Martin Dent

Martin Dent journey

A Man in Control

A Man In Control

Martin was the Chairman of trustees of the Samson Centre for 10 years up until Oct 2019.

In his early twenties, having embarked on a Civil Engineering degree at Sheffield University he soon realised that he had embarked on the wrong path. He stayed for two years and made the most of his time by becoming Chair of the students’ entertainment committee and arranging weekly discos and bands to entertain some 1300 students. “It was the 70’s,“ recalls Martin. “Not only were there the students to entertain, you also had the bands, security staff, the bar and even drugs to contend with. You certainly had to have your wits about you.”

Having walked away from his degree, HM Customs and Excise beckoned where he worked as a VAT Inspector until he saw the possibility of a career in IT. Having become an accomplished programmer, he was ready to move on. Starting with the Milk Marketing Board he had found a career that would see him move through the ranks to Project Manager and finally to IT Manager for Unigate covering the UK HQ and St Ivel European Foods Division. Extensive travel was required.

In 1995, Martin was diagnosed with MS. That such a minor symptom as neck pain could herald the onset of a life-altering condition was indeed a bombshell. “The pain was eventually eased by the use of steroids. All in all I remained in pretty good shape for the next four years,” he ends.

Everything started to change in 1999 when Martin’s symptoms began to present themselves in earnest. Within 18 months, Martin’s mobility had deteriorated further and constant travel and flights were becoming problematic. “I asked to be moved from my position and revert back to project management and therefore have a base in one office.”

In 2007, aged 53, Martin elected to retire due to his ill health. This meant that he remained in control and as ever his decisions were running ahead of his symptoms.

Shortly into his retirement Martin came across a leaflet about the Samson Centre for MS and his first thoughts were “why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? ”. Within a week of first seeing the leaflet Martin had joined, soon thereafter became a Trustee and then two years later took on the role of Chairman of the Trustees.

“The Samson Centre is such an amazing place for people living with MS. It provides physiotherapy, exercise and oxygen therapy all within a supportive and welcoming environment. It also offers an excellent opportunity to talk to other people who have a real understanding of living with what is essentially a progressive and debilitating condition.”

If you would like to help Martin to help even more people who are living with multiple sclerosis visit our donations page

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Our Riverside LocationThe Samson Centre is based at Guildford, Surrey