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.

Judy Dewinter

Judy was appointed chair in May 2019.

She had a successful career with the world’s first electronic brokerage firm, Instinet, culminating in a board role leading its European equities division.

In 2003, Judy left her job when she started treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to improve the treatment for, and care of, myeloma patients, chairing the board of Myeloma UK and then becoming its president. She is also a patient representative on various boards and advisory groups and was previously the lead governor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL), where she has been treated for many years.

She said: “I am delighted to be leading the Royal Free Charity to help the RFL move further and faster, investing in the services provided to patients, supporting the dedicated and hardworking Royal Free staff and funding research.”

Akta Raja

Akta is a partner in a fund that incubates small UK businesses and is the fund board member for their investments.

She trained as a solicitor at Slaughter and May and worked in mergers and acquisitions before founding her own company. This was subsequently sold to the firm where she now works.

She has been a non-executive director on the RFL trust board since January 2017, chairs the trust’s finance committee, sits on a number of board committees and on the boards of the trust’s wholly-owned subsidiaries.  She is also chair of the local members’ council at the Royal Free Hospital site.

She said: “I am very pleased to be representing the trust on the board of the Royal Free Charity, which provides valuable support to patients and staff.”

Russell Brooks

Russell became a charity trustee following the merger of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust with his local hospitals, Barnet and Chase Farm.

He works at the London School of Economics and Political Science as associate director for executive education. Before this he spent eight years working at Cancer Research UK, where he was part of the team who delivered a successful £100 million capital appeal to fund the charity’s contribution to the construction of the Francis Crick Institute. He holds other voluntary roles.

Russell said: “I am proud to be part of the Royal Free Charity. Our donors and volunteers are inspirational and make an incredible impact by improving the patient experience at our three hospitals.”

Caroline Clarke

Caroline Clarke joined the board of  trustees in June 2020.

Caroline was appointed group chief executive of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in February 2019, following her role as deputy chief executive for the previous seven years.

Caroline was the trust’s chief finance officer between 2011 and 2018 and in 2012 she was made the finance director of the year by the Healthcare Financial Management Association. She was formerly director of strategy at NHS North Central London. Prior to that she was an associate partner in KPMG’s health strategy team.

She has spent most of her career in NHS finance, having been director of finance at the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and City and Hackney Primary Care Trust.

Caroline is a trustee of Overcoming MS and the 2020 President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), the representative body for finance staff in healthcare.

She said: “The Royal Free Charity is an invaluable partner to the Royal Free London. I’m thrilled to be able to work with the charity to make sure that we give our population and patients the best services and that our staff have the greatest possible experience. This partnership will achieve so much that our founder William Marsden would be proud of.”

Nicola Grinstead

Nicola Grinstead, currently director of West London Children’s Healthcare at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, brings leadership experience in both the NHS and as a charity trustee.

She was deputy CEO at Great Ormond Street Hospital, having previously served as director of operations and performance at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and has held a number of other senior management positions in London teaching hospitals.  She is also the former chair of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, where she was able to share her passion for volunteering and lead a team to establish a guide and scout unit of volunteers at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. She is also currently a Trustee for One YMCA.

“The positive impact of the Royal Free Charity on patients, families and staff is considerable – and our collective ambition to achieve even more is high! From building on the outstanding work of our volunteer teams, to acting on ideas from staff and patients about how we can better support them, to increased focus on funding vital research projects, I am proud to be part of the this team supporting patients across north London.”

Michael Luck

Mike, who joined the board of trustees of the Royal Free Charity in 2018, has significant commercial experience in the global retail sector, leading a variety of functions including sourcing, pharmacy and wholesale.

Both of Mike’s children were born at the Royal Free Hospital and he was drawn to help the charity after his wife became a transplant patient there.

“I have a real drive to support the charity in improving the patient and staff experience and I look forward to the charity building on the success it has already achieved.

Katie Morrison

Katie has 20 years’ experience in communications in the third and public sector.  Currently director of communications, campaigns and UK programmes at Plan International UK, she previously oversaw press, external affairs and internal communications for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Charity.

Katie started her career at the BBC before moving to Comic Relief and then UNICEF UK, where she managed the organisation’s UK media and communications work, including raising awareness of UNICEF’s work in emergencies and delivering large-scale fundraising and communications campaigns.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Royal Free Charity team and excited to use my skills and experience to help the charity go from strength to strength, maximising the support we can give to the incredible staff of the trust, building on all the work done to improve patient experience and funding vital research projects.”

Melanie Sherwood

Melanie started a career in finance in 1986 after graduating from Manchester University. After completing an MBA from Cranfield School of Management in 1992 she worked in the retail, publishing and property sector.

She is a trustee of two charities: It’s Your Life, which helps underprivileged children and families in the UK, and Grenada Schools, an educational charity.  She has also been an active member of various charity committees, including  Save the Children and Centrepoint.

“I’ve lived in Hampstead most of my life,” she said. “We are very lucky to have a first class hospital so close and I am keen to use my skills to help support it.” ​

Chris Streather

Chris Streather has been group chief medical officer for the Royal Free London group since January 2018 and was formerly chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital. Prior to joining the trust, he was chief medical officer of HCA International, a private healthcare company. He is the former medical director of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and was the clinical director for London as the capital’s stroke services were comprehensively redesigned.

Chris is a trustee of Healthcare Management Trust (HMT), a not-for-profit organisation which provides care home facilities and healthcare in Lincolnshire and Swansea.

“I’m excited about working with the charity to improve health across north London, and to use this partnership to make the Royal Free London the best place to be either a patient or a member of staff.”

Alistair Summers

Alistair is an entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience in running and advising businesses in areas as diverse as coffee roasting, turbine blade coating and technical cleaning. He is a chartered accountant and a partner in his practice.

Alistair is a trustee of both the Prince’s Trust and Prince’s Trust International and sat on the board of the National Youth Theatre and St Paul’s School, London. He is a joint founder trustee of the Accelerate and Access Foundation, a charity supporting children from deprived backgrounds to attend university.

“I have lived almost all my life within sight of the Royal Free and it saved the life of my son after a serious accident,” said Alistair. “I am therefore passionate in supporting the hospital and staff who do so much to help others when they need it most.”