Our Chair

Local Southend resident, Mr Freddie Dawkins is our newly appointed Chair.  Freddie has been volunteering as an Advisory Board member for over a year and we thank him for his continued support.    

Our Board

Chris Gasper

Chris brings to our board a combination of managerial and administrative knowledge and experience from a variety of sources, including 42 years in the civil service and 13 years with the Health and Safety Executive. A skilled negotiator and former member of the LINk, Chris is well aware of the health and social care landscape and the challenges local Healthwatch faces.

Chris is also one of the precious few people keeping the Punch and Judy tradition alive in this country, performing to children and adults in our community and beyond.

Chris said: “I derive great satisfaction from talking to people and helping them cope with life. I always try to understand the reasons behind any situation, and to influence the people with the power to make things better.”

Freddie Dawkins

Freddie Dawkins has lived in Southend for the past 15 years. 

Our board will benefit greatly from his wealth of knowledge and skills attained through a varied career, including early training in Fleet Street as a journalist with the Evening Standard, Daily Telegraph and The Times. He spent 13 years working for the European Commission on various projects including data privacy, e-government, security and energy policy and lived and worked in several capital cities, including Helsinki, Brussels, Seville and Munich. 

Freddie is now semi-retired, works primarily as a driver for Special Educational Needs children and Vulnerable Adults in Essex and also still finds time to edit a global business magazine. 

Married, with two grown-up sons, Freddie has five grandchildren and spends as much time with them as he can.

Freddie said “I care passionately about our National Health Service and Social Care Programmes.  My mother was a nurse for many years and my family has a long history of being involved in the NHS and social care work, both paid and voluntary.

Wendy Dodds

I am a qualified nurse with a BSc in Health Studies and have more than 40 years experience working within the NHS , private and charity sectors.  My passion for the delivery of patient centred quality care has always been at the heart of my work. My most recent post was that of Director of Care and Executive Nurse for a local hospice.  This role enabled me to ensure that patients, families and carers health and social care needs were recognised as being of equal importance.

Since my retirement I have continued to be involved in a voluntary capacity as a Trustee for a local Charity providing respite at home and day centres for the elderly with early onset dementia and adults with disabilities.  In addition my role as an Advisory Board Member will enable me to utilise my past experience, skills and knowledge in assisting Healthwatch in fulfilling their aims and objectives for the benefit of the residents of Southend.

Tricia Cowdrey

Tricia has lived in Southend for more than 35 years and has raised her family of five children here.  She has extensive experience in social care and youth work, as well as ongoing involvement with the voluntary sector.  She hopes that these skills and experiences will help her to be a productive member of the Healthwatch Southend Advisory Board.  Having been a senior manager and former CEO of a children’s charity, she hopes to be able to utilise these skills and experiences to further the current progress of Healthwatch Southend.

Tricia said:  ‘As a Cancer patient who has caring responsibilities within my family around mental illness, disability and frailty, I feel that it is so important to not only have up to date, quality information but to have someone independent to support me when needing to raise issues around health and social care.’   

Mike Riley

I have lived in Southend all my life and I’m passionate about helping the people of my home town.

I have worked for over 10 years in a pre-hospital environment as patient transport ambulance crew to frontline emergency response ambulances.  I am a qualified first aid trainer with skills ranging from basic life support to emergency ambulance crew level.  I have received a long service and good conduct medal, and also been awarded a certificate for outstanding service in life saving which was presented at the House of Lords.

I would like everyone to have basic lifesaving skills training from an early age so we can all help to keep our residents safe.

Mike said “We are all responsible for our future, let’s work together in making it a healthier, safer place to be.”

Past Board papers

We make the papers for our public Board meetings available online. We also publish a summary of what was discussed. Check out our past meetings to read more.

Find out more