The Mulberry Centre Trustees

The business of The Mulberry Centre is governed by the Trustees. The Trustees are all volunteers and work as a team to ensure that within the group there is a diverse range of skills, talents and backgrounds.  The current trustee body includes: skills and knowledge in providing services in the voluntary sector; fundraising; clinical experience as health professionals caring for cancer patients; and operational management − particularly finance, law and marketing/PR.

The Trustees meet regularly (approximately 6 times a year) and are responsible for determining the policies and strategic direction of The Mulberry Centre in consultation with the Executive Director. They are also very involved on a day to day level with the Centre and take part in fundraising and events.

Prospective appointments to the Trustee Board are considered and determined by a panel consisting of three existing Board members (one of whom must be the Chairman) and the Executive Director.

Aileen McLeish (Chair of Trustees)

Aileen McLeish joined as the Chair of Trustees of The Mulberry Centre in November 2020.

Aileen brings a wealth of business experience, particularly in healthcare management and the not for profit sector, including a significant length of time as Chair of Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Commenting on her recent appointment Aileen said she is delighted to be joining the team at The Mulberry Centre. She is impressed by the range and quality of support provided to cancer patients and others and is looking forward to working with colleagues to ensure the Centre continues to be valued by the people and communities it serves.

Heather Taylor (Treasurer)

Heather has been a Trustee of The Mulberry Centre since April 2018 and has been the Treasurer since July 2019.

Heather is a Chartered Accountant, and spent her career working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UK and overseas, and she has a lot of financial and operational experience.

Since retiring and returning to the UK in 2014, Heather is now also a director of her Residents Association.

‘’We all have friends and family affected by cancer, and it’s often difficult to find good support. The Mulberry Centre is a real oasis of calm, with great staff and volunteers who provide fantastic support in so many ways. I want to support the continued success and growth of our wonderful Mulberry Centre.’’

Joy Pearce (Company Secretary)

Joy has been a Trustee of The Mulberry Centre since 2004.

Joy currently works as the Local Organiser for Unison. Prior to this, she worked for National Grid Gas for 27 years, latterly as a Network Supervisor where she was a Trustee for the company’s pension scheme as well as fire warden, first aider, safety rep and union steward.

‘’ I am very proud to be a Trustee of such a wonderful place. They say all good things come in small packages, well we are a small team that make a massive difference to people who cross our doors and we couldn’t do it all without dedicated staff and volunteers to do this.’’

Jo Grinbergs

Jo Grinbergs has been involved with The Mulberry Centre since 2012. “It was my son who first introduced me, through a school fundraising day,” she remembers. “I walked through the door, and was blown away by the sense of calm. I immediately knew I wanted to work with them.”
A few months later the CEO of the Centre offered Jo the role of senior therapist, a position she held for five years.

Most of Jo’s working life has involved complementary therapies. She first qualified as a massage therapist and aromatherapist over 30 years ago, subsequently training as a teacher and going on to offer courses in a range of complementary therapies. Fortunate to study with the renowned Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, she learned to integrate complementary therapies into cancer care. She has been chair of several organisations, including a pan London group The Royal Marsden Partnership for Complementary Therapists. She is one of a small handful of complementary therapists working in palliative care to be employed by the NHS. Currently, Jo runs her own busy clinic and has also completed a degree in clinical massage.

Chris Bezant

Chris was brought up in Kent and moved to Chiswick in 1979 to take up a role as Trainee Assistant Film Editor at the BBC Film studios in Ealing. After working on a wide range of programmes, Chris left the BBC in 1990 to pursue a career as a freelance broadcast video editor working on documentaries and children’s programmes.

In 2013 Chris set up Chiswickbuzz, an online video channel featuring news, events, and personalities in the local area. It was this that introduced him to the work of The Mulberry Centre.

My father died of cancer in 1997 and I’ve been struck by the number of friends and neighbours who have also been diagnosed with the disease,” he said.

“When I first researched the Mulberry Centre, I was immediately touched by the love and care shown to cancer patients and their families. The calm and supportive atmosphere, coupled with the range of information and activities makes the Mulberry Centre an oasis of compassion, understanding and companionship.”

“It’s a huge privilege to be able to support and contribute to the work of The Mulberry, as a Trustee.”

Inspired by his interest in Dementia care, Chris has recently trained as an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and has also trained as a professional life coach on an accredited International Coach Federation course. He looks forward to using this knowledge, coupled with his background in media, to the benefit of The Mulberry Centre.

Grace Gibbs

Grace was appointed as a Trustee of The Mulberry Centre in March 2013; although she was involved with the Centre since its conception when she was a West Middlesex Hospital Executive Board member and as an early fundraiser.

Grace has worked as a healthcare management consultant since 2004. During this she has had worked in Nicosia, Cyprus, commissioning the new Ministry of Health Hospital as well as in Muscat, Oman, carrying out healthcare transformational projects. She has also undertaken similar projects in the NHS and private sector.

Grace has worked in the NHS for almost 40 years. Having started her career with conventional nurse training she went on to become Director for Nursing and Midwifery, Clinical Director for Critical Care and subsequently Deputy Chief Executive at West Middlesex University Hospital.

“ I fully understand the importance of contributing to the development of the Mulberry Centre and the work it does to make a difference to the lives of those in our local community, who are affected by cancer. I felt honoured to be invited to become a Trustee and have been privileged to work alongside the team who have influenced and led the services we offer to people, making it the success if is.”

Matt Winkler

Matt joined the Trustees of The Mulberry Centre in 2013. He sees a main priority of his involvement being to facilitate successful links between the oncology departments at WMUH and The Mulberry Centre to stimulate use, raise awareness and improve access to our support.

Matt is head of the department of Urology and lead urology cancer surgeon at the West Middlesex. He also leads the prostate cancer services at Charing Cross, Imperial, and chairs the prostate specialist multidisciplinary meeting of the north west London cancer network.

Matt is author of numerous peer reviewed publications and investigator and the collaborator of several prostate cancer studies.

Piers Allen

Piers became a trustee of The Mulberry Centre in August 2022. He has been an elected Councillor for West Twickenham ward in LB Richmond upon Thames since 2006 and is currently the Council’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Health and Chair of the Richmond Health & Wellbeing Board.

Piers has a background in medical publishing and medical communications, including oncology medical research and clinical practice developments and a strong ongoing interest in cancer research and cancer support services. He is a long-serving member on the governing body of a local primary school in Twickenham and served for 5 years as a Trustee/Director of the Richmond Music Trust. His also serves on the Council of Governors for Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust.

Piers said: “There can be few families that haven’t been affected by cancer, but not all will have received the invaluable support that The Mulberry Centre offers for those living in our part of SW London. I am keen to see The Mulberry Centre become even better known for all its services and to help ensure a strong partnership with the new Integrated Care Systems across London, including hospitals, primary care, social care, and the voluntary and community sector.

Dr Gayatri Shah

Gayatri joined as a trustee of The Mulberry Centre in 2023. She is a counselling psychologist and holds a doctorate in Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology. She has over 20 years of experience working with severe and enduring mental health, domestic violence, trauma and substance misuse, she also has experience of working as part of multicultural environments with individuals of all ages of their lifespan. She is registered with the HCPC as a Counselling Psychologist, and she is also registered with the British Psychological Society as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. She has trained as an Eye Movement Desensitisation Response (EMDR) practitioner with the EMDR Europe Association and is also trained in carrying out specialist assessments such as the SCID D for individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Gayatri is currently working as a Consultant Chartered Counselling Psychologist overseeing the Community Mental Health Recovery Service East Locality Surrey and Borders Trust. Where her role involves developing the clinical and counselling psychology workforce in providing services within the Trust, considering changes and developments in line with the Trust Clinical Strategy and reflecting national and local demands. She is responsible for providing leadership for the delivery of highly specialist psychological therapy services to adults with severe and enduring mental health, and provides expert clinical assessments, treatment, and a direction of care function for clients.

Gayatri said: “Working in the field of mental health for the past 22 years I hope to offer my skills and experience as a Trustee. I am enthusiastic about the work of The Mulberry Centre and will support the organisation in making a difference by helping those affected by cancer and their carers. This role also holds a personal meaning for me as I have seen loved ones affected by cancer, hence I am pretty passionate about supporting individuals, families, and carers affected by this.”

Jacqueline Docherty DBE

Jacqueline joined as a trustee of The Mulberry Centre in 2023. She previously worked in the NHS predominantly as a nurse and subsequently as the Chief Executive at West Middlesex University Hospital (2009 – 2015) and then as Chief Executive of London North West University NHS Trust (2015 – 2020) until her retirement in 2020.

Jacqueline brings a wealth of experience having been Acting Chief Executive at King’s College NHS Foundation Trust from 2008-2009 and Executive Director of Nursing and Operations at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust from 1996-2008. She was also the first joint appointment with the Management Executive and the Department of Health at the Scottish Office from 1992 -1996. This role involved visiting the 15 Scottish Health Boards to assess their progress with quality and clinical governance. Jacqueline was appointed a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in 2014 for services to the NHS and Nursing, and she also holds a Master of Business Administration (1991) from Caledonian University and is a Gold Medallist for being the Best Nurse in theory and practice (1988). She was also a member of the Territorial Army, 205 Scottish General Hospital for 1986 to 1992, attaining the prestigious rank of Major/Deputy Matron at the time of leaving.

Jacqueline said: “In my roles to date, I have been fortunate to have worked both in Britain and for short periods in other counties learning about their health care provision and also as an advisor in terms of hospital management and clinical development. As I have now retired from working within the NHS, I am particularly keen to be involved with the Mulberry Centre and having previously had cancer myself, I can empathise and relate to the clients at the centre within my role as a Trustee.

Nigel George TEP

Nigel joined as a trustee of The Mulberry Centre in 2023. Nigel is currently a partner at Garner & Hancock solicitors in Isleworth, where he heads up the Life Planning Department, he is also a Death Café facilitator and a Dementia Champion. Nigel lives between Isleworth and Suffolk and is married with two adult children and a very lively Labrador called Roly. He likes to cook good food, drink nice wines, walk and when he has the time write fiction.

Nigel said: “I have worked in the legal profession for nearly half a century. I began my legal career when I was 16 and I qualified as a solicitor when I was 24. During my time as a lawyer, I have worked in most areas of law, but in the last 10-15 years of my career, I have developed an interest in end-of-life care and dementia. These are both areas which are very material to my current legal practice. Since 2014, when I became a member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners, I have dealt exclusively in what has been described as life’s two certainties of death and taxes. Unfortunately, we still live in a society where both death and capacity are often treated as the elephant in the room. I don’t think this is due to a lack of compassion, but more a lack of knowledge and understanding Many people fear saying the wrong thing and do not appreciate that the greatest wrong is to say nothing. The more we can explain the smaller the elephant. When I was first shown around the Mulberry Centre, I was very much taken by the holistic approach, and I try and bring the same approach to dealing with my own clients. The knowledge and understanding that I have obtained relating to death and dementia, I hope makes me a better solicitor. As a lawyer I have sought to reach out to the elderly, LGBTQ, and transgender community, and offer them a warm and safe space in which they can obtain legal advice. I like to consider myself as someone whose glass is perpetually half full and therefore if you have days to live or a closing window of capacity, I will always encourage all those coming to terms with such matters to try and live with joy as well as with sadness.”

Suzie Rawcliffe

Suzie joined as a trustee of The Mulberry Centre in 2023.

Suzie has a background in bioscience and oncology, having previously worked in cancer clinical trials for over 10 years in her early career. She moved to work in the NHS, as a cancer service improvement facilitator before moving into healthcare IT systems, she has now retrained as a Physician Associate. Suzie is now working as a Physician Associate in AEC at West Middlesex University Hospital.

Suzie said: “Having always been interested in a patient facing role, I recently retrained as a Physician Associate and for the past 3 years have been working in Acute Medicine at West Middlesex hospital. I now work solely in Ambulatory Emergency Care, seeing patients clinically as well as managing two MDT’s and coordinating patient referrals and flow through the department. I am motivated by providing holistic care to patients and understand the importance of this in long-term conditions, including cancer. This means that I am well placed to understand the services that the Mulberry Centre offers, and I hope to be able to influence development of the Mulberry Centre in the context of the growing demand and with the new diagnostic centre on the horizon.”