Meet the team

Executive Team

Ellie Orton

Chief Executive

NHS Charities Together

Ellie has worked in the specialist social care, education and faith sector for over 25 years regionally, nationally and internationally. Before moving to tNHS Charities Together in July 2018, Ellie was contracted as CEO at a Coventry based charity working with the most vulnerable and sexually exploited women in the city. Previous to this Ellie spent nearly 4 years as Head of Youth Programmes and Interim CEO at the Jon Egging Trust, the national charity set up following the death of the Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging in 2011, supporting young people with significant barriers in their lives to achieve their full potential.  Ellie is passionate about social change and the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which literal translation is ‘humanity’. She loves beaches, running and her family including the dog. Ellie writes a fortnightly blog which is posted on this website.

Email contact: 

Twitter: @e_orton 

April Hurney

PA to Chief Executive, Membership Services


April is the beating heart behind the scenes of  NHS Charities Together. She has worked here for over 5 years and has seen a huge amount of change in her time. She has a fantastic relationship with all of our members and is constantly striving to increase the support we provide to them.

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Jen Emeny-Green

Business Development Manager

Association of NHS Charities


Jen joined staff team in May 2019, with over 12 years of experience in the third and health sector in business development roles. Most recently Jen has been running her own business and supporting the National Childbirth Trust through fundraising coordination.

Previous to this Jen worked with Warwick University as their Sports Development Coordinator with particular emphasis on creating and managing the Warwick Active Programme specifically focused on creating and managing strategic partnerships; securing funds for sustainability and growth of the programme; and recruitment and oversight of a large team of staff and volunteers. She has also worked for a number of Football Clubs within the third sector at a strategic level.

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Seb Hargreaves

Membership Support and Development Manager

Association of NHS Charities


Seb commissioned from Royal Air Force College Cranwell in November 2002 as a direct entrant Officer and one of the youngest graduates from the College. Following specialist Admin Secretarial Officer training Seb was posted to RAF Uxbridge as the Station Adjutant. He was then given the opportunity to work with NATO in a Combined Air Operations Centre in NW Germany. Following this tour, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant for his final post as Officer Commanding Accounts Flight at RAF Lyneham. On leaving the RAF in 2007, Seb has worked in Events & Sponsorship for the Institute of Chartered Accounts (ICAEW) before pursuing a career in the Military charity sector. Seb has worked as a Regional Manager for the Royal British Legion, Governance and Operations lead for the RAF Association and more recently as a Regional Manager and then Head of Operations for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. Seb joined the staff team at NHS Charities Together in June 2019.

Out of work, Seb has a passion for fine wine. He enjoys Skiing, Tennis, Rugby Union and spending time with his family.

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Council Members

Chris Burghes

(Joint Deputy Chair) Chief Executive

The Royal Free Charity

Chris joined the Royal Free Charity in the autumn of 2010 as its first Chief Executive. As the Chief Executive of the Royal Free Charity, Chris has overseen the strategic change of the organisation from a grant making body to direct service provider, merging other organisations into the Charity and growing the income by 300% to over £15m. Together they were the primary reasons why he was identified as one of the five rising stars of the third sector by Charity Times in 2014.

Previously he was the Director of Business Development at the Fire Fighters Charity where he grew the charity from £3m turnover to over £9m. He was also responsible for the rebranding of the organisation, the restructuring of its 2000 strong volunteer network and a major expansion of its beneficiary base. The work he and his team undertook resulted in them being voted the “UK’s Fundraising Team of the Year” in 2008/09 by the Third Sector, as well as being nominated as the best charity brand development. Chris was also voted one of the top two fundraisers in the UK in 2005/06 by the Charity Times magazine.

Chris has also worked for the National Farmers’ Union as both their Marketing Manager and Business Development Manager. He was educated in both the UK and the USA and completed his MBA in 2001.

Barbara Cathcart

Chief Executive

Nottingham Hospitals Charity

I have been the Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity since its inception in November 2006; in fact, due to the merger of two predecessor charities (corporate and special trustees), I found myself in the unusual situation of having to source our charity’s trustees. I was also one of the founding members of the Association itself, along with Stuart Reynolds and the late John Collinson.

A fundraiser by background, this interesting development helped me to appreciate NHS charities’ governance arrangements at an early stage.

I know and love NHS charities. We are crazy, strange frustrating beasts and in this current healthcare environment, I continue to have the greatest respect for our hospital colleagues. Their jobs require tireless commitment and supporting their efforts reinforces my personal drive to succeed on their (and our patients’) behalf. I consider it a privilege to add value to one of this country’s most valued and treasured assets.

Since 2006, our charity has developed some exciting projects: established the Wolfson Cystic Fibrosis Centre, recognised as providing one of the best facilities in the UK; refurbished paediatric neurosciences wards; purchased specialist equipment like 3D scanners; invested £1.2 million in seed funded research projects that resulted in £6.8 million in further funding. I am aware that Nottingham is known for nursing excellence, which is attributed to the Charity’s financial investment in nursing development.

Brian Perowne CB DL

Non Executive Director and Chair of Charitable Funds Committee

Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds

Brian’s first career was with the Royal Navy where he served as a warfare officer specialising in communications. He was fortunate in having a very varied career which provided a year in Hong Kong, where he met his wife, 2 years in HMY Britannia and an abbreviated stint in Washington DC. He commanded 2 major warships and the submarine base at Faslane in Scotland. The last being undoubtedly the most challenging job in his career.

As a Rear Admiral he was involved in logistics support to all 3 services but principally to the Navy with responsibility for the support of warships and submarines in the 3 Naval Bases at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Faslane. He was a member of the Navy Board.

On leaving the Navy he became CE of the national charity HFT (formerly Home Farm Trust) which supported adults with learning disabilities to live rewarding lives. The trust became the leading exponent of adaptive technology to enable people to have greater independence.

He has been a trustee of Bletchley Park, ARC and VODG and trustee and Chairman of ROC. He is now a NED at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton where he chairs the CFC, is vice Chair of Somerset Sight and a trustee at ORNC Greenwich.

Colin Maclean OBE

(Chair) Trustee

Association of NHS Charities

Moorfields Eye Charity

Colin Maclean OBE, trained as a Veterinary Surgeon at Liverpool University. Having worked in general practice, Colin joined Unilever as a Consultant Vet, later transferring to the commercial arm of the organisation to run several of their subsidiary companies. He then moved to Glaxo as Deputy Managing Director and Product development Director of their global animal pharmaceutical businesses. In 1992 Colin was appointed as Director General of the Meat and Livestock Commission and led the MLC and the Industry through the BSE (Mad Cow disease) crisis.

He became a Non-Executive Director of Berkshire Health Authority in 1999 and Chairman of the Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust in 2000, leading it from a 1-star Trust to become a 3-star Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, widely recognised at that time as the most successful Trust in the South East NHS region. He has been Chairman of several Government Task Forces and advisory groups and a member of the Research Assessment Groups of most of the Animal Research Centres in the UK.

He was a Board Member of the Foundation Trust Network, a member of the NHS Confederation Council and was a Non-Executive Director of ‘Solutions for Public Health’. He is a Trustee of Moorfields Eye Charity and Chairman of a new charity, My Cancer My Choices. He was co-opted onto the Association of NHS Charities Council in 2013 and was elected joint Deputy Chair in 2015 and Chair in 2017. He has a Masters degree in Veterinary Science and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and was awarded the OBE in the Millennium Honours List.

David Reynolds

(Joint Deputy Chair) Executive Director

Sheffield Hospitals Charity

David joined the Sheffield Hospitals Charity in November 2009 as Director after serving for 15 years as Chief Executive Officer of Sheffield YMCA.

He is qualified to MBA level, holds the Institute of Fundraising Diploma and has extensive experience as a charity sector leader. He presently serves as a Trustee and Director of Ashgate Hospice care and is also Giving Director of St Chad’s Church in Sheffield.

He was previously Chairman of the YMCA National Association of Professional staff and Director, Treasurer and co-founder of the Sheffield Health Consortium. He also holds qualifications in project management and health and safety.

David was elected to the Association’s Council in 2011 and was appointed joint Deputy Chair in 2017.

Ian Chivers

Director of Finance and Operations

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

Moorfields Eye Charity

I am Director of Finance and Operations at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity (GOSHCC), having taken the role in December 2012. My responsibilities include Finance, Technology, Operations, Legal and Compliance, Information Governance, Property (including redevelopments) and Legacies.

I am an ACMA and AMCT and spent most of my career working in the City of London for Merrill Lynch in a variety of finance and business management roles including EMEA Region CA0, CAO for Global Equities and COO for EMEA Equities. I left Merrill Lynch in 2008 and joined the charity sector as Director of Finance for the NSPCC. I had two very enjoyable years at the NSPCC before taking the opportunity to spend a year in Qatar working for the financial regulatory authority.

Immediately prior to GOSHCC, I worked for St Joseph’s Hospice Hackney as Interim Director of Finance.

It is a privilege to work at GOSHCC and to be part of the team of NHS Charities working to improve the lives and conditions of patients, families and NHS staff across the UK.

I have found the Association of NHS Charities to be a very valuable resource of knowledgeable, experienced and extremely helpful people who have been a great help to a number of projects we have undertaken at GOSHCC

Jonathan Rennison

Non Executive Director and Chair of Charitable Funds Committee

West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust

Jonathan Rennison has worked in the public and charity sectors for over 20 years, as operational staff delivering complex health and social care projects, as a fundraiser and also as a trustee and Non Executive Director. Jonathan worked in complex conflict and post conflict zones designing and delivering programmes that met the needs of war affected children and families. As a fundraiser Jonathan raised over £80 million for the charities that he worked for and led on developing new models of fundraising such as social investment and social impact bonds. He was both treasurer and chairman of Voice UK, a national charity that support people with disabilities who were victims of abuse.

He now runs his own business specialising in leadership development, change management and coaching within the public and voluntary sectors. He is a Non Executive Director with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he is the Senior Independent Director and also chairs the Charitable Funds Committee. Over the past year Jonathan has focused on getting the governance of the Charitable Funds Committee better aligned to good practice and has also recruited a fundraiser to lead on growing income for the West Herts Hospitals Charity.

Over the next three years he wishes to support the charity to grow income sustainably and ensure that the activities of the charity better support the needs of patients and staff at West Hertfordshire Hospitals.

Keith Brooks

(Treasurer) Charity Director

Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund

Keith has been a member of the Senior Finance team at Northampton General Hospital for the past ten years after a career in the Rail industry in which he was actively involved in supporting the changes leading up to the industry’s privatisation.

Keith’s early third sector involvement was with Christian based charities, primarily in Methodist Church related roles, which currently includes being the Northampton Methodist Circuit Treasurer.

From the first week of joining the hospital the effective promotion and operation of the NGH charity became a key part of his role. The charity responsibilities subsequently have expanded to include the overseeing of the local Community and Mental health funds. He has recently guided the charity through adoption of independent status.

Keith has been the representative for Northampton General Hospital for a number of years at Association meetings, and has been a member of the working group looking at the DoH proposals for changes in Charity governance arrangements. Keith believes the Association has an important role in relation to enabling its members to effectively implement the anticipated changes, along with the wider challenge of supporting growth in the contribution the charitable sector makes to enhancing health provision.

Keith was elected to be a Council member of the Association in 2013 and was appointed Treasurer in 2016.

Sarah Naismith

Director of Charities

Sarah Naismith, has over 20 years of Third Sector experience across local, regional, and national charities. Sarah is Director of Charities at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Charity (MFT Charity), responsible for the development and delivery of a complex and integrated fundraising strategy for 9 individual hospitals, achieving ambitious targets and aligning those with NHS Corporate strategy.

 Before becoming Head of Charities, she was an Individual and Corporate Fundraising Manager for CMFT Charity, and later Head of Appeals delivering a successful £20m ‘New Children’s Hospital Appeal’ within three years. Sarah has a proven track record of overcoming the challenges related to implementing ambitious fundraising strategies within the complex NHS environment and delivering in the process and gaining the confidence and the respect of the Corporate Trustee and Executive.

Previously Sarah worked as a National Corporate Partnership Executive at Cancer Research Campaign, later Cancer Research UK, where she developed and managed high profile partnerships ensuring successful and measurable results for the Charity. Amongst her clients were Tesco, Nivea, and Kellogg’s. In recent years Sarah has successfully rebranded Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital positioning it a once of the leading Charity brands in the North West,  and developed individual charity brands for 9 hospitals within the Manchester Foundation NHS Trust. In 2019 MFT Charity won the National Charity of the Year Award presented by the Institute of Fundraising.

Sarah is a busy Mum of 3, and a school governor. In her spare time she enjoys playing hockey, running, visiting the theatre, and occasionally performing with amateur dramatic society, the Cheadle Players.  





Tim Diggle

Charity Operations Director

Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity

Tim has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years for organisations involved in young people, the arts, social inclusion, health and medicine. Tim joined Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity in December 2018. Prior to this he worked as Charity Director at Leicester Hospitals Charity, where he has established a strong track record of successful appeals for all areas of the hospital’s work. He is responsible for all fundraising activities in support of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust’s five-year business plan.

Following an earlier career in television, media and theatre as an actor, writer and theatre producer, Tim has created and restructured a number of fundraising departments, as well as managing a wide variety of fundraising, retail and PR projects.

Tim is Co-chair of Governors at Highfields Secondary School in Matlock, where he takes the lead on Finance and Human Resources. He also mentors two professional fundraisers. In his spare time he writes and directs pantomimes for the South Darley Players, plays guitar and writes music and likes to go fell-walking or cycling whenever he can.

He is a Member of the Institute of Fundraising, and recently stepped down as Chair of the Association of NHS Charities Fundraising Mutual Interest Group after nearly five years.

Amerjit Chohan

Chief Executive

St. George’s Hospitals Charity

Amerjit Chohan is currently the Chief Executive of St George’s Hospital Charity, having previously been the Director of Development & Communications at Imperial Health Charity. Amerjit is a highly experienced and highly motivated CEO and Board Member with over 25 years experience in the not for profit sector. He is extremely adaptable and accomplished in setting strategy, managing £m budgets. He’s able to communicate at a senior level whilst presenting in a focused and persuasive manner.

Amerjit has proven success of exceeding targets whilst also adding to the overall strengths associated with a thriving organisation. He brings key talents including strategic thinking, audience and major donor development. Amerjit is a strong leader with excellent organisational skills who is entrepreneurial and is able to provide leadership across all areas.

Whilst at  Imperial Health Charity Amerjit led on the NHS Big 7Tea campaign (from concept to delivery within less than a year). Amerjit also secured NHS Charities Together to be the beneficiary charity for the Daily Mail Health Hero Awards.

Amerjit is also Deputy Chair for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, a charity that transform the lives of young people through the power of world class athlete mentors delivering personal, social and emotional development programmes.


Ian Lush

Chief Executive

Imperial Health Charity

Ian Lush has been Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity since December 2014, having previously been the Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) for 11 years. Following an MA in music at the University of York, he started his career as a viola-player with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, subsequently moving into arts management, including as Marketing Director of the Barbican Centre, and Managing Director of the London Mozart Players for eight years before joining the AHF.

 Ian was Lead Governor of Great Ormond Street Hospital Foundation Trust from 2012-15 and served on its strategy and redevelopment boards.  He founded and directed ‘Discovering Places’, one of the major projects of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and was Deputy Chair of the Heritage Alliance from 2005-13.  Ian is co-chair of the Maddox Group of NHS Charities and chair of the London NHS Charities Group.  Apart from work and his family, Ian’s main recreations revolve around sport, playing Middlesex League tennis and going to watch football, cricket, tennis and athletics, and he is also a keen cook.


Kirsty Thomson

Head of Fundraising

Awyr las Blue Sky – The North Wales NHS Charity

Kirsty Thomson taught English in Taiwan, Colombia and Spain and held a voluntary position with a charity supporting street children in Colombia before returning to the UK to take on an internship and then a permanent role with the Charities Advisory Trust. Kirsty went on to become the Fundraiser for Wales for the Alzheimers Society and then the Major Gifts Manager for Bangor University before joining the Health Board in North Wales as the Head of Fundraising for the North Wales NHS Charity, Awyr Las. A former trustee of Students Supporting Street Kids, Kirsty recently became Director of Macsen and Partners Ltd, which provides consultancy services for voluntary sector organisations. Kirsty is a mother of three and enjoys walking in Snowdonia with her family in her spare time.

Jane Ferguson


Edinburgh & Lothian Health Foundation

Jane joined NHS Lothian in 2011 as the first Director of the health board’s endowment fund, known as the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, after serving for eight years as the Director of Fundraising at King’s College Hospital in London.

At ELHF she has overseen an overhaul in governance standards and succeeded in creating a Scottish NHS endowment now considered best in class, has led the organisation through strategic review to become a grantmaking body, to lead nationally on the development of arts in health and wellbeing, volunteering and green health strategies, and most recently has set about implementing a fundraising strategy across Lothian.   In 2018 her experience of leading a large endowment led to her involvement in the published OSCR guidance on trustee investment, and she is currently involved in a Scottish Government review of NHS Charity governance.

Whilst at King’s College Hospital Charity, she successfully led several fundraising appeals, and through early involvement in the Association of NHS Charities from the mid 2000s supported the first round of membership development and growth, including establishing the Fundraising Mutual Interest Group. 

Jane serves as vice chair of Scottish Association of Mental Health, and in her spare time likes to go hill walking and enjoy time in her vegetable garden.  She has two teenage children


NHS Charities Together is the trading name of the Association of NHS Charities. Registered Charity number 1125687