Charity stalwarts stand down after clocking up half a century

By Anita Jaynes on 22 March, 2022

A local couple are stepping down from their roles after clocking up a combined 48 years working for a Bath-based charity.

Workshop Manager Martin Rouse and his wife, Sales & Purchasing Administrator Sherral, have dedicated the majority of their working lives to national charity Designabililty and are now looking forward to enjoying their retirement together.

Martin joined Designability (formerly known as the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering) in 1987, working to design and engineer products which enable disabled people to live with greater independence.

Although he has worked on hundreds of projects over the years, the most well-known is Designability’s iconic red Wizzybug wheelchair which has given independent movement to thousands of disabled children across the globe.

Martin was heavily involved in the design and production of the powered wheelchair which is provided for free to disabled children throughout the UK.

More recently in his role as the charity’s Workshop Manager, Martin has overseen the continued build and refurbishment of Wizzybugs whilst the charity explores new developments in the field of family mobility.

Martin said, “I will look back on my time at Designability very fondly. It has been a fantastic place to work but most importantly the charity has made a real positive difference to the lives of disabled people across the world.

“I’m honoured to have helped be part of creating the Wizzybug which has had a profound effect on young disabled children and their families. Products like our bottom wiper have helped millions of people, whilst in the future Designability’s work on making electric vehicle charging more accessible to disabled drivers will help millions more.

“The work the charity does to address inequality is truly inspiring and I feel proud to have done my part to help.”

Sherral joined Designability in 2008, taking up her role within the charity’s finance department.

She added, “Designability’s mission has been close to both our hearts for a very long time and it will be very hard to say goodbye. The charity has supported so many people over the years, it’s really inspirational and we wish the whole team all the best for the future.”

Martin and Sherral were presented with a special certificate from the Mayor of Bath, Cllr June Player, to commemorate their years of work for the charity.

Martin Rouse (left) received a special certificate from Mayor of Bath Cllr June Player (right)

Cllr Player said, “On behalf of the City of Bath I am pleased to present this certificate to Martin and Sherral Rouse for their hard work for nearly 50 years between them. Their dedication to the charity is inspirational and I would like to wish them the very best for their well-earned retirement.”

Chief Executive of Designability, Catharine Brown, added, “Martin and Sherral have been such an important part of the Designability journey. Their hard work, knowledge, support and dedication will be sorely missed by everyone.

“Between them they have seen some important milestones, such as the 10th anniversary of the free Wizzybug Loan Scheme and the 1,000th Wizzybug being presented to a disabled child, right here in Bath.

“On behalf of the charity and all of our supporters and beneficiaries I would like to say thank you to them both and wish them a long and happy retirement.”

Pictured above: Martin and Sherral Rouse cut their retirement cake. From left to right: Laura Mirfield (Head of Finance), Martin and Sherral Rouse, Catharine Brown (Chief Executive) and Matt Ford (Head of Design and Engineering)