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Our trustees

Our Board of Trustees are a group of volunteers responsible for our strategy and for making sure we are best meeting the needs of people affected by blood cancer.

John Ormerod


John became our Chair in September 2018 and has extensive experience of non-executive roles across the private, public and charity sectors.

About John

After studying physics at university, he spent over 30 years with accounting firms Arthur Andersen, where he became UK Managing Partner, and Deloitte, as Senior Partner for the London Practice.

Since then he has had a number of non-executive positions, including: Non-Executive Director of ITV PLC; Board member of Transport for London; Non-Executive Director of Gemalto NV and Constellium NV; and trustee of the Roundhouse Trust and the Design Museum.

Tim Gillbanks


Tim is a Chartered Accountant, with 30 years’ experience in the financial services and investments industry.

About Tim

Most recently Tim spent 13 years at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, initially as Chief Financial Officer, then Chief Operating Officer and finally as interim Chief Executive Officer. Tim is also Director of TR Property Investment Trust PLC and of Henderson Global Investors Limited.

Frances Balkwill


Frances Balkwill is a Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, and Deputy Lead of the Centre for the Tumour Microenvironment.

About Frances

Frances is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was awarded an OBE in 2008.

In 2015 she was made a Doctor of Science honoris causa by the University of Bristol, and in 2017 was awarded the Cancer Research UK Inspiring Leadership in Research Engagement Prize.

Alastair Boyle


Ally spent 21 years as a firefighter but in 2008 he was diagnosed with a blood cancer (myelodysplasia) and had to retire from the job he loved in 2014.

About Alastair

As a result of his diagnosis, Ally established a partnership between the Fire and Rescue Service and the charity Anthony Nolan, which educates young people about stem cell, blood and organ donation and recruits them onto the stem cell register.

He is passionate about Patient and Public Involvement and provides input to several charities, research studies and committees. He is a Non-Executive Director of Scotland’s third largest NHS Board, NHS Lanarkshire, and was awarded an MBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to charity.

Simon Guild


After graduating with a degree in modern languages, Simon spent 5 years in management consulting before 14 years in television with MTV Networks Europe where he became CEO.

About Simon

Since 2007 Simon has been working with a range of early stage digital businesses as Advisor and Non-Executive Director. He is currently a Director of two German businesses, Babbel and Spreadshirt.

He is also Chairman of 8Fit, an online fitness company; Boilerjuice, a platform for buying domestic heating oil; Picfair, a photography platform, and Get Licensed, an occupational license business. He holds an MBA from Insead.

Jasmine Handford


Jasmine joined the Board in January 2021. She is a full-time MSc Cancer student at University College London, having previously completed her undergraduate degree specialising in Neurobiology at the University of Cambridge

About Jasmine

In March 2020, she co-founded CoronaUnity (now One Consulting), a non-profit organisation providing pro-bono consultancy services to third sector organisations. Jasmine was Head of Operations for the team for 6 months before taking on an advisory role.

Christine Harrison


Christine is Professor of Childhood Cancer Cytogenetics at Newcastle University, with 40 years’ experience in genetics of leukaemia and lymphoma.

About Christine

Christine is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She has been a Researcher and Ambassador of Blood Cancer UK for the last 30 years, leading international projects towards improving therapy, particularly for children with leukaemia.

Jules Hillier


Jules has more than 20 years' experience in senior management roles in the charity sector and is currently chief executive of Pause, a charity working with vulnerable women.

About Jules

Jules has worked across a range of causes in health, education and young people’s services. In 2002, Jules was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. After several cycles of treatment, remission and relapse, she had a stem cell transplant in 2007 and is now considered cured.

Louise Lai


Louise joined our Board in January 2021 and has worked in the not-for-profit sector for most of career.

About Louise

Inspired by youth volunteering and the desire to have a positive impact in her profession, Louise has worked both on the charity and agency side. Louise is Transformation Director at Manifesto, helping transform not-for-profit organisations; from their culture and organisational design to their technology and digital capabilities to drive sustainable change.

She has a wealth of experience working across UK and International Charity programmes at a strategic level spanning a multitude of areas including strategy, fundraising, brand, innovation, advocacy and campaigning. Alongside this, she is a professional mentor and founded a global mentoring community to support women in the social good space.

Claude Littner


Claude is a successful entrepreneur and investor with 50 years’ experience. He specialises in distressed companies and has been involved in numerous corporate turnarounds throughout Europe and the States. 

About Claude

Claude acquired and later floated Powerleague plc, was Chairman of ASCO plc and deputy chairman of Blacks Leisure plc.

Claude is a long-time business associate of Lord Sugar, and has served as chairman of a number of his companies. Claude came to prominence as the tough interviewer on BBC 1's ‘The Apprentice’, as well as sitting alongside Karren Brady, as Lord Sugar’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the show. He also served as Chief Executive of Tottenham Hotspur plc when Lord Sugar was Chairman.

In 2014, the University of West London renamed the business school ‘The Claude Littner Business School’ in appreciation of his business success and contribution to the University. He is a Visiting Professor at the University.

Steve Prescott-Jones


Steve has been a volunteer for Blood Cancer UK for 24 years, starting as a member of his local branch after going into remission from acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL).

About Steve

Steve then became a Regional Chair for Blood Cancer UK and in November 2017 joined the Board. Steve has spent the last two decades working in technology for organisations such as EDS, HP and Fujitsu. He is Head of Infrastructure and Shared Services at Imperial College.

Steve still fundraises with his local branch and has cycled London to Paris, Ride London, along with coast to coast rides for Blood Cancer UK and is the Trustee representative for our Public Fundraising portfolio.

Amir Sethu

Amir is the co-founder and CEO of Lendurance – a purpose led, fintech business that supports SMEs in Asia by drawing on insights from Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data.

About Amir

Prior to setting up Lendurance, Amir was a management consultant at KPMG where he advised clients on risk and governance, business change and culture, customer journeys and innovation, and responsible business.

Amir is a Chartered Accountant, having started his career at PwC, and spent 7 years at Brit Insurance, where he supported the board to deliver its strategy by building effective governance and internal controls.

Julia Whittaker


Julia joined the Board in 2017 having previously chaired the Grimsby fundraising committee for Blood Cancer UK.

About Julia

Jane has been a lay member of Council for the University of Hull since 2014, and is a trustee of Lincolnshire Cares, a charity which aims to reduce isolation and loneliness in older people in the local community.

She spent the majority of her career at regional law firm Wilkin Chapman LLP where she was CEO and Partner. Her qualifications include a BSc from the University of St Andrews, MBA from the University of Hull and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Gemma Peters


Gemma is Chief Executive and a trustee of Blood Cancer UK.

About Gemma

Gemma joined the charity as CEO in September 2017 and has led the organisation through an ambitious transformation programme.

She has had a varied career working across the charity, higher education and health sectors. Most recently at King’s College London and King’s Health Partners as Executive Director of Fundraising & Supporter Development where she conceived and led the World questions | King’s Answers campaign, which raised over £610m and changed the lives of people around the world.

Gemma spent 7 years as a trustee at ActionAid UK and joined the Board of Blood Cancer UK in May 2020.