Our trustees

The Pear Tree Fund

The Pear Tree Centre

Introducing our trustees

Say hello to The Pear Tree Fund's trustees!


Catherine Boyle - deputy chair

Catherine brings more than 30 years of experience working in public health across government, the NHS and the charity sector.

"The Pear Tree Centre is a fantastic example of what can happen when a community works together," she said. "This includes the trustees, staff and local people, who so generously fundraise to help keep our doors open, as well as the dedicated volunteers who give their time to support our services and run Dee's Den.

"Every single person plays a very important part in providing support to local people when they need it the most."

“I first became aware of the Pear Tree Fund, and their incredible work in the community, through events held in my local village,” said Philip. “It is a real privilege to now be part of the Pear Tree team and I look forward to advising and supporting the charity going forward."

Philip King - treasurer

Philip is a qualified accountant and fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and has spent virtually his entire career to date working in public sector finance and accounting.

This has included both audit and accounting advisory roles for the Audit Commission and EY LLP. Philip currently holds a senior accounting and finance position at a large local authority. He became treasurer trustee at the Pear Tree Fund in October 2022 and brings knowledge and expertise of public and not-for-profit sector finance.

“I first became aware of the Pear Tree Fund, and their incredible work in the community, through events held in my local village,” said Philip. “It is a real privilege to now be part of the Pear Tree team and I look forward to advising and supporting the charity going forward."

Philip King

Dr Dinah Morley - chair

Dinah joined The Pear Tree Fund in January 2017 and was appointed chair in August 2021.

She brings with her experience of teaching, social services and health, having worked in education, youth services, community care, mental health services and the voluntary sector, both locally and nationally.

Dinah is a fellow of the Social Policy Unit of the Dartington Service Design Lab and a Suffolk governor of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

“It is good to be working with an organisation which is so important to people at their time of greatest need,” said Dinah. “We are very lucky to have such an amazing staff team and wonderful volunteers.

“It is an honour to be part of the trustee board which works hard to ensure the good governance of the fund and to support the work done by the staff and volunteers.”

Nikki Sawkins

A trained nurse and midwife, Nikki spent 28 years as a district nursing sister at Cutlers Hill Surgery before moving to the national Gold Standards Framework team for five years, where she worked as nurse lead and contributed to strategic developments in end-of-life care and dementia across the country.

Nikki is a founder member of our charity. Although she has now retired from full time work in the NHS, she continues to spend one day a week as a supportive care lead nurse in the Louise Hamilton Centre at James Paget Hospital. She also supports local and national developments in healthcare, and played an instrumental role in helping to establish the Halesworth Dementia Carers’ Fund.

“It is so heart-warming to hear that the care and support the charity gives to local families makes a difference to people’s lives at a time they most need it,” said Nikki. “I am very proud of what the charity has achieved over the years and excited about the future with the Pear Tree Centre being able to offer help and support to the wider community.”

Nikki Sawkins
Lucy Smith

Lucy Smith

Lucy has worked as a nurse for more than 20 years. She has experience in both the acute sector, at The Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and in community nursing, as well as school nursing and child safeguarding. Lucy is currently working in a disability assessment role.

"Having worked as a community nurse in Halesworth and Southwold, I understand the challenges which local people in a rural area face when accessing services," said Lucy.

"The Pear Tree Centre in Halesworth is such an asset and I am excited to be working with a great team of dedicated trustees, staff and volunteers to make sure these valuable services continue to be accessible to our community."

Debra Willetts

Debra has more than 30 years' experience as a procurement specialist working in various sectors ranging from private healthcare to IT systems.

She was inspired to join the Pear Tree Fund following a chance meeting with one of the charity's volunteers after she moved to Halesworth following her retirement.

"The more I looked into the Pear Tree Fund, the more interested I became," said Debra. "Every town should have a Pear Tree Centre and I am honoured to be a part of this amazing charity."

Debra Willets
Dr Guy Peryer square

Dr Guy Peryer

Guy is a chartered psychologist and a chartered scientist. He studied the psychology of music for his master’s degree and went on to complete a PhD in applied psychology and complex systems.

In 2023, Guy was awarded an advanced fellowship by the National Institute for Health and Care Research which will run until 2027. This work aims to mobilise death literacy knowledge across non-clinical community networks in the east of England.

As a Pear Tree Fund trustee, Guy hosts Compassionate Communities working groups.

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The Pear Tree Fund's latest news

Learn what's happening in and around our fund.

Popular pub smashes through £10k target

Staff at the Queen’s Head at Bramfield are celebrating after smashing through an ambitious target to raise more than £10,000 for a much-loved local charity. The popular pub chose the Pear Tree Fund as its charity of the year in ... Read More

Pub pins hopes on charity bookshop takeover

A pub restaurant in Bramfield is set to convert its restaurant into a full-size pop-up charity book shop to raise funds for the Pear Tree Fund. The Queen’s Head selected the Pear Tree Fund as its chosen charity just under ... Read More

Extra support with long-term conditions

We are launching a series of eight-week lifestyle programmes for people living with long-term conditions. The first group starts this week and will use health coaching to help people improve their health and happiness and relieve symptoms, while also benefitting ... Read More

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