What inspires our trustees?

News and Blog

This week is Trustees Week (from 6-10 November) an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of trustees across the UK. Did you know there are nearly a million trustees in the UK alone? 

At St Catherine’s we have 11 dedicated trustees, who all volunteer their time to make sure that everything we do, and achieve, is of the very best quality. 

The hard work of trustees can often go under the radar. So, we decided to ask a few of our trustees about their role and what inspired them to become involved with the hospice: 

Di Riley: Trustee since 2022

“Having retired from my career working in health care, specifically in the cancer field, I felt it was time to give something back to all the amazing patients, families, and work colleagues I had the privilege to work alongside. 

“In my role I most enjoy meeting people who have been supported by the dedicated teams at St Catherine’s and hearing their stories.  I am also very proud to be part of bringing the new St Catherine’s Hospice to Pease Pottage. 

“I have been surprised by how much I have learnt about St Catherine’s over the last year, especially in relation to fundraising, an area I knew very little about.  I have equally enjoyed volunteering alongside other volunteers and staff and hearing their stories.  This was especially so with the Christmas present wrapping at County Mall last December and participating in the Jurassic Coast Trek in July.” 

Nicky Neal-Smith: Trustee since 2017

“Being a trustee at St Catherine’s is without a doubt the most engaging and rewarding role that I have had.  It involves a lot of work but is well worth it. 

“Having spent most of my life in the Crawley and Horsham area, I have always had a close association with St Catherine’s, it cared for both my grandparents when I was young, and several of my friends and their families. I became a trustee to support a charity I felt passionately about, using the skills and experience I had gained in both my personal and professional life.   

“I have really enjoyed working on the New Build Project Board, giving me an opportunity to be part of creating a legacy that will benefit future generations. I also love being part of the wider volunteer community at St Catherine’s. I have met so many wonderful people who I am lucky enough to now call friends and am constantly in awe of their own personal stories for why they volunteer.  They really are so inspiring.” 

John Abbott: Trustee since 2022

“The hospice cared for my wife at our home during COVID and my family and I will never forget the level of care provided. I became a trustee to do what I can to support the hospice. 

“I enjoy being part of a committed and very able board, and I personally enjoy being directly involved in various fundraising events, supported so well by the amazing volunteers. The oversight and progress of the new build has been my highlight over the last year or so, resulting in an incredible new environment for the hospice.” 


Alison Livesley: Trustee since 2016 

“My father died at just 60 from prostate cancer and it was a terrible time for us all as a family.  But the professional and compassionate way he was looked after by St Barnabas in Worthing helped so much. When I saw the trustee role at St Catherine’s, 25 years later, it was an opportunity to “repay” some of what hospice care meant for our family.   

“My professional career was as a planner and developer of major airport infrastructure, so it was a great opportunity to use some of my skills to help deliver our new building at Grace Holland Avenue. I feel a part of the whole St Catherine’s team of dedicated and committed staff and volunteers and I think the most satisfying part of my role using my experience to help St Catherine’s thrive.  

“Fairly early in my time with the hospice, I had an opportunity to shadow a clinical colleague on a home visit. We were there only about half an hour, but in that time she talked through their immediate needs, ensured all the equipment was working properly and arranged for some additional aids to be delivered.  She also spent time with the carer and made sure they were coping and provided the reassurance they clearly needed.  The family were so appreciative, and it was such a huge relief for them all.   

“That home visit has stayed with me throughout my time as a trustee. It was inspiring to see the wonderful care St Catherine’s provides.” 

Yolanda Fernandes: Trustee since 2022 

“As a West Sussex resident, I appreciate and value the end-of-life services, care and support the hospice aims to provide to patients and their families. I have lived experience of the benefits of sensitive, compassionate hospice care that both my late parents experienced, including the ongoing bereavement support I received to manage my personal grief. 

“In my role I enjoy engaging strategically with the Hospice Executive Team and working alongside staff in an advisory capacity. I help to further enhance the organisational capability and capacity to create new models of care, putting patients and their families at the heart of service delivery. It is a privilege to engage with staff and volunteers to ensure people we care for experience a culturally sensitive end of life journey with dignity, respect, compassion and support. 

“What has surprised me is the insight into the low NHS funding that hospices receive. I have also been surprised by the high level of trustee accountability, to ensure the hospice delivers its strategic objectives.”

Terry O’Leary: Chair of Trustees

“St Catherine’s cared for my wife Jenny from her diagnosis with a terminal illness through to her death in the hospice in March 2014, following which I supported the work of the hospice and became a trustee in 2016. 

“As the Chair of Trustees, I enjoy working with hospice staff, those who directly provide care and those who support this work in other ways. They all share a common passion for the work the hospice does in supporting patients and their loved ones when they most need it. 

“As part of my induction I went on home visits with our community clinical staff. It was a stand-out moment for me to see first-hand the amazing work they do, some of the daily challenges they face and the care and compassion they give.” 



Our sincere thanks go to all our trustees for all that they do for us. If you would like to know more about our trustees or if you are interested in becoming a trustee please contact us.