Meet the Team
Founder & CEO
During his late teenage years and early twenties, Drew had a lot of success on the track, winning several northern championships and competing at the British Olympic trials following which Drew was awarded a sports scholarship to Adams State University in Colorado, USA. Here he studied human performance and physical education with a minor in business alongside competing in the National Collegiate Athletics Association.
Whilst in America Drew won several NCAA titles at both 1500m and 1 mile and in both individual and team capacities. He went on to work as an athletics coach. In 2014 after a shallow dive accident, he broke his neck and suffered a spinal cord injury leaving him quadriplegic.
Following a year attending a of state of the art rehabilitation in the USA, Drew returned to the UK to find access and opportunities to use similar equipment severely lacking, with those that were available being extremely expensive.
Thus the idea for Pop-Up Gym was born and after two years of fundraising and establishing Pop-Up Gym as a charity, it was finally opened on the 15th January 2018.
Drew’s hobbies include mouth painting and NUFC. Drew volunteers at the gym every day and uses the specialised equipment when he can. email Drew
Head Personal Trainer
Mike has a Business Management degree from Newcastle College/Northumbria University but his main interest lies in Personal Fitness instruction particularly with neurological and other disabilities.
Mike helped with the renovation of the gym in its early days back in October 2017.
He has 7 years of experience in the fitness industry, as well extensive experience as a Rehabilitation and Personal Assistant. Additionally, Mike is a qualified exercise referral instructor with Boxercise and Kettlebell class instruction qualifications, with a background in Boxing and Boxing Training, weight training and functional fitness training.
He plans a long career working with disabled clients to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life.
In his spare time outside of Pop-Up, Mike works as a Mobile Personal Trainer, helping a range of individuals achieve weight loss and fitness goals, as well as maintaining a varied collection of tarantulas.
Dominic is 24 years old & has worked at Pop-Up Gym since its inception in January 2018, having previously worked directly with Drew throughout the previous year. He graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with a degree in Biomedical Science.
Dominic has a keen interest and knowledge of physiology, anatomy and pharmacology, and endeavours to apply this to his work at the Gym, having taken a particular interest in how exactly our equipment interacts with the body and benefits our clients physiologically.
In his spare time, Dominic has worked as first aider for the British Red Cross gaining experience of how to deal with scenarios involving both minor and more serious injuries, something that we hope he won’t be putting to use at Pop-Up Gym!
Former pupil of the Barbara Priestman School and Oxclose High School in Washington, Kirsten had always been a Gym member herself until injury forced her to stop for a while.
However, to maintain her fitness, she felt she needed a gym that could support her and she came across Pop-up Gym on social media.
At first she attended the Gym solely as a member, and then a few months after we opened when it became obvious that the team needed help to cover duties on the reception desk, she volunteered and has been there ever since.
She says she has never looked back. She has made many new friends and is gradually getting her fitness back.
Kirsten has already done some fund-raising for Pop-up Gym by doing a sponsored ‘ride’ on the hand bike on the Coast to Coast route across Northern England.
Her hobbies are swimming and reading.
One of six volunteer Trustees, Yvonne helped Drew with early fundraising and was instrumental in setting up the Gym as a Charity in 2016
She has worked in her family’s truck sales business for 37 years in various roles and latterly in the marketing department where her job was to promote the business and maintain the profile of its presence in the market place.
Her other volunteering roles have been as a fundraiser for a local dog sanctuary, as a presenter on a community radio station, as an editor on a village magazine, and she is on the Board of the Entrepreneurs Forum.
Yvonne’s role at the Gym is to assist Drew achieve his goals of spreading the word of Pop-up Gym across the disabled community in the North East to give as many people as possible the chance to benefit from its services and to maintain the sustainability of the charity into the future.
Gary is Drew’s dad. Almost 4 years ago Gary got a crash course in looking after a person with paralysis caused by a spinal injury.
He was with Drew when Pop-up Gym was first conceived and between them they started pulling their ideas together.
In his working life Gary was MD in a local company and he has used his business skills (and worked tirelessly) to get the premises in to shape with the help of family, friends and local businesses.
Gary, a Trustee of Pop-up Gym, is now seen at the Gym, volunteering his time repairing and making things to help keep the place in good shape for the members and staff. He is totally committed to the concept of the gym.
Gary’s hobbies are golf, football and classic cars and he is currently working for the BBC providing the cars for the Antiques Road Trip.
Originally from New Mexico, Duchess was rescued by a dog adoption charity who had saved her from a pound that was going to put her down. Drew adopted her and when he moved back to the UK, she flew back with him. Her flight cost almost as much as Drew’s….but she was worth it.
She doesn’t like to talk about her past, but we think it involved some time on the streets, hence her passion for food and treats……..she has been known to arm-wrestle Gym members to the ground to get their pasty off them. Be warned.
She now lives happily with Drew as his service dog, except that she does nothing particularly useful for him, unless she’s in the mood and even then it’s limited to jumping on to his bed and opening the curtains in the middle of the night.
At the Gym her voluntary role is that of entertainment’s officer and food forager. She commands attention, will muscle in to any photo opportunity or selfie and is everybody’s friend.
Her hobbies include walking, sniffing, eating and sleeping on Drew’s knee.