Our trustees

The Pear Tree Fund

The Pear Tree Centre

Introducing our trustees

Say hello to The Pear Tree Fund's trustees!

Dr 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."

Jane Edwards

Jane Edwards

Former nursing sister Jane is a founder member of our charity, who joined forces with Nikki Sawkins to set up HCNCF in 1989 after recognising a gap in provision for people who wished to die at home.

She said: "We hope that the Pear Tree Centre is helping to fill the void which patients and their families can feel when they are first diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

"As well as allowing us to offer services to people living in the very rural area around Halesworth, the centre acts as a listening hub and provides information for all manner of conditions. We hope this will empower patients and their families to make their own informed decisions about their future wishes while feeling supported along the way."

Ted Edwards

Ted is a qualified accountant who spent his career in a variety of senior positions in commerce, including financial director and group financial controller. He joined our committee in 2011 and became a trustee in 2012, and offers financial expertise and advice to boost our fundraising.

“I’m proud of everything the charity has achieved towards improving healthcare provision in Halesworth," said Ted. 

Ted Edwards
Philip King

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."

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.”

Howard Tidman Portraits1

Howard Tidman

Howard is a registered mental health nurse. He has worked for the local NHS mental health trust for more than two decades and is currently its lead governor.

Howard has spent many years working in the crisis team in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. He also lectures twice a year at the University of East Anglia to doctors who are in training to become GPs.

"I really admire the Pear Tree Fund," said Howard. "Its great to be part of an organisation that works so hard for local people."

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

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The Pear Tree Fund's latest news

Learn what's happening in and around our fund.

Dedicated duo bid farewell

A husband-and-wife team who have helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for the Pear Tree Fund are retiring after together clocking up nearly 45 years’ service with the charity. Ted and Jane Edwards will step down as trustees of ... Read More

Generous grant to help the community get cooking

People who have lost a loved one can now socialise with others and boost their wellbeing by taking part in special cooking classes organised by the Pear Tree Fund. The ‘cooking for one’ sessions will give people who have recently ... Read More

PTF’s thanks for golfers’ support

Generous golfers have presented the Pear Tree Fund with a cheque for £2,000 to help the charity continue its vital work supporting local people with life-changing illnesses. The donation comes after Rob Sherington, men’s captain at Halesworth Golf Ltd, selected ... Read More

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