The Brain Tumour Charity is governed by our Board of Trustees, who have a wealth of experience in the fields of finance, business and medicine.
Our Trustees provide advice to our management team and meet throughout the year, both formally as a group and as members of various sub-committees. We are incredibly grateful to our Trustees for giving their time freely and providing so much support, knowledge and help.
Sadly, many of our Trustees have been personally affected by a brain tumour or have tragically lost a loved one to this disease. This experience is the inspiration behind their drive to do as much as possible in supporting The Charity, so that together we can find a cure for brain tumours faster.
Jack Morris CBE – Chair of TrusteesJack took on the role of Chair of Trustees in July 2018 following his own family’s experience of the devastating impact of brain tumours. In January 2017, Jack and his wife Susan lost their 31-year-old daughter Emily to a glioblastoma, almost two years after she was diagnosed with the disease. Jack, chair of the Business Design Centre Group which operates London’s renowned Business Design Centre, learned about our work initially following Emily’s diagnosis. He was impressed by our unprecedented global investment in research into brain tumours, our support services for all those affected and our work to raise awareness of the disease. The Business Design Centre Group funds the Morris Charitable Trust, which supports numerous community projects and charities. The Group has adopted the Brain Tumour Charity as one of its charity partners. Jack, who has chaired the Group since 1992, has held numerous public, voluntary and charitable appointments. He was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to further education and a CBE in 2016 for services to business and charity in London.
Neil Dickson MBE – Founder and Vice Chair of TrusteesNeil and Angela Dickson lost their 16-year-old daughter Samantha in 1996 to a high grade brain tumour. They were so astounded at the lack of research and support for brain tumours that they set up the first dedicated brain tumour charity in the UK, The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. The Charity grew steadily and soon covered the whole of the UK. Research into the delays in diagnosing childhood brain tumours at Nottingham University led to the launch of the award winning HeadSmart campaign in 2011. Keen to streamline approaches to researching brain tumours and supporting families, Neil led the successful merger of The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust with Brain Tumour UK and the Joseph Foote Foundation in 2013, to form The Brain Tumour Charity Neil and Angela were presented with MBEs by the Queen in 2015 for their hard work and commitment to improving the lives of people affected by brain tumours. Neil is currently Vice Chairman of Trustees, Chairman of the Research Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. He also attends numerous fundraising events in support of The Charity. Neil had a 35 year career in Aviation. In 1982 he was the Chairman and founder of the BAC Group of companies which operated BAC Express Airlines, one of the largest UK cargo airlines. In 2004 Neil sold a controlling interest to Air Contractors Ireland part of the Imperial Group in South Africa. In 2006 he sold his remaining shares and retired so he could concentrate on the continued success of The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust.
Justine McIlroy – TrusteeJustine is a Partner at MWM Consulting, the Executive Search and Board Consulting firm where she specialises in the Healthcare Industry. A scientist by training, life-sciences is the thread running through Justine’s career, which has taken her from academia into investment banking, strategic communications and now executive search, always with a focus on helping translate pioneering science into new drugs and treatments. Following an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and a PhD in Molecular Therapeutics from The University of Edinburgh, Justine joined the healthcare investment banking team at SG Cowen where she focused on helping fast-growing biotech and pharmaceutical companies raise capital to develop new drugs. She then spent ten years at Brunswick Group, where she was latterly Co-Head of the global Healthcare practice advising biotech and pharma clients on financial communications, reputation management and crisis planning. Justine is delighted to be working with the Brain Tumour Charity to help deliver their vision of a world where brain tumours are defeated.
Professor Alan Palmer – Life Science TrusteeAlan is an internationally recognised neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur. His career has focussed on disorders of the brain, and he has a passion for translating neuroscience knowledge into effective therapies. Alan was delighted to become Life Science Trustee in 2016 as it gave him the opportunity to use his experience and passion to help the Brain Tumour Charity improve the lives, and outcomes, of people with brain tumours. Alan has board level experience with both not-for-profit organisations and biotech companies. Currently, he is a trustee of One Nucleus Ltd (an international membership organisation for companies working within the life science and healthcare sector), the British Neuroscience Association (the largest UK organisation representing and promoting neuroscience and neuroscientists) and the Cancer Awareness Trust. Alan is a visiting Professor at University College London, the University of Bristol and the University of Reading. He is also a member of both the MS Society Drug Selection Group and the Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru II Evaluation Panel.
Elena Bechberger – TrusteeElena currently works as Director of Transformation for the NHS in South West London where she is focused on establishing best practice care models across various health and care organisations. A public policy analyst by training, she completed her PhD at the London School of Economics and worked for a number of research and evaluation organisations before joining the UK National Audit Office. She has subsequently held a number of senior strategy and policy roles in the NHS, including with NHS Improvement and Monitor. Elena has a keen desire to help improve the experience of care for those suffering from brain tumours, having lost her father to the disease in 2018. She is delighted to be working with the Charity and to bring her experience of NHS service delivery and transformation to make a real positive impact for patients and their families.
Sean Hird – TrusteeSean is a qualified solicitor with a career spanning both the not-for-profit, government and private sectors. Following his Ph.D in molecular biology from Cambridge University, Sean went on to qualify as a solicitor with a leading international law firm. Sean then moved in-house to set-up the commercial legal function of a major cancer charity and supported their licensing of Temodal, the frontline treatment for maligant glioma. Subsequently, Sean held leadership positions in multiple life science SMEs in the UK and Australia. Most recently Sean was working for the Dubai Government as a Director of the UAE’s international courts in Dubai and currently works for a US law firm advising on EU cross-border matters. Sean is an Adjunct Professor in Veterinary and Life Sciences at an Australian University and a Scientific Fellow of The London Zoological Society (which operates London Zoo). Sean is keen contribute his expertise and experience to the support the charity in its essential work.
Rachel Edgar – TrusteeRachel became aware of The Brain Tumour Charity after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2020, and joined the board later that year. Rachel leads a research group at Imperial College London, investigating diseases such as influenza and COVID19 and developing ways to limit virus transmission. Prompt diagnosis and treatment enabled her to continue her research throughout the pandemic. She joined The Charity to help ensure that everyone with a brain tumour receives the same excellent standard of care and can access clinical research initiatives. She is a member of the Support and Information Committee and the Research Committee. Rachel has a passion for scientific discovery and became interested in viruses at a young age, pursuing this at the University of Cambridge where she completed her undergraduate and doctoral degrees in immunology and virology, and post-doctoral research into how our body clocks impact infections. Her other interests include cooking for friends and family, wine tasting and dancing, often all at the same time – she says she has no talent for any of these activities, but has a lot of fun! Rachel says “Alongside all the support and resources The Brain Tumour Charity provides, I’m so impressed by their evidence-led strategies to improve diagnosis, care and quality of life for those living with brain tumours, and the innovative research that they fund. I’m delighted to work alongside such dynamic and driven people in our mission to halve the harm and double survival from this devastating disease.”
Anna Jarvis – TrusteeAnna became a trustee in 2022. She has a background in strategic volunteer involvement and is passionate about the power of volunteering to transform lives, having worked for a number of the UK’s leading charities over the last 15 years. Anna was motivated to become a trustee to help The Brain Tumour Charity deliver its vision of a world where brain tumours are defeated following her own family’s experience of this devastating disease. In 2019, at the age of 9 months, Anna’s son, Harry, was diagnosed with a brain tumour for which he is currently receiving treatment. Always up for a challenge, Anna recently completed a 24 miles fundraising run between home and the two hospitals treating Harry to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, The Royal Marsden Charity and The Kings College Hospital Charity.
Caroline Steel – TrusteeCaroline is currently a solicitor working for the National Trust and she first came into contact with The Brain Tumour Charity when she was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour in 2017. Like many, she had no symptoms until she collapsed with a seizure at work. As she progressed through the various stages of treatment, Caroline kept coming back to the information that she had received from the charity at the outset and started to turn to the website more. Caroline has been impressed at how much change and development she has seen in the charity in 5 years and she is really excited about supporting the charity in continuing to grow, raise awareness and provide ongoing support to those who are impacted by this disease. Working in the charity sector already, Caroline was drawn to the Trustee role in order to gain a different perspective and contribute to good governance and practical delivery. Caroline also hopes to bring her experience as a current patient to the team and give something back to an organisation that has helped her through such a difficult time in her life. Outside of the office since her diagnosis, she has discovered Nordic walking as a good way to rebuild some of her lost co-ordination, confidence and get outside to feel the benefits of fresh air and exercise.
Hayley Conroy – TrusteeHayley has recently retired from EY, where she was an Associate Partner. Her career at EY spanned 33 years and a range of roles, focussing on audit in the UK for 20 years and then moving to EY’s global organisation to help build and deliver a global digital transformation program. Hayley is fulfilling an ambition to contribute to charities supporting the research and treatment of brain tumours following her granddaughter, Lily-May’s, diagnosis of an optic-pathway glioma in 2017. Hayley says “The past few years have given me an insight into the significant lack of awareness of brain tumours, the impact they have on a person’s life, and that of their families, and the urgent need for more research. The vision, strategy and values of The Brain Tumour Charity resonate strongly with me. ‘Double Survival’ and ‘Half the Harm’ are powerful goals and I really believe that The Brain Tumour Charity can achieve them. I’m proud to be part of this, to help deliver the vision that one day we will live in a world where brain tumours are defeated.”
Dr Kieran Palmer – TrusteeKieran is currently working full time in the NHS as a doctor in oncology, and is training in the delivery of systemic and radiation therapy for cancer. He has a keen interest in clinical and translational research, and has previously focussed on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients. Kieran became passionate about brain tumours when working within the neuro-oncology department at St Bartholomew’s hospital, where he saw the life-changing impact these tumours can have on patients and their loved ones. He was struck by the difference in treatment options between brain tumours and other types of cancer. This motivated him to join the Brain Tumour Charity to try and progress the development of new therapies, and ensure equal access to clinical trials on a national scale. Kieran was inspired by the outstanding progress The Charity has made so far, and is driven to help achieve its urgent and essential overarching aims.
Matimba Swana – TrusteeMatimba is delighted to be working with the Brain Tumour Charity and was impressed by our innovative approach to raising awareness of the disease. Matimba is doing a PhD at University of Bristol working with Academic Supervisors Dr Sabine Hauert (Department of Engineering Mathematics) and Prof. Jonathan Ives (Centre for Ethics in Medicine) on the PhD entitled “Here’s your swarm medicine prescription”: Investigating the ethical and regulatory complexity of in-human testing of robotic nano-swarms. Following an undergraduate degree in Biology and Masters degree in Immunology and Immunogenetics Matimba joined Stemcell Technologies Inc., a Canadian biotechnology where she worked with academic institutions, NHS labs and pharmaceutical companies and troubleshooting cell separation techniques, flow cytometry, and immune cell-based assays. She then spent six years with the Medical Research Network, a clinical trial support organization, where she managed client relationships and consulted on implementing a community-based trial model that puts patients at the heart of a clinical trial to different vendors, partners, regulators, pharmaceutical sponsors and contract research organizations, while living in 12 countries across Europe, Africa, and South America. Matimba recently moved back to the UK after 4 years living abroad and graduated with an Executive MBA in Madrid three days before starting her PhD in October 2021. She is still reacclimatising to the British weather but is happy to have access to pickled onion monster munch again. Matimba saw joining the charity as an opportunity to improve the wellbeing of patients and families impacted by a brain tumour. Matimba is thrilled to be a small part of an incredible team and keen to contribute to helping the realization of the charity’s vision “a world where brain tumours are defeated”.
Dr Russell Hagan – TrusteeA neuropharmacologist by training, Russell brings a wealth of scientific knowledge, insights and experience gained in a career of over 30 years in a variety of scientific, business and leadership roles in industry. He worked in companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, where he focused on developing medicines in neurology and psychiatry; and BTG, where as Head of R&D and then Chief Technology Officer for Interventional Oncology he helped build a portfolio of innovative products to treat medical complications of cancer therapy and minimally-invasive medical device based treatments for liver cancer. Russell is delighted to be working with the Brain Tumour Charity as a Trustee. He ran the 2022 London Landmarks Half Marathon on behalf of the Charity and saw the passion of staff and volunteers at first hand. He said “I am determined to help them continue to making a difference for patients and their carers”.
Suki Sandhu – TrusteeSuki has spent the last 15 years working for Mars Wrigley Confectionary in the world of selling chocolate. She has worked in various roles, with her current role being a national account manager. Suki has supported the charity since her son Raj was diagnosed with a high grade glioma at the age of 2 years old in 2012 when the charity was The Samantha Dickson Trust. Raj was also active in supporting the Charity with some of the media campaigns that have been run over the years. Sadly Raj passed away in 2018 at the age of 8 years old. Suki is keen to support the charity further so that we can ensure there are better treatments for children available and with the hope one day through research we can finally develop a cure.
Beth Worrall – TrusteeBeth became a trustee in 2019 having spent a number of years supporting The Charity’s work following personal experience of this devastating disease. Beth’s mother sadly passed away in September 2012 after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma leaving a huge hole in her family. With a career spanning senior finance roles in high growth businesses, Beth considers it a privilege to have the opportunity to combine this experience with that of a personal nature to play a part in helping realise the vision of a world where brain tumours are defeated. Beth stepped down from her role as Trustee briefly in May 2023 when she took over as interim CEO at The Brain Tumour Charity. Following the successful recruitment of a new permanent CEO, Beth returned to her role as a Trustee in July 2023.
Angela Dickson MBE – Emeritus Founder Trustee
Neil and Angela Dickson lost their 16-year-old daughter Samantha in 1996 to a high grade brain tumour. They were so astounded at the lack of research and support for brain tumours that they set up the first dedicated brain tumour charity in the UK, The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust.
The Charity grew steadily and soon covered the whole of the UK. Research into the delays in diagnosing childhood brain tumours at Nottingham University led to the launch of the award winning HeadSmart campaign in 2011. In 2013, The Trust merged with Brain Tumour UK and the Joseph Foote Foundation to form The Brain Tumour Charity.
Angela was the driving force behind the establishment of our Supporter Group model, which enables families to set up fundraising groups in the name of their loved one, whilst also channelling vital funds into research. This model has gone from strength to strength and there are now more than 300 Groups raising more than a £1 million each year with The Brain Tumour Charity.
Angela and Neil were presented with MBEs by the Queen in 2015 for their hard work and commitment to improving the lives of people affected by brain tumours.
Angela made a huge contribution to The Brain Tumour Charity during her time as Trustee, including sitting on the Patient Support Committee, supporting fundraisers, attending events and raising awareness of brain tumours. In recognition of this and her dedication to improving the lives of everyone affected by a brain tumour diagnosis, she is now our first Emeritus Founder Trustee.
Robert Posner – Emeritus Trustee
Robert joined the board of The Charity in December 2012, having previously served on the board of Brain Tumour UK since 2008. He sat on the Support & Influencing Board sub-committee to support The Charity in its goal to halve the harm for those living with a brain tumour. Robert’s motivation to be a trustee of The Charity stemmed from his belief that that there is still too little being done for those who have been diagnosed with this forgotten cancer.
Pippa Murray – Emeritus TrusteePippa joined The Brain Tumour Charity in 2008, having cared for her 15-month-old son, Lawrence, following his diagnosis with a brain tumour, until he passed away in September 2007 aged 3 years 9 months. During her time as a Trustee of The Brain Tumour Charity, Pippa was Chair of our Information and Support Sub-Committee and served as a member of the Research Sub-Committee.
Berrie Norton – Emeritus TrusteeBerendina (Berrie) and her husband Graham first became involved with the Charity through its Founders, Neil and Angela Dickson, in early 2000, when their 14-year-old son Michael was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain tumour, from which he died within that year. Berrie is particularly concerned with paediatric tumours and the long-term effects on other family members, including siblings, having seen those problems at first hand. As such, she was a member of the Services and Influencing Sub-Committee during her time as a Trustee of The Brain Tumour Charity.
Graham Norton – Emeritus TrusteeGraham first became involved as a trustee of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust in 2003, following a desire to help find a cure for this cancer following the death of his 14-year-old son in 2000. During his time as a Trustee of The Brain Tumour Charity, Graham was chairman of the Audit Committee, and a member of the Ethics & Governance and Remuneration sub-committees.
Graham Lindsay – Emeritus TrusteeGraham Lindsay joined the board of Brain Tumour UK in August 2010 and following various mergers, became Vice-Chair of Trustees in his time with The Brain Tumour Charity. Married to Judy for 34 years, Graham has two sons and three grandchildren. His knowledge of and interest in the brain tumour charity sector arose after his wife was diagnosed in late 2006.
In this section
We’re raising the benchmark
We’ve been recognised as Charity of the Year 2018 for our pioneering approach, innovative research solutions and, above all, our community-centred approach to everything we do.