Meet the team

The staff, trustees and patrons all have different roles but together drive the charity to be brave, inventive and imaginative about how we can transform the hospital experience.

Jon Spiers

Jon joined us in September 2020. He began his career as a graduate trainee at Cancer Research UK, working across fundraising, strategy, IT and policy and then led the development of its campaigning function, leading policy campaigns on issues like tobacco control, cancer funding and science policy, including getting Parliament to back smoke-free public places.

During a period in public affairs and PR consultancy for health charities and pharmaceutical companies he helped introduce a new meningitis vaccine, genomic cancer testing and new therapies for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and lung cancer. He then became chief executive at Autistica, the UK’s autism research charity, leading an initiative to make autism a clinical priority for the NHS, ensuring autistic people co-designed services and funding many globally-renowned research studies.

Robin Meltzer

Robin was appointed in July 2020 to work closely with our stakeholders, within our three hospitals and in the wider community, to raise the profile of the charity and increase engagement at all levels as we support and add  value to the work of the trust.

Robin was director of fundraising and marketing at a health research charity before joining the Royal Free. Following a career in international television production, Robin moved to the charity sector via political campaigning, communications and fundraising. He served as vice-chair of the London Liberal Democrats and managed campaigns across west and south west London.

He was an early campaigner against the causes of air pollution, winning the independent Clean Air in London Award for his efforts to tackle air pollution in the capital.

Alison Kira

Alison joined the charity in December 2014 initially with responsibility for establishing the Royal Free Charity at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals following acquisition by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust earlier that year. Since 2020 Alison has held the role of director of grants and services overseeing much of the charity’s expenditure on its beneficiaries, and since April 2024 as director of grants. Alison oversees compliance and governance for approximately £9 million of grants and special purpose fund expenditure, for the benefit of patients and visitors, staff and research and development projects. Prior to joining the charity Alison spent 15 years with a national youth charity managing a portfolio of prevention and early intervention services and programmes across London and the Midlands.

Paul Stein

Paul is an experienced fundraising director and consultant, specialising in start-ups, talent development and the building of effective philanthropic partnerships.

He began his career at Macmillan Cancer Support, progressing to Greater London area fundraising manager, a role in which he managed community fundraising across the capital. Since then he has played an integral part in raising the profile and increasing voluntary income for charities such as World Jewish Relief and MQ: Transforming Mental Health.

Paul joined the charity in January 2020. He is responsible for all aspects of income generation, including major giving, individual giving and community fundraising.

A published author (Donors for Life: A Practitioners’ Guide to Relationship Fundraising), Paul regularly features in lists of the UK’s 50 most influential fundraisers. He is a frequent journal contributor and speaker on the fundraising and marketing conference circuit, outlining his commitment to best practice and innovation throughout the sector.

Sharron Grant

Sharron joined the charity in May 2020 from Jewish Care where she worked for 16 years as the head of human resources. Jewish Care is the largest provider of health and social care services for the Jewish community in the UK.

Prior to working in the charity sector,  Sharron worked for an IT, utilities and sales company in various human resources roles.

Russell Delew

Russell Delew has been appointed to the new role of campaign director to lead our fundraising appeal for cancer care.

Russell has over 25 years’ experience as a fundraising director across organisations such as Cancer Research UK (CR-UK), Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), and UNICEF UK. He has led several major campaigns including a £100m campaign at CR-UK to fund the construction of the Francis Crick Institute at St Pancras, London. Russell joins us from The Courtauld Institute of Art where he has been working in the dual role as director of advancement and director of marketing and communications.

Since 2020 he has served as a trustee on the board of the Africa Research Excellence Fund and previously as a trustee of the MRC’s Medical Research Foundation. Russell has four children – the eldest was born at the Royal Free Hospital – and in his spare time he has completed multiple marathons, triathlons and two ironman competitions.

Laura James

Laura’s role is to identify opportunities for charity wide innovation with internal and external stakeholders and development of the charities services portfolio with a particular focus on services supporting cancer patients, carers, and their families. She joined the charity last year to lead our services during the maternity leave of assistant director of services Jenny Todd.

Laura joined us from Prostate Cancer UK (PCUK), where she was the head of clinical services, peer support, health information and emotional support for nearly seven years, leading award-winning health information and nursing teams. There she developed new services such as a WhatsApp support service and an emotional counselling service, which led to over 15,000 people accessing PCUK services every year.

Laura was also a qualified nurse. Her nursing career began in the acute admissions unit at University College London and then went on to work in general practice as a nurse practitioner. She held a prescribing qualification and has written multiple published articles, and has appeared in interviews on both television and radio under her previous role as PCUK’s clinical voice.

Jenny Todd

Jenny joined the Royal Free Charity team in August 2016 to manage the volunteer teams at Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free hospitals. Her remit is to support and grow volunteering across our three hospitals to reach more patients with a wider variety of services. Her previous experience includes managing diverse large-scale international and local volunteering programmes for a broad range of charities including Business in the Community and Plan International UK.