29th August 2019

Tribute to Susan Haydon

The Migraine Trust is mourning our longest serving team member, Susan Haydon

The Migraine Trust is mourning our longest serving team member, Susan Haydon. Susan ran our Information and Support Services Team and had been with the charity for 17 years.

As someone who lived with migraine herself, she was dedicated to helping people understand their condition and treatment options, and to giving them the highest quality clear and evidenced-based information.

Susan was the heart of The Migraine Trust for so many years. She was a trusted source of support for both people with migraine, their families and friends, and everyone who worked at our charity.

We are heartbroken she has gone and want to pay tribute to her.


Tributes to Susan

We asked people who have worked with her for their thoughts and stories about Susan.

Gus Baldwin, Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust

“I was Susan’s line-manager for the last five months of her life. She used words sparingly but that meant that when she spoke up you knew you needed to listen. What she spoke about most and most passionately was the helpline. Or rather she spoke about helping people. The people at the end of the phone, and increasingly at the end of a computer, were everything to Susan. No question or query was too challenging or too complicated for Susan to answer. If she needed to do a morning’s worth of research or to speak to three neurologists to find the answer then that’s just what she did. I think she was motivated by three things. Firstly, a sense of duty to help people with migraine. Secondly, a sense that the people asking for our help were often in huge amounts of pain who already felt no one was listening, that no one cared. She was determined to show them that they mattered to us. And, thirdly, the simple ‘thank you’ she got in response to a job well done. Thank you Susan.”

Wendy Thomas, former Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust

“I first met Susan nearly 14 years ago. It took quite some time to get to know her and even longer before I could call her a friend. Like most worthwhile relationships it didn’t happen overnight but I can honestly say that despite Susan being a very private person, we were friends.

“Susan had a capacity for detail that I always admired as that was not really my forte. She was meticulous in her research in order to give a patient or carer the best evidence-based information for which The Migraine Trust is justly proud. Over the years I met many people who had spoken to her on the phone and said how kind and helpful she was. She knew so much about migraine but always wanted to learn more. She enjoyed coming to our Symposia and also EHMTIC meetings when they were in the UK so that she could continue her professional development.

“She taught me how to listen properly and I will always be grateful for that. She had lovely hair and lovely clothes too. She was approaching retirement and I’m so sorry she didn’t get the chance to enjoy her life after The Migraine Trust having dedicated so much of her working life to our charity.”

Adam Speller, Chief Operating Officer of The Migraine Trust

“I joined the Migraine Trust 14 years ago in June 2005 and Susan was already a well established member of staff. My recollections of Susan are of an enormously private person who worked long hours helping people affected by migraine. She was usually surrounded by piles of journals and books that were so high that it was difficult to know whether she was there or not! Susan was extremely dedicated and would often stay very late in the office to help people, so much so that she became responsible for setting the alarm! I know that Susan was starting to plan for life after The Migraine Trust and was thinking about moving back to her roots in Kent when she retired. I’m so sorry she didn’t get a chance to fulfil her plans.”

Helen Balami, Advocacy Officer at The Migraine Trust

“Susan was a dedicated and committed member of our Information and Support Services team. She cared deeply about the quality of information that enquirers received and made sure that enquirers were happy with our service. Susan was also conscientious, ensuring that her work was research-based, precise and thorough. She was caring and supportive of her Information and Support Services colleagues, whenever I approached her with an enquiry she would put aside her work and make sure the problem was resolved. The Migraine Trust will not be the same without her, she will be greatly missed.”

Ria Bhola, Headache Nurse Specialist at King’s College Hospital and The Migraine Trust

“In all the years I have known Susan, her meticulous approach has never faltered. She cared deeply that people with migraine got the most up-to-date information and worked tirelessly to provide complete answers to enquirers. I really enjoyed working with her, she was supportive and I admired how she put her heart into her job.”

Ian Watmore, former Chair of The Migraine Trust

“Susan was an ever-present during my time as Chair of the Trust. More than that she summed up everything we thought the Trust should aspire to be. She cared about people with migraine and their families, and always went the extra mile to help people with individually crafted answers to their questions. She believed strongly in the importance of evidence, so as to promote ideas that were proven to work, not pushed by special interest groups. She had respect from the top clinicians for her knowledge about migraine and her ability to communicate complex ideas to a wide audience.

“She was a true team player without a hint of ego. Her passing is so sad for us all, but I am proud to have known her for the last ten years. As someone with migraine myself I have greatly benefited from her work, and feel hers is a very good life cut short far too early.”

Dr Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology, King’s College London, and Trustee of The Migraine Trust

“I never had a bad, silly or uninformed question from Susan; an email from Susan meant pause and think because it will be well thought through. Susan quietly, surely and carefully helped thousands; we are less for losing her.”

Shazia Afridi, Consultant Neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and Trustee of The Migraine Trust

“She was always so professional and dedicated to helping those with migraine.”

Christine Davies, former Senior Fundraiser at The Migraine Trust

“My thoughts go to the small, dedicated team at The Migraine Trust for whom Susan’s absence will be keenly felt. For many years Susan was our internal expert on migraine, our first port of call before asking medical professionals. Her knowledge of the condition, the NHS, and the health sector, made her a great sounding board for ideas and approaches as we were thinking them through. Thousands of people would have had their questions answered and their concerns eased with Susan’s input. She was a great support to me personally during my time with the charity. I owe her my thanks.”

Sir Denis O’Connor, Trustee of The Migraine Trust

“My memory is of someone who was energetic, consistently happy to help, and always focused on the mission.”

Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, Consultant Neurologist and Hon. Senior Lecturer at Hull and Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Hull York Medical School, and Trustee of The Migraine Trust

“Susan was an asset of The Migraine Trust. I have been a trustee for nine years and have had many personal and professional interactions over email and face to face when I used to come down for a board meeting. She was a very dedicated member of the staff who would be the very quickest in responding to email and returning your call. She organised staff teaching sessions on various headache topics just before the board meetings for many years. She was great in compiling responses for any media queries and above all she was a very friendly person to talk to with a good sense of humour and fun to chat to when I used to arrive early for the board meetings.”

If you have been helped by Susan and would like to pay tribute to her too, we would love to hear from you. You can send your thoughts to Una Farrell at ufarrell@migrainetrust.org.