CLDF’s trustees provide an oversight of our activities, contributing to the development of our strategy and future vision. Their faces and voices may not be as familiar to you as those of our support and fundraising teams, but they play a crucial role, ensuring that our policies and practices are in keeping with our aims and that we adhere to the legal and financial requirements of a charitable organisation.

So we’re delighted this year to have appointed five new trustees to our board, all with different backgrounds and experience. This will further widen the range of skills our trustees bring to CLDF and be of real benefit as we seek to achieve our objectives over the next five years.

Phil Orme

Phil, who has recently returned to the Midlands after 35 years living abroad, was keen to put something back into the community.

“I was familiar with the charity’s work because I have known Mairi Everard, one of your current trustees, for many years and have always taken an interest in her role here, so when I heard that CLDF was looking for trustees I jumped at the chance,” says Phil. “I’m now semi-retired so have time to give to this role and with grandchildren of my own, I can really appreciate the impact that a diagnosis of childhood liver disease has on the whole family.

“I’m an accountant by profession and the owner of a business which operates tug- boats in the Middle East. I’m also chairman of a marine insurance company and a director of an IT company so I’m hoping that my knowledge of the finance, business and IT sectors will be of benefit to CLDF.”

Joel Glover  

Joel knew about CLDF as his son has biliary atresia.

“I have a vested interest in the charity from a parent’s perspective,” he says. “My day job in HR for the Cabinet Office enables me to take leave for volunteering, so I’m delighted to be able to give time to a cause which is so important to me. I have ten years’ experience in a finance and commercial role so will bring my knowledge of the way organizations’ work. Having only known CLDF from a parent point of view, it’s been great to learn more about how the charity works and meet the staff. My first opportunity to do so was at the Chefs’ Gala Dinner which was a really slick, well-run event. I’m determined to help the charity to achieve its goals and, in particular, to increase revenue.

Dr Simon Colson

Simon, a qualified medical doctor who worked in the NHS before pursuing a career in finance, is now working part time and was looking to offer his services to a charity.

“I was keen to find a smaller charity without any statutory funding or significant public profile, but which was nonetheless doing invaluable work so when I heard about the opportunity with CLDF I saw it as a perfect match” he explains. “I hope to offer my commercial experience to provide additional opportunities for the charity to secure donations and longer-term funding. I have strong governance skills and I believe that my financial experience (including having been an investment manager) will be of use in monitoring the charity’s non-cash investments. I am impressed by the professionalism with which the charity is run and I hope to help develop a  more resilient financial position  through some diversification of the income base.”

Professor James Neuberger

Professor Neuberger may be a name familiar to some of you as he is consultant hepatologist  at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. He is also Professor of Medicine at University of Birmingham and Associate Medical Director at NHS Blood and Transplant.

“I have over 35 years’ experience in adult liver disease and have seen at first hand the tremendous advances that have been made in the diagnosis and management of liver disease and transplantation,” says James. “Although I have not worked in a paediatric unit, I have seen the adolescents and those in transition to adult care and noted the impact of long- term conditions on the young person themselves and on their family and friends. So I hope I can bring some understanding of the patient and family perspective. As I have been active in clinical research, I hope to bring some knowledge and understanding of the benefits research brings and also help distinguish those ‘breakthroughs’ that are genuine and those that are more wishful. As I am now retiring from clinical practice, I will have more time to help and pay back all the benefits I have had.

 “I have little experience in money matters, both fund-raising and accounting but I am hoping to do what I can to improve the experience of adolescents and those moving towards adult care.”

Kate Dinwiddy

Kate is Chief Executive of The British Association of Perinatal Medicine, a professional association for people who work in neonatal units.

“I’ve always worked in professional associations which are normally also registered charities. I wanted to take on a volunteer role and with my background, becoming a trustee seemed like something I would enjoy and have something to offer,” explains Kate. “I think I am a pragmatist, when there are lots of ideas flying around, I like asking the questions to work out exactly needs to be achieved and make sure people are being realistic about how that’s going to happen.

“My first impressions are that CLDF is a well- run friendly organisation that does a great deal with limited resources. I’m looking forward to being a part of planning the strategy for the next few years. I really enjoy the process of reviewing what has worked well and discussing where the gaps are. It will be a good opportunity for the charity to revisit it’s aims and I’m hoping I will be able to offer some fresh ideas”

Tom Ross OBE (Chairman)

“I became a trustee of CLDF in 1997 after I bumped into my predecessor as chairman, David Bullough. David suggested that it might be time for me to ‘put something back’ by becoming a CLDF trustee and on reflection, I agreed.

My working life has been spent as an actuary, specialising in pensions. I retired from Aon Consulting at the end of 2005, having spent almost 30 years with the firm and its predecessors. I am currently Chairman of the Trustee Board of the Smiths Industries Pension Scheme.

In a charity, the role of a Trustee goes beyond strategy and oversight to providing support and advice to those who work for it. In my career, my business experience is useful in fundraising – a vital function in any charity – and in helping the Chief Executive to judge and manage the risks that the charity faces. There will never be enough resources to do everything that CLDF would wish to do, so striking the right balance between family support, education/information and research is essential. I think that my varied past experience is helpful here.

Over the past few years, my own family has had to deal with the challenges of a grand-daughter being born with some serious abnormalities (none of them liver-related). She is doing really well now, but the experience certainly helped me to gain a better understanding of the issues that CLDF families face every day.

Now more than semi-retired, I enjoy having more time for golf, horse racing, gardening and grandchildren.”