Home Who we are Trustees

We could not achieve what we do without the help and support of our fantastic Trustees.

The Challengers Trustee Board is responsible for the overall governance of the charity. The Board delegates key areas of work to 2 sub committees: Finance & Risk and Operations & Quality. In addition the Board runs quarterly focus groups for Fundraising and Communications as well as the Annual Strategic Away Day and the Annual Risk Register Review.

Our Trustees have a wide range of skills, backgrounds, and experience to support us on everything from accountancy to communications. It’s very important to us that our Trustees include parents whose children use our services to help us make sure that we stay focused on what really matters for the children, young people, and families we work with. The Board also includes a Young Trustee who has experience as a Challengers Play/Youth Worker.

  • Graeme Stretton
    Graeme Stretton: Chairman

    I first became involved with Challengers in the Spring of 2019, whilst taking a few months break from my day job as a risk and change manager at Barclays. After deciding to volunteer as a Playworker in the Guildford centre, it didn’t take long to discover what an amazing and vital charity Challengers is and I was keen to offer my support in a broader capacity.

    I have been involved with children’s charities throughout my career, having run schemes for underprivileged children at the University of Birmingham, supported Cambodian orphan charities during 7 years of living and working in Asia, and most recently I held a trustee position at the Reading Red Balloon Learner Centre – a school for bullied children who self-exclude from mainstream education.

    As Chairman, my role is to ensure that Challengers is compliant with governance and to enable the Board, the Chief Executive and Senior Management Team in delivering the charity’s purpose, vision and strategy.

  • Rachel Bartholomeusz
    Rachel Bartholomeusz: Trustee

    I came into contact with Challengers over 12 years ago when my brother attended the Oxted Playscheme; a few years later I became a Play/Youth Worker.

    Inspired to pursue a career in the non-profit sector, I took part in ‘Charityworks’, the UK non-profit sector’s graduate scheme. I spent one year working at The Whiteley Homes Trust and have gone on to work within Legacy Marketing teams at Cancer Research UK, CLIC Sargent and now The Royal Marsden.

    I think it is really exciting that Challengers decided to appoint a Young Trustee to the Board and love to make my contribution as the sibling of a young disabled person and as a Play/Youth Worker.

  • Gail Bedding
    Gail Bedding: Trustee

    Parent of teenage twins, 2 step children and a very cute young man with complex needs. CEO of Hampshire Parent Carer Network and National Rep for National Network of Parent Carer Forum.

    Challengers is a lifeline for ALL the family: the smile on my son’s face when he arrives; the freedom for me to watch the twins play sports at the weekend; allowing me to work; and for us all to have some normality. I don’t know how we would cope without it!

  • Sam Bossi
    Sam Bossi: Trustee

    As the parent of a disabled child who has been accessing Challengers for over 10 years, I am delighted to be a Trustee for this fabulous organisation. Challengers has provided a valuable lifeline to the whole family in this time. They have enabled my son to play and thrive as well as provide the rest of the family with a break from caring.

    I am looking forward to bringing my experience as a parent of a disabled child and as a professional in the charity sector to Challengers and giving back to this very important organisation.

  • Holly Chantler
    Holly Chantler: Trustee

    I became a trustee of Challengers in January 2019, having previously worked as a youth worker at the Guildford Young Adult Challengers scheme. Challengers is such a fun and inspirational charity and provides a huge support role for many incredible disabled children and their families.

    In my professional life, I am a partner and head of the private client department at Morrisons Solicitors, specialising in Court of Protection and vulnerable client work.

    Outside of work, I own and ride horses and enjoy being outside generally.

  • Anele Griessel
    Anele Griessel: Trustee

    I am a children’s occupational therapist. I run an independent occupational therapy practice in 2007 and have been working as a paediatric occupational therapist for the past twenty years.

    I first came across Challengers when we moved to Farnham a few years ago. I was blown away by the commitment, quality and inclusive services provided as well as the fun and laughter experienced by the children and young people. It is therefore a privilege to now be part of Team Challengers as a Trustee.

    Enabling children to play is something that I am passionate about in my daily work and I hope that my clinical experience will support the growth of service delivery through governance as a Trustee.

  • Phil Heasman
    Phil Heasman: Safeguarding Trustee

    I am delighted to join the Board of Trustees bringing a particular focus on safeguarding matters and an interest in training and development informed by work as a social worker, university lecturer and, currently, in a variety of independent roles with organisations who work with children and young people and their parents, carers and families.

    Though living in the lovely Peak District in Derbyshire, I welcome the opportunity to frequently head back down the M1 to my southern roots in order to play an active part in supporting the organisation’s work, the staff and volunteers and, of course most importantly, the children, young people and families who together are Challengers!

  • Liz Jorden
    Liz Jorden: Trustee

    I first came across Challengers when The Head of Fundraising and Head of Communications spoke at a fundraising conference. Their passion for Challengers was so infectious that I had to find out more about the charity. I was thrilled when I saw that Challengers wanted a Fundraising Trustee, and delighted when I was invited to join the board.

    My professional fundraising career started at the NSPCC; since then I have worked as an independent fundraising consultant specialising in major gifts.

  • Robert Pickles
    Robert Pickles: Trustee/Vice Chair/Chair of Communications & Fundraising Committee

    I am proud to be a trustee for Challengers, a charity that I have known since my own children were small. I love it because it makes a real difference to the lives of real people, every day.

    Away from Challengers, I have worked for Canon (UK) Ltd for over 20 years, holding management and senior positions within Sales and Marketing. I am currently Director of Public Affairs.

    I am happily married with 3 grown children. I like walking in the Surrey Hills and spending time with family and friends.

  • Kim Sanders
    Kim Sanders: Governance Trustee

    I first became aware of Challengers when my children’s babysitter became a volunteer and I remember being struck as to how happy and dedicated those working at the charity were. Since my involvement with Challengers, this perception has been reinforced and continues to grow stronger.

    In my professional life, I am a Company Secretary and have a consultancy business. We advise and support companies and third sector organisations on all aspects of governance and risk, which in turn allows their business to grow and deliver their products and services. As a trustee, I will apply the skills I have gained in my career to Challengers. I hope my services will help Challengers to grow and prosper further, allowing many more children to experience the simple joy of play which is priceless for all children.

  • Graham Seddon
    Graham Seddon: Treasurer

    I joined the Trustees at Challengers in September 2012.

    Having taken over as Treasurer I have worked closely with the team as we look to move the organisation forward.

    The future holds many exciting opportunities and challenges, and as Chair of the Finance and Risk Sub-committee my role is to support the Senior Management Team whilst safeguarding the charity’s financial position to ensure the fantastic work can continue for years to come.

  • Deborah Smith
    Deborah Smith: Trustee

    We came across Challengers whilst visiting Legoland with our autistic son Thomas in 2002 and Thomas has been with Challengers ever since. I work in education. My role is to support and understand pupils who for whatever reason are unable to stay within the classroom setting. I feedback everything I learn to either senior leadership, safeguarding, Senco, counsellors. I have my own classroom, where our pupils and others know they are able to be themselves, without the risk of exclusion, My passion is “every child matters regardless of their ability.” I believe that this has come from understanding my own son. Challengers have in my eyes extended this ethos, so when we met in Legoland I knew instantly that this was going to be the team for my family and of course my son.

  • Mike Walker
    Mike Walker: Medical Trustee

    I am delighted and very honoured to have been asked to take up the role of Medical Trustee for Challengers, a charity that I have known and admired for some years.

    I am a full time GP with over 20 years experience and have a particular interest in child healthcare.

    Away from work I love music and all sports (particularly rugby) and I am a keen golfer and cyclist.

    I am married with 2 children. I look forward to supporting the wonderful Challengers team in the future.