12 Sussex charity movers and shakers

PUBLISHED: 10:32 28 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:32 28 April 2016

Ryan Heal speaking at the Midsummer Ball launch in 2015

Ryan Heal speaking at the Midsummer Ball launch in 2015


Here we celebrate some of the people that work tirelessly to make Sussex a better place to live. It is not an exhaustive list, so do let us know who you think we’ve missed out and we’ll cover them in a future issue

Ryan Heal has been CEO of Brighton-based children’s charity Rockinghorse since September 2012. Before that he was Managing Director of local radio station Juice 107.2FM for six years. His move to Rockinghorse Children’s Charity was prompted by his son John, eight, who was diagnosed with a rare blood condition called ITP, which has resulted in ongoing treatment at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Royal Alex) in Brighton, of which the charity is the official fundraising arm.

In 2009, Ryan set up a charity sporting lunch called Best of British. The eighth annual event takes place at The Grand Hotel in Brighton in June and over seven years it has raised an incredible £500,000 for Sussex charities including The Special Olympics of Brighton and Hove, Chestnut Tree House, and Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.

Since he began his role in 2012, Ryan has taken part in three Brighton Half Marathons, including this year’s race. He also completed the London Marathon in 2015. Ryan scooped the Greatest Individual Contribution to Sussex Charity award at the Sussex Business Awards last year.

Ryan Heal speaking at the Midsummer Ball launch in 2015Ryan Heal speaking at the Midsummer Ball launch in 2015

Sadie Mason has been Chief Executive at Active Sussex since 2005, having held previous roles with Sport England (formerly known as the English Sports Council) and Basketball Scotland. A former international basketball player, Sadie is a qualified basketball coach and referee who helps her local women’s basketball club in Eastbourne in her spare time. For the last five years she has been the England U18 Women’s Basketball Team Manager. They compete at the European Champions every summer.

Sadie is a strong advocate for physical activity, and all the benefits it can bring to an individual and community. Active Sussex is a charitable trust which exists to help more children and adults in Sussex become more physically active through sport. Their work currently focuses on children and young people, and people with disabilities.

In June 2014, Sadie was awarded an MBE for Services to Sport, which was presented by HRH Prince William at investiture in November 2014.

Sadie MasonSadie Mason

Dr John Godfrey DL, from Arundel, is Chair of Sussex Heritage Trust, a charity established in 1977 to preserve, improve and encourage the appreciation of the architectural and natural landscape of Sussex. The charity is best known for the annual Sussex Heritage Trust Awards, which are designed to recognise and reward high quality conservation and restoration and the good design of newly built projects, and to encourage the use of traditional skills and crafts.

Dr Godfrey is a former Chief Executive of the Sussex Police Authority and spent 40 years in local government, mainly in Sussex, before retiring in 2010. A Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex, he is a Vice-President of the Sussex Association of Local Councils.

He is also Vice-Chairman of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, recent recipient of a £4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards The Gateway Project, an ambitious development project to significantly enhance the experience of visitors to the museum. Heavily involved in many national and local voluntary activities, Dr Godfrey is a member of the Council of the National Trust, a Trustee of the Hanover Band Foundation and a former Trustee of the South Downs Society.

Dr John GodfreyDr John Godfrey

Jamie Watton is CEO and Artistic Director at South East Dance, a leading arts organisation and registered charity. South East Dance is focused on developing dance locally, in the South East region, and further afield across the UK, Europe and beyond.

Jamie is responsible for the strategic and artistic development of South East Dance, which supports artists and projects that make a difference in local communities. Jamie is currently leading a project to build The Dance Space – a new creative home for dance in Brighton & Hove. Due to open in 2018, The Dance Space will be an important addition to Brighton’s cultural infrastructure, open to people of all ages and abilities. The space will also be a venue for artists to teach, choreograph and collaborate. The £3.5m project is part of the wider regeneration of Brighton’s Circus Street area.

As well as his role at South East Dance, Jamie is also a Trustee at Sick! Festival and Candoco Dance Company.

Jamie WattonJamie Watton

Dr Tony Whitbread joined Sussex Wildlife Trust in 1991, originally as Head of Conservation, and was a key contributor to the Trust’s ground-breaking report ‘A Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex’ which set out an ambitious and positive environmental agenda for the county.

He became Chief Executive in 2006 and is a national spokesman on woodland issues for The Wildlife Trusts, having also been part of a variety of forums, including the Forestry Commission’s Advisory Panel, Wildlife Link Forestry Group, the England Woodland Biodiversity Group.

As well as numerous regional, county and local committees, such as Environment Agency Committees, Woodland Forums, the South East England Biodiversity Forum and Local Nature Reserve Advisory Committees.

Dr Tony WhitbreadDr Tony Whitbread

Kathy Gore was the worthy winner of the Pride of Sussex award at last year’s Celebration of Sussex Life Awards. Kathy moved to Sussex with husband Jack in 1993, before which she worked in London for a US Investment Bank.

She was a Trustee of the Martlets Hospice from 2000 to 2010 and has also been a Trustee of the Sussex Beacon and Sussex Community Foundation. Kathy, who is a Patron of Chestnut Tree House and the Martlets Hospice, helped set up Friends of Sussex Hospices 21 years ago to represent the 12 hospice care providers in Sussex.

Originally serving just East Sussex, it expanded last year to include neighbouring West Sussex, meaning this fundraising and awareness-boosting organisation will be able to help even more people. Kathy became a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex in 2006 and was High Sheriff in from 2011/2012. She was made an OBE in last year’s New Year’s Honours.

Kathy GoreKathy Gore

Paula Woolven is Founder and Director of Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors (SMTJ), a community charity youth theatre for 85 young people from the Havens area of East Sussex that aims to build confidence, creativity and consideration for others.

Since its inception in 2011, the group has won a clutch of awards, including an Inspiring Project Award from the British Youth Council for encouraging exciting and innovative youth participation in 2012, Spark Network Award and East Sussex Youth Awards in 2014 and, last year, a Celebration of Sussex Life Award for Services to the Community and a BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey Arts Award.

Paula is also Community Manager for CTLA (Community Transport) charity for the Lewes District.

Paula Woolven (third from right) winning Services to the Community at the Celebration of Sussex Life Awards 2015Paula Woolven (third from right) winning Services to the Community at the Celebration of Sussex Life Awards 2015

Imelda Glackin, Martlets CEO, qualified as a Registered General Nurse in Dublin in 1987 before working in Hematology and Oncology in The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead and Kings College Hospital. After discovering her passion for palliative and end of life care Imelda spent the next seven years working for Marie Curie in London.

In 2003 Imelda joined the Martlets team to help set up the new Hospice at Home service and thanks to her input it’s now a well-established hospice service that enables Martlets patients to choose where they would like to spend their final days. Last year Hospice at Home nursing staff cared for nearly 400 patients in the comfort of their own homes.

Imelda was instrumental in the setup of the Palliative Care Partnership, a ground-breaking partnership between Martlets and NHS Sussex Community Trust Palliative Care team that provides 24 hour specialist support for patients, carers and healthcare professionals.

Imelda GlackinImelda Glackin

Elizabeth Bennett DL moved to Sussex when she was two. Originally a news reporter, following her marriage she concentrated on bringing up four children.

For the past 25 years, she has dedicated herself to voluntary work. The list of organisations she has volunteered with over the years is phenomenal. They range from helping to set up Crawley Open House, a homeless hostel, and Mid Downs Crossroads, a carers’ respite service, to being a trustee of numerous charities, including Sussex Community Foundation.

Elizabeth became Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex in 2008 and was High Sheriff of West Sussex in 2010-2011.

Elizabeth Bennett DLElizabeth Bennett DL

Steve Manwaring has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years.

He was one of Sussex Community Foundation’s founder trustees, a former Deputy Leader of a local authority and is now Director of Hastings Voluntary Action.

Steve was instrumental in setting up the Hastings Community Network, involved in negotiating the handover of Jackson Hall as a community resource and represents the sector on both the Local Strategic Partnership and also the East Sussex Strategic Partnership.

Steve ManwaringSteve Manwaring

Nathan Roberts is the Chief Executive of abandofbrothers, a charity that is based in Brighton, Eastbourne and Crawley. They transform the lives of young male ex-prisoners through rites of passage work. Formerly an IT manager and Raleigh International facilitator, he is passionate about the possibility of personal transformation, creating community through intense experiences.

Nathan was a runner up in the Sunday Times Change-Maker Awards 2014 and abandofbrothers was awarded The Queen’s Award For Voluntary Service 2015.

Brian O’Hagan is the founder of Reaching Families, a charity that supports parents and families of children with special needs in West Sussex. Brian’s son James, now nine, has cerebral palsy. Brian felt fortunate enough to have a strong network of family and friends but wondered what it might be like for those parents who may not be so well connected. Eight years on, Reaching Families supports around 1,000 families a year. Brian is also a trustee of Contact a Family and the Springboard Project.


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