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The Cruse Board of Trustees of a charity have legal responsibility for our charity’s management and administration. Our trustees are all volunteers who give up their time to help us run Cruse, and have a broad range of experience and expertise.
Sir Tony Hawkhead - Chair
Tony has had a long and successful CEO record in national charities for more than 25 years, including with Action for Children from 2014-18 and Groundwork UK, which delivers a range of environmental regeneration, employment and training schemes in England and Wales. Tony is currently the Independent Vice Chair for the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, leading on children’s services, strategy and culture and public engagement. He has also been a Non-Executive Director (NED) with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and chaired the Department of Work and Pensions Voluntary Sector Welfare to Work Task Force in 2007-2008 on third sector involvement in welfare to work schemes. He was the only volunteer sector member of the UK National Advisory Board on Social Investment, 2016-17, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister to report on how to boost impact-focussed investment. Tony received the CBE in 2003 and was knighted in 2011 for charitable services to environmental regeneration.
Michael Whitehouse OBE - Hon Treasurer
Michael was Chief Operating Officer of the National Audit Office until April 2017 and now has a portfolio of non-executive directorships including the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency and the South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust. An accountant and auditor by profession, he has had responsibility throughout his career for numerous public sector portfolios, including the Health, Education, Social Welfare, Housing, Defence, Diplomatic Service and International Aid sectors. As an NAO director, he developed the NAO’s work on cross government systemic issues, which is now a well-established feature of the NAO brand. Michael chairs Cruse's Board of Trustees' Audit and Finance Committee
Letizia Perna - Vice Chair, Trustee Safeguarding Lead
Letizia is currently the Head of Patient and Family Support at Royal Trinity Hospice in London. Letizia has previously worked as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist working with patients, family members/friends, and children around issues of grief and loss both at Royal Trinity Hospice and at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Centre in New York City. Letizia has over fourteen years’ experience in the non-profit/third sector as a clinician, clinical supervisor and educator. She is passionate about mental health issues and mental wellbeing and advocates for an end to mental health stigma and discrimination. She has vast experience of developing services and of working with volunteers within the charity sector. Letizia is a member of the London End of Life Clinical Leadership Group and a member of the Association of Bereavement Service Coordinators (ABSCo). Letizia is particularly interested in Cruse’s work around traumatic and sudden deaths. Letizia chairs the Board of Trustees' Appointments and Remuneration Committee
Mo Bradley - Vice Chair, Network and Cruse Council
Mo Bradley has worked in the care, support and housing sectors for all of her career. Until 2018 she was chief executive of a Housing Association providing care, support and housing to older adults and those with complex needs and sensory loss. Her previous role was as a director of care and support, leading the department through both a substantial growth and change agenda. After retiring Mo joined Birmingham Area’s Management Committee and is currently the Area Chair and also the Training Co-ordinator for the West Midlands Region. Mo is also training to become a Bereavement Volunteer. Mo has a keen interest in governance which includes all those involved in both delivering as well as receiving the service.
Nilufar Anwar - Trustee
Nilufar is Corporate Counsel at Salesforce, a leading technology company, with board-level experience at both private and public companies. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and gives talks on the methods and challenges of attracting and empowering diverse staff. Nilufar is also a non-executive director for #techmums, a social enterprise that empowers mums, their families and communities, through teaching key technology skills. Nilufar is a keen advocate for the use of technology to support Cruse by empowering its volunteers and connecting with the people it supports on a personal level. She looks forward to supporting Cruse’s objective to reach a more diverse client and volunteer group.
Paul Butler - Trustee
Paul Butler is DfE FE Prevent Advisor, National Leader of FE Governance AOC, former Acas council member and Chair GFE College in London. Paul has been a chief executive and director within the community and voluntary sector, central government and regeneration and education sectors for over 25 years. He has extensive experience of post-16 provision and community development. He has worked with a range of regeneration agencies and employers within the public and private sectors nationally to provide career and professional training, enterprise, education and business development opportunities for disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups and local communities, and has also worked on a parliamentary cross-party group on employment and inclusion.
Helen Causley - Trustee
Helen is Deputy Branch Head of the Quality, Patient Safety and Investigations Branch in the Department of Health and Social Care. She leads a great team who are helping to improve patient safety in the NHS through establishing a new independent safety investigation body, supporting NHS staff to raise concerns, improving medicines safety and overseeing high profile investigations. Helen is passionate about improving health and making care more compassionate, and her career’s been dedicated to solving key challenges for the NHS. Helen was a bereavement volunteer for Greenwich Cruse before becoming a Trustee of Cruse Bereavement Care in 2015. Helen brings to Cruse an excellent understanding of government policy and health service strategy and delivery together with experience of bereavement work.
Tina Challacombe - Trustee
Tina has been a volunteer for Cruse Bereavement Care for over 30 years. She started as a committee member with Greenwich Cruse, becoming Area Chair in 1998 and then REM for the South East Region, representing the Region on Cruse Council. Tina was a General Practitioner for nearly 40 years in Greenwich, during which time her special interests were in teaching and training, mental health and care of older people, and Clinical Governance. Tine sees her role as a link between the Cruse Board Trustees and the Bereavement Volunteers, with an emphasis on improving communication and understanding both at Board level and volunteer level about the issues and challenges Cruse faces.
Jane Cryer - Trustee
Jane is a retired solicitor who specialised in cases involving fatal car crash cases and violence against women. She has completed the Cruse bereavement volunteers course and as a single parent raised three sons, who are now out in the world leaving Jane some time to focus on the work she loves, including improving the support systems around bereavement.
Poppy Mardall - Trustee
Poppy Mardall is a multi award-winning, progressive funeral director who quit her job as a Deputy Director at Sotheby’s auction house to revolutionise the funeral trade. Beyond her day-to-day work as a funeral director, Poppy sees it as her mission to get people talking about death, dying and bereavement, and to educate people about their options at the end of their lives, in the belief that to be informed is to be empowered. Poppy is a former Samaritan and Trinity Hospice volunteer. Poppy's work has been featured in The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Tatler, Cosmopolitan and Stylist among other titles. She has made television and radio appearances including on BBC Breakfast, BBC Woman's Hour, You and Yours, BBC London and LBC.
Colin Robertson - Trustee, Whistle Blowing lead
Colin is a qualified accountant who worked at a senior level in the corporate sector, and subsequently at board level with responsibility initially for Finance, and later, also for Marketing. He has had 15 years experience as an entrepreneur, running a £6 million turnover Retail business with multiple outlets and significant staff numbers. He ended his career as a Counsellor in private practice, having obtained Counselling qualifications from Warwick University and from the Relate Institute. He has been a volunteer for Cruse for over 20 years, initially as a Bereavement Support Volunteer, and as chair of an Area Development Committee, prior to Chairing the newly formed Area. He has for a number of years been the West Midlands Regionally elected representative on Cruse National Council, and for six years was a Cruse Trustee representing National Council on the then National Executive Committee. He joined the present Board of Trustees on 1 March 2017.