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Find out more about the Farleigh Hospice board of trustees, their responsibilities, and committee memberships

Governance Overview – Board of Trustees

Farleigh Hospice is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee and as such all Trustees are company directors of Farleigh Hospice and also a charity trustee. The Board of Trustees are responsible for the governance of Farleigh Hospice and have ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of Farleigh Hospice, ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and meeting the needs for which it has been set up. Executive team members and the CEO of Local Hospice Lottery Ltd also attend the board meetings which are held at least 6 times a year.

The maximum term of office of a trustee is 9 years and the Chair and Vice chair are elected by the Board for 3 year terms. FH trustees (maximum 14) come from a variety of backgrounds, are of a range of ages and have a wide range of experience and skills and are all volunteers and unpaid.

We don't currently have a vacancy for a Trustee, but if you would like to register a future interest in becoming a trustee please email

Role of the Board

The main responsibilities of the board are as follows:

  • Consider, agree and review the long-term strategy and operational plan
  • Monitor implementation and performance against the plan and budget by reference to reports and updates
  • Monitor the performance of the organisation by reference to reports, statistics and standards, embracing quality of service, governance, ethics and finance
  • Develop and approve standing financial instructions, budgeting and accounting procedures
  • Regularly reviews all major risks faced by FH and ensure that action is taken to mitigate these
  • Appoint and monitor the performance of the Chief Executive
  • Set Chief Executive and Executive Team pay
  • Select directors of subsidiary companies including Local Hospice Lottery Ltd (LHLL), to ensure representation and regular progress reporting
  • Appoint a trustee to be a Freedom to Speak up Guardian to allow confidential reporting of matters of concern such as poor care, misconduct etc
  • Carry out Trustee Provider Visits at least once a year in a selected area(s) to provide an independent observational review of the organisation and its service delivery.

Board Committees

The above responsibilities are discharged by the Board, directly or through its committees, and the Executive Team and the Committees regularly report back to the Board. The standing board committees, which meet at least 3 to 6 times a year depending on the committee, are as follows.

The Board Governance Committee ensures all statutory governance matters are in order and ensures that Farleigh Hospice Board adheres to the principles of good governance, works to the Charity Governance Code and is compliant with company and charity law and regulation.

The committee comprises the Chair, Vice Chair, Chairs of other committees, Chair of LHLL, Chief Executive and Finance Director/Company Secretary.

The 3 other standing committees, namely Corporate Governance, Clinical Governance and Financial Governance, cover their respective areas including, for instance, monitoring relevant sections of operational plan and risk register. Each committee is chaired by a trustee and membership includes at least two to three trustees and the relevant Executive Team members or leads.

In addition, 3 Farleigh Hospice trustees sit on the board of LHLL (one as Chair) as Directors and regular reports of performance and any significant matters are provided to the FH Board.

Keith Spiller

Chair of Board of Trustees

Appointed 2016
Received the Chair 2021

Keith has been a Farleigh Hospice Trustee since 2016 and has been a member of all the standing Board committees, as well as a Lottery company director.

Keith worked in banking for 31 years before retiring in 2011, having gained experience in financial, operations and legal areas. His last position was at UBS Investment Bank in London where he was a Managing Director in the legal department and Chair of the Global Documentation Management Committee, as well as being responsible for setting up offshore teams.

Following his retirement, Keith was motivated to become a trustee at Farleigh Hospice as he felt he now had the time to commit to voluntary work and wanted to do something meaningful and give something back to his local community. Keith saw the opportunity to become a Trustee at Farleigh and, given the then-recent deaths of his mother, father-in-law and mother-in-law, it felt right.

Keith has a vast array of valuable skills and experience to bring to his role, including good management, operations and legal experience. He is also able to offer commitment and, crucially, the capacity to contribute.

While, over the years, he has contributed to the success of Farleigh in a number of different ways, he is most proud of supporting the approval and implementation of strategic work, such as Deliver Digital and the new NHS contract, as well as overseeing the transition between Chief Executives of the charity.

Outside of his trustee role, Keith has enjoyed participating in the charity’s Cycle and Walk for Life events, as well as supporting with their Christmas tree recycling scheme.

Joanna (Jo) Pittman

Vice Chair and Chair of the Financial Governance Committee

Appointed 2015

Jo is a chartered accountant and partner at Sayer Vincent, a firm that specialises in audit and advice services for charities and social enterprises. Jo is the audit partner for several charities and she advises on charity accounting, VAT and tax and governance matters.

Prior to becoming a trustee, Jo had worked with several hospices and seen the amazing work that they do, so she knew that if she were ever to become a trustee, she would want to work with a hospice. When the opportunity at Farleigh - her local hospice arose, Jo immediately applied.

When acting within her role, the most important thing to Jo is to ensure that collectively as trustees, they steward the assets that Farleigh has, which includes the people, expertise, reputation and resources, and put them to best use for the charity’s current and future beneficiaries.

As the Chair of the financial governance committee, Jo has worked closely with the charity’s financial director, to support the development of systems and controls, deliver the annual report and financial statements, as well as appoint new auditors who can add value.

Her experience of working with other trustee boards and charities has also been invaluable to the hospice, helping it to develop how trustee operate and ensuring that trustees understand their role and work effectively.

Jo lives close to North Court Road in Broomfield with her husband and three children. In her free time, Jo enjoys exploring the Essex coast and countryside and, as an archaeology graduate, she also likes visiting historical sites.

Liz Fox

Representative on the clinical governance committee & Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

Appointed 2019

Liz trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street and The London Hospital before moving into community nursing, and has held positions in NHS provider and commissioning organisations in London and Essex. For the last 20 years, she has specialised in safeguarding, working in partnership with statutory agencies. Liz retired from the NHS in 2017 and now works as a Care Quality Commission (CQC) children’s service inspector.

Liz was motivated to become a trustee at Farleigh as she wanted to undertake voluntary work that used her clinical background but that moved her away from children’s safeguarding work. She also wanted to give something back as two of her close relatives had been cared for beautifully by Farleigh.

As well as a broad understanding of the health system, Liz has a particular interest in quality assurance and working with staff and management to improve patients experience. For her, the patients’ perspective is the most important consideration when acting in her role as trustee.

Within her role as Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Liz seeks to support and empower staff and practitioners to talk openly and confidentially, of any concerns relating to patient care and for them to feel listened to.

Liz lives near Stansted in Essex and is married with two grown-up sons, and loves active holidays, home or abroad.

Donald McGeachy

Chair of Clinical Governance Committee

Appointed 2019

Donald has worked for the NHS for over 45 years. After training at Glasgow Medical School, he worked as a GP in the UK and abroad in Tonga (South Pacific) and New Zealand. He also spent time working in local hospices

For the last 15 years, Donald has been increasingly involved in commissioning and management of healthcare in Essex and over the past 10 years, has held Board level positions in PCGs/PCTs and CCGs. He is currently involved in the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership as their Medical Director in the Acute Commissioning team.

Donald was motivated to become a trustee at Farleigh Hospice as he had an interest in palliative care and how best to support people affected by life-limiting illnesses when working in Primary Care. He also has personal experience, as his first wife died 33 years ago.

It is important to Donald when acting as a trustee that collectively the trustees are ensuring they build an organisation that will enable all employees and volunteers to do the jobs they know best, providing expert, compassionate care to all patients.

Outside of work, Donald’s hobbies included reading, birdwatching, walking, and cycling. He also enjoys fishing and has a small fishing boat that he loves to go out in.

Katie Lockwood

Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee

Appointed 2019

Katie is a Commercial Real Estate Solicitor at Birkett Long LLP, specialising in property development work. Katie qualified as a Solicitor in January 2016, having studied Law International Exchange at the University of Essex, which included a year living in Madrid studying Spanish Law. She completed her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law.

Katie had been involved in Farleigh through her day job, and so it was a natural progression to volunteer as a Trustee. Since becoming a Trustee, Farleigh cared for Katie’s Grandad, which for her, cemented why she volunteers for Farleigh.

The most important thing to Katie when acting in her capacity as a trustee is working as a team with her fellow trustees and the wider Farleigh team toward the same goal.

In her own time, Katie enjoys walking, baking and cooking. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Caroline Rassell

Committee member for Corporate Governance & Clinical Governance

Appointed 2020

Caroline is the Chief Executive of the charity Parkinson's UK. Prior to this, Caroline worked for many years at board level in the NHS both nationally and locally in Essex. Caroline is also President of her professional body, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and a senior independent board member of Active Essex.

Caroline was motivated to become a trustee at Farleigh Hospice as she was familiar with the charity and the work that it does to support local people affected by life-limiting illnesses and their carers. Through her current role as CEO of Parkinsons UK, she has a good understanding of the challenges that being a charity brings, and felt her skills and experience would add value and support the charity in achieving its purposes. Caroline is proud to be part of a team of trustees that is looking forward at the end-of-life care and experience that Farleigh can bring to the people of mid Essex.

Outside of work, Caroline is a keen Park runner and often participates on a Saturday morning at Central Park in Chelmsford.

Mark Leach

Member of the Corporate Governance Committee

Appointed 2022

Mark has extensive membership and marketing experience working with a range of membership and charitable organisations. Since 2012, he has been working for the Royal Society of Biology, where he is a Director with responsibility for membership, regions and events and facilities. He also managers a dedicated team providing member administration services to a range of external organisations.

Mark was inspired to become a trustee at Farleigh through a desire to learn more about and to give back to a charity of which he has personally been a beneficiary. He was keen to play a role in ensuring that an important charity, such as Farleigh, is well run, so that it can continue to carry out its vital work to provide maximum benefit to those it seeks to represent.

Mark has lived in Chelmsford since 1995, following his graduation from Anglia Polytechnic University (as it was known) He is a big fan of watching rugby, (particularly Wales) and all sport in general. He is also a regular visitor to the Algarve in Portugal and is currently learning to speak Portuguese.

Chris Tilley

Member of the Financial Governance Committee

Appointed 2023

Chris is an experienced finance professional with almost 20 years' experience in the financial services industry. Having graduated from Loughborough University, Chris qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young in 2009 and is currently an Executive Director at Coutts & Co, focussing on corporate finance and private equity investments. Prior to joining the board of Farleigh, he was a governor at a leading Essex primary school.

Having directly experienced the care and support Farleigh Hospice provides, Chris was passionate about becoming a trustee to support the charity and to make a difference to families across the mid Essex community.

As a chartered accountant, Chris has a broad range of skills and experience in financial sector roles to bring to the Board including financial scrutiny, governance and risk management. Having previously acted as a governor of a leading Essex primary school for five years, Chris also has first-hand experience of the governance required and the valuable support that can be provided to the senior leadership team of a charity.

The most important thing for Chris when acting as a trustee is to ensure that Farleigh continues to provide patients and their families with excellent palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care when they need it.

Chris is married with two children. He is a keen sportsman and when not watching his own kids play sport, he enjoys playing football, running and skiing. Chris also loves travelling and spending time with friends and family.

Tracey Dickens

Trustee and Director of Local Hospice Lottery Ltd

Appointed 2023

Tracey is a Solicitor and Partner at Birkett Long LLP, specialising in Commercial and Corporate Finance work and GP partnerships, and heads up the Commercial Department for the firm, also sitting on its Oversight Board. Before becoming a solicitor she was a Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer in the NHS, worked for BT in estates management and in the communications team of a London insurance company. Tracey was also formerly a trustee of another local hospice for 12 years.

Tracey was drawn to becoming a trustee in the hospice sector as she has a strong belief in a society that assists people to die with dignity in their preferred setting. She considers it to be a privilege to be invited to be a trustee of Farleigh Hospice, which is such a key organisation in the Mid-Essex community.

With a good understanding of the challenges that hospices face, Tracey brings the ability to analyse risk in a practical and balanced way, assisting the charity in its decision-making and supporting the Executive Team, while ensuring the hospice remains well run.

In her own time, Tracey is a keen golfer, enjoying golfing holidays and breaks with her husband. Tracey loves rock and blues music and going to concerts. Travelling is another passion, particularly road trips, when younger on the back of a motorbike, and, now older, in cars, usually aligned with the places we visit. Ford Mustang for an American deep South music-related tour and an Alpha Romeo for a recent top-to-bottom tour of Italy.

John Sweeney

Committee member for the Lottery

Appointed 2023

John retired from Financial Services in 2022, at the culmination of a broad 38-year career that spanned Commercial Banking, Investment Banking, and Asset Management. During his career he took up a variety of functions, including financial analysis, operations management, risk management, and regulatory controls. His extensive experience equipped him with a multi-faceted understanding of the financial industry.

After retiring, John chose to channel his skills and dedication towards charitable endeavours. Recognising the profound value of palliative care, especially from personal experiences with his family, John's motivation to support a hospice led him to Farleigh in August 2022, where he began volunteering at Farleigh's Inpatient Unit. His introduction to the organisation was the result of his wife's volunteer work in bereavement counselling services. John joined the board of Trustees in November 2023.

John's personal experience(s) of witnessing the value of palliative care for his sisters and parents ignited his commitment to support organisations like Farleigh. His first-hand experience has given him a profound appreciation of the significance of dignified and compassionate care for individuals facing life-limiting illnesses and serves as a driving force in his involvement with the charity.

John and his wife share a family of three children and a grandson, in addition to a large extended family in the UK and the US. Since 1999, John and his family have been proud residents of Essex.

Julie Withnall

Member of the Corporate Governance Committee

Appointed 2023

Julie has been Group Reward Director in the People & Performance team at Associated British Foods plc for ten years and before that held a similar role at Britvic plc.

Julie’s early career was spent in both tax and HR consultancy. She has also spent six years teaching English as a foreign language in Malaysia, where her children were born.

Julie lives in Chelmsford and in her spare time, enjoys walking her four dogs, travel and spending time with friends and family.

Nina Smaller

Member of Clinical Governance Committee

Appointed 2023

Nina is a Sales Manager at a SaaS firm that specialises in Augmented Reality. Having studied Medical Science at the University of Exeter she has a keen interest in the care and quality of life that Farleigh can provide.

Nina was born in Chelmsford and has lived here most of her life, which has allowed her to get involved with a number of organisations around the city. Nina enjoys walking, travel and is currently learning to speak Arabic.

Georgina Offord

Member of Financial Governance Committee

Appointed 2023

Georgina started her career in audit in 1999 working with entities in most sectors from pension schemes and charitable organisations to manufacturing and aviation.

In 2012 she joined Wilkin & Sons Limited as Financial Controller, before her Board appointment as Finance Director in 2016.

Farleigh Hospice and Marie Curie were both an immense support to her and her late husband, and Georgina is now making time to work with both of these organisations who make such an incredible difference to the lives of others.