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Trustees
John Purdie (Chair) Ruth Rankine                  
William Daniels (Treasurer) Iris Sell
Bill Swan Ronald Martin
Shirley Briggs Colin Russell
Susan Illot Julie Flower
Rachel Littlewood MBE Peter Davis
Raj Gill Shirley Griffiths
Mary Spillane Bob Dennis


John Purdie

John is Chair of Carers FIRST Board and has been a Trustee since 2006. He has had a long career in finance and development in manufacturing companies, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has a Social Science Masters degree in Economics from Dundee University. More recently he worked in the social care sector which provided practical insight into the issues and operations of delivering care in the community and to people with learning disability.
John strongly believes in the role that the third sector can play to serve our communities but that it is a big challenge requiring focus on the service and outcomes for those we support while reaching as many people as possible through best use of resources. Until 2015 he was also a trustee of Sevenoaks & Swanley Citizens Advice Bureau. John and his family have lived in Sevenoaks for over 30 years. His interests include playing golf badly, DIY and gardening. He took up running in the last few years which has included raising money for Carers FIRST in a half marathon.

William Daniels

William is the treasurer and is a Chartered Accountant in practice in the Medway Towns.  He is also a member of the Institute of Taxation.  He has in depth experience of charities as a trustee, accountant and auditor.  He was educated at King’s School Rochester, graduated from University College London and qualified in the City of London, where he worked for many years. 
He has been involved with the Medway Carers Centre for over ten years and was appointed a trustee on 20 October 2011.


Bill Swan
Bill was Insurance Manager for Kent County Council before taking early retirement.
He joined the Board of Rochester Crossroads in 1994 which later merged with Gillingham to become Medway Crossroads as he wanted to help in the caring sector and was the last Chair of Crossroads Care Medway before the merger with Carers FIRST.
He and his family live in Gillingham and his interests are walking, birdwatching and Arsenal FC.

Rachel Littlewood MBE

Rachel has been a carer for 48 years looking after a daughter who has severe rheumatoid arthritis, Autism and challenging behaviour. She also cared for her late husband who had cancer for 12 years. It was the lack of support for family carers that gave her the desire to start the Medway Carers Centre with Iris and Brian Sell, and Simon Goldsmith.  Rachel’s husband died  8 years ago and her daughter, the youngest of  6 children, is well cared for by the National Autistic Society so she is able to give time to helping others. 
Rachel also leads local charity Faith and Light which has groups in 80 countries helping learning disabled people and their families. Her other involvements are with her local church St Mark's, leading groups and visiting a local supported living home for elderly people. 

Ruth Rankine

Ruth Rankine joined NHS Direct in October 2007 as Programme Director with responsibility for leading the organisation’s application to achieve Foundation Trust status.  She is also responsible for strategy and communications.  She has held senior civil service positions at the Department of Health, most recently as Principal Private Secretary to the NHS Chief Executive and the Permanent Secretary and previously as Programme Director for NHS walk-in centres.  She has also held senior positions in the NHS, as Director of Emergency Care for the Leeds health economy and as Programme Director for the GP contract negotiations at the NHS Confederation. 
Ruth lives in Tudeley with her husband Andrew and has no children. Her hobbies include keeping fit and going on holiday as well as more mundane things like gardening.


Colin Russell

Colin has been a carer for his daughter for 31 years, as a sole carer for her for 12 years and as single parent carer for the last  5 years, he understands well the problems and concerns of parent carers.   Colin was  elected as  the first chairperson  of the ‘Friends of Woodlands pre-school special needs nursery’ at its inception in 1986, he continues to be on the board and for the last twenty years has been treasurer.
Colin does not have much free time but when he does he enjoys photography and films, and as a volunteer regularly helps out at the Medway Carers Centre coffee mornings.


Iris Sell

Iris has been a carer for 38 years as her daughter Amanda experienced vaccine damage when a baby. Iris and her husband supported their daughter for many years with little emotional support and because of this founded the Medway Carers Centre along with Rachel and Simon Goldsmith.  She wanted to ensure that other carers had the emotional and practical support she did not. Being a parent carer she has a great understanding of parent carer issues and concerns. She has a unique perspective of having been a carer of her daughter from babyhood to adulthood, experiencing many of the key issues of carers in one life.  Iris had a working career before children working in London in banking and her organisational skills developed there have helped her in her continuing work with Medway Carers Centre.
Iris is always keenly aware of how her son Richard’s being a young carer has impacted on his life. Young Carers Project is one close to her heart, along with facilitating the centre’s regular coffee mornings and other carer activities. Iris continues her late husband’s wishes as she strives to find a way of enabling Amanda to live with her care workers independently, giving her independence and choice as an adult. 


Shirley Briggs

Shirley Briggs has a secondary school teaching background, specialising in languages. She has also taught English as a Foreign Language abroad and in London. For the past fifteen years she has been an Antenatal teacher for the National Childbirth Trust. A previous member of the Community Health Council, Shirley also has personal experience of being a carer, including being a Young Carer when a teenager. Shirley has been a Trustee with Carers FIRST for many years and enjoys being a part of an organisation supporting those in her local community.
Shirley lives with her family in West Malling and is a keen gardener and organises the annual West Malling Open Gardens.


Julie Flower

Julie works independently as a management consultant within the public services, specialising in health strategy and organisational development.  Julie is a History graduate who began her career as a graduate trainee at Sony UK.  She then moved into NHS management in a range of service improvement, policy implementation and commissioning roles.  Her most recent role as an Assistant Director at NHS West Kent included managing the long-term conditions commissioning portfolio, including a number of voluntary sector contracts.  Julie holds an MBA in Public Service Management and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Brighton.
Julie lives in Tonbridge with her husband, Adam, and two chickens.  In her spare time she enjoys art history, amateur dramatics and travel.


Susan Illot

Susan and her family moved from London to Kent in 1978 to purchase a smallholding where they could combine work with caring for parents until their death in 2010.
Susan has been actively engaged with Crossroads since the mid 1980’s and attended the inaugural meeting of Gillingham and Rainham. Susan became Chair in 1993 and Responsible Person until it merged with Rochester to become Medway Crossroads in 2006.
Susan has worked in social care since 1985;  Social Services in various parts of Kent and Bromley, delivering home care, developing a meals service and intensive care support scheme, headed Care Management teams and latterly the London Borough of Bromley’s Home Care service until 1998.
After a short break Susan became a Residential Care Home Manager at three different homes in Kent and South East London and since 2012 has been involved in supporting activities and training in a group of care homes.

 

Ronald Martin 
Although he has lived in Southfleet since 1993, Ronald is a native of Rochester and spends a considerable amount of his leisure time there.
He is a chartered civil engineer and a chartered environmentalist.  Before retiring in 2005, Ronald was an Associate Director of Faber Maunsell Ltd, a firm of international consulting civil engineers. In that role he designed and supervised many major multi-million pound construction projects.
Ronald was persuaded to become a Trustee of Gillingham and Chatham Crossroads in 2000 by its then accountant. Subsequently he was involved with the arrangements for the merging with the Rochester Scheme to become Medway Crossroads Care.  Ronald helped with the preparation of the tender bid for Medway Council’s care service and very pleased when they were awarded the contract.  Ronald was appointed Chairman in 2009 and resigned four years later.
In order to take on the chairmanship of Medway Crossroads Care, Ronald resigned as a Trustee of Cherished Memories, a small Trust based in Dartford providing memorable experiences for very sick children.
Having a keen interest in education Ronald became a governor of his old school, Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School eventually becoming its Chairman which post he held for about 20 years.  During the same period Ronald was also Chairman of the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School Charitable Trust (Registered No. 296368).


Peter Davis

Peter has had a long career in financial services having worked in Building Societies, in branch and regional management and management consultancy. He went on become an executive director for Fidelity Investments, where his roles included running their global product development team, large programme management including purchase/integration of a German bank and investment operations. He has lived in Tonbridge for 25 years, has two sons both now working, and his wife Carolyn has been a volunteer at Carers FIRST for over 5 years. He has been a charity trustee since 1997 as vice chair of a school in Tonbridge, chairing their Marketing and Development and IT committees. Amongst a wide range of interests he enjoys photography and attempting to play golf.
He joined the Carers First Board at the start of 2015

Raj Gill
Raj is a carer for his mother and volunteers for Rethink/Sahayak in Gravesend.
After graduating in Agriculture at Reading University he attained a doctorate in Chemistry and joined the paper manufacturing industry. He has over 25 years’ experience of working in the industry in a specialist role as a Technical Manager. His jobs have been based in Dorking, Leeds, Maidstone and Ghent, Belgium. He is an author of numerous scientific publications in journals and conference proceedings. His scientific contribution to the UK paper industry was recognised by being awarded the prestigious Silver Jubilee Medal by the UK Paper Industries Technical Association (PITA).
After nine years living in Belgium Raj gave up his job and moved back to Gravesend in 2013 to care for his mother. 
Raj is a qualified interpreter and now works as a freelance interpreter (also interpreting for Medway Council and Kent County Council). .
Raj is married with two boys who are both studying at London University reading Medicine and Classics.
Raj’s interests and hobbies include travel, oil painting, cooking, reading and writing. He has recently published a travel book on Amazon/Kindle. The book is about the travel experiences of five friends in fourteen countries.   

Bob Dennis
Bob was born in 1943 and grew up in Rainham, Kent. He left school at 15 years of age and was employed at Chatham Dockyard as an Apprentice Boiler Maker.  He qualified as a Boiler Maker and left the Dockyard after 7 years.
Bob was employed at Medway Water Board for thirty two years. He progressed to become Area Manager with responsibility for more than one hundred employees and retired from the position at 54 years of age.
At Medway Water Board, Bob was part of the Social Club Committee for nineteen years, thirteen of those he functioned as Secretary and for six years on the Committee.  During this time he arranged Big Golf Days to raise money for several charities.  Bob also arranged trips out for staff, Christmas staff parties, children’s Christmas parties and trips to the theatre.
Bob became his wife’s carer when she became ill with terminal cancer, during his retirement.

 

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