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. Before this she had 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 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. Judy is the lead governor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL), where she has been treated for many years. She is also a patient representative on various boards and advisory groups.

She said: “I am delighted to be leading the Royal Free Charity as we continue our work to improve the services provided to patients, support the dedicated and hardworking Royal Free staff and fund 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 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 Hampstead 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.”

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 over 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.”

Katie Morrison

Katie has 20 years experience in communications in the third and public sector.  Now 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 & 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.”

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”.

Russell Brooks

Russell became a trustee following the merger of the RFL 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.”

Liz Cleaver

Liz is an experienced media professional who left the BBC in 2010 after 26 years in a variety of roles from radio and television production to launching BBC Knowledge, the forerunner of BBC4. She was also controller, BBC Learning, responsible for the BBC’s learning output and activity.

She now works as a digital media consultant and is particularly interested in customer/audience engagement. She is involved with several charities. “I became a trustee because I was keen to support my local hospital, the Royal Free, and have a particular interest in improving the patient experience. “

Russell Gilbert

Russell, who was appointed in June 2011, trained as an aeronautical engineer in Bristol and completed a PhD at Cambridge University. For most of his career he worked with Shell, initially in the North Sea and latterly as a project manager in China, Malaysia and Nigeria. He was a non-executive director of Islington Primary Care Trust and works with the Cranfield Trust and Developing Technologies, a charity based at City University.

“While my children were growing up, we needed and received a huge amount of support from the NHS. Becoming a trustee of the charity has given me the opportunity to give something in return. As treasurer and chair of the charity’s development and property companies, I have had the opportunity to contribute some of my financial and project management experience to the board.”

Michael Luck

Mike has worked for Sainsbury’s since 2002 in a variety of roles including buying, pharmacy and produce. He is currently director of business development.

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.”

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.” ​