Hospice governance

Our Trustees

The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the strategic decisions made by the charity and overseeing its performance. The Board works closely with the Chief Executive and the Senior Management Team and has legal accountability for the charity and a responsibility to ensure our assets are used exclusively to further the objectives of the charity.

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Sarah Higgins - Chair

Sarah Higgins has over 25 years experience in marketing and communications both agency-side and in house. Sarah is a regular speaker at industry events and symposiums and is currently a Managing Director at State Street Global Advisors where she runs global media relations and EMEA and APAC marketing for the firm’s intermediary franchise.

Outside of the City, Sarah is also an Associate Non-Executive director at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. Sarah lives in London with her husband and two children.

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Tim Gutteridge - Deputy Chair

Tim is the Director of Finance and Resources at Shelter UK. He has worked in the charity sector for more than 20 years, holding senior management positions at other charities such as Fairtrade, National Aids Trust and Stonewall. As Chief Operating Officer at Fairtrade, he oversaw the significant growth of Fairtrade certified products in the UK with retail sales exceeding £1.7bn in 2015.

During his early career at Stonewall he was part of a small team who very successfully lobbied for the legislative changes needed to provide many of
the legal equalities now available to lesbians and gay men in the UK. His expertise and experience includes vision and strategy development; strategic delivery; charity finances; managing and developing Human Resources functions; developing and managing IT and web-based projects; Fundraising from Government, Trusts and individuals and managing charity premises & facilities.

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Estelle Kerridge - Company Secretary

Estelle retired from NHS management in 2019 after a 40 year career in health and social care. She trained and qualified as a social worker and worked mostly in hospitals as a front line worker and team manager until around 2000 when she was seconded to  Oxleas NHS Trust to set up and run integrated community mental health teams.

From then on she stayed in the NHS, moving from project manager, to service manager and finally to service director. She is particularly passionate about developing older people’s mental health services and also has a strong interest in volunteering having been responsible for Oxleas volunteering teams for many years.

Estelle became interested in the work of the hospice in 2017 after her husband was supported by the community team during the last few months of his life. She has two adult sons and now lives alone in Blackheath and is enjoying finding new hobbies and friends.

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David Atterbury Thomas – Treasurer

David has been a longstanding trustee and volunteer in the charitable sector. He joined Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice as Trustee/Treasurer in March 2019. He is Treasurer of a number of charities including that of and Treasurer of St Stephen Walbrook, one of the City Churches.

As a Chartered Accountant David’s early career was spent with Reed Elsevier and then for many years was Group Finance Director at Grayling, an international public relations and public affairs group. Now a consultant, he helps charities and businesses with strategy, organisation of financial operations and financial and stakeholder reporting.

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Simon Di Marino

Simon has worked in the banking industry since 2000. His experience spans the UK retail market, offshore corporates & fiduciary institutions; he currently works in the international division of a large global bank, running a team of investment specialists and advisors.

Simon was introduced to the board through the NCVO Step On Board program and became a trustee in December 2017. He is also a member of the investment committee.

Simon and his wife Denise live in Greenwich and have two young sons. Simon says that the particular knowledge and expertise that he brings to the Board is focused on business acumen.

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Dr Mary-Clare Parker

Mary-Clare has been a GP in Greenwich for over 20 years, and is a senior partner and GP trainer at Vanbrugh Group Practice. She grew up in south east London, and always knew she wanted to be a doctor. As a teenager in the 1970s she sang with the St Christopher’s Hospice Choir, alongside the formidable Dame Cicely Saunders. Listening to Dame Cicely and other members of the choir speak about their work in palliative care awoke her interest in this area of medicine. Mary-Clare's other areas of special interest include elderly medicine, rheumatology and dermatology.

Since 2009 Mary-Clare has also been the college doctor for Morden College in Blackheath. In her practice she is privileged to care for people at the end of their lives, and has found this aspect of her work both challenging and immensely rewarding. She has become increasingly involved in palliative care over the years, and was therefore very pleased to be invited to become a Trustee of the Hospice.

Mary-Clare is a longstanding member of the Greenwich LMC (Local Medical Committee) and is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London. She is married to Steven, and has four grown up children.

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Rebecca Middleton

Rebecca has worked in the charity sector for 14 years; most of that time was spent at the Multiple Sclerosis Society in supporter care, project management, and data. More recently she has been working with other charities as a database consultant.

She first became aware of the Hospice when she moved to Belvedere from Essex in 2015 and was delighted to have been invited to join the Board in 2020.

She hopes to use her charity data expertise and her experience of fundraising, marketing and supporter care to contribute to the success of the Hospice and in turn make a positive difference to people in the local area.


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Komal Whittaker-Axon

Komal has worked in the NHS for over 22 years starting her career as a clinic clerk in the oncology unit at UCLH, and has worked across all London Cancer Alliances in their previous forms over those 20 years. She has worked operationally across the majority of services in the acute settings including being the Head of Infection of Prevention and Control at Imperial for 5 years, and as Managing Director of the North East London Cancer Alliance, where she oversaw the delivery of the cancer alliance programme and worked with the regional and national cancer teams. More recently she has returned to a role as St Barts Cancer Centre Deputy Director of Operations, operationally and strategically managing cancer services.

Komal's primary role is being a Mum to two young daughters, and spends her spare time being a taxi driver for her children, and taking an active role in their swimming club, as a parent representative.

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Mike Williams

A brand and digital strategist and writer, Mike has worked on charity, housing and regeneration projects for 20 years, first as a client, then as a consultant.

In 2004 he co-founded the award winning creative agency Public Life, following that up in 2020 Civic, an agile consultancy that delivers a step change for clients with a minimum of fuss.

He has led transformative projects for high profile clients such as The Royal Society, Guide Dogs, The Electoral Commision, Mencap, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Blook Cancer UK, Department for International Development, Nuffield Foundation, and Drinkaware.

He grew up in Zimbabwe and has A Bachelor of Journalism degree and an MA in English from Rhodes University, South Africa.

Mike is a keen gardener and enjoys taking walks with a very lively terrier.

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Kate McGranaghan

Kate has worked in the charity sector for over 12 years specialising in public fundraising. Across her career she has worked at King's College London, Macmillan Cancer Support, Comic Relief and King's College Hospital Charity.

Having had experience of families and friends using the Hospice; Kate was keen to become more involved with the Hospice. She was invited to become a Trustee in November 2021.

Having grown up in Bexley, Kate now lives in Faversham with her partner Tim and cat Nacho. She hopes to bring her charity experience and expertise to the Board.

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Manal Sadik

Manal has worked in the NHS for nearly 20 years. Starting her career as a rehabilitation assistant for patients suffering from brain injury in the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability. After returning from maternity leave she worked as a project manager for Sure Start in one of London's trailblazer locations supporting local families with their health, wellbeing and development. She successfully supported 11 local  mothers to gain employment at the local hospital as interpreters.

Upon this success, Manal was offered a role to create a centralised language and accessible support service for patients with English as an additional language and providing information in braille, audio, large print, easy read and British sign language and has continued to work at Guy's and St Thomas' for over 16 years managing operational roles in outpatient and inpatient settings, always having a passion for patient equalities.

Manal's current role as Associate Director for equality, diversity and inclusion means that she can strategically lead on equality and inclusion for patients and their carers, the workforce and the local community.

Manal has always lived and worked in south east London and was very keen to work collaboratively, sharing good practice across the sector and was delighted to be appointed as a Trustee for the Hospice.

Manal lives in Lewisham, has two grown up boys and two teenage girls and a dog and cat that are not friends.

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Sylvia Osaji

Sylvia works as a Quality Improvement Manager for Salvation Army Employment Plus and has worked in the charity and employability sector for over 20 years, previously at Creative and Cultural Skills and a lecturer in college. Her key specialisms are Learning and Development, project management along with quality and compliance.

Sylvia has developed a strong focus on working to move people into sustained employment and is a member of the Institute of Employability Professionals. Her passion is to uplift and empower people through training and apprenticeships.

Over the years Sylvia fostered teenagers and has run various businesses and lives in Lewisham.

She received a BA Hons in Business Communication from The London Institute and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from University of Greenwich, Level 5 Learning and Development Partner apprenticeship and is a qualified assessor and auditor.

Sylvia is a keen traveller and badminton player.

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Francis Drobniewski

Francis is Professor of Global Health and Tuberculosis at Imperial College, London and a Consultant clinical and public health microbiologist and physician. He has 25 years’ experience in clinical and public health aspects of infectious diseases as well as running respiratory disease research programmes focusing on TB/HIV infections, COVID19, molecular diagnostics, vaccines and antimicrobial drug resistance, with integration of clinical, biological and social themes. He was Director of the UK National TB center for 19 years, a consultant to the WHO, and was an NHS Community Foundation Trust Non-Executive Director where he focused on End-of-Life and disability related issues for the Board. He is a member of the NICE committee which determines which drugs will be offered by the NHS. He has lived in Greenwich most of his life, now with his wife and daughter. He hopes to bring some of his clinical, funding and healthcare system experience as a Trustee

Alison Roberts

Alison Roberts

Alison spent most of her childhood in Greenwich (with a five year break in Zambia) and the last 28 years residing in Bexley. She trained as a nurse at Guys Hospital and then had a career which focused on caring for people; initially for patients with HIV/AIDS, first in a hospice and then in the community as practice nurse and a specialist nurse.

Subsequently, Alison moved into a hospital-based palliative care role.

Alison also worked with Marie Curie Cancer Care as a nurse and then as area manager. Following this she worked in the NHS as a service improvement lead for palliative care. This involved liaising closely with GPs to improve their care of people at home, and leading a large scale palliative care improvement programme in east London.

Latterly, Alison has moved into less clinical roles dealing with contracts for community health services and then became the lead for commissioning (buying) mental health, community and children's health services in south west London.

Alison currently works as a Programme Director for the South East London Children's Health Transformation Programme. In some of her spare time, she volunteers as a mediator, covering workplace and neighbour disputes and also volunteers for her local Parkrun on weeks when she is not running. She also enjoys her weekly Pilates classes and occasional yoga sessions.

Our Senior Leadership Team

Kate Heaps, Chief Executive - Responsible for overseeing the Hospice, ensuring that Hospice resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible and that the Hospice continues to respond to the needs of the community that we serve.

Aneta Saunders, Deputy Chief Executive - Overall leadership of all voluntary income. Aneta leads the retail and fundraising teams, who work directly with our community to provide much needed funding. With two-thirds of the Hospice costs being met by voluntary income, it is only with support of our donors, fundraisers and shop visitors that we can provide care to those who need us most across Greenwich and Bexley boroughs.

Victor D'Arcy-Smith, Director of Finance and Resources - Overall leadership of the Hospice finances, IT and Estates. Victor is a Chartered Certified Accountant with substantial senior and financial management experience within the charity and private sectors.

Jon Devlin, Director of Partnerships - Overall leadership of commissioning and the Hospice’s relationships with partners in the local healthcare system; understanding and reporting the experience people have of the Hospice’s care; volunteering; involving our local communities; our Compassionate Neighbours project; and leading a programme which enables voluntary organisations throughout Bexley to work with the London Borough of Bexley to improve adult social care.

Graham Turner, Director of Care and Service Transformation - Overall responsibility for shaping the strategic direction of the Hospice's clinical service. Graham brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is a paramedic and has worked in the military, the NHS and in charitable hospices.

Administration and Support

Kim Murphy, Senior Executive Assistant Provides secretarial support and assistance to the Chief Executive, the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team within the hospice, acting on their behalf when necessary and providing assistance with projects.

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