Cathy joined Starlight in September 2017 having been CEO of Blood Cancer UK for 10 years and a Director at the Willow Foundation. She joined the charity sector as a volunteer in 1999 following the death of her 8-year-old cousin from leukaemia. She’s on a mission to help improve the lives of families affected by serious illness, ensuring children experience a good childhood despite really challenging circumstances.
Cathy was born on a snowy day in Derbyshire. She still gets a child-like excitement when it snows, some of her best memories are of snowball fights, building snowmen and sledging - learning to sledge sitting on her Dad, who would be face down, steering with his feet. He’s 86 now, but they still build snowmen when it snows!
Krutika joined Starlight in June 2019, after a 30 year career in children’s services. Most of her career has been in central and local government working at the Department for Education (DfE) and various local authorities. She's been the statutory Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Brent and Slough Borough Council. Krutika was appointed by Ministers at the DfE as a Schools Adjudicator, has worked for Deloitte in Chile undertaking safeguarding audits in schools and more recently was at RNIB and at The Children’s Society as their Director of Children’s Services.
She’s committed to improving the experiences and choices of all children and families, particularly when they may be facing multiple challenges.
As a child, play meant being outdoors with friends in Pune, India, barefoot and in the sunshine!
Nicky joined Starlight in May 2020, after spending four years as Director of Finance & IT at Nightingale Hammerson. As a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, her early career was in audit practice, before working at British Military Fitness as their CFO.
She joined Starlight with a passion for working with committed people who drive change, making a tangible difference within the healthcare system for children.
Nicky’s playful childhood memory was writing and acting out Alice in Wonderland with the girl across the road – a club that was just the two of them, with membership cards and badges!
Sarah joined Starlight in September 2019. Starting out in TV production and publicity for EastEnders, she has also enjoyed a ten-year career at Comic Relief where she joined leading the media team before becoming Head of Marketing and Fundraising, helping to raise over £1 billion. She then became Director of Marketing and Audience Engagement at The Charity for Civil Servants.
With three children, Sarah is thrilled to help other children who are seriously ill. She loves that Starlight is ambitious and punches above its weight, which is what enticed Sarah into her role.
Her favourite childhood memory is playing action men with her brother, creating adventures and stories for them to act out round the house. Her brother loved it as she did all the different voices for each action man!
Alain Wolffe is a former Executive Director of Strategy and Governance at Canada Life.
He brings a wealth of corporate governance and strategy development experience to the Board as well as empathy and interest in Starlight Children’s Services as the father of a teenager with cerebral palsy.
Anna Gawn is a senior consultant who advises NGOs, UN agencies, Governments, and others on safeguarding in international development and humanitarian aid. She provides Starlight with invaluable advice on protecting children.
Anna believes that Starlight is particularly ground-breaking in shifting its focus to play within healthcare settings, where it can make real change for a lot of people.
One playful childhood memory she has is making up funny quizzes for the community with her sisters, filled with ridiculous questions it really brought all generations a lot of laughter.
Betsabeh is a global marketer and currently holds the position of non-executive director at Toms Gruppen, Denmark’s largest producer of sweets and chocolates.
She joins as we embed our recently revamped brand identity and new purpose to support children in hospital to experience the power of play to support their mental health and wellbeing. Her experience in building world class brands and especially driving brand relevance for children and parents is of particular importance to us as we plan for growth in awareness, reach and engagement. Equally important is her experience of digital transformation and building digital centric cultures.
For Betsabeh, play is a special moment to relax, to forget about any worries and an opportunity to socially interact and have fun with others. Her fondest childhood memories of play are playing outside and swinging very high on her swing or climbing trees with her cousin.
Dr. Chris Evans is an NHS Paediatric Anaesthetist who has an in depth understanding of the UK health care system and the psychological burden of hospital visits.
This combined with his experience of innovation and digital technology will help Starlight to develop new services directly in response to the research we are doing in to the needs of seriously ill children.
Dr Chris Kelly is a clinician research scientist in the health artificial intelligence team at Google, and a paediatrician at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. He brings experience of children’s services in the NHS, combined with an interest in how technology can improve children’s experience of healthcare.
Starlight was first brought to Chris’ attention whilst working as a paediatrician. He was so grateful for everything Starlight provided, and he witnessed the power of play positively impacting not only patients and families, but also the staff too.
Growing up, play time for Chris meant making models, building little robots, and being outside playing rugby, swimming and tennis.
Ian Harding is the Managing Partner at Arcus Infrastructure Partners and brings with him a wealth of fundraising, financial and governance expertise.
Ian himself doesn’t particularly like hospitals, so really appreciates how the power of play and distraction help to alleviate concerns for children in hospital.
The majority of Ian’s spare time during childhood involved playing football. Using jumpers as goalposts, Ian and his friends would play the days away. Plus, to their parent’s relief, they burnt off a lot of energy!
Alasdair Hadden-Paton is Honorary Chair of Fundraising. In November 2023, he stepped down from the Board of Trustees and his role as Vice Chair, having served since 2001. He will continue in his role as Chair of the Starlight Blenheim Ball Committee, bringing together a talented and creative group of people who’ve successfully organised not one but two balls at Blenheim Palace raising nearly £2 million combined.
Alasdair is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years financial experience in the luxury goods, hotel, property investment and venture capital sectors.
He continues to work with Starlight because it never ceases to amaze him how such simple things can transform a child’s treatment, recovery and mental attitude.
Alasdair loved the characters from the Noddy books growing up and his family gardener, Mr Seamons, made up lots of wonderful stories about him. When Mr Seamons died, Alasdair’s mother told him Noddy was looking after him and they lay flowers at his grave in the shape of Noddy.