Our people

Garden House Hospice Care is made up of a team of 200 staff and over 800 volunteers, governed by a Board of Trustees.

Garden House Hospice Care is made up of a dedicated team of 200 staff and over 800 volunteers across the organisation. As a charity, we are governed by a Board of Trustees who lead on performance, strategy and the future direction of the Hospice.

The Board of Trustees is made up of individuals with various skills and expertise from nursing, medical, commercial, legal and local government and is led by our Chairman Steve Mellish.

Day-to-day operations of Garden House Hospice Care are led by Chief Executive Lisa Hunt with support from our passionate Senior Leadership Team of experienced Directors and Senior Managers.

Senior Leadership Team


Lisa Hunt

Chief Executive Officer

Lisa joined Garden House Hospice Care as Chief Executive in January 2023 after 35 years working in the NHS.

She started her career as a trained nurse specialising in palliative care, working in hospices and as a Macmillan nurse. She has since set up her own consultancy specialising in interim executive improvement director roles, but has also had several positions within the NHS at board level including Chief Operating Officer at Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Managing Director at Mid Essex Hospitals.

Prior to her arrival with us, Lisa most recently worked at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.


Dr Sarah Bell

Medical Director

Sarah joined Garden House as a consultant in 2014 and was appointed as Medical Director in 2016.

Sarah qualified with a distinction in Medicine from London University in 1995, having previously obtained a BSc in medical science. She undertook a number of jobs in London teaching hospitals, including the Royal Free, the Royal Brompton, Hammersmith Hospital and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, before deciding to specialise in Palliative Medicine.

Sarah worked with a number of palliative care teams across hospice, hospital and community settings in London and the East of England and has now been working in palliative medicine for over 20 years. In addition to her role at the Hospice, Sarah is the East of England Palliative Medicine Speciality Advisor for the Royal College of Physicians and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.


Liz Kennedy

Director of Patient Services

Liz joined Garden House Hospice Care in summer 2021 after spending more than 30 years of her nursing career working for hospices. Initially arriving as Community Services Manager, she was promoted to Director of Patient Services in 2022.

Liz has been fortunate to be involved previously in forming and developing services, which she finds particularly rewarding. She finds it a privilege to make those changes and be involved in the improvement of people's care. She is a big believer in people and is passionate about supporting patients, families, teams and individuals to support, enable, empower and develop.


Carla Pilsworth

Director of Income Generation

Carla joined Garden House Hospice Care in 2020 as Director of Income Generation. An experienced Fundraising, Sales and Marketing professional Carla previously worked for 13 years heading up the fundraising team across the region at Macmillan Cancer Support. Carla believes in open and honest leadership and builds teams based on relationships.

With a passion for making a difference, she has supported Garden House since her grandmother was cared for as an inpatient in 1991. Carla also supports many different causes including Tommy's in memory of her daughter Daisy. Leading by example, Carla can usually be found taking part in a fundraising event or supporting one of our shops.


Derek Turnbull

People Director

Derek joined as People Director in July 2021 and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of HR. Derek has over 20 years' HR experience within both the not for profit and private sectors.


Edith Yembra

Director of Finance and Resources

Edith joined Garden House Hospice Care in November 2022. She previously worked as Head of Finance at Hertfordshire Homes and also has experience with various organisations including North London YMCA and Florence Nightingale Foundation.


Steve Collins

Director of Operations

Steve initially joined Garden House Hospice Care in April 2023 on an interim basis, playing a pivotal role in our transformation. He joined the Executive Director team on a permanent basis in April 2024 and is responsible for ensuring the delivery of high-quality care, safety and performances across our services.

Board of Trustees


Steve Mellish

Steve was elected as Chairman of the Hospice in June 2021 having joined the Board as a Trustee in 2016. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Trading Company from 2017 to 2021, which saw significant growth in the company's operations. Steve tries to support as many fundraising events as possible, previously taking part in skydiving, wing walking, abseiling and cycling to name a few, generating thousands of pounds in donations.

Steve spent most of his career working with Sainsbury's in a senior management role addressing risk, crisis management and organisational resilience. He then ran his own consultancy in risk and resilience between 2012 and 2021. He was also a Board Director of the Business Continuity Institute for 12 years, being elected twice as Chairman in 2004 and 2012.


Rhona Seviour

Rhona has had a varied career and, amongst other things, been a headteacher in North Hertfordshire and an education adviser for Hertfordshire County Council. She was also one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools and, more recently, a government education adviser.

She has had a keen interest in the hospice movement for the last thirty years during which time, with her husband, she has been involved in end-of-life care for one of her children and four parents. These experiences contributed to her wish to ensure that everyone in the local community has access to the very best end-of-life care at the place of their choosing and that their families have the support they need to cope when experiencing dying, death and bereavement.

Rhona's background provides her with experience of leadership, governance, inspection, training and development, and quality improvement. Rhona retains a passionate belief in the value of education throughout our lives.


Dr Pauline Williams

Pauline was appointed as a trustee in October 2021, coinciding with her decision to retire after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry. A doctor by training, Pauline has held a number of roles in drug discovery, most recently as Head of Global Health Research and Development at GSK focussing on diseases of the developing world, including TB, Malaria and causes of maternal and neonatal mortality. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and serves as a Council Member of the UKRI Medical Research Council.

In 2019 Pauline was named as Changemaker for Children in Save the Children's Centenary Awards and she was awarded a CBE for services to medical research and development in the Queen's 2021 New Year Honours List. She enjoys mentoring people early in their career and is a passionate advocate for health equity across gender and ethnicity.

Having appreciated the care and expertise offered by the Garden House Hospice Care when her late husband was an inpatient in 2015, Pauline is keen to bring her expertise as a senior manager, physician and researcher to her role as trustee.


Simon Chatfield

Simon qualified as a Dr in 1980 from the Royal Free Hospital in London. He joined the North Hertfordshire GP training scheme, based at Lister Hospital, Stevenage not anticipating that he would then stay on in Letchworth for a 30+ year career. He also worked, during his training, as a Medical Officer for 3 months in a very remote community in Newfoundland, Canada.

In the 80s, the Hospice building was the site of Letchworth Cottage Hospital. Local people were admitted under GP care and there was a small X-ray unit. The new post of trustee reconnects him professionally with the Hospice where, as a GP, he had referred patients for community, in-patient and rehab & wellbeing services. He will look for the opportunities to ensure the Hospice works to be the best it can be.

Stepping back from the General Practice partner role in 2016, Simon's recent career includes advising NHS commissioners on emergency care and audit. He acts as a cancer and prescribing lead for a group of local practices in North Herts and has represented locum Drs, led postgraduate education and other professional meetings. Appointed as a specialist in primary care regulation for the CQC, he has visited over 100 practices since 2014. His professional motivation centres around doing the right thing for our patients ensuring that there has been thought about what should be done in healthcare as much as what can or could be done.


Richard Deardon

Richard enjoyed a rewarding retail career with the John Lewis Partnership and his combination of commercial acumen and leadership skills delivered profitable trading at a range of shops. His last few years were spent heading the committed, diverse and successful team at John Lewis Brent Cross. Richard hopes to add value to Garden House Hospice Care by sharing his experience of leading change, brand management, customer service and selling operations in a fluctuating retail context.

Richard has lived in Hitchin for more than twenty years and has been aware of the hugely significant contribution which the Hospice team makes to the local community. His family had personal experience of the end of life care offered by the amazing staff, when they looked after his mother in law with great skill and compassion. Richard is delighted to be working alongside talented and enthusiastic colleagues to help raise funds to support the Hospice work.


Melanie Flynn

Melanie is a Certified Internal Auditor and has spent many years advising organisations on their governance, risk management and internal control frameworks. During a 16 year career with PwC, Melanie worked with clients across the public, financial services and not-for-profit sectors. Melanie's current role is with NatWest Group, where she quality assures the work performed by the bank's audit teams to ensure compliance with internal audit standards, and provides training to develop employees' internal audit skills.

Melanie enjoys giving her time to support the local community. Previous volunteering roles have included two years as a member of the Letchworth Festival committee, and working as part of the St John Ambulance team supporting the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Melanie is delighted to be able to bring her skills and experience to her role as Trustee of Garden House Hospice Care and is proud to work with such a well-respected and vitally important community organisation.


Jennie Williams

Jennie became a Trustee in June 2022 following a 39 year career as a nurse in the NHS within acute community and commissioning organisations.

She has lived in Hertfordshire since 1999. Before retiring, Jennie was the Executive Director of Nursing and Quality at North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group.

During the pandemic, Jennie returned to practice as the Clinical Lead in a mass vaccination hub in London. She has qualifications in coaching and a master's degree in Healthcare Law and Ethics.


Gemma Manning

Gemma spent her childhood in Letchworth Garden City, attending Fearnhill Secondary School and later the Goldsmith Management Centre when her Human Resources career was just starting. She worked initially in the private sector, before moving to the public sector (NHS and Bedfordshire County Council) and finally the Charity sector, which she loves.

Previously Head of HR at East Anglia's Children's Hospices, she is currently People and Operations Director for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity in Cambridgeshire where she has worked since 2017. While her twins were young, she combined working full time, volunteering as a school governor and studying for her level 7 CIPD qualification, which she achieved in 2013.

Gemma brings her experience of outstanding and compassionate hospice leadership along with her HR knowledge and a passion for people and development.

Jo Heneker

Jo Heneker

Jo is a sustainability consultant, helping businesses and organisations to develop their sustainability strategies. She also speaks at conferences and runs training sessions to help people understand more about their impact on the planet and our community.  Before setting up her own business, she spent 10 years at AXA, both in London and Paris, supporting senior executives with strategy and project delivery.  She also led on governance and corporate responsibility, including staff wellbeing. During her time in Paris, she was a member of the group’s crisis management team.


Since moving to Letchworth in 2018, Jo has enjoyed getting to know the community.  She has been a governor at a local school, and you’ll see her at various events in the town, often hosting sustainability sessions for the local community.  Jo is excited to be part of an organisation with purpose at its core, helping the hospice to become more sustainable, fund raising-along the way.

Chris Dare

Chris Dare

Chris brings with him a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience from the world of IT/Digital. He is currently employed full time as the IT Director of a Cambridge-based company.

We have invested heavily in our IT and systems over the past couple of years and, with Chris now onboard, it certainly plugs a gap in our ability to look more strategically at the future and fully exploit our investment.

Garden House Hospice Care Trading Ltd

Garden House Hospice Care Trading Ltd operates 12 retail shops across North Hertfordshire and beyond, also offering an online shopping presence through eBay and other sites. All shops rely on donations of goods from the local community, with all profits from retail directly supporting vital end of life care in our community.

Trading Company Board

  • Richard Dearden - Chairman of the Trading Company
  • Lisa Hunt - Chief Executive of Garden House Hospice Care
  • Carla Pilsworth - Director of Income Generation
  • Rhona Seviour - Director
  • James Hyde - Director
  • Mike Thompson - Director
  • Richard Warren - Director

Our Patrons and Vice Presidents

Our distinguished Patrons and Vice Presidents play important roles as ambassadors and advocates for Garden House Hospice Care in the community. We are grateful for the support they give us.


  • Lord Julian and Lady Emma Fellowes of West Stafford DL
  • The Chairman of North Herts District Council
  • The Mayor of Royston
  • The Mayor of Stevenage
  • Sir Oliver Heald QC, MP
  • Bim Afolami, MP
  • Stephen McPartland, MP
  • Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
  • Sir Simon Bowes Lyon KCVO
  • Mrs Sarah Harrison
  • Mrs Diana Laing
  • Mr Paul Cherry
  • Mr Richard Whitmore
  • Mrs Boo Williams

Vice Presidents

  • Dr Frances Aldridge
  • Mrs Sally Alford
  • Mr Ivor Barber
  • Mr Trevor Bentham
  • Mrs Mary Blaksley
  • Mrs Trudy Bunday
  • Mr Bernard Davies
  • Mr Andrew Egerton-Smith MBE
  • Mrs Rosemary Gillham
  • Sir Alexander Graham
  • Mr Peter Harkness
  • Mr John Procter
  • Mr David Heymans
  • Mrs Janet Hill
  • Mrs Anne Houghton
  • Mr Anthony Isaacs
  • Mrs Jenny Lupton
  • Mr Roger Manning
  • Mrs M Guenier
  • Dr Catherine Offer
  • Mr John Bush
  • Mrs Janet Nevitt
  • Dr V C Lucas

Founders of the Frailty Service

With special thanks to the following individuals, clubs, foundations and organisations who have been major benefactors of our new Frailty Service. Learn more about Our New Chapter.

  • The Michael Cowan Foundation
  • The Childwick Trust
  • Letchworth Rugby Club
  • Lady Dixon
  • Val Aitken
  • Ron Brooks' Family 
  • Michael Brown
  • Alan and Lynne Janes
  • The Reed Foundation
  • dormakaba UK & Ireland
  • The Etauliers Charitable Foundation
  • Memoria North Herts
  • Menzies LLP Stevenage 
  • Anne Pink
  • Chris and Jane Phillips
  • Raymond James, Hitchin
  • Karen Williams

Join the team: