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.

Richard Scarth

Richard was appointed as Deputy Chief Executive in September 2020 and has been with The Royal Free Charity for five years as Director of Operations. In addition, he is a Director of both The Royal Free Charity Development Company and The Royal Free Charity Recreation Club and has responsibility for the wide range of services the charity provides, together with its property portfolio. Richard also oversees the construction and operation of The Pears Building, where the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation will be based. Richard started his career in financial services and has held senior positions within a number of large healthcare organisations.

Michael Ridgwell

Michael joined the Royal Free Charity in July of 2020, as interim COO his role is to oversee the administrative and operational functions of a business to ensure the charity can effectively deliver its core objectives.

He has worked in and around healthcare for over thirty years, starting his career as a nursing assistant, he has a deep understanding of NHS organisations at every level.
Over the last 20 years, he has held a number of senior executive and board-level roles, in both provider and commissioner organisations, including Director of Commissioning of Barnet PCT and being appointed as one of the youngest Primary Care Group chief executives in the country.

Michael was Deputy Chief Executive of the Kent and Medway STP Before joining the RFC, specialising in developing cross partnership ways of working to deliver shared objectives and support complex change programmes

Alison Kira

Alison joined the charity in 2014 with responsibility for establishing the charity at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals, and since has worked on developing a number of projects from research stage to established workstreams. She now has responsibility for business planning and strategy ensuring the aims of the charity are aligned with the needs of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Alison has over 20 years’ experience in the charity sector and has previously held project management and service delivery management roles.

Barry Aspland

Barry joined the Charity in October 2018 with responsibility to provide robust financial management across the Charity’s range of activities including construction of critical infrastructure to operational services to support the needs of patients of the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust. Barry has over 10 years’ experience as a finance director across a wide range of charities delivering services to vulnerable people and has held comparable roles in the private sector.

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 Royal Free 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.

Robin Meltzer

Following a career in international television production, Robin moved in to the third sector via political campaigning, comms 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.  Robin was Director of Fundraising & Marketing at a health research charity before joining the Royal Free where he will be working closely with our stakeholders, both within Royal Free London and in the wider community to raise the profile of the Charity and to increase engagement at all levels as we support and add impactful value to the work of the Trust.

Sharron Grant

Sharron joined The Royal Free 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 roles in Human Resources.

Diane Ryan

Diane Ryan joined the charity in September 2008 with the responsibility of managing and acknowledging the donations received and maximising the impact these donations made. With the charity becoming a fundraising organisation she is now also responsible for the fundraising activites of the Charity and supporting fundraisers.

Laura Pyman

Laura joined the charity in August 2020 is responsible for our Individual Giving Programme.  Having started her career working in business-to-business marketing, Laura has since worked at several large UK health charities, most recently leading teams at Alzheimer’s Society to significantly grow supporter numbers and drive increased income generation.

Laura will be focusing on developing our relationships with new and exsisting supporters whilst also generating income through cash donations, regular gifts, gifts in will, payroll, lottery and legacies.