Our Board Members and Volunteers

The Board of Directors

Peter Salkeld BSC (Hons), RSLI, MVLP

Chair of Directors

Following a successful management career within the leisure and entertainment industry that he pursued whilst studying to be an interpreter, Peter became a member of VLP soon after he began practicing as a freelance sign language interpreter in 2011.  Peter achieved his degree in Social Policy in Wales and this underpinning knowledge led to him joining the VLP Management Committee in 2018 to work on policy documentation and the formation of VLP as a legal entity.  Throughout his career he has worked predominantly in professional, medical and social services settings in London, the South East and the East of England.


Since 2019, Peter and the Management Committee have been engaging with members across the represented professions and regions; they are working on a dynamic repositioning of VLP as an inclusive organisation promoting high standards through support, collaboration and representation. Peter believes that VLP should be a leader in its field and that VLP’s strength lies in the collective knowledge of its members.

Annie Walpole RSLI, MVLP


Annie has worked within the Deaf Community since 1994, she became a qualified Interpreter in 2008 completing her training via the NVQ route. Since that time Annie has worked across all domains but the a vast majority of her work is community interpreting. 


Annie started volunteering for VLP in 2017, supporting the board with membership renewals and enquiries but became a named director in September 2019. Since joining the board Annie has held the position of Secretary and has thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of helping steer the association.  

Valerie Cherrington-Webber RSLI, MVLP

Finance Director

Valerie is a CODA and signing is very much part of her life. She qualified in 2010, after working in Education for many years. Although she enjoys working across a variety of domains, her work has been mainly community based medical and mental health.

Having been a member of VLP since the early days, Valerie joined the board of directors in 2019 when it became a Limited Company to help shape the organisation and ensure financial stability and compliance

Jess Heyworth BSC (Hons), RSLI

Communications Director

Jess Heyworth became a Registered Sign Language Interpreter in 2015 when she achieved a Master's degree from Durham University. Since then she has worked in various interpreting domains, but has a particular passion for Deaf mental health and welfare rights and advocacy in the Deaf community. She is also keen to encourage local peer groups for interpreters and trainees, and is an active member of her local North East Interpreters Network. In her spare time she's to be found encouraging greater Deaf awareness in the running community and volunteering at running events to ensure Deaf people have access. 

She has been a member of VLP since becoming qualified, and put herself forward as Communications Director in 2017. Since then, she has been focused on how VLP communicates with its members as well as the wider world. She is passionate about making sure all of VLP's communications reflect its ethos of openness, inclusivity and high standards.

Gary Morgan RSLI, MVLP

Business Director

Gary qualified and registered in 2013 and since then he has worked across all domains but has developed a particular fondness for tours. During the past few years, Gary has worked mainly within acute healthcare settings and has specialised in acute mental health inpatients settings.

In 2019, Gary joined the board of VLP as the commercial director and his main  responsibilities are the organisation of the conference, overseeing commercial opportunities of VLP and training opportunities for its members. 

In 2017, after the results of the 'Big Survey' were released, he decided that he wanted to take a more active role in supporting his membership organisation. Gary says believes strongly in VLP’s ethos of promoting high standards and encouraging good practice, and that this was a contributing factor for him deciding to join the VLP Steering Committee (as was). He hasn't looked back since.  

Dilys Palin RLS, MVLP, Lipspeaker

Elected Director

Dilys qualified as a Lipspeaker 1997 and since that time has worked in a broad variety of domains. Her interest in becoming a Lipspeaker was due to her having a profoundly deaf brother who lip read and signed. In addition to Lipspeaking Dilys now also devotes her time to training students training to become qualified Lipspeakers.


Dilys joined the team as a volunteer in September 2019 representing Lipspeakers and was elected on to the board in 2020.

Chance Walton-Ashmore BA (Hons), RSLI, MVLP. CAVA

Elected Director

Chance has been a practising interpreter since finishing his interpreting degree in 2015, graduating with a first-class honours degree.

Chance has been a member of the VLP board as the Member Engagement Director since September 2019.

Qualifying as RSLI in November 2017 Chance went on to become a NRCPD standards advisor and an assessor in July 2019. Chance became interested in BSL as his mother is also a BSL Interpreter and Deafblind Interpreter.

Chance says "I love co-working with different interpreters and learning from them. I also like to travel."

Member Volunteers

Maria O’Callaghan RSLI, MVLP, PG DipEd: PGCE: BA Hons ToD


Maria volunteered in religious settings with Deaf people for 11 years before deciding to undertake a degree at the University of Central Lancashire. While studying for her degree in Deaf studies between 1993 to 1996 she also started working with Deaf students.

Maria went on to become a qualified teacher in 1998 and worked at 7 universities and 7 colleges across the Northwest, London and also Finland, assisting Deaf students with their written English.

In 2000, Maria qualified as a teacher of the deaf and in 2010 qualified as a sign language interpreter and since that time has enjoyed working out in the community.


Maria is now trying to take things slower with the aim of retiring (at some point!)but is an active member of VLP and volunteers to provide support with the organisation and the running of conferences.

Stephen Ellis-Menton BA Ed (Hons), RSLI, TAQA, MVLP, MASLI


Stephen first started learning BSL at 15 but came into interpreting after training as a teacher, completing the BA Ed (QTS) at Liverpool Hope University. He completed his NVQ 4 in BSL and NVQ 4 in Interpreting whilst training and working as a teacher; he qualified as RSLI when he was just 23.

Stephen's career as an interpreter started whilst working for what was the largest Deaf Organisation in the North West where he worked in their interpreting department for 6½ years and was responsible for the supervision and mentoring of their in-house interpreting team.


After becoming freelance, Stephen has worked with a range of organisations to establish and deliver mentorship programs and training for in-house interpreters. He became a qualified assessor after completing the Teaching and Quality Assurance Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (TAQA) at The City of Liverpool College in 2013 and is currently the lead tutor and assessor for the Diploma in BSL-English Interpreting at BSL Interpretations.

Stephen currently volunteers with VLP undertaking a number of roles, with a large proportion of his time spent working on the VLP website membership benefits.  

Victoria Midgley BA (Hons),RSLI, MVLP


Victoria is a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) based in the East Midlands. she qualified in 2019 having graduated with a BA (Hons) BSL/English Interpreting at Wolverhampton University.


Victoria is giving her time to VLP as she is particularly  interested in the sharing of knowledge and experiences of both experienced and new Interpreters, and how they can support one another. Victoria is hoping to work with VLP to bring more CPD and training opportunities aimed at Trainees/newly qualified members.

Malcome Pyle RSLI, MVLP


Malcome has been involved with Sign Language Interpreting for 30 years (Qualified for 25 years). Malcome currently volunteers with VLP  as the moderator of the LOOP, monitoring posts and dealing with requests and issues from all our members.

Malcome believes that VLP should be a friendly, safe place where members can help each other and seek help safely.


Malcome believes that as we have all moved through the ranks from trainees to qualifed interpreters we have all faced the same issues and had to all gain experience in what we do. He says "We are stonger when we stand together."

Dr Sally Gillespie PhD Translation, BA(Hons), RSLI, MVLP


Sally has been interpreting for 10 years (2 years trainee and 8 qualified) during which time she has lived and worked in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which has always been her home) and she has relished opportunities to work further afield too!


Sally is currently conducting research on behalf of VLP to monitor and chart the effects that Covid-19 has had on our members and profession as a whole.

As a volunteer with VLP her special interests are research and representing Northern Irish member issues.

In her spare time (away for all the research) Sally loves being outdoors, preferably in water or going for a hike.

Judy Scholes RSLI, MVLP


Judy fell in love with BSL at a Christian conference when she was just a teenager after which she took up BSL and has enjoyed working with and for Deaf people ever since.


After several years as a staff interpreter, Judy became freelance in 2016 and relocated to Derbyshire.


Judy started volunteering with VLP in the summer of 2020 with a special interest in supporting our Student members.

Dionne Thomas RSLI, MVLP


Dionne has been working with the Deaf community for almost 20 years and interpreting for 10. This has included working onscreen at ITV Signpost, establishing Deaf Business Academy CIC and most recently as BSL Interpreter manager for Involve Interpreter.

Dionne is now one of the UK’s experts on BSL in the business & commerce domains. As lead researcher for the Business Signs project, she has gained specialist knowledge of interpreting, translation & the role of interpreters in Business settings.

Dionne has now set her sights on video interpreting and has been working in the sector for 4 years. Her new role utilises both her interpreting and business skills as she is responsible for the development of the service and the training of interpreters.

She regularly delivers talks and training to interpreters across the UK, providing specialist support and training in the areas of video and business interpreting.

Linzi Weatherson RLS, SLI, Lipspeaker, MVLP


Linzi has been studying BSL since 2010 and working as a Level 3 Lipspeaker since 2012. Linzi currently is the Social Media Officer for The Association of Lipspeakers with Additional Sign (ALAS) and manages all digital content for both ALAS and Lipspeaker UK.

In addition to her work as  Lipspeaker, Linzi is also training as a Sign Language Interpreter and is hoping to achieve RSLI status by 2022.

Linzi is currently supporting VLP with creating guidance for members on the use of social media and staying safe online. 

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