Margaret Wright

CEO

Margaret WrightI grew up and went to school in Leeds before crossing the Pennines to go to university in Liverpool and have lived and worked in Cheshire ever since.

You could say I am Yorkshire born and bred but matured in Cheshire!

After graduating, I joined Ernst & Young where I qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Throughout my career I have held various financial and leadership roles in private practice, further education, industry and the not for profit sector.

Over the last 20 years I have worked at St Rocco’s Hospice in Warrington, as the Finance Director of a timber flooring company in Warrington and prior to joining the Joshua Tree I was the CEO of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester.

I am looking forward to using my business experience and passion for the charity sector to support families dealing with the devastating impact of childhood cancers.

As the new Chief Executive of the Joshua Tree I am proud to be part of the committed and caring team that is the Joshua Tree family.

Lynda Hill

Mum of Joshua, Founder & Clinical Counsellor

Lynda HillFollowing the completion of my degree in Psychology in 1989, I worked as a Residential Child Care Officer for Berkshire Social Services, where I supported children and young people with emotional and learning difficulties. A change in role took me to Cheshire in 1990 when I married David Hill (Dad to Joshua and Chair of Trustees) and took up the post of Assistant Psychologist at West Cheshire NHS Trust. This developed into the role of Research Psychologist after I obtained an MSc in Practitioner Research.

Taking a career break to look after my three children, I completed a post-graduate diploma in Clinical and Pastoral Counselling with a view to returning to work once the children had all started school. My plans dramatically changed when Joshua, my youngest son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in September 2004 when he was 5 years old. Consequently, my role was very much devoted to being a full-time carer to Joshua over the three years of his treatment.

I soon learned that there wasn’t a provision for families affected by childhood cancers in Cheshire, this is where The Joshua Tree came in. Through my experience of caring for a young child with cancer, I realised that I wanted to combine this first-hand understanding with my skills in psychology and counselling to be able to support families going through a similar situation. To aid me in taking on the leadership role of running the charity, I completed a post-graduate degree in Strategic Management and Leadership.

As the service has developed, my passion for supporting families has continued and after completing 3 years of study for an MA in Clinical Counselling, I am now qualified and working as a person-centred therapist.

My interest in research continues and I am keen for The Joshua Tree to develop links with surrounding universities to better understand the effects that childhood cancer has on a family emotionally, cognitively and physically. I am currently studying part-time for a PhD in Psychological Trauma where I am exploring the emotional support needs of grandparents whose grandchild has had a childhood cancer diagnosis, including bereaved grandparents.

Fun fact: I have a secret desire to meet the Strictly dancers and perform with them!

Rachael Birdsey

Family Support Manager and Head of Childhood Therapeutic Services

Rachael Birdsey 1Having worked primarily in education as a Primary Teacher and then in the NHS as a Health Play Specialist, I’ve worked with children all my life.

I was privileged to have known the Hill family through Josh’s treatment and started working at The Joshua Tree in 2015, then progressed to Family Support Lead in 2017.

I am a Mum to two very wonderful and funny children and have had personal experience of childhood cancer through my daughter’s brain tumour: I know that the journey doesn’t end when the treatment does. This drives my passion to support families in any small way we can and I love working with such special people and being a part of a fantastically caring team.

I recently studied Family and Child Psychology at Chester University to develop my understanding.

Fun fact: I’m slightly obsessed with boxing (especially Anthony Joshua!); I love a good cheese and jam sandwich; I eat copious amounts of brandy cream straight from the tub but only at Christmas obviously!

Danielle Percival

Well-being Co-ordinator

Danielle-PercivalI started working for The Joshua Tree in March 2021 and I feel very privileged to join such an amazing, worthwhile charity. Living locally, I have watched all the incredible work that has gone into developing the support centre and the fundraising efforts that has made it all possible.

My career to date has been in Residential Care, Health and Education supporting people with Epilepsy, Learning Disabilities and Autism. I have a real passion for ensuring people are treated with dignity and respect whilst achieving a good quality of life. I am very used to working alongside medical professionals, supporting families through life altering times and advocating for those who need a voice.

My role at The Joshua Tree as Wellbeing Coordinator will give the Family Support Team the opportunity to grow and offer more support to parents, grandparents and adults affected by childhood cancers. I am a great believer that you cannot pour from an empty cup so I will aim to support adult caregivers to look after themselves throughout their cancer experience.

Fun fact: My home is slowly turning into a small petting zoo with a cat, dog, guinea pig and tortoise. With my Son’s love of animals, I’m sure it will not be long before there are more additions to the family!

Sara King

Children's Primary School Support Worker (North Wales)

Sara-King-2-2-1Having joined the Family support Team in January 2020, I am excited to be a part of this wonderful charity, providing families with support specific to their individual journeys.

I have 20 years’ experience of working within various roles of Family Support, where I have gained extensive knowledge and understanding of approaches that influence positive family functioning and boost child confidence, self- esteem and resilience. I am also a qualified Parenting Group Leader and a Mum of three children myself.

My role mainly focuses on supporting Primary school age children, delivering therapeutic interventions that assist them to manage any difficulties they face relating to their experience with cancer.

Fun Fact: I love a good hill walk followed by a hot Radox bath!

Manon James

Family Well-being Co-ordinator (North Wales)

Manon-JamesMy role focuses on supporting the well-being of the families we support who are affected by childhood cancers. I have 30 years experience of working with families and young people and have worked within education, social care, and charitable organisations. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most wonderful young people whose strength, determination and resilience never fail to amaze me. Working with young people keeps me on my toes but also young at heart!

Fun Fact: Dwi'n rhigl yn y Gymraeg (I'm a fluent welsh speaker) and I got married on television and wore a pair of silver Dr Martens!

Sophie Case

Children's Support Worker

Sophie-CaseMy role at the Joshua Tree will involve being one of the first points of contact for children who accesses our services and visit the centre. I will be delivering sessions that will aim to accommodate a safe and open space, which supports children to express themselves as they experience their cancer journey. 

After completing an undergraduate degree in Art, I went on to complete a Master’s in the Psychology of Mental Health – discovering that creativity can be a powerful tool to aid expression and communication. 

Prior to this role I have been working as a classroom assistant in primary schools and nurseries. I enjoyed learning about the importance of nurture, observing children’s development and helping them learn through play. During this time, I also volunteered at a Crisis centre supporting adults mental wellbeing, some of whom were experiencing increased isolation through lockdown. This experience connected me to my experience at University when I supported adults who also were isolated from society. 

Fun fact: Whilst travelling in New Zealand, my sister and I attempted what was meant to be a leisurely 30km cycle trail. We managed to get completely lost and ended up doing a 60km mountain range cycle! Out of it grew an enjoyment for cycling which I have continue to pursue when I returned home.

Katie Harrison

Family Support Administrator

KatieHarrison(4)I joined The Joshua Tree as the Family Support Administrator, having previously worked in the Higher Education providing careers advice and support to students and graduates. Prior to this, I worked within the charity sector as a Volunteer Coordinator for a tutoring programme. I'm passionate about educational disadvantage and inspiring young people to be the best that they can be.

I completed my degree in Creative Expressive Therapies (BA Hons) at the University of Derby. As an Arts & Health Practitioner I have developed skills in using the arts to help people in communities to engage in creative activities, to improve their confidence, health, and wellbeing etc.

Fun Fact: I once abseiled down the side of a Cathedral for a children's charity fundraiser! I'm anything arts, crafts, pottery obsessed. I'm at my happiest when I am in my scruffs at the pottery wheel, getting covered in clay.

Sue McGregor-Ogden

Finance Manager

Sue-McGregor-Ogden-1I am a Chartered Accountant and have previously worked in finance and change management in global businesses for many years, until I took a career break to care for my son when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

This was when we first encountered The Joshua Tree, receiving desperately needed support as we prepared for and recovered from his bone marrow transplant.

Following his recovery, I became a volunteer for both The Joshua Tree and the NHS, which led to me joining The Joshua Tree as Finance Manager in October 2018.

Fun fact: I love to ski and spend whatever time I can in Switzerland.

Joanne Leigh

Finance Officer 

I became involved with The Joshua Tree in Autumn 2012 when I joined as a volunteer. When I was offered the chance to join the charity as Finance Officer in September 2014 I was thrilled. Having been involved for several years I have seen the charity grow and go from strength to strength. There are exciting times ahead and I love that every day is different.

Fun Fact: I am the fool of the office, April fool that is: an easy birthday to remember at least!

Pippa Watson-Peck

Communications and Fundraising Manager 

PWP-2I joined The Joshua Tree in the summer of 2018 and having been aware of the charity for many years was eager to get involved and make the difference I could.

My role consists of providing effective day-to-day leadership of the Income Generation Team and the development and implementation of the communications and fundraising strategies to increase awareness and income.

I didn’t appreciate the affect a childhood cancer diagnosis has on the whole family and knowing the difference The Joshua Tree can have during such a difficult time, drives me to  achieve the best results possible for the charity and beneficiaries.

Fun fact: I am a qualified Hypnotherapist and studying a Level 5 diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling alongside my role at The Joshua Tree, and loving every bit of it!

Helen Ritchie

Corporate Partnership Officer

Helen RitchieI joined The Joshua Tree in April 2019 as Corporate Partnership Officer, having previously worked in the Entertainment industry for more than 20 years and latterly in the independent education sector.

I am passionate about training people through education and am lucky enough to join an amazing and dedicated team at The Joshua Tree who also share the same passion.

My new role will allow me to rekindle existing relationships and start to build new ones which can only make a huge difference.

Fun fact: I have quite an eclectic taste in music and have seen numerous live artists over the years - the highlight probably being seeing Abba in 1976 and Freddie Mercury and Queen in 1982.

Sally Shakeshaft

Operations Manager

Sally-Shakeshaft-2-3I joined The Joshua Tree in October 2017 as Operations Manager for Family Support and work closely with the Senior Management team ensuring effective delivery of all the core services we provide. I am responsible for producing, implementing and maintaining all policies, processes and procedures and manage all aspects of HR support and recruitment.

A key element of my work is to ensure that processes are in place to enable the Family Support team to provide support to our families in every way possible. I have found it truly rewarding and love every minute of working for The Joshua Tree. We have an amazing team who are excited for the future in our new centre.

Fun fact: I am a keen follower of Warrington Wolves Rugby League team and have a phobia of glitter.

Kate Deakin

Volunteer Lead

With a background in Relationship Management within the charity sector, as well as working within the welfare sector for many years I am excited to join the Charity at such an exciting time moving into the new purpose built family support Centre and building a strong team of Joshua Tree volunteers. My role consists of managing all aspects of Volunteering from the very grassroots of meeting, recruiting and training volunteers, to overseeing and leading our wonderful volunteers in every aspect of their role here at the Joshua Tree. Volunteers contribute to such a significant amount and play such a vital part in any charity and without them devoting their very valuable time and support we just would not be able to survive without the volunteering team here at the Joshua Tree. It is my job to make them feel appreciated and listened to so that their time spent with us here is a happy and momentous experience.

Fun fact: I absolutely live for holidays in the sun and believe that "holiday blues" are a real thing. I have a slight obsession with Outer Space, visiting space centres and owning Professor Brian Cox Wonders of the Universe book collection.

Brendan Spruce

Caretaker and Maintenance Officer

Brendan SpruceI joined the team in January 2020 as Caretaker and Maintenance Officer, having previously been a Police Officer with Greater Manchester Police and Detective in South Manchester.  I also spent 10 years as a Prison Officer working and educating juvenile and young offenders.

I became aware of the fantastic work that The Joshua Tree do when my grandson developed a rare Rhabdoid Tumour and take pride in being part of an amazing team delivering support to families as they did mine.

Fun Fact: I am an avid fan of steam train traction engines and Northern Soul music and dance.

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