Dr Sindy Newman
Steering committee chair
Dr Sindy Newman is a physician specialising in medical obesity, and has four practices across the north-west of England. In addition to coordinating many British Red Cross events, Sindy recently raised thousands of pounds for the Kim Foundation for Children Victims of War by organising a charity ball at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom. The guest of honour, Miss Kim Phuc - UNESCO Goodwill Peace Ambassador - was a child victim of the Vietnam War and became known as ‘the girl in the picture' when she was burned in a napalm attack. Sindy, is a close friend of Kim Phuc, and is the UK partner for the Kim Foundation.
Sindy has been the British Red Cross president for Lancashire since 2010. She lives in Lancashire and has three children.
Lifetime member and steering committee
Anne Balfour and her husband, Andrew, have supported the British Red Cross for over 20 years, making it their charity of choice for donations to overseas disasters and emergencies. More recently, as Andrew has now retired as a partner of a leading City law firm and all three of their children have left school, both Anne and Andrew have been able to become much more actively involved.
Since leaving her job as a corporate financier in an investment bank in the late 1980’s, Anne has dedicated her time to raising a family and doing voluntary work, mainly for the local church. In particular, she has led and run a weekly service for under-fives for over ten years. Anne has also hosted several fund raising events at their home in mid-Essex, opens the garden to the public once a year and organises a number of regular and one-off events for her immediate locality.
Margaret Johnson, OBE
Steering committee member
Margaret was born in Spain and spent much of her childhood there and in Mexico, before moving to Scotland where she attended Edinburgh University. Margaret joined the creative agency, Leagas Delaney, in 1995 as head of planning, and was promoted to group planning director in 1997 - responsible for research and strategy across all its offices. In 2002, Margaret became the agency’s group managing director and in 2007, she became group CEO. Over the last few years Margaret has worked on many accounts including; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Patek Philippe and Prudential.
Prior to joining the agency, Margaret worked twice on the client side at Unilever and Diageo. In 2006, Margaret was appointed as non-executive director of the Admiral Group, one of the UK’s top car insurance companies. Margaret and her husband Quentin have been married for fourteen years.
Steering committee member
India Gary-Martin’s career in financial services spans nearly 20 years and three continents. Though her formal training was history and pre-law, her first professional role was in the technology training programme at Morgan Stanley. India later joined Lehman Brothers as the European chief information officer for the Mortgage Capital Division (then The Royal Bank of Scotland) to run the largest of the RBS/ABN merger integration programs.
India is currently the global head of central operations and change management for JP Morgan’s Investment Bank. In this role, she is responsible for the delivery of the strategic agenda for the 15,000 person Technology and Operations division.
India has been awarded numerous awards for her work in diversity including; Outstanding Contribution to Diversity (Women in Banking and Finance) and Best Female Technologist (European Banking Technology Magazine). India has been named on the ‘Powerlist’ for 2 years running, recognising her as one of the 100 most influential black people in the UK. She is the chair of the board of trustees of the LEAP charity, and is also the president of the City Women’s Network.
Originally from Scotland, Amanda trained in Dublin and became a social worker. After having three novels published, she read English at Oxford and took a post graduate degree in creative writing before becoming a part-time further education tutor.
She has been the sole proprietor of a large farm in Buckinghamshire since 1976 and is starting a grain treatment business. After 32 years as a magistrate, she became High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire before being invited to become British Red Cross branch president.
Amanda is also involved in the welfare of prisoners. She is interested in all aspects of literature and drama, enjoying music and dance. Amanda and her husband John have been married for 43 years and have 3 adult children.
Hilary Douglas, CB
Hilary Douglas is a British Red Cross President in Surrey. Her career in Government began in education policy and legislation, and she then moved into operational management, leadership development and major change projects, including responsibility for the cross-sector Top Management Programme at the Cabinet Office. She subsequently held COO-type roles on the executive committees of the Department for Education, HM Treasury and the Department for Business, with particular emphasis on efficiency savings and capacity-building.
Hilary is a qualified coach and now works with Praesta Partners, a firm of executive coaches supporting senior leaders in the private, public and voluntary sectors. She recently co-authored a research report on the issues which 120 senior women brought to coaching in the course of a year.
As well as her work with the Red Cross, Hilary serves as a trustee of the Charity for Civil Servants (supporting the lowest paid staff when they hit personal crises) and of Surrey Jobmatch (helping ex-offenders to find work and thus reduce the chances that they will reoffend). She is governor of a multicultural primary school at Kings Cross.
Hilary and her husband, Rob, met at University, and his corporate career involved family commuting at various times to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. They have two married sons, one in the UK and one in Hong Kong.
Quenelda was President of BRC Sussex from 2005-2011 and lives in Sussex and London.
She read anthropology at University College London, where she was elected UCL Union Vice President. After working for an MP and The National Trust, she went with her 3 children and husband (who was working for Lloyds Bank International) to live in Rio de Janeiro and then Paris.
Since returning to the UK 20 years ago, Quenelda has been very involved in the voluntary sector as a CAB adviser, a Trustee of Sussex Emmaus (charity for the homeless) and a Board member at Lewes Prison. She is on the Advisory Council of Chichester Cathedral Trust, on a Brighton & Sussex Medical School development group, is an active local hospices’ supporter and a school governor. She is the Founder Chair of the East Sussex Women of the Year Lunch (Hon Patron HRH Duchess of Cornwall), which raises funds for charities connected with women’s issues.
Quenelda’s son, Tom, is the youngest Briton to have walked to the North and South Poles. Tom named an 18,000 ft mountain in Kyrghystan after her, when he was the first to climb it in 2000.
Leyla Marrs lives in Lancashire and is the Managing Director of the Orchard Lodge Care Home.
As an artist and a qualified teacher, Donna Bompas combines her two passions by running an art school from her studio in Chislehurst, South East London. She teaches over 120 students, from pre-school age to adults. Her art covers a range of mediums with pottery as her specialism.
Donna is closely involved in Chislehurst’s community life. For many years she has initiated and organised large scale creative community events, including an open air cinema and the multi award winning Chislehurst Big Draw. These are both annual events held on the local Common, and require the assembling and motivating of large teams of volunteers, local organisations and businesses.
Her commitment to the community, in particular to local children, is evident from her position as Beaver Scout Leader, Sunday School teacher, and Primary School Governor, as well as her managing of the local schools’ children’s annual academic and creative projects competition.
Donna is an American, married to an Englishman and they have raised three children now in their twenties. Her father was a corporate fundraiser and a donor to the American Red Cross. Donna and her husband have followed his example by supporting the British Red Cross since their marriage thirty two years ago.
Barbara is a founding member of the Nashville, Tennessee, Tiffany Circle and also a Red Cross Chapter Board Member. The mission of the Red Cross resonates with her care taker personality and her profession as a Registered Nurse for 18 years. She has enjoyed her involvement with the Tiffany Circle and members, helping it grow, helping raise money to meet the Red Crosses defined objectives and as of late the International Committee.
Since she enjoys visiting the UK, she has become a member of the Tiffany Circle of the British Red Cross as well.
Barbara and her husband Jack, have lived in Tennessee since 1988 after living in 5 states and 9 cities in their corporate gypsy days. They have an adult son Richard and a daughter-in- law Sara. Barbara divides her volunteer efforts between service and the arts.
Kyra Dickinson, OBE
Kyra was born in Monte-Carlo and brought up partly in Paris and Switzerland with most holidays spent in Monte-Carlo. Her mother was White Russian and her father half Dutch and half French. She speaks 3 languages fluently.
Kyra first became involved with the Red Cross at the age of 16, helping out at the Monte-Carlo Red Cross Ball, which still takes place on the first Friday of August every year.
Having been a Red Cross volunteer for many years, she became Deputy President of the Northumbria Branch in 1992 and then President from 1994 until 2011. She has been very involved with expanding the Open Garden Scheme, which originally started in Northumberland in 1932, and the scheme is now a successful fundraiser nationwide. Kyra was awarded the Badge of Honour for Distinguished service in 1997 and the OBE in 2002. She is passionate about the Red Cross and wishes to continue to help in any way she can.
Kyra is a keen swimmer and skier and enjoys walking with her dogs. She also loves opera, ballet, concerts and traveling. After finishing her studies in Paris, Kyra married Robert Dickinson, an English lawyer, and moved to Northumberland where they still live, as well as spending about two days a week in London. They have three grown children and eleven grandchildren.
Alda is Group Supply Chain Director at the Arcadia Group and also serves as the Deputy Chair for Fashion Footprint, an internal group which ensures that Arcadia’s business practices demonstrate a responsible attitude towards people and the environment.’ Alda is a long-time friend of the Red Cross.
Mrs Elspeth Straker
Elspeth was recently appointed President of the Northumbria Branch of the British Red Cross. She has been involved for many years with the charity and was Chairman of her local fund raising committee. The first major event she is organising this year, is a concert at The Sage, Gateshead on April 11th
© InfoElspeth is Canadian and was born in Montreal. She met and married an Englishman who was at university in Canada and moved to Northumberland in 1973. Her husband, Henry, who was a lawyer in Newcastle, died in 2010 after enduring Multiple Sclerosis for 34 years. During their life together, she ran a small business, but when Henry began to deteriorate she had to curtail her activities in order to devote more time to him. However, she did find time for the Red Cross. Henry and Elspeth always worked as a team for charities specifically related to the disabled. One of the highlights of their life together was a trip to the North Pole in 1990 to meet Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who set a world record for unsupported northerly polar travel. This trip raised a great deal of money for The Calvert Trust which runs holidays for the disabled. Their motto is "It's not what you can't do, but what you can".
Since her husband's untimely death she is pleased to have been given the opportunity to become more involved with the Red Cross. She has two children and four grandchildren and enjoys skiing, tennis, golf and sings in her local choir.
Dame Margaret Barbour
© InfoDame Margaret Barbour was appointed to the Board of Directors of J Barbour & Sons in 1968 following the sudden death of her husband John Barbour. In 1973 she became Chairman and under her stewardship has led the company through some of the most exciting times in its long history. In 1988, Dame Margaret founded the Barbour Trust (now called the Barbour Foundation) gifting 20% of the company shares to the Trust. To date, the Foundation has made grants of upwards of £8million mainly to North East charities and towards various cultural projects such as the Sage, Newcastle Theatre Royal and Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences.
In October 1999, Dame Margaret set up the Women’s Fund to support organizations delivering benefit and social well-being to women in the local Tyne & Wear and Northumberland communities and in 2001, along with her daughter Helen, she initiated the Nancy Barbour Award in memory of her mother-in-law, to help women play a more active part in their communities.
In February 2013, Dame Margaret celebrated 40 years as Chairman, a testament to her hard work and dedication. Together with her daughter Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, she continues to lead the company into its second century of operations pledging to continue to meet the needs of its customers through growth and new product introductions while also adhering to the standards of quality and service established by John Barbour more than 100 years ago.
Dr Maggie Cochrane
© InfoDr Maggie Cochrane has been a GP in South London for many years. She has a special interest in children’s and women’s health.
Having worked in an area with significant social deprivation, she has experience of working with families in difficulty and vulnerable women, many of whom have come as refugees or asylum seekers.
Maggie is involved in teaching and training healthcare professionals. She is also a firm believer that all people should be trained in first aid, so that they have the confidence to take control and react to an emergency.
Maggie is married to James, who was Chair of the British Red Cross from 2006 to 2012, and so is very aware of the variety and scope of services and support offered by the Red Cross, both in the UK and worldwide. James and Maggie live in SW London. They have four adult daughters, and five grandchildren.
Lady Angela Lamport
Tiffany Circle Ambassador and Trustee, British Red Cross
Following a career in the Foreign Office, including overseas postings in the US, Middle East and Italy, Angela worked for various organisations in London and was also a school governor.
She later became a teacher of English as a foreign language, working with Bosnian refugees and a wide range of international students. She joined the Red Cross in 2003 as President for Surrey. She has been a successful fundraiser and organiser of high profile events and has been instrumental in establishing the British Red Cross Tiffany Circle.
She is a member of the Red Cross Psychosocial Support Team which works with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to support British nationals in crisis overseas, and was deployed recently in Libya. She is due to retire from the board at the end of December 2013.
Special advisor to the steering committee
Meredeth Moss is the director of the Tiffany & Co. Bond Street store. She was one of the founding members of the Arizona Tiffany Circle in the USA.
Meredeth and her husband Jim moved to the UK in September 2011.
Special advisor to the steering committee
Alisa Swidler campaigns across a host of global humanitarian issues, most recently for off-grid access to food, energy and medicine in Liberia and Syria.
She has ongoing partnerships with President Clinton, Prince William of the Czech Republic, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Richard Branson, President Sirleaf-Johnson, Mayor Boris Johnson and Charlize Theron. Alisa and Eva Longoria recently Executive Produced Food Chains, a documentary on migrant farm workers in Florida which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival.
Alisa is a Trustee of The Zeitz Foundation, The Last Mile Health Consortium in Liberia and Millennium Promise UK. She is an Advisor to the Czech Royal Family, the I Am Eco Warrior Project, PositiveLuxury.com, the sustainable luxury brands Maiyet, Eden Diodati & Lucy Annabella Organics and the legendary skin care line, Erno Laszlo. Alisa is married to a Portfolio Manager and has 5 young children. Originally from New York City, she has lived outside of London for the past 12 years.
Nilufer Von Bismarck