Who’s Who

JAN HALL

Co-founder and Chair of Trustees

Jan Hall

Jan has recently retired, having been a Music Therapist since 1983. She has lived and worked within Northamptonshire since 1985.

Her passion has always been to promote access to music for all and to enable all children/young people to participate, regardless of any hurdles they may face. She believes that we should all have equal opportunities to be involved in musical activities and be provided with the tools (whether already existing to be developed) to show our creativity.

Jan has a particular interest in enabling all children/ young people to be able to communicate through their music by the use of switches, technology and specially adapted instruments alongside traditional the more traditional methods. She has spoken at courses and contributed to research and publications on this subject.

In 2004 Jan became increasingly aware that some children (like Thomas) were not able to benefit from Music Therapy due to long absences from school, often at a time when they may need it most. In order to address this issue, she liaised with Lucy Smith (Thomas’s mum) to set up and run Thomas’s Fund and to search for qualified therapists to undertake this important work. She has chaired and promoted Thomas’s Fund, since it started in 2007, and is very proud to do so.

LUCY SMITH

Co-founder and Trustees (Fundraising Coordinator)

Lucy Smith

Lucy is the mother of Thomas, in whose name the charity was founded, and Harry, who had the same undiagnosed neurodegenerative condition. Harry benefited from music therapy provided by Thomas’s Fund before his death in 2010. She is also the fundraising coordinator for Thomas’s Fund. She says,

“This is a role I can contribute to quite well because I’m the mum of Thomas and Harry. Music therapy is something that I can see the great benefits of for children like mine. Just watching the boys with the therapist you can see how they take the lead in the session, which for a severely disabled child doesn’t happen often. It is wonderful to see your child enjoying themselves and it gives great memories for the parents and family.”
Lucy’s role involves meeting people to introduce the fund to them, to encourage them to fundraise and to raise overall awareness.Lucy has also taken part in many fundraising challenges for Thomas’s Fund including cycling London to Paris, Ride London (100m across closed roads in London) and taking part in The Grand Weston Wobble- over 100 on the canal from London to Weston Favell Centre.She has lived in Northants all her life and is married to Tim. Benji the dog also helps keep them both busy.

SUSAN WESTALL

Treasurer

Susan Westall

I have been doing this job for about six years. I enjoy it very much. Never having worked in this area before it has been a massive learning curve. Each year presents itself with a new set of challenges and it keeps u all on our toes.
I like all kinds of gardening, languages, singing, sewing and all aspects of the countryside.
Thomas’s Fund has certainly come along way. It might be a small charity but it has a very big heart and I’m proud to be part of it.

TRUSTEES

CINDY BAYLIS

Trustee and Secretary

Cindy Baylis

Cindy have been the secretary of Thomas’s Fund since the start of the charity. I have worked for a number of charities and special schools over the years and can see the importance of music in children and young people’s lives especially when they are in hospital or at home. 

PAUL PARKER

Trustee (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead)

Paul Parker

Paul has been teaching music for 26 years in schools in London, Zambia and Northampton. In 2006, he was appointed as Assistant Head and Music College Director of the first Music College specialist school in the UK. He is proud to have been a keen promoter and supporter for Thomas’s Fund since the very beginning, over ten years ago, and was appointed a trustee in July 2012. Throughout his involvement with the Fund he has supported the music therapy with resources, facilities, time and performances. Paul is passionate about the performing arts and the life-changing impact they have on people’s lives, as you can see in the Thomas’s Fund videos. Paul wrote the original music ‘Smile’ for the first Thomas’s Fund video which has been performed on three different occasions.

LAURA CLARKE

Trustee (Designated Safeguarding Lead and Health & Safety)

Laura Clarke

Laura is the Headteacher of Rowan Gate Primary School, a vibrant and successful special school in Northamptonshire. She taught children in special schools for sixteen years in Surrey and Northamptonshire, specialising in teaching pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, and very young children.
Laura is trained as a Senior Designated Safeguarding Leader for the school, and has fifteen years of experience in managing cases of abuse and neglect in a multi-agency way to safeguard children. She is up to date with Prevent training and has done training in many specific strands of Safeguarding including safer recruitment.
Laura has a keen interest in safeguarding and partnership working, and represents Northamptonshire schools on the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Strategic Board.

ROS WOODING

Trustee (Volunteer – Co-ordinator)

Ros Wooding

Ros worked for 30 years at Fairfields School and in that time saw how music therapy could change a child’s life. She worked with both Thomas and Harry and saw the pleasure and enjoyment that they got from music. It enabled them to have some control over something in their life and also helped their communication. When Jan asked me to become a Trustee I was delighted to accept and am pleased to have been able to watch the Charity grow and go from strength to strength.

KATE TOLLAN

Trustee

Kate Tollan

Kate has been teaching since 1988.  Having taught in mainstream Primary Schools she decided to move over to Special needs teaching and has now been at Fairfields School in Northampton for 17 years.  It was here Kate met Jan Hall, Tom, Harry and Lucy Smith.
Kate values the use of music and singing for children’s enjoyment, development, social/emotional and communication skills.

CHRIS FEATHERSTONE

Trustee

Chris Featherstone

Chris has worked for Anglian Water Services for a number of years in a variety of operational management and business strategy roles across the region. In his current role as Head of Asset Delivery Planning he oversees the long term investment planning for the drinking water supply in the region. He is really pleased to support the wonderful work of Thomas’s Fund and hopes to use his fundraising and business knowledge to support securing the Fund’s long term plans for the future.

SHELLEY WILKINS

Trustee

Shelly Wilkins

I have a son, Luke, who has a rare syndrome, Sturge Weber Syndrome.  He has severe epilepsy, visual impairment, hemiplegia, and learning disabilities and when younger he had extremely challenging behaviour. He attended Fairfields Special School, with Thomas albeit a few years older but this is where I met Lucy, Tom and Harry.  Luke loved his music therapy with Jan Hall and when times were tough I could always rely on Jan for a positive slant on things.
I also worked at Fairfields where I supported a young lady called Bluebell, who had Rhett’s Syndrome.  Bluebell also loved her music sessions.
Luke and Bluebell are the reason I chose to become involved in such a worthwhile charity.

MUSIC THERAPIST

ESTHER MITCHELL

Lead Music Therapist BA Post Grad Dip MTh, MA

Esther Mitchell

Esther qualified as a music therapist in 1997, attaining her MA in 2002. She worked for the NHS for 5 years with adults with learning disabilities and has also worked freelance since qualifying, with work in a variety of clinical areas, including children with additional needs, motherhood and mental health, CAMHS services and palliative care. Having worked as co-ordinator for Nottingham MusicSpace, Esther moved to Northants in 2005 and started work with Thomas’s Fund, being lucky enough to be involved from its formation in 2007, when she carried out the first clinical sessions for the fund, becoming Lead Music Therapist as the team grew. Esther now splits her time between Thomas’s Fund and work in 2 Special Schools in the County.

LYNN CONNOR

PGDipMT BA (Music), Music Therapist

Lynn Connor

Lynn Connor qualified as a music therapist in 2004 from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She has worked for Thomas’s Fund, since 2015, in the community and within a hospital setting.
Lynn has experience in education and in private practice in working with children, young people and adults who have learning disability, ASD, and acquired brain injury. Many of her clients have attachment difficulties, previously suffered psychological trauma, or display emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Lynn is impassioned about the use of interactive music making,
especially with those people who find verbal communication
difficult.

KATHRYN CAVE

PGDipMT, PGDip Applied Systemic Theory NMT Music Therapist & Neurologic Music Therapist

Kathryn Cave

Having completed her music therapy training at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kathryn qualified in 2006. Since then, she has worked in a variety of clinical settings with children and adults with learning difficulties, challenging behaviour and life limiting conditions. Kathryn began working for Thomas’s Fund in October 2017. She also works within an NHS Child Development Service, has a private clinical and supervision practice and runs inclusive music groups for children under 5. Kathryn has a passion for family work and gained her Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Theory in 2012. She is a past Chair of the British Society for Music Therapy.

ASSOCIATE MUSIC THERAPISTS

JENI MELIA

Associate Music Therapist CTABRSM (violin), LRSM (voice), MA, BA (French/European Studies)

Jeni Melia

Jeni studied at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, and was awarded her music therapy MA in 2010. In addition to her work with the Thomas’s Fund team, Jeni works in schools with children on the autistic spectrum, and with adults with dementia in Bedfordshire. Other experience includes music therapy with adults with learning difficulties, and children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. As a singer specialising in Renaissance lute songs, Jeni also continues to perform and record with the English Ayre – listen for free here

ANDY STEVENS

MA Associate Music Therapist

Andy Stevens

Having completed an MA in music therapy at the University of the West of England, Bristol, Andy qualified as a music therapist in 2010 and began working as a music therapist for Thomas’s Fund for one day a week. His other music therapy jobs include working in a children’s hospital, a spinal injury centre and a specialist school for children with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. Andy has provided music therapy for further education students with autism, adults with learning difficulties and adults with dementia. Andy has previously worked with children and young people as a music teacher, youth worker and as a musician. He has also supported bereaved children and teenagers as a volunteer through a hospice and spent a year with a children’s project in Malawi.

PATRONS

ANDREW COLLINS

Patron

Andrew Collins

An author, critic and broadcaster born in Northampton, Andrew has written three memoirs about his life, Where Did It All Go Right?, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, and That’s Me In The Corner. As a scriptwriter, he has co-written two sitcoms for the BBC, Grass (with Simon Day) and Not Going Out (with Lee Mack), Gates for Sky, and Mr Blue Sky for Radio 4. He is Film Editor at Radio Times and presents a weekly show on Classic FM.

CHARLES SPENCER

Patron

Earl Spencer

Charles Spencer was born in 1964, and is an author, public speaker, broadcaster and journalist. He is also the 9th Earl Spencer. Charles Spencer is the author of seven non-fiction books, including two Sunday Times bestsellers: Blenheim, Battle for Europe, which was shortlisted for Historical Book of the Year at the 2005 National Book Awards; and Killers of the King – which was the second highest selling History book in the UK in 2014. His latest work – The White Ship – is to be published by Harper Collins in September 2020. He has been the keynote speaker at hundreds of events in the UK, India, USA, South Africa, France, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal and New Zealand. As a broadcaster, Charles Spencer worked for NBC News as an on-air correspondent from 1986 to 1995, primarily for the TODAY Show, but also for Sunday TODAY, NBC Nightly News and NBC Super Channel – where he wrote and presented the 12-part documentary series, Great Houses of the World. He has been a reporter for Granada Television, has presented for the History Channel, and has appeared on many occasions as an expert on the BBC. As a print journalist he has written in the UK for The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and others. In the United States he has written for Vanity Fair, Veranda, and Nest magazines. In business, he helped establish Althorp Living History, a handmade, fine furniture line faithfully reproducing pieces from the collection at Althorp. In charitable and humanitarian affairs, he served as a Trustee of Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund from 1998-2005. He is Patron of the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice, the Brain Tumour Trust, and Thomas’s Fund, in England. He is on the board of Whole Child International in the USA. Charles Spencer was educated at Eton, and at Oxford University, where he earned his MA in Modern History. He served as a Page of Honour to HM the Queen in the 1970s and has been one of her Deputy Lieutenants for Northamptonshire since 2005. He has seven children and two stepchildren, and is the brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

MUSICAL PATRONS

JONATHAN GUNTHORPE

Musical Patron

Jonathan Gunthorpe

Having performed a concert repertoire ranging from French baroque and Bach to Britten and new commissions, at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, NCH Dublin, Parco della Roma and La Chaise Dieu, Jonathan gained an MA in music at Birmingham Conservatoire, and attended the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He has played Papageno (The Magic Flute), Arsenio (La Spinalba), The Soul (Grabmusik), Alcandro (L’Olimpiade), Mr Noah (Noye’s Fludde), Faber (The Knot Garden), and Horned Thing (Where The Wild Things Are, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles). He has also appeared at the National Theatre in Brecht’s Mother Courage with Fiona Shaw and is currently writing a new singing translation for Tchaikovsky’s Onegin.

DAMIAN THANTREY

Musical Patron

Damian Thantrey

A regular recitalist who has played in major venues across the UK and Europe, Damian studied law at Cambridge and worked in the City before studying singing at the Royal College of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal and the Mills Williams Junior Fellowship. His many operatic appearances have included Deputy Mayor (Anna Nicole), Marullo (Rigoletto, Royal Opera House), Mr Lindquist (A Little Night Music, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Chau Lin (A Night at the Chinese Opera), Eisenstein Die Fledermaus and Brother (Seven Deadly Sins, Scottish Opera). He is also the MD and vocalist for cabaret and dance ensemble Cabaret Chordelia.

JOHN BOWMAN

Musical Patron

John Bowman

John has been an active member of the UK music scene since the mid-1980s, performing in venues and festivals across the UK.   He has composed for TV and radio, recorded extensively as a session musician, arranger and producer.  Passionate about using music to inspire people, John devotes much of his time to educational and therapeutic music projects, as an author, tutor and workshop leader. In 2002, he founded Notivate, an organisation that has provided songwriting and recording projects, jazz improvisation workshops, ensemble coaching and music technology training for over 5,000 people in the UK, Uganda and Madagascar.

AMBASSADORS

HARRY SMITH

Young Ambassador

Harry Smith

Harry, aged 12, was Thomas’s brother and he too had the same undiagnosed neuro-degenerative condition. Harry sadly died in December 2010, but he had been very active helping his mum Lucy to promote the fund and was delighted to be the first junior ambassador. His role was to support his mum with photos, meeting fundraisers and going along to events so people could see an example of the children and young people Thomas’s Fund helps.

SOPHIE BAYLIS

Ambassador

Sophie Baylis

I have been a Young Ambassador for a number of years for Thomas’s Fund now and have just become an Ambassador. I love helping at events and promoting awareness of the charity. I love music particularly Pharrell 
Williams and Billie Eilish. I received music therapy myself after my spine operation and found it so important when dealing with pain and isolation during my recovery time.

THOMAS REDMOND

Ambassador

Thomas Redmond

Tom attends various day centres during the week and Y Not Arts, a music and drama group for children and young adults with special needs on a Saturday morning.  He loves performing, whether it be acting, singing or dancing.  He also loves cooking and woodwork, which he does with support at Workbridge in Northampton.  He is really pleased to be an Ambassador for Thomas’s Fund.

MATT REDMOND

Ambassador

Matt Redmond

Matt is currently studying for a jazz degree at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. His primary instrument is tenor saxophone but he also plays guitar, piano, clarinet and flute.  He was previously at Northampton School for Boys where he played in various bands and also played 1st tenor in the Northamptonshire County Youth Big Band. 

ANDY DICKSON

Ambassador

Andy Dickson

Born in Bedfordshire in 1956, he moved with his family to Yorkshire, Northern Ireland, and Suffolk before joining the police in London in 1976. He served at Edmonton, Victoria, and Hendon before transferring up to Northampton in 1989, eventually retiring after 30 years’ service in 2006.
In September 2008 Andy met Harry, Tim and Lucy Smith and went on to swim the English Channel, raising sponsorship for Thomas’s Fund. He continues to support and promote the excellent work of the charity.
He works now as a Sports therapist and relaxes with his tennis, cycling and Saxophone playing.