Our Trustees

The executive leadership team is responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation. Dragonfly Cancer Trust is governed by a board of Trustees. They ensure that as an organisation we are effective in working towards achieving our vision, using our resources to maximum effect and upholding our core ethos and values.

Neil Sewell,
Co- Chair of Trustees

Neil was born and bred in Newcastle upon Tyne, he’s married to Jill, has two daughters and a wonderful granddaughter. He has been a Trustee for Dragonfly Cancer Trust for five years, having been involved with the charity for a couple of years prior to this. Neil has enjoyed seeing our growth from a small, local charity to where we are now, supporting a UK network of hospices and hospitals.

For Neil, being a Trustee has allowed him to be a part of creating those special moments with families who are going through one of their toughest moments anyone is ever likely to face. Neil enjoys meeting with hospices and groups to promote our Dragonfly strategy, raising the profile of the Trust and the great work it does to help young people.

Sam Lock,
Co-Chair of Trustees

Sam is a healthcare Executive with nearly 15 years’ experience spanning the public and private sectors.

Currently a Regional Chief Operating Officer for HCA Healthcare UK, Sam’s roles have covered operational, commercial and financial remits; including distressed hospital recovery programmes whilst with PwC.

 

As a Trustee, Sam is passionate about supporting the charity with accessing prospective beneficiaries; aiming to help those who may not have otherwise had the opportunity.

He lives with his family, including two energetic sons and a one-eyed French bulldog, in the West Midlands.

David Harker, Treasurer / Trustee

David is an accountant and former partner with Deloitte having worked with clients across government and public services in the UK and internationally. 

David now runs his own management consulting business and is a non-executive director at several companies in the UK and abroad.

Claire Pickersgill, Trustee

Claire is the founder and managing director of House of Hype & Co. a PR, Social Media and Personal Branding agency based in Sunderland and operating across the UK.

With 15 years plus experience in the communications arena Claire has a wealth of experience in communications strategy, specifically in the field of PR, social media and forging B2B collaborations and partnerships. 

Her background at the Sunderland Empire theatre saw her manage regional communications campaigns for some of the biggest touring theatre productions.

When she is not working Claire is a keen fitness fan and can usually be found at bootcamps, running or boxing!

Claire will work with the board and bring her expertise to further strategize and elevate the charities communications strategy further through the role, to support with further profile raising and opportunities.

Matthew Cook,
Trustee

Matthew is a Director at Northern Spire Limited, a wealth management company based in Sunderland, as well as Managing Director of The Mussel Club, the largest networking event series in the North East of England.

In 2023 Matthew trekked across the Sahara Desert in aid of Dragonfly Cancer Trust and is now preparing for his next big challenge to raise the profile of the organisation even further.

Our Ambassadors

Ian Lambert, Trustee & Ambassador

Ian is our very own Action Man, earning himself a place in the Guinness World Book of Records in 2021 for completing a non-stop 220 mile triathlon in aid of Dragonfly Cancer Trust.
 
With his next epic challenge in the pipeline and his unwavering passion for the cause, becoming a Trustee was the natural next step in Ian’s journey.

Ben Dawson, Ambassador

Ben is currently First Team Development Coach at Newcastle United Football Club where he has been a coach for over 15 years spanned over two periods at the club. In between his two stints at NUFC he worked for The Football Association as a coach developer in the professional game.
He originally began his coaching career with Newcastle City Council’s Football Development Scheme and moved across to Newcastle United Foundation when the club’s charity was created.
 
His involvement with Dragonfly Cancer Trust began when the charity made Newcastle its central base at the same time as the loss of his mother to cancer. He has since utilised his sporting connections to help a number of young cancer patients fulfil some of their sporting-related dreams and create memories for those young people and their families.

Charis Patel, Ambassador

Charis is the creator of @thegriefspace_ on instagram. The Grief Space is a supportive platform that discusses grief, from the perspective of a young adult. 

Charis created this page after losing her brother Cameron in May 2020, after a long journey with Leukemia.

Charis has experienced first hand the amazing work that Dragonfly Cancer Trust do, receiving support in the last few days of Cameron’s life. We enabled Charis to create some cherished and lasting memories and keepsake jewellery from her brothers fingerprint.

Charis said, “I am honoured to be an Ambassador for the charity and use my platform on instagram to tell more people about the incredible and supportive work that Dragonfly Cancer Trust do. This Charity holds a very dear place in my heart not only for what they’ve done for my family and I but what they do to support young people and their families through extremely difficult and emotional times.”

Lamin Gibba, Young Ambassador

Lamin is a remarkable documentary filmmaker currently studying for a degree in Fashion Marketing Communication at Newcastle College. 

Lamin has been a true champion for Dragonfly Cancer Trust, lending his support at our events by captivating some beautiful photography and sharing impactful social media posts.

Ellie Agar-Brennan, Young Ambassador

Ellie is currently studying Graphic Design at Northumbria University and was inspired to sign up for the Great North Run 2023 as a personal challenge. It was one of Ellie’s proudest achievements and after learning about the charity’s wonderful work, she wanted to get involved to help spread the word. 
 
Fun fact about Ellie: She has a dragonfly tattoo on her wrist!

Our Volunteers

Joyce

Joyce is our incredible volunteer who turns her hand to anything. On a typical day, Joyce can be found counting and merging money for the bank from our collection tins and helping with our admin and our annual ball preparation.

Manny

Manny is a specialist in software and technology. He has a strong passion to share his knowledge with others and have a lasting impact in this world. He is excited to work with Dragonfly Cancer Trust to define a digital strategy and support our technology needs. He is hoping to help the charity navigate through uncertain times and utilise technology to stay ahead of the curve and reach more patients and families around the country.

Fiona

Fiona is the MD and franchisor at ARTventures, a national company delivering colourful art and creative play classes, events and parties for babies, toddlers and children across the UK. Fiona and her franchise team are passionate about getting children in art and creative activities at an early age because of all the fantastic learning and development benefits that engagement in art can bring!

Having been involved in the world of children’s activities for over a decade, Fiona also sits on the board of the Children’s Activities Association.

Fiona is looking forward to working with the trust and bringing her expertise to the process of planning and delivering the creative activity boxes that the charity delivers to hospitals and hospices across the country, giving children and young people receiving palliative care the valuable opportunity to engage in therapeutic creative activities as well as providing a much needed distraction during treatment-and a chance to have some arty fun!

Ray

Meet Ray Yang, a dedicated volunteer at Dragonfly Cancer Trust with a passion for making a difference in the lives of patients and their families. 

With over five years of experience in retail management, Ray brings a wealth of knowledge in process optimisation and stakeholder relationship management to his role.

 

After completing his MBA degree at Newcastle University, Ray discovered his love for business analysis and management consulting. He has honed his skills through various projects, using data-driven insights to identify opportunities for improvement and implementing effective solutions to drive growth. With a heart for giving back to the community, Ray decided to join Dragonfly Cancer Trust as a volunteer. In this role, he works closely with the team to support various initiatives such as data analysis and campaign support to improve efficiencies and maximise resources.

Through his volunteer work, Ray has gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that cancer patients and their families face. He is committed to making a positive impact on their lives and supporting them every step of the way. His initiative and passion for helping this make him an invaluable member of the Dragonfly Cancer Trust team.

Natalie

Natalie leads on the charity’s social media. She is very passionate about what Dragonfly Cancer Trust does to support young palliative cancer patients and their families. 
 
Natalie loves spreading the word and informing others about how we can help support young cancer patients. 

Volunteering with Dragonfly Cancer Trust is a very rewarding experience for Natalie, being part of a team of other fantastic volunteers that really make a difference to young cancer patients and their families when they need us most. 

Amit

Amit is our incredible volunteer who helps with our 2023 Dragonfly Ball. Amit has a wealth of event experience and has supported many of our previous events. Amit is a huge supporter of Dragonfly Cancer Trust.

Lisa

Lisa is a passionate individual who takes pleasure in assisting with our activity boxes. Her love for all things crafts is evident in the enthusiasm she brings. When she’s not lending a hand, Lisa works as a radiographer, utilizing her skills in a different but equally important field. 

Ekaterina

Ekaterina is a Russian-born anthropologist turned UX Researcher and Designer. Currently based in Heidelberg, she works in health tech and develops software for German doctors.

Passionate about volunteering, she started her first charity project at the age of 12 by donating most of her plush toys to the local orphanage. Since then she never stopped, and worked as a Hospice fund coordinator in Moscow, created websites for Indian schools, taught English in a Buddhist monastery in Ladakg,volunteered full-time in a Buddhist center in France for over five years, and taught yoga to Ukranian refugees in Germany.

Nowadays, she supports Dragonfly Cancer trust in website re-design.