Meet the Team

Our Founder

Tony Sigrist

Tony Sigrist

Tony is a former police sergeant and served in the Metropolitan Police for nearly 20 years.  Keen to address the home/work life balance after leaving the police, he embarked on a degree course in Acupuncture, qualifying with 1st class honours, before setting up a general practice at Ely Complementary Health Centre. He runs a busy clinic treating a wide range of physical and emotional problems.

Having struggled with his own mental health Tony is a passionate campaigner for greater awareness, tolerance and treatment of those affected by mental illness, notably as the founder and inaugural chair of the Metropolitan Police Mental Health Support Network. It was the experience of setting up this successful group that inspired him to start Talking FreELY.

Tony is a member of the British Acupuncture Council and has served on many professional boards and committees, most recently as a director on the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. He also teaches degree students at the Northern College of Acupuncture, lecturing on research skills.

Outside of work Tony is a family man with five children to keep him busy.  He enjoys karate, samba drumming, travel and being outdoors.

Administration Manager

Mary D

Mary Durkacz

A teacher and headteacher for most of her working life, Mary worked with primary, secondary and special education pupils and for a time with boys excluded from mainstream, her hardest but one of her most rewarding jobs. A widow since 1993, she lived in Edinburgh all of her life but decided to retire to Ely to be closer to her daughters and four grandchildren. Mary’s hobbies are singing (in Witchford Voices), running (slowly!) and she is passionate about SE Asia, where she has taught in Myanmar or volunteered in Cambodia every year since she retired. She is learning to speak and write Myanmar.

Mary is interested in developing and maintaining good health in mind, body and spirit and is very excited and pleased to be supporting Talking FreELY.

Head of Communications

Lauren T Headshot 7 Square

Lauren Thomas

A keen runner, yoga enthusiast and newbie climber, Lauren has always been an outspoken advocate of the benefit of physical activity for good mental health, crediting running with helping her to deal with the stresses of life. She’s also known for striking up a conversation with just about anyone, so it’s not surprising that she fell into Communications as a career.

Lauren is also a writer, with a health and fitness blog charting her running adventures and a love of creative writing. She is also a big fan of cake.

Events Manager

Jon Evans

Jon Evans

Jon works for the Environment Agency within the Finance Team dealing with Risk, Insurance, Income Management and Communications. He has worked there for 16 years and previously worked for Anglian Water. He is also Talking FreELY’s Events Manager.

In his spare time he loves to spend time with his wife, Zoe, and their 2 children, Sam (14) and Gemma (9), with whom he has recently taken up running. He is ashamed to admit that he was the last in the family to join the Ely Runners Club. He is also a rugby union referee so he runs around most weeks, and he is also the current President of the Cambridgeshire Referees society.

Jon came to this group as a person offering Event Management skills but he has been taken by the experiences people have spoken to him about, as well as the passion that the team has shown when talking about the role Talking FreELY can and will play in the local community.

Project Manager

Carly Acres

Carly Mason

Carly is a freelance business developer with a passion for education, community enterprise and wildlife. Prior to starting her own business, she headed a sales and marketing team and was a senior manager for an educational charity.

She has a particular interest in the role that education plays in mental health and wellbeing and is also a volunteer for the Happy Cafe Ely. Outside of work she enjoys writing (which is sometimes work!) aromatherapy and reading.

She is overwhelmed by the passion and drive that the entire Talking FreELY team have and is proud to be a part of such a great initiative.

Project Coordinator

Nina Jellicoe

Nina Jellicoe

Nina is a local being born in Sutton, educated at what was Ely High School for Girls and now living in Witchford, but with time in between at Leicester University, Hertfordshire and Saudi Arabia. She was Assistant Head at Little Thetford Primary School before retirement. She volunteers at Ely Museum and enjoys singing with Witchford Voices.

Nina is a retired teacher. She has a son with schizophrenia and wants to help break down prejudice against mental illness.

Welfare and Support Manager

Lisa B Photo

Lisa Buckingham

After a 20 year career as a Senior Manager in the NHS, Lisa decided to change her career as she found herself becoming increasingly stressed, which was adversely affecting her own mental health.

Having struggled with life long depression and having mental health issues in her family, Lisa has always been interested in psychology. She re-trained as a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, as having seen the effects of stress over the years, she wanted to understand how and why we succumb to emotional pressures. Learning about psychotherapy and having benefited from counselling herself, she now enjoys being able to pass on her knowledge and help others to become the person that they know they want to be, and can be.

As an integrated psychotherapist Lisa draws on a range of therapies including Counselling, Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique and EMDR,  and she has recently qualified to teach Mindfulness.

Lisa has volunteered for Rape Crisis and she currently has a private practice and works part time for Centre 33. She believes passionately that we must talk more openly about mental health to combat the stigma that is still associated with it.