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Gilwell ParkThyroid UK
10th Anniversary Conference
22nd October 2011

The Thyroid 10th Anniversary Conference was a great success! There were 120 delegates altogether and it was great to see everyone chatting to each other in the breaks and at the tables! Thank you all so much for coming and I hope you had an enjoyable and educational day.



Conference delegatesUnfortunately, there were a few technical problems at the venue which meant that we couldn’t show Dr Lowe’s dvd or speak to him via Skype. This all meant that the day started 15 minutes late but people didn’t seem to mind as this gave them more time to chat!  Dr Lowe has said that he will send the dvd to us and those that attended the conference will be sent a copy of this free of charge.

The food at the venue was very well presented and generally people were pleased with the catering – there were a few negative comments about the coffee though!

Lyn MynottLyn Mynott welcomed everyone to the conference and spoke about the many changes that Thyroid UK has undergone since their last conference in 2003. She explained about Thyroid UK’s Thyroid Awareness Week Projects before handing over to Piers Hernu, Journalist and Broadcaster and one of Thyroid UK’s patrons.

Piers HernuPiers studied law at university before becoming a traded options broker in The City. He then left to go travelling and ended up spending eight months in a Nepalese prison for gold smuggling (an experience which was recently featured in National Geographic's second series of 'Banged Up Abroad'). On his return he wrote his story for both The Independent and Loaded and subsequently became a journalist. He then launched, and was the award winning editor of, Front magazine for four years (featured in BBC2’s Trouble Between The Covers) before joining FHM as a columnist and then Editor At Large.

Nowadays he works for various publications but mostly as a feature writer for The Mail On Sunday's Live Magazine and has made regular contributions to Newsnight, Daybreak, This Morning, BBC Breakfast News, Richard and Judy, Sky News, Five News, Littlejohn, Radio 1,2,4 and 5, Talksport and numerous other chat show/documentary/talking heads and radio shows where he is most frequently asked for opinions on: laddism, new magazines, sex, gender wars, modern men, drinking and changing cultural trends.

Piers told a poignant but humourous story about his hypothyroidism and how the main symptoms were tiredness and depression and how Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield finally helped him to get his life back.

Patrick HolfordThe first speaker was Patrick Holford, one of the world's leading authorities on new approaches to health and nutrition. He is committed to helping people to transform their health and well-being.  He is founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London and heads the Food for the Brain Foundation, pioneering nutritional approaches to mental health.

He has written more than thirty health books, including the worldwide best-seller, the ‘Optimum Nutrition Bible’, ‘10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People’ - based on the results of Britain’s biggest-ever health and diet survey, and his most recent title ‘The Feel Good Factor’.

Patrick informed the delegates about how eating healthily not only reduces weight but helps with depression. He talked about the glycaemic load diet and had some excellent videos of some of his patients telling their story.  Many delegates then queued to purchase his book, The Feel Good Factor – 10 Proven Ways to Boost Your Mood and Motivate Yourself.

Barry Durrant-Peatfield


The second speaker was Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield, MBBS LRCP MRCS Medics Cert. Nutrition (BCNH), a trustee and medical advisor of Thyroid UK.

Dr Peatfield, author of “Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy”, explained how low adrenal reserve can affect people. He included several case studies showing signs and symptoms and how he deals with treating patients who have this problem.



Lyn Mynott and Jane Evans

After a comfort break, where delegates could chat to each other and visit the trade stands – The Nutri Centre, Red Apple Clinic, Genova Diagnostics, The Weather Lottery, Utility Warehouse, National Pure Water Association, Freedom Insurance, Get Your Life Back from ME, Nutri Ltd and Dr Alyssa Burns-Hill - Lyn Mynott, Chief Executive of Thyroid UK and Jane Evans, the Thyroid UK Study Co-ordinator, explained how the Thyroid UK Study came about and how it is being controlled.  The problems we are having in respect of finding controls was also explained.


Conference delegatesWe then had a lunch break during which delegates could listen to a talk by Terry Green from Freedom Insurance; visit the Film Pod room where Ashley Mynott and Josh Ely were filming delegates’ comments or visit the Web of Stories room where they could tell their thyroid story for the Thyroid UK Web of Stories Channel.

I am pleased to say that a lot of delegates gave comments which will be put into our dvd and/or made a Web of Stories film which have now been uploaded to our Web of Stories Channel.

Many delegates found Terry’s talk very interesting as it’s often difficult to find travel insurance if you have a long term health condition and many people don’t realise that the European Health Insurance Card doesn’t actually cover everything.  We will be putting information about this onto our website in the New Year.


Alyssa Burns-HillAfter lunch, Dr Alyssa Burns-Hill PhD, MSc, FRSPH, MIHPE, Hormone & Holistic Health Specialist and Professional Health Educator spoke to delegates.   

Dr Burns-Hill explained, very humourously, what all the body’s hormones do and the fact that doctors shouldn’t only look at blood tests but what is going on in the patient’s life such as the stress factors causing problems for their adrenals and drug interactions.

She spoke of making an action plan such as detoxing, nutritional support i.e. supplements, finding ways of de-stressing your life, taking moderate exercise and finding a health professional who understands what you are looking to achieve.

Damien Downing


The next speaker was Dr Damien Downing MBBS MSB, President, British Society for Ecological Medicine. Dr Downing explained, among other things, about the deiodinase enzymes, which convert T4 to T3 and T3 to T2 and the fact that cortisol inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3, shunting T4 conversion from T3 towards rT3.

He also spoke about the new study which showed that some patients have a faulty gene which means that they are not converting their T4 to T3 but it doesn’t show up in the usual TSH, FT4 and FT3 blood tests. This was a very interesting talk although rather technical for some delegates.



Nigel Abraham - Genova Diagnostics


Up next was Dr Nigel Abraham Ph.D, MSc, FIBMS, Scientific Director, Genova Diagnostics. 

His talk, Laboratory Evaluation of Thyroid Function – Beyond TSH, explored the fact that many patients with hypothyroidism actually have very different symptoms.

He also explained that Genova Diagnostics was accredited with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and registered with the Care Quality Commission.  He went on to explain some test results to everyone and also explained that, “Not all patients in these disease categories can be expected to have TSH levels far outside the euthyroid range.” And that, “On the other hand, TSH levels exit the euthyroid reference range in the very early phases of developing thyroid disease, while the patient’s disease is still subclinical and thyroid hormone levels remain within their euthyroid reference ranges.”

He talked about how important thyroid antibody testing was how the antibodies caused hypothyroidism and how important selenium was for a good functioning thyroid. He also told delegates the Reverse T3 should always be tested.  A delegate asked him why this was not in the thyroid hormone profile and he explained that this test is done at a different lab and takes longer than the others in the profile.


We then had another comfort break where we called the winners of the raffle:

10th Anniversary Raffle Prize Winners
1st Prize – Handmade Quilt – Helen Murphy
2nd Prize – 32 Piece Cutlery Set – Rose Orr
3rd Prize – Calvin Klein Eternity for Men – Di West
4th Prize – Porcelain Salad Bowl – M.F.
5th Prize – Bottle of 20 Year Old Red Wine – Lauren from Rutland

There were many other prizes – congratulations if you won a prize!

Raffle prize giving


The last speaker of the day was Ashok Gupta, an ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and MCS Practitioner.

In his talk, “Amygdala Hypothesis” For ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia, & How It Relates to Hypothyroidism, Ashok explained about how the Amygdala causes a stress response in the body that perpetuates.  His system retains the Amygdala thereby getting the patient well again.

He told delegates about a study being done by the Mayo Clinic where the Amygdala Retraining group had 2 to 3 times better outcomes than those on standard care. The results of this study are expected soon.

More research is going to be done and if you are interested in participating in this contact Ashok on ashok@guptaprogramme.com

There was then an extremely brief question and answer session because we were running extremely late – answers to all questions handed in will be put on the website soon.

Lyn Mynott then held a Plenary where she explained about Thyroid UK’s new project, Thyroid Tracker (more on this very soon) and Thyroid UK’s plans, over the next year, to work with the Government and NHS doctors.


We gave everyone an Evaluation Form in their delegate pack so that we can learn from the comments given. 

From this we learnt that delegates wanted more time to network and a better range of trade stands.  Some felt some of the talks were too technical for them.

When we asked delegates what they thought about the speakers they told us:

  • “Patrick Holford – the most inspirational. Dr Nigel Abraham – the most informative in understanding thyroid disease/diagnosis”
  • “Patrick Holford – Information on the GI diet”
  • “The most valuable was the topic “ME/CFS” by Gupta, particular the amygdale retraining”
  • “Piers story and Patrick Holford, Dr Peatfield”
  • “Picked up lots of interesting “new” pointers to research”
  • “Dr Peatfield – New info! Nigel Abraham – Informative”
  • “I found Patrick Holford and Alyssa Burns-Hill definitely worth following up”
  • “I thought Patrick Holford was especially good”
  • “Patrick Holfords Nutrition Talk, Gupta Programme”
  • “Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Piers, very entertaining. Amazing talk by Alyssa Burns-Hill. Learnt a lot from Patrick Holford”

Other comments from delegates were:

  • “Thank you for a well organized, informative and inspirational day”
  • “Appreciate your hard work and will continue to support all you do”
  • “Much appreciated the effort that the team has put into organising the event.”

After the conference, many of us went out for a meal in a local restaurant and much fun was had by all! 

At the restaurant

Before our next conference, which we hope will be in 2013, we will be asking where members would prefer this to be ie. Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham or London. We want as many members as possible to be able to access our conferences.

Although we won’t be having another conference next year, we do plan to do smaller seminars in different areas of the country so that our members won’t miss out!

Finally, I would like to say thank you very much to:

  • Our Patron Piers Hernu for helping us introduce speakers and for calling the raffle

  • Our sponsors without whom the conference would not be taking place -  Dr Perring; Dr O’Connell; Dr McDonogh; Dr Adeniyi-Jones and Dr Callebout

  • Our speakers whose talks were so interesting and educating

  • Reena Takhar and Anne Greenwood from Web of Stories who showed people how to film their stories

  • Our trustees who helped to organise this conference and for helping out on the day

Ben and Josh

  • Our volunteers - Sabera for taking all the photographs all day; Ben for filming the whole day for us; Ashley Mynott and Josh Bias for manning the film pod all day; Neil Roberts, Andy and Chris Mynott for doing all the heavy lifting required!



anniversary cake


  • Neil Roberts for making our fantastic Anniversary cake!
    It was absolutely scrumptious!


Conference photo



  • A big thank you to Jane Evans, who  worked so hard raising funds for the conference and organising the trade stands

  • A very big thank you goes to Hatty who has been brilliant in all kinds of ways

  • And finally, a very special thanks goes to Louise. She worked tirelessly organising; designing; collating; databasing; printing; collecting funds; planning. You name it, she did it – most of it in her own time.  Thank you so much Louise - I couldn’t have done it without you…


I would like to thank all the trustees, Hattie and Louise for the wonderful surprise present given to me at the end of the conference. There were lots of smiles and tears as a beautiful hand made vase was presented to me. I am so very grateful for this and it will take pride of place in my living room!

conference photos

There were many photographs taken on the day.
If anyone would like to see all the photographs they are available on Flickr by clicking here