Suzanne is a qualified accountant, specialising in taxation. With over 20 years’ senior management experience working in Dublin and in London for multinational financial services companies, she currently works as a Principal Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. There, she is Director Student Recruitment & Student Experience at Christ Church Business School, a role she loves as it gives her the opportunity to lead by example and to inspire the next generation.
She is Vice-Chair of the Board, and Chair of the Finance Committee at Cross Keys Homes, the largest social housing landlord in Peterborough. She is committed to providing excellent financial oversight, ensuring the organisation is effectively resourced so that it continues to deliver high-quality and affordable housing.
She is Vice-Chair of the Board, and Chair of the Development, Fundraising and Marketing Committee at CXK Ltd., an organisation that delivers a range of services to empower young people and adults across the south-east. She successfully works with the team to fully understand business needs, supporting the achievement of corporate growth and sustainability.
Suzanne is delighted to be nominated as Chair(elect) of the Board at The Fifth Trust at this very exciting time for the organisation. Partnering with the executive team and supported by the Trustees, she is determined to develop creative solutions, leading on strategic direction, so that the Trust can continue to support our students to develop essential life skills and the confidence to make informed choices about their own lives.
Passionate about excellence, committed to leading by example, she believes that we can make a positive and ongoing difference to the lives of those who want it.
Neil is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. In 2017 he retired from the Ministry of Justice where he had worked at national level for 17 years in financial management for the Prison and Probation services. Prior to that, he had worked for the NHS in financial management in East Kent and elsewhere.
Happily married to Sue, with two daughters and three grandchildren, Neil lives in Lyminge. His interests include gardening, amateur dramatics and travel. Having been a member of Elham Valley and Wye Lions Club for many years, he is now a member of Ashford Lions Club. Neil joined the Trust in April 2018.
Having left school early without any qualifications, Jean returned to full time education in 1971. After qualifying as a teacher, she went on to gain a Bachelor of Education (Honours) Degree.
Jean has spent the last 21 years in the teaching profession, seven as Head of Juniors at an independent school for girls.
She joined the Trust in 1991 and served as Chairman from June 2002 to November 2013.
Jean’s hobbies include golf, music, theatre, English literature and learning French.
Andrew obtained a Bachelor of Law Degree at Bristol University and qualified as a solicitor in 1973.
He is a solicitor in private practice with Messrs Gulland & Gulland in Maidstone, where he was a partner for 15 years and is now employed as a consultant. Andrew has experience in dealing with wills, trusts, capital taxation and legal matters relating to charities.
Andrew was appointed a trustee in 1996.
His interests include classical music, opera, bird watching, foreign travel and ancient history.
Stephen chairs Healthwatch in Southwark and Time and Talents, a community charity in Rotherhithe.
A journalist by background, he was for a number of years the BBC’s Controller of Editorial Policy where his role was to ensure that the BBC observed the highest ethical and editorial standards.
He was a member of the General Medical Council and the board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and an expert adviser to the Council of Europe on media issues. He was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2006.
Stephen is a previous chairman of the company that runs Greenbanks, one of the original residential homes, where his brother-in-law is a resident. He joined The Fifth Trust Board in 2009.
Eve acted as legal advisor in establishing the charity in 1990, and joined the Board of Trustees in March 2013. She is the sister of a resident of Greenbanks.
Her career has seen her move from private legal practice into broadcasting regulation and beyond to a broad portfolio which has included being a member of the Gambling Commission, the Press Complaints Commission, the Better Regulation Commission and chair of the Regulatory Board of the RICS. She was chair of the Internet Watch Foundation, a national charity which runs the UK’s hotline for reporting online child abuse content.
She now chairs two charities: the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Southeast London, and Privacy International. She is married to Stephen Whittle.
Anita Robson spent most of her career in the City as a Director of a major Lloyd’s insurance broker. Having for the most part worked in general management, a role which additionally embraced more than 20 provincial offices, she latterly joined the Board of Directors of their financial services company.
Since finishing her long career in the City, Anita has helped to set up a small rural Heritage Centre, where she worked as an Administrator during its embryonic stages. She joined the Fifth Trust as a volunteer in 2012. Inspired by its work, she was keen to contribute more and, in 2013, she joined our Board of Trustees.
Lesley has worked for NatWest Bank, now the Royal Bank of Scotland, since she left school. She currently works at the Cranbrook branch.
Lesley’s brother is a resident of Bridge House and her sister is a resident of Broadstreet House. She was invited to become a Trustee in 2013.
Lesley lives in Cranbrook with her husband and they have two grown up children. Her interests include classic sports cars, walking, gardening, cooking and music.
After her daughters were born, Sue became a stay at home Mum, doing some part time jobs. She was clerk to her Parish Council, assistant in her village Post Office and worked in a local nursing home.
Her voluntary roles include spells as a school governor and PTA secretary. She was also a member of the local Mencap Society, participating in a number of its steering groups, where she was instrumental in setting up independent housing for adults with learning disabilities. She was also involved in the running of the local Gateway Club. During this time she gained A Levels in English Literature and History and was part of a pilot OU course on learning disabilities.
Sue is married to a retired police officer and has two daughters. Her elder daughter has been living happily at Broadstreet House for almost 19 years. Sue has two grandchildren living in Germany.
Sue enjoys reading, cooking, needlework but her abiding passion is for family history, which she has been doing for about 25 years.
Anne lives in Detling and has three adult children. One of her sons is a resident at Valley House and she has been a Director of the FI(5) Board since 2010.
She has been involved in voluntary work since she began a playgroup for disabled children and siblings in 1966 – an innovation in those days.
As well as voluntary work with various associations, whilst her children were young she worked part time in university administration. Later she became a teacher and taught for many years until retirement.
Anne enjoys reading, doing crosswords and writing children’s stories.
Beckie Whelton has been working in the field of learning disabilities since 1998. She began as a support worker, working her way up to deputy manager of a service supporting young adults with learning disabilities. In 2003, Beckie moved into research in this field. She joined the Tizard Centre in 2003 working with Professor Mansell and Professor Julie Beadle-Brown on an evaluation of Person Centred Active Support (PCAS) training. Beckie remains there to this day.
Beckie has a BA in psychology and social studies, is a qualified trainer in PCAS, and is undertaking an MA in intellectual and developmental disabilities. She continues to advocate for people with learning disabilities.
Beckie joined the Trust in November 2017.
(Company Secretary and Fundraiser)
Maureen worked in personnel management for the John Lewis Partnership before raising her family. After a career break she joined a London-based merger and acquisition firm as an associate specialising in the recruitment sector.
Her involvement with charity work began in the 1960s and 70s when she was an active member and hon treasurer of her local Red Cross. She then became hon secretary of the Sevenoaks branch of the Leukaemia Research Fund, and continued in this role for over 30 years. In 1984 she became the fundraiser for Spadework, a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, and held this position for 30 years.
Maureen started fundraising for The Fifth Trust in 1989 and became its secretary in January 1992. When the Trust converted to a charitable company in 2010 she was appointed the Company Secretary.
She lives in Sevenoaks with her husband John. They have a daughter and three grandchildren.
DR DAVID OLIVER
David Oliver retired from the full time position as Consultant Physician in Palliative Medicine at the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester, Kent in 2016 but remains active as an Honorary Professor at the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent. He had trained at first as a GP and worked at St Christopher’s Hospice, with Dame Cicely Saunders, before his appointment at the Wisdom Hospice in 1984.
He has lectured and published widely on neurological palliative care, particularly on the care of people with motor neurone disease. He is chair of the EAPC Reference Group on Neurology and Palliative Care and member of the Reference Group on Intellectual Disability and Palliative care.
He has two sons and 4 grandchildren – in Southampton and Edinburgh. He is also a trustee for the Mortimer Society, which runs two care homes in the Medway area. He and his partner live in Rochester and enjoy gardening, swimming and walking. David joined the Trust in June 2018.
Paul is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and a Director of a Canterbury based Construction Consultancy. His career has spanned over 30 years in the construction profession and includes a diverse range of projects, especially across Kent, including the Turner Gallery, University of Kent and Shepway Sports Trust. He joined the company in the late 80’s as a trainee and was given the opportunity to purchase the business 7 years ago.
Paul lives in Folkestone and is married to Tereasa and has three daughters; Isobel who is currently at Portsmouth University studying Building Surveying, Beth who goes to Wyvern School in Ashford and has Downs Syndrome, and Amelia who is in primary school and loves Karate! The family has previously been foster parents to a number of children with special needs, and love living near the coast.
Paul believes that he can bring to the Trust the skills that he has developed over his career as a business man and building professional, along with the family connection, matching the Trust’s vision. Paul joined the Trust in June 2018.