Meet the team

Our Senior Leadership Team

Dalton Leong

Chief Executive

Dalton had a 21-year career in the private sector, in financial services and banking. In 1995, he became a founding Trustee of The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and was subsequently appointed Chief Executive in 2004.

Jayne Cooper

Director of Clinical Services (Chief Nurse)

Jayne has been a registered children’s nurse since 1996. She was previously Chief Executive of Woking and Sam Beare Hospices, having initially joined them as Director of Nursing.

Paul Farthing

Director of Income Generation & Communications

Paul has over 25 years’ experience in marketing and fundraising. He began his career with campaign group Charter 88 and children’s charity Young Minds.  He then spent 10 years in agencies...

Colin Kerr

Director of Finance & Business Performance

Colin was interim Group Finance Director for the Avenues Group, a Learning Disability charity. Previously, he was a Director at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission...

Mike Maddick

Director of People & Culture

Mike has 15 years' HR experience gained within the Financial Services and Charity sectors. He has worked in a number of significant global roles within corporate HR departments...

Sam Newton

Director of Education

Initially a mainstream teacher, Sam then moved into the field of Special Educational Needs in 1998. She has since held a variety of leadership posts...

Dr Vijay Palanivel

Interim Medical Director and Senior Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability

Vijay has worked in tertiary neurodisability and neurology centres at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Bristol Children’s Hospital and Cambridge University Hospital.

Nicola Smith

Director of Strategy & Transformation

Nicola spent 16 years working in the corporate sector for Accenture, a management consultancy. She has a wealth of experience in delivering change projects...

Dalton Leong

Chief Executive

Following a career in the private sector, in banking and financial services, Dalton started life in the not-for-profit sector in 1995, initially as a founding Trustee, and then Chief Executive of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. He moved to Global (media & entertainment group) where he led the corporate social responsibility programme and the charity appeals of their radio stations, including Heart, Capital and Classic FM. Dalton is a Trustee of the National Emergencies Trust and Chair of their Equity Scrutiny Group; a Chartered Companion and Race Advisory Committee member of the Chartered Management Institute; and Chair of the Surrey Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group.

Jayne Cooper

Director of Clinical Services (Chief Nurse)

Jayne has been a registered children’s nurse since 1996. She was previously Chief Executive of Woking and Sam Beare Hospices, having initially joined them as Director of Nursing. She has also held the roles of Associate Chief Nurse for Integrated Medicine at Buckinghamshire NHS Trust and Head of Nursing for Neurosciences Clinical Unit at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. She was awarded the Florence Nightingale Foundation Children and Young People Leadership Scholarship in 2011.

Paul Farthing

Director of Income Generation & Communications

Paul has over 25 years’ experience in marketing and fundraising. He began his career with campaign group Charter 88 and children’s charity Young Minds.  He then spent 10 years in agencies, becoming Managing Director at Target Direct, a direct marketing agency. His charity experience began at Cancer Research UK as Legacy Fundraising Director and then High Value Relationships Director. He worked both at Age UK and NSPCC as Director of Fundraising. He was also CEO - Fundraising of The Aspinall Foundation. Paul is a Trustee of The Elizabeth’s Children Charitable Trust.

Colin Kerr

Director of Finance & Business Performance

Colin was interim Group Finance Director for the Avenues Group, a Learning Disability charity. Previously, he was a Director at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, covering finance, IT, information, facilities and external relations. He has also had extensive experience in education as Director of Finance of the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust and the Learning Skills Network and in the NHS covering a Health Authority and two NHS Trusts. He is a member, and Chair of the Charities Panel of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Scotland.

Mike Maddick

Director of People & Culture

Mike has 15 years' HR experience gained within the Financial Services and Charity sectors. He has worked in a number of significant global roles within corporate HR departments, with a focus on Business Partnering, Talent, Graduate Resourcing & Development and Senior Hiring. Mike was a youth worker and community volunteer providing support to children and young adults via sport and independent living projects.

Sam Newton

Director of Education

Initially a mainstream teacher, Sam then moved into the field of Special Educational Needs in 1998. She has since held a variety of leadership posts across both primary and secondary settings for pupils with a range of needs but most specifically for those Multi Disabled Visually Impaired, Deaf / Blind and with Complex Education, Health and Care Needs. Sam has 20 years’ leadership and management experience with experience in both school education and residential settings.

Dr Vijay Palanivel

Interim Medical Director and Senior Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability

Vijay has worked in tertiary neurodisability and neurology centres at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Bristol Children’s Hospital and Cambridge University Hospital. His specialist areas of expertise include acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy, movement disorders including administering botulinum toxin injections, and other complex neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD and learning disability. He is also the founder and director of Jaysan Child Neurodevelopment Clinics, Chennai, India which offers neurodisability and neurorehabilitation treatments and charitable medical camps for children in South India. Vijay is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Nicola Smith

Director of Strategy & Transformation

Nicola spent 16 years working in the corporate sector for Accenture, a management consultancy. She has a wealth of experience in delivering change projects and shaping large outsourcing deals. Nicola has previously led our IT, Estates, Health & Safety and Governance teams. As our Director of Strategy & Transformation (Feb 2020) Nicola is responsible for driving the organisation forward to deliver our Strategy: Hope & Ambition, managing it as a cohesive plan and being directly accountable for delivering key strategic projects.

Our Trustees

The Children's Trust is governed by our board of trustees, which meets six times a year. Our trustees are responsible for overseeing our corporate governance and strategic direction, ensuring our operations are managed effectively and efficiently, and taking all major decisions involving policy and spending commitments.

Duncan Ingram

Chair of Trustees, Remuneration Committee

Chair of Paym. Non-executive director of the Hyde Group and Laurence King Publishing. Trustee of YMCA St Paul's Group and of the World Alliance of YMCAs...

Sarah Baker

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding Committee, Whistleblowing & Safeguarding Leads

Sarah’s clinical background is as a children’s nurse and health visitor. Sarah brings a wealth of experience as a Director of children and family clinical services...

Viv Berkeley

Educational Governance Committee

Viv has 26 years’ experience in the education sector and has extensive knowledge of economic, social and regulatory issues relating to SEND.

Tim Davies

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk, Investment and Educational Governance Committees

Chairman of BlueSpark Foundation, a charity supporting the education and development of children and young people...

Denise Matthams

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding, Educational Governance and Remuneration Committees

Independent Nurse Member for a Clinical Commissioning Group in East Sussex, with Chairing responsibilities for the Quality and Safety Committee.

Toby Mullins

Educational Governance and Research Governance Committees

Principal and proprietor at Mount House School, Barnet. Toby's career history in Education spans 32 years, including a former position as Headmaster of Seaford College...

Nigel Scott

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk and Investment Committees

25 years' involvement in charity finance at Director and Trustee level, including 14 years lecturing on Charity Finance and Management MSc Courses...

Fiona Sheridan

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk, Investment and Remuneration Committees

Fiona is a Chartered Accountant and an external member of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee of the University of Oxford. Also a Trustee and Honorary Treasurer...

Sam Thomson

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes Committee

Sam has 20 years of corporate experience in Marketing and General Management, as UK Marketing Director and interim Managing Director of The Body Shop Western Europe...

Anne Walker

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding, Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes and Audit & Risk Committees

Anne was Chief Executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic Service NHS Trust – the first female chief executive of any Ambulance Trust...

Duncan Ingram

Chair of Trustees, Remuneration Committee

Chair of Paym. Non-executive director of the Hyde Group and Laurence King Publishing. Trustee of YMCA St Paul's Group and of the World Alliance of YMCAs. A former managing director at BT.

Sarah Baker

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding Committee, Whistleblowing & Safeguarding Leads

Sarah’s clinical background is as a children’s nurse and health visitor. Sarah brings a wealth of experience as a Director of children and family clinical services and as a Director of Quality and Nursing. Sarah has held a variety of independent chairing roles working with partnerships across health, social care and the voluntary and charitable sectors. Sarah is the Whistleblowing Lead at The Children's Trust.

Viv Berkeley

Educational Governance Committee

Viv has 26 years’ experience in the education sector and has extensive knowledge of economic, social and regulatory issues relating to SEND.  She is a regular contributor to the SEND policy debate locally, regionally and nationally. Viv is currently the Executive Principal for Ambitious about Autism.

Tim Davies

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk, Investment and Educational Governance Committees

Chairman of BlueSpark Foundation, a charity supporting the education and development of children and young people. He was formerly a corporate lawyer with multinational law firm Fieldfisher LLP where he was a partner, head of the corporate department and board member.

Denise Matthams

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding, Educational Governance and Remuneration Committees

Independent Nurse Member for a Clinical Commissioning Group in East Sussex, with Chairing responsibilities for the Quality and Safety Committee.  Also, a Specialist Advisor (children, safeguarding, clinical leadership) for the Care Quality Commission.  Former Senior Nurse and Director  level roles at  Western Sussex NHS Trust, included responsibility for the provision of safe, effective services, most specifically for  the Women and Child Health Division.

Toby Mullins

Educational Governance and Research Governance Committees

Principal and proprietor at Mount House School, Barnet. Toby's career history in Education spans 32 years, including a former position as Headmaster of Seaford College, a nationally recognised college for SEN education. Toby is a keen sportsman, coaching cricket and more notably hockey.

Nigel Scott

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk and Investment Committees

25 years' involvement in charity finance at Director and Trustee level, including 14 years lecturing on Charity Finance and Management MSc Courses. Currently, Consultant to Moorfields Eye Hospital Charities and a Trustee of the British Dragonfly Society.

Fiona Sheridan

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes, Audit & Risk, Investment and Remuneration Committees

Fiona is a Chartered Accountant and an external member of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee of the University of Oxford. Also a Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School Foundation. A former senior Partner with Ernst & Young. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor pursuits including horse-riding, cycling and running.

Sam Thomson

Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes Committee

Sam has 20 years of corporate experience in Marketing and General Management, as UK Marketing Director and interim Managing Director of The Body Shop Western Europe, and Senior Brand Manager of Procter & Gamble. His passions in work are People, Product and Purpose. Away from the office, he is a keen deep-sea diver.

Anne Walker

Clinical Governance & Safeguarding, Finance, Fundraising & General Purposes and Audit & Risk Committees

Anne was Chief Executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic Service NHS Trust – the first female chief executive of any Ambulance Trust. Over the last 13 years, she has held a number of chief executive roles, most notably at NHS Surrey (2010-13), which has given her extensive leadership, governance and commissioning experience. Anne is also a management consultant in the health and charity sectors.