Leamington spa. Since then we have completed multiple 24 hour board game marathons to fund raise, each one growing from the last. The work they do is amazing, and has such a positive impact on the lives of those they help. Helping to give people their independence and allow for the escapism and entertainment games provide is invaluable. The passion everyone has at SE is inspiring and their enthusiasm is infectious. It is an incredible honour to be involved in something as worthy as SE and I hope they go on to grow and flourish. I urge everyone to check out their work and the good they do."
Matt is the SVP for Business Development at Seriously, leading their platform, animation and consumer products business for Best Fiends. He has worked at the intersection of digital and media during his career, from big Hollywood studios to political media consulting.
“I — and we here at Seriously — were lucky enough to work with Special Effect around ‘One Special Day.’ Honestly, I took gaming for granted, in the sense that I didn’t pause to think about how empowering gaming could be to a disabled person. The ability to run in a game of FIFA, the ability to chat and play with friends around the world, the ability to affect the world around you — once I stopped to think about it, it made me realize how important Special Effect’s work is. I have two young boys and if they were ever to find themselves in a similar situation, I would count myself lucky to have somebody like Dr Mick, and the whole Special Effect team, looking after them.”
Chris is the Senior Director of Partnerships, EMEA, at Twitch.
"Working with SpecialEffect has been an incredibly humbling experience. Their team are nothing short of inspirational and being a lifelong gamer myself their efforts resonated with me personally too. Giving others the joy of play we so often take for granted should be supported and championed as much as possible."
Claire has been an amazing supporter of the charity since its inception in 2007.
James is the Managing Director of Endeane Ltd and was a former Mayor of the town of Witney, Oxfordshire.
“Being involved with SpecialEffect has been a fantastic experience and really fun. I’m really happy to tell anyone who will listen about the amazing stuff these guys do.
I first came across SpecialEffect whilst serving my first year as Mayor of Witney via an invitation from Witney Rugby Club to the 2010 launch of Walk4Matt. There was a demonstration of the work being done and the benefit it was having for the people involved. One story really touched me that evening and I asked if SpecialEffect could be one of my nominated charities. I am no longer Mayor but continue to support the charity in any way I can"
Robbie has been an amazing supporter of SpecialEffect since its inception in 2007.
Sarah has been a fantastic supporter of SpecialEffect for many years.
Ant is a software tester who's worked for RARE and Codemasters.
"Gaming is a very important aspect of my life and I can tell you anything you need to know about portly Italian plumbers. I've been marathon gaming for SpecialEffect for a number of years now and it's always a joy. Not only are these guys professionals, their love always shows and only makes me want to do more for them."
Dave is editor-in-chief of thisisxbox.com, His fundraising runs have included running as Sonic The Hedgehog and Batman at the British 10k, and the London Marathon.
"I'll never forget the first time I met the SpecialEffect team at Eurogamer, it was clear to see how passionate they were and despite everything I saw that day it was my time with the team that stuck in my mind. The opportunities they provide to all sorts of people is amazing and I just knew as a fellow gamer I had to do something to help."
Mick Morris has been working in the Games Industry for over 17 years. He was MD of Audiomotion Studios, a world leading performance capture company for over ten years, producing animation for many movies and videogames.
Katrina is the Studio Talent Manager at Playstation London Studio.
“Working with SpecialEffect over the years has been both a pleasure and privilege. Never feels like a chore to help a charity with a huge heart, great determination and a creative head. I will never stop spreading the word be it jumping from buildings, baking cakes, waxing legs or driving bangers. SpecialEffect Rock!”
“I’m in constant awe of the passion, dedication and energy of the SpecialEffect team – they’re genuinely making a real difference to the lives of so many and I’m so proud to support them.”
Gav is a Video Producer at IGN.
"The work that Special Effect do consistently makes me happy and proud to be even a small part of the games industry. I'm absolutely honoured to be an ambassador for the charity and with a bit of luck this won't put people off supporting you."
Ben is the Founder of slicedbread and has been a fantastic supporter of the charity for many years.
Jane is a Director at slicedbread and has been a fantastic supporter of SpecialEffect for many years.
Ken's infectious personality and MC skills have been invaluable for us at many fundraising events. He's occasionally mistaken for Daniel Craig, and regularly for Harold Bishop from Neighbours.
“My super power is a big gob. I’m asked to auction stuff, present stuff and generally whip up people into a state of helpless generosity toward SpecialEffect.”
Andy Nuttall, Director of That Running Guy Ltd (who produce the ULTRA magazine) is a dedicated ultra marathon runner. He's a remarkable fundraiser whose achievements include completing 100 mile and 145 mile runs to raise funds for us.
Neil is MD of Shawcity Ltd.
“I met Nick Streeter from SpecialEffect back in 2012 and he told me about what this amazing team of people did. At the time he was looking for some volunteers to compete in the London 10km and I didn’t hesitate in signing up. When I went to see the SpecialEffect offices, then I truly understood what a difference these people actually make. The charity is motivational and inspiring and I’m very proud to be an ambassador alongside such an incredible group of people.”
George Osborn is the Founder of Go Editorial and Co-Founder of Gamerbake
"I support SpecialEffect because I think the work they do helping people with disabilities to play games is fantastic. It seems like such a small thing, but it is clear from every time I've met someone who has benefitted from their brilliant technology just how important the support of SpecialEffect is to them. Games are the most wonderfully inclusive medium around and I hope I can continue to help the charity to prove that point so fabulously."
David is a founder of Slingshot Cartel and has been an amazing supporter of the charity in the last few years.
Neil is the Account Director and resident videogame industry expert at Escape Technology.
“For over a decade both I and the Escape Technology team have dedicated our energies to supporting the games industry to create the videogames that players know and love. Extending that enjoyment to help people with disabilities have both fun and freedom is an incredible thing - which is why we couldn’t be more delighted to support the life-changing work that SpecialEffect do.”
Hollie is the Social Media and Community Coordinator at Ripstone.
"Video games play a huge part in both my personal and work life, so to me SpecialEffect are real life superheroes. I've been lucky enough to work with the team over the past few years and have heard first hand about the life-changing opportunities they provide to make video games accessible. I've also done countless ridiculous things on stream as part of One Special Day and GameBlast... and I don't intend to stop any time soon! It's a real honour to be a SpecialEffect Ambassador alongside such an inspiring group of people and I'm proud to be supporting the gamers' charity."
David is the Director of Fine Thinking Ltd.
"The joy of SpecialEffect. It's about fun and quality of life. It's not about medical need, or day to day challenges, it's about your free time and by extension, using fun as a means to feel good. Just 'existing' is no fun. Having a ruddy good laugh, now THAT'S why we all work so hard."
Paul has been a fantastic friend and supporter of the charity for many years.
Playing computer games has always been a massive part of my life. In 2012 I went through a life-changing event and now have a spinal cord injury. I thought I'd never play games again until I met the amazing people at SpecialEffect. Thanks to them I can still enjoy games as much as I did before my spinal injury.
Liz Prince is the Business Manager at Amiqus.
“We started supporting SpecialEffect a number of years ago but their work really hit home when we visited them in Oxfordshire and met the team. The tech they create and the way they support people from the moment they’re in need is awe inspiring, the team are so dedicated and really change lives. I knew then that I wanted to do more and get involved in any way I could. I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for this wonderful charity and look forward to helping to raise funds for many years to come!”
Jaymes is an Experiential Account Manager at Ubisoft.
"Being approached to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect is such an honour. It has been a great source of pride to contribute to such a worthwhile cause through the various fundraising events that I have participated in over the years and I hope to be able to continue to spread the message of all the excellent work that goes on (and continue to make a fool out of myself running Tough Mudders whilst in costume!)"
Gavin Raeburn is the CEO & Studio Director at Playground Games.
"I’m absolutely delighted to be an ambassador for SpecialEffect and to help promote and evangelise the incredible work they do. The dedication they show in making video games accessible to those who would otherwise not be able to play them is as inspirational as it is humbling."
Austin has been a valued Ambassador for several years. His help and support have enabled us to run many fundraising events with greater efficiency, and he's also a regular squad member of our SpecialEffect 5-a-side football team.
David Ravenhill is the founder of Ultimate Pro Gaming.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect when putting on a competitive gaming event in Brighton, after seeing the positive affect their work has on disabled gamers made me want to do everything I could to raise awareness for this amazing charity. Since then, myself and my team at Ultimate Pro Gaming have made it the focus at all our events to raise awareness for SpecialEffect, accessibility and inclusion through the power of video games. I am honoured to be a SpecialEffect Ambassador and join this amazing dedicated family in levelling the playing field for everyone."
Rich is a well-known member of Frontier's Elite community.
"I am always astounded by the work SpecialEffect do, as it's never just a one-size-fits-all solution. Every person who benefits from their help has their individual needs taken into account. The work SpecialEffect does is vital to improving the quality of life of each and every person they reach."
Jon is Creative Director at Insert Coin.
"I first met SpecialEffect back in 2010 when I started Insert Coin. From the very first meeting the passion of Mick and the team was clear to see. I share that passion - particularly from having a son with learning difficulties - and I want to be part of the great work they are doing in bringing enjoyment to people with mental and physical disabilities via gaming."
Ian is the Business Development Director at Sumo Digital.
“The work of SpecialEffect makes a profound difference to gamers with disabilities across the North and across the entire UK, it is an honour to be part of a charity that seeks to make such a life changing difference and I look forward to representing the charity for many years to come”
Sandra Robertson MCIM
Sandra is a marketing and advertising professional with over twenty years of experience in the fine arts, antiques and leisure sectors. She lives in Milton Keynes and is Mum to Stuart and Helen who the charity has helped for a number of years and who inspired the SpecialEffect Game For Helen Project with Helen and Douglas House Hospice. Sandra brings a parental perspective to the Trustee board and has also been known to don her running shoes to raise vital funds.
Alastair Robinson is a regional manager at Marstons PLC:
"I became aware of the incredible work SpecialEffect do through my involvement with the charities patron - Matt Hampson - whose own charity I have been involved with for many years. I have and continue to be, hugely impressed and humbled by the work that Mick Donegan and the team do to find ways, through technology, to enable young people with varying degrees of disability communicate and play. Seeing at first hand the spontaneous emotion of children who are given the ability to ‘engage’ is incredible! It is a testament of this work that so many gaming based businesses support SpecialEffect in all manner of ways.
My life has been enriched by the understanding I now have of others’ challenges in life, I am honoured to have been asked to act as an ambassador and will continue to assist SpecialEffect in any way possible.”
Originally born in Canada, Kimberley worked for many years in the International Private Banking sector.
“I only became aware of SpecialEffect in 2014 when I was part of the welcoming home committee for the Twin Town Challenge competitors. I was so impressed with the work that SpecialEffect do to enrich the lives of those with physical disabilities that I wanted to help. In August this year my husband, Joel Benton, and I organised a Charity Clay Pigeon shoot attended mostly by Video Game Developers and raised almost £10,000 for SpecialEffect. We can’t wait to do it again next year! I am truly honoured to be an Ambassador for SpecialEffect and hope to be able to help for many years to come.”
Andrew is the Technical Director of Spilt Milk Studios.
“When I first learnt of SpecialEffect and the amazing work that they do, I knew I wanted to get involved. I got involved with fundraising when I moved to London, and sought to help where I could. Meeting the team, you can tell that their passion is in helping and transforming lives, and seeing the work that they do is hugely inspiring. It’s an absolute honour to be asked to become an Ambassador, and am looking forward to doing what I can to further SpecialEffect, whether through further fundraising, or greater awareness of their work.”
Mick is a Director at Cisco with a passion for technology, the gaming sector being a part of his global client base. He has been involved with the charity for many years.
“I first came across SpecialEffect some years back through the Matt Hampson Foundation and the association they had with the Witney Rugby Club and Abingdon School. From the first moment I met Mick/Nick and team, I knew this group of people were doing something very special, innovative and really wonderfully infectious. In a sea of charities who at times can lose their “core values with growth” SpecialEffect stand out for me as a group of people who see only the individual and the absolute pleasure and self-expression they gain from the team's intervention. I am honoured to be part of the diverse group of SpecialEffect Ambassadors and pledge to do as much as I can to assist and grow the outstanding/lively/tear jerking/individually focussed work they perform each day."
Jane is the Operations Director of PlayFusion, who specialise in creating hybrid smart toys and digital games.
"I first came across SpecialEffect when I first got involved in GameBlast 24-hour gaming event in 2014 and 2015. I’ve seen firsthand the amazing work the team at SpecialEffect do and I’ve been lucky enough to meet their team at their HQ as well as at gaming exhibitions. The entire team at SpecialEffect are an inspiration and I am truly honoured to have been asked to be an ambassador.”
David is Head of Facilities Management at Rare Ltd.
“When I was seven years old my parents brought me an Acorn Electron for Christmas and I’ve been gaming ever since. I’ve seen the industry grow and become a massive part of people’s day-to-day lives as a social hub as well as for entertainment. SpecialEffect really do change lives for gamers with disabilities, allowing them to be part of a bigger community on an even playing field.”
Harinder is the Operations Director at Sega Hardlight.
"SpecialEffect came to the studio to show all the wonderful things they'd accomplished. Being a Mum myself, it just touched my heart to see the smiles on the faces of all the children, where life had been transformed. After that I was hooked."
Tony worked at Mondelez International as a Project Manager and Design Engineer for over 26 years.
“I was introduced to SpecialEffect by Mick Donegan who spoke at our end of year meeting a few years ago. He caused much amusement fumbling over the letters ‘Hello Mondelez’ which he typed live on screen using only his eyes. We didn’t know this at the time, and just thought he was very poor at typing. The following hour was hugely inspirational as Mick introduced us to the work carried out by SpecialEffect to help people far less fortunate than most, to expand their worlds and to extend their skills."
"For me, how they do what they do, and how they equip the people they work with is fascinating but the real reward is to see the faces of people who realise they can now achieve things they couldn’t before. I am not a runner, cyclist, abseiler or leaper of tall buildings, but within my skill set I want to continue to help the SpecialEffect team put big smiles and tears of joy onto even more faces.”
Paul is a R&D Brewer Development Specialist at Jacobs Douwe Egberts.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect in 2012. As a gamer and an engineer I was immediately blown away about how technology can be used to bring such joy and help improve people’s quality of life. I also learned that some of the equipment is incredibly expensive and difficult to get hold of, so a few of us at work decided we could help out using our technical skills from our day job and the great R&D resources we have available at work.
With the backing of the Company, we have over the years made a number of special devices ranging from simple controller mounting systems, to remote joypad connection boxes and 3D printed Spore Monsters."
James is the Digital Distribution Director at SEGA.
“I came across SpecialEffect a few years ago purely by accident. I was blown away with the help they provide across a huge variety of disabilities. I LOVE video games, and to see my hobby, my lifestyle being used in such a positive way, blew my mind. Here were video games being good, being positive."
Sarah is the European Marketing & PR Director at Bethesda Softworks.
"I am so incredibly proud and honoured to be an Ambassador of such a truly amazing charity. As a founder member of GamesAid, I have been lucky enough to have seen first-hand how SpecialEffect have helped those with life-changing disabilities to access video games and communicate words to loved ones, for the very first time. Dr Mick and the team are a true inspiration, and I thank them for letting me have the privilege of experiencing and meeting those they have helped."
Jo first heard of SpecialEffect when the charity won the West Oxfordshire Charity of the Year Award in 2012 and has been a supporter and friend ever since. Using her marketing skills and local connections she is part of the team that organises the Twin Town Challenge, a car rally that raised £130,000 for SpecialEffect in 2014 and is hoping to add another £250,000 in 2016.
“SpecialEffect is an amazing charity. It does such brilliant work to help people with disabilities to communicate and join in with computer games and to bring broad smiles to so many faces. Nick, Mick and the team are always so appreciative of my small contribution, yet they are so humble about the huge difference they make to people’s lives. I am very honoured to be an Ambassador for this fabulous charity."
Kiernan is a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft. He's provided invaluable support to the charity for several years.
"Anyone who’s ever met Mick, Bill and the Special Effect team will have seen first-hand how their eyes sparkle with a wonderfully infectious, utterly selfless and frenetic energy for their work; galvanising and ‘connecting’ professionals with some of the UK’s most wonderful yet often quite overlooked people - people who might otherwise be adrift and alone at sea – with their friends and families in ways they may never before have thought possible.
I’m genuinely honoured to be a part of the wider team and as an Ambassador my primary role is to export and engage game developers and the public alike with a momentum-gathering message of inclusion, acceptance - above all driving what I believe to be the fundamental right to self-expression, socialising and pleasure through immersive play and shared experiences."
Dan has been an amazing supporter of the charity for several years.
"SpecialEffect is a charity I love to shout about because the solutions they provide are incredible. As a gamer I couldn't imagine being unable to use conventional controllers and peripherals, so what they do is very special indeed."
“From the moment you come into contact with the charity you realise how positive and inspirational everyone involved is. It is amazing to see how all the wonderful work they do changes so many lives. Taking part in the Twin Town 16 event enabled us to fully appreciate how highly valued this charity is. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for SpecialEffect."
Andy is the Director of WitneyTV.
"SpecialEffect have always been close to our hearts at WitneyTV - we love covering their events from Monster Runs and Fire Walks to Concerts and the TwinTown Challenge. Their "can do" attitude and "whatever it takes" motto is an inspiration to us all."
Janine is a Director at WitneyTV.
"I can't help but be inspired by the work of SpecialEffect, Dr Mick and his team are so passionate and willing to help anybody. It's amazing seeing the changes they create in people's lives."
Sarah is the Retail Events Manager at GAME Retail Limited.
"From the moment I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing the great work SpecialEffect do, there was no doubt in my mind that they were the charity I wanted to support, personally and through work.
Not only are they amazing people that do amazing things, I’m in awe of how they support and help gamers with disabilities play again. Over the past year I've been lucky enough spend time with the team, and to be able to keep helping them is an absolute honour."
Lucy Starvis is an experienced PR and marketing professional, and one of the team at Lick PR
“As the mother of two very keen little gamers myself I fully appreciate the fun gaming came bring to young people and to family life and hope to continue to help SpecialEffect in any way I can to bring that joy to many people no matter what their disability might be.”
Stig is the Head of Recruitment Teams at Amiqus.
"After seeing the SpecialEffect videos at the Develop awards that always brought a tear to my eye I felt compelled to learn more about the work they do and the life changing results it has for people they help. Luckily I had the chance to visit the HQ in 2018 and I was literally blown away by the technology, people and values that bring so much joy and transforms the lives of gamers who thought they may never have the same experience that we are lucky enough to have on a daily basis."
Hester has been an inspirational supporter of the charity for many years.
Nick from Firefly Studios has been a hugely valued supporter for many years.
“I first met the incredible people at SpecialEffect way back in 2012 and was immediately blown away by their innovative use of technology and lateral thinking. Since then I’ve dressed up and run as a wide range of embarrassing videogame characters in their name (e.g. Chun-Li) and will continue to do so for as long as possible!”
Dan is the Product Marketing Manager at EA Chillingo.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be part of SpecialEffect. It’s a charity that is very close to my heart and they are making such a huge difference in the lives of so many people .I look forward to helping continue that in any way I can.”
David is a technical genius.
"At work, I am an automation engineer and part of my job is to integrate technology for different applications so I have a taste for the way technology can be implemented for different scenarios. I was introduced to SpecialEffect by a friend who was raising funds through a 24-hour Twitch stream and was immediately hooked with how the charity help people with a wide range of disabilities. I love what they do and I will always try to raise awareness wherever I can."
Pete is a programmer and member of Gaming for Others.
"I don’t think I’ve ever felt as passionately about something as I do about SpecialEffect. They’re a genuinely wonderful bunch of people, doing wonderful things for people who might otherwise find gaming impossible and it’s an honour to support them."
Jason, an Account Manager at Amazon Web Services, has been a valued supporter of the charity for several years.
Ted is the PC Design Lead at Rare Ltd.
“Part of any game designer’s job is to build a world for everyone TO enjoy. Building a world that everyone CAN enjoy though requires more thought, and that’s why working with SpecialEffect has been so eye opening and inspiring for me. Making the smallest tweak to an element of gameplay, or adding a simple option to the UI, can have such a big impact in enabling more people to play and experience the worlds that we create. SpecialEffect not only do incredible work with individuals, but are also leading the way in guiding developers to think outside the box and to build games that truly everyone can experience and enjoy.”
Paul is Head of Corporate Development EMEA at NaturalMotion.
"It’s important to appreciate how much more SpecialEffect are doing than letting disabled people play games. They let children and adults interact and engage with their family and friends in a meaningful way when there’s sometimes few other ways, enriching lives and bringing genuine joy. It’s always a pleasure to promote and enable their cause."
Dean is the Commercial Director at SEGA.
"It’s an honour for me to work alongside and support SpecialEffect. I passionately believe in the SpecialEffect mission of enabling anyone to participate in videogames regardless of physical disability. I’ve enjoyed videogames from a young age and it’s enhanced me personally in a number of positive ways – it’s a privilege to help make a positive difference to other lives too."
Michelle is Head of PR and Marketing at Ripstone Games.
"The SpecialEffect team are absolutely awesome in everything they do – the energy they put into changing people’s lives through gaming is phenomenal. To see the smiles on the faces of people who previously couldn’t enjoy gaming, but now can because of their help, is heart-warming. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for SpecialEffect and to continually help in fundraising & raising awareness for them on a personal level and through working at Ripstone."
"My name is Becky and I have quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I am EyeGazeGirl on YouTube.
I first met SpecialEffect in 2013 because I wanted to be able to play the Xbox. So they set me up with a chin joystick and some switches.
In 2014, I asked SpecialEffect how I can play Minecraft using eye gaze. I helped with the development and testing of the EyeMine interface. This has enabled lots of people to play Minecraft using eye gaze.
For a thank you, SpecialEffect arranged for me to visit the Yogscast. I went on live Twitch TV with my favourite Yogscast member, Lewis Brindley, on Lewis and Ben save the world! I loved it.
SpecialEffect is awesome!"
Johnny is a Senior Games Designer at Pixel Toys and have formerly worked in Games Design and QA at Codemasters.
"I have always believed that games are a truly fantastic and unique way for people to have wonderful shared experiences. When forming GamingForOthers, we saw the work SpecialEffect were doing and it was incredibly inspirational; they enable everyone to enjoy something that we take for granted and is so important to us. Myself and the rest of GamingForOthers are unbelievably proud to be representing such a wonderful cause!"
Frankie Ward is an esports and gaming host.
"I first discovered SpecialEffect while working at Twitch, having worked with the team on streaming for One Special Day. I instantly loved their message of levelling the playing field for gamers everywhere, and am proud to support them in their mission to get everyone gaming!"
Stevie Ward has been the catalyst for a number of our amazing ongoing relationships within the games industry, An hugely experienced Community Manager, she works for Caffeine and has developed communities for Multiplay, Activision, CCP, and Giffgaff.
Andrew is Head of Business Operations at Microsoft European Studios.
“The work that SpecialEffect do in making games accessible to improve peoples lives is so impressive and humbling that I wanted to find a way to support them. I’m honoured to be an Ambassador and to help in promoting the amazing work that they do.”
Don is the Managing Director of Nomad Games.
"Friends at Sega introduced us to the work of SpecialEffect and we were totally blown away. SpecialEffect take our much loved medium, the videogame, and do wonderful things with it to help folk that really need help. Naturally, as game developers, we want to support that in any way we can."
Julian is the General Manager at NaturalMotion.
“Games have the power to bring joy to our lives, offering challenges that transport us out of this world and into others. Whether we want to roam the galaxy, race a Formula One car, be a custom street-racer, or an adventurer in a fantasy world, there is a game out there for all of us. SpecialEffect’s work to make the games we make accessible to as many people as possible is, truly, an inspiration.”
Abbie handles Sales and Administration at Hexagon Business Centres and is Part-Organiser of the Twin Town Challenge.
“When I first heard of SpecialEffect I was in awe of what they do and the lengths they go to to make sure they help everyone they possibly can that needs their help, no matter their condition. Over the past few years my respect and time for SpecialEffect has only grown as I see how much we as SE supporters can all work to make a difference.”
Claire has been a much-valued supporter of SpecialEffect for many years.
"From the moment I met the team at SpecialEffect I was so blown away by their truly awe-inspiring work that I wanted to try and help to make a difference. To see how practical changes to basic gaming equipment and the deployment of technologies such as eye control can help transform lives, old and young, in such an inclusive way is very humbling and the outcome is almost always life-changing.
SpecialEffect is a relatively small charity and yet requests for support are increasing at a rate of over 50% year on year, so we quite simply need to make sure that Dr. Mick and the team can keep up. If I can help SpecialEffect to do this then I will have helped to make a difference."
Tracy is a Jagex Runefest Community Champion.
"Being a member of the Runefest attendees and organising independent player events around the weekend since 2010 shows how gaming and tech can build and pull together a community. No matter who you are, you are welcomed. Raising funds to help others become an inclusive part of these communities has meant so much to me, and has brought our community together, many times, behind this wonderful charity since our first SpecialEffect Picnic in 2016"
Grant is a well-known member of Frontier's Elite community.
"From the moment I learned about SpecialEffect and what they do I was determined to help them. Respite of any kind is so critical to health and happiness, and gaming gives that with fun and joy. SpecialEffect are key to inclusion in gaming."
"I first met SpecialEffect about three years ago. We were totally inspired by the story about little Charlotte, and have had some amazing fun with them whilst raising money, walking on fire and broken glass and beating them in a football match. May they continue to be special for many years to come."
Philip works with a number of charities after a career which included managing a business in a large multinational and providing government funded business support.'
"I was surprised and amazed when I learnt about SpecialEffect. It is often difficult to understand what some charities do but not here. They have great clarity about their role and what they seek to achieve. It is so obvious that seriously disabled people need to have the ability to do something they enjoy and to have a degree of independence."
Elaine is a long-standing and valued friend of SpecialEffect. She is an amazing volunteer and has taken part in many fundraising activities, raising hundreds of pounds in the process.
Bob is the Fastershire Build Supervisor at Gigaclear.
"I first became aware of SpecialEffect five years ago via my participation in the Twin Town Challenge. It inspired me to become actively involved and I've participated in various running events in the UK, wearing the famous blue SpecialEffect shirt, where friends and family have helped me raise funds towards their life-changing work. It’s an honour and a privilege to have become an Ambassador for such a great charity."
Any opinions expressed by persons representing SpecialEffect, in any capacity, may not necessarily reflect the opinions of SpecialEffect.Org.UK Ltd and or SpecialEffect.