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Help in a crisis
Meet our governors

Marie Gabriel CBE, Chair

I have been Chair of East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) ​​- which is rated as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC and was the HSJ’s ‘Trust of the Year’ in 2016 - since October 2012. 

Before that, I was Chair of a variety of health organisations, including NHS East London and the City, North East London and the City, NHS Newham and Newham Community Health Council. 

I was recognised on the HSJ’s inaugural ‘Inspirational Women’ list and made a CBE for services to the NHS in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2017.​ 

It is a huge honour to be joining Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as Chair and I truly look forward to working with staff, service users, carers, partners and Board collea​gues, building on what the Trust does well and drawing on ELFT’s successful improvement experience.

Public Governors - Suffolk 

​Sara Muzira
Term of office started 1 February 2019

I hope to help the Trust to provide an excellent service for everyone who needs it.

As a carer, I have experience of acute inpatient facilities community care, in Suffolk and elsewhere. This experience has given me a good understanding of the pressures on mental health services as well as the difference that good care and compassionate staff can make to a person’s life. 

Over the last three years, I have been attending a range of committees at the Royal College of Psychiatrists as a carer representative, giving me an insight into current challenges and opportunities in mental health.

A teacher for over 30 years, I am a good communicator. As a practising artist, I am passionate about the potential of the arts and creativity to contribute to mental health and recovery.


​Ian Hartley
Ter​​m of office started 1 February 2018

I have a long-standing interest in mental health going back to the 1960s when I first experienced anxiety and panic attacks. In the 1970s I was briefly hospitalised and treated with drugs and E​CT. 

In the 1980s I began working for Mind in Suffolk, eventually becomin​g the CEO. I worked for Mind for almost 20 years. During that time I worked with NHS and Local Authority services in Suffolk and Mind was jointly commissioned to succesfully run housing and day services. 

After retiring from Mind I worked for five years in service improvement with the Care Services Improvement Partnership and Suffolk Social Services. I also became a trustee of the Suffolk service user-led organisation SUF.

I follow​ the fortunes of NSFT, keep abreast of good practice and continue to work for services that meet the needs of those who exper​ience mental health difficulties.​ 

Katharine Axford
Term of office started 1 February 2019

Although I have been a carer for over 40 years, my interest in mental health pre-dated this and continued throughout my working life. 

This was a mix of paid and voluntary work within the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector, combined with looking after my family. 

My experience includes being: Co-ordinator, Redbridge Rethink (mental health carers support group); Trustee / Chair, Redbridge Carers (generic carers service); primary and secondary school governor; Information Officer, UKFSMA (voluntary sector organisation, representing service user and other mental health groups); Health Information Manager, NHS Direct NE London.

Although there is now more talk about mental ill-health, I do not think understanding about serious mental illness has increased. 

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Kathleen Ben Rabha
Term of office started 1 February 2014

I've now been elected as a Public Governor for Suffolk, having served before as a Partner Governor. I have strong connections with the community and voluntary sector. 

In my work in the Church of England in Suffolk, I'm working to raise awareness in church communities and faith groups in general about mental health. 

I am also connected with Healthwatch Suffolk and the Suffolk User Forum.​

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Dr Paddy Fielder
Term of office started 1 February 2014

I'm a recently retired family doctor, having worked in the NHS since 1970. I was employed at both the Norfolk and Norwich and Ipswich hospitals and spent many years in rural general practice in Suffolk. 

Besides caring for patients, I also taught medical students and graduate doctors.

Since retirement, I started and have been involved in a patient participation group and chair the Debenham Project for the carers of those with dementia within my community.

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Andrew Good
Term of office started 1 February 2014

My last management role before retirement in 2011 was as Chief Executive of Mid Suffolk District Council.

A Samaritan volunteer for 19 years and Chairman of the Colchester, Tendring and Suffolk Borders branch, I'm concerned about the impact of mental health issues on people's lives. I have first hand family experience of seeking support for someone with Alzheimer’s.

I believe that through effective engagement, service users can and should influence policy, service design and delivery. I now chair the Membership Subgroup.​


Public Governors - Norfolk

​Stephen Benns
Term of office started 1 February 2019

I retired in 2010 after managing services at the Julian Hospital for seven years. I was a Mental Health Nurse for 35 years. During this time I experienced care and treatment change from being delivered in large institutions to having community- focused services.

I continue to care passionately about mental health issues within Norfolk. During my career I was a determined advocate for the rights of patients, and the need to incorporate families and carers in treatment decisions.

As a Governor, I will bring “coal face” experience and the confidence to positively challenge.

I see the Governor's role as being an important representative link between members, the public and the Trust.​

Rebecca Toye
Term of office started 1 February 2019

I consider it a great privilege to serve as a governor and believe I can help in ensuring the Trust provides the right and effective services for everyone.

Over many years, I have been a proactive member of a variety of boards and committees, having worked in mental health since 2007, in social care, auditing and management roles. 

I am a mental health champion who has set up programmes and training schemes in mental health awareness, carer befrienders, professional boundaries and diversity training.

I bring professional skills, essential to any governor, and a passion and drive to making a difference to lives. 

I will work hard to make a positive impact on behalf of service users, members and carers.​

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Dr Ron French
Term of office started 1 February 2014

I'm experienced as a research physicist, IT director and in consultancy and, most recently, as a board member of a private university and now a trustee.

I have advised a range of government bodies and other agencies, including hospitals, on efficiency and the preparation and implementation of strategic plans.

I was the carer of my mother and of my wife with terminal cancer and had a bipolar son-in-law who refused help because of the stigma attached.

As a new governor, I look forward to contributing to the Board and its committees for the benefit of our local community. ​

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Sheila Preston
Term of office started 1 February 2014

As a governor, I hope to act as an effective interface between service users, carers, the public, and the Trust in order to monitor the design and delivery of appropriate and superior mental health services equitably among users.​


Hilary Hanbury
Term of office started 1 February 2015

Twenty five years in the education sector, as tutor, educational adviser and in senior management gave me a gift: to be involved in the lives of people who were experiencing mental ill health. 

Some had additional support needs due to learning difficulties or physical disabilities. They sometimes found it difficult, without support, to access things that others in the community found easy, like social interaction, higher education, building relationships or going to the shops. That support wasn't always available.

This was wrong and I spent most of my working life helping to improve their experiences through the adult education department at the Norvic Clinic and with community mental health staff.

In twenty five years much has improved, but we can still do better.  My pledge is to contribute to the continuing improvement of mental health services for the people of Norfolk and Suffolk by working on your behalf. I am on your side.

Clare Smith
​Term of office started April 2018​

​I want to help NSFT deliver the right services for everyone who needs them. I know that staff are determined to improve its work and in February 2017 I was invited to become a Trust Green Light Champion, promoting knowledge about learning disabilities and autism.

I was a journalist – a BBC Health Correspondent – for many years and later became a university lecturer and governor of Salford NHS Trust. Now I run a website where I blog about autism and provide training courses for professional people.

I also helped to set up Norfolk’s first organisation to be a voice for people with Asperger’s syndrome – the Norfolk Autism / Asperger’s Network.



Service User Governor - Suffolk

Maximilian Clark
Term of office started 1 February 2019

As a young man, I want to represent the often surreptitious experiences of mental health faced by individuals in my peer group. I want to:

  • Challenge labels, stereotypical thinking, and unhealthy group / tribal culture. I want to champion the notion of the individual, supporting the unique journey to recognition and recovery
  • Use my experiences to influence continuous improvement in support for people across Norfolk and Suffolk.

I work at a strategic level to facilitate meaningful co-production to bridge the gap between ‘person’ and ‘professional’. I am a firm believer in blurring the invisible lines to bring people holistic but robust support. 

​I work for Ace Anglia, supporting the implementation of the Joint Health and Social Care Learning Disability Strategy, which includes Suffolk County Council and health services.

I work with people with learning disabilities to create easy-read documents and other pieces of accessible information to assist people with learning disabilities to understand services and processes within the Trust. This is through my role at Ace Anglia, a charity working closely with health and social care in Suffolk on the transformative Joint Learning Disability Strategy 2015-20.

Derek Sanders
Term of office started 1 February 2019

Being diagnosed with bipolar as a young man, I have been hospitalised on many occasions, recently from January 2014 until April of 2015. This has been followed up with community care, which is ongoing.

This has given me a good understanding of the delivery of mental health services and the challenges it faces. 

Being a Governor with the Trust, I will add value and commitment to deliver the best services, mental awareness and wellbeing to service users and carers

A retired company executive with responsibility for the development of business alliances, I managed diverse organisations to achieve common business goals and objectives. 

For 12 months, I have been engaged with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Mental Health Care Pathways project and Mental Health in NHS England, Long-Term Plan. I also participate as a volunteer for Norfolk-Suffolk Recovery College.

I have been a member of the Trust since 2017, which has led to my participation in the Recovery College and the RCP.​


 Service User Governor - Norfolk

​Kevin James
Term of office started 1 February 2019

I’m a highly motivated professional and service user for over 20 years. I am passionate about mental health and supporting service users to access services in their local area when needed, in a way that best suits their needs. For many years I have supported and advocated for service user participation and involvement which helps organisations to provide services in a safe and effective way to suit the needs of service users and to challenge the organisation that delivers them.

These skills have been invaluable in several roles, including as Lived Experience Co-ordinator, Co-Production Lead for the Faculty of the University of East Anglia, Norwich Medical School and as a trustee for a user-led disability rights charity in Norfolk that supports independent living for disabled people.

This experience and the skills I have gained throughout my professional and volunteer roles will enable me to serve as an effective governor and allow me to make impartial decisions on your behalf of service users, your friends and family and stakeholders.​


Carer Governor - Suffolk

Peter Coleman
Term of office started 1 February 2019

As a carer, I have over 13 years' experience of Suffolk mental health services, including inpatient, community mental health and forensic services. Also, I have experienced out-of-area placement, and have attended CPA meetings in various settings, as well as tribunal hearings.

Attending HealthWatch Mental Health Focus Group meetings, I regularly meet service users and carers along with mental health professionals, and voluntary support organisers. 

Using social media, I am aware of the views of some service users, as well as ideas for a modern mental health service.

I am a semi-retired telecommunications and IT support engineer, having worked in many diverse settings, and have been a member of Suffolk's Health Scrutiny Committee for four years. ​

Carer Governor - Norfolk

​Christine Hawkes
Term of office started 1 February 2018

As a carer of a service user of NSFT, I am in touch with carers and carersʼ groups throughout Norfolk. I attend Trust governor and director Board meetings regularly. I care passionately that the voices of users and carers​ should be at the forefront of commissioning, design and delivery of mental health services.

As a teacher in charge of a specialist unit for children with autism I was involved with children, families and the Local Authority. I helped families obtain support with housing, benefits, medical and other difficulties. We worked together to ensure the child was supported under the Children and Families Act 2014.

I will represent carersʼ needs, emphasising the vital role of unpaid carers of mentally ill people.


Staff Governors


​Lisa Breame
Term of office started 1 February 2019

I have worked in the Trust in many roles across the two counties for 34 years and am keen to help create an 'outstanding' trust before I retire, working on the positives I have witnessed, such as good care. ​

Person-centred care applies to us all, not just the people we care for but also the staff, who need to be given control, choice and respect. 

I will do this by listening and representing the views of staff, service users and their loved ones. 

I have served as a parent governor, nurse, trainer and facilitator, and aim to find ways of improving systems and leadership.

I want to make a difference to a service I feel passionate about.​


​Jill Curtis
Term of office started 1 February 2018

I am a frontline worker, who has a positive outlook and tenacious attitude, who will bring an everyday perspective to the role. People who have met me know I am forthright and honest and am prepared to advocate and support others to achieve a fair outcome. 

I have been employed by NSFT for 17 years and enjoy working collaboratively alongside colleagues, service users and carers. I am actively involved in culture-changing initiatives, including the Triangle of Care and the Recovery College. 

I have built relationships with other statutory and community services and have organised and participated in community events to listen to and gather people’s views about NSFT services. 

It is my hope that NSFT will continue to provide a caring service that meets the requirements of local people and the high standards expected.

Dr Jemima Jackson
Term of office started 1 February 2019

​​I qualified as a doctor five years ago and have always been drawn towards working in mental health. I started training for a career in psychiatry with NSFT 18 months ago.

As a doctor training in mental health, I have the privilege of working in many different settings and getting to know the fantastic and dedicated staff that we have within NSFT. 

I was born and grew up in Norfolk and returned here after university, enthusiastic and committed to improving people's quality of life as well as to be near my extended family.

I’m a great believer in the importance of arts and creativity in mental wellbeing, I did a music degree before I went to medical school in London and especially enjoy singing. I also like to do wood-turning and enjoy jogging with my dog.​


Howard Tidman, Joint Lead Governor
Term of office started 1 February 2015

I've worked in the Trust for 12 years in a number of areas and roles; currently in Great Yarmouth in the acute service.
I also have an interest in carer support and am the local carers' lead. 

This gives me a broad understanding of the priorities of staff, service users and carers which I will represent rigorously on the Board.  

I am passionate about the Trust providing high quality care and recognize that well-supported staff are essential in achieving this. I appreciate just how difficult things are at present and how hard my colleagues are working currently to provide a safe and caring service for those we care for.

I am a trustee of a community project and chair of a Norwich charity and strongly believe in a holistic and recovery based approach to mental health difficulties.   ​


Partner Governors


Sian Coker​ / Peter Beazley, University of East Anglia

Heather Rugg, University of Suffolk

Thomas Smith, ​​​Norfolk County Council

James Reeder, Suffolk County Council

Vikki Versey, Youth Council Suffolk

Meghan Teviotdale, Youth Council Norfolk