Lynda Hill

Mum of Joshua, CEO & Founder

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 I am currently in my final year studying for an MA in Clinical Counselling. I will be qualified as a person-centred therapist next year.

My interest in clinical 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.

Fact about me: I have a secret desire to meet the Strictly dancers and perform with them!

Sue McGregor-Ogden

Finance Manager

Sue McGregor-OgdenI 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.

Fact about me: 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 

Pippa Watson-PeckI joined The Joshua Tree in the summer of 2018. I had been aware of the charity for many years as I lived locally and had been involved in fundraising, so was eager to get involved and make the difference I could to the families the charity supports. My role consists of overseeing the Income Generation Team,  managing, coordinating and monitoring all fundraising and external communication activities for the charity.

I work with community groups, individuals and businesses across the North West and North Wales to support them with their fundraising and increase awareness of The Joshua Tree charity as we continue to grow.

I didn’t appreciate how many families are affected by childhood cancers until joining The Joshua Tree, and knowing the difference we can make, makes me strive to achieve the best results possible for our families.

A fact about me: I am currently studying Hypnotherapy (I can’t qualify quickly enough to rid my phobia of snakes!) and Psychotherapy alongside my role at The Joshua Tree, and loving every bit of it all!

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 re-kindle existing relationships and start to build new ones which can only make a huge difference.

Quirky 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.

Juliet Brazendale

Events and Fundraising Co-ordinator

JulesI qualified as a Dance and Musical Theatre Teacher at Laine Theatre Arts College in Epsom, Surrey.  After performing and choreographing in the fast lane down South, I decided to move back to Northwich where I founded Elite Dancers.

I wanted to pass on my expertise to other children in my local area to build their self-confidence in dance, drama and performance skills. My motto was “bringing communities together through dance”. Running Elite Dancers has given me excellent experience working with young children and families putting on events and shows on a regular basis.

My passion has always been to perform and put on a show so to be able to do this for The Joshua Tree is an absolute pleasure!

Fun Fact: I love gardening and I’m a massive Game of Thrones fan!

Catherine Bickerton

Volunteer Co-ordinator 

Catherine BickertonI am responsible for recruiting, organising and supporting our volunteers, as well as helping colleagues to develop volunteering opportunities as the charity continues to grow.

My background was originally legal, then I moved into the charity sector more than 15 years ago and shortly afterwards completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Action Management.

I joined The Joshua Tree team as a volunteer in 2013, before returning as a staff member at the start of 2017. My favourite part of the job is meeting lots of inspiring people across the whole community - we couldn't achieve what we do without so many volunteers sharing their time, expertise and enthusiasm.

Fact about me: Through connections made at Northwich Festival of Running, an event that supports The Joshua Tree, I started running in 2017 and I completed the London Marathon in 2019!

Sally Shakeshaft

Operations Manager & Deputy CEO

Sally ShakeshaftI 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.

My quirky facts: I am a keen follower of Warrington Wolves Rugby League team and have a phobia of glitter.

Rachael Birdsey

Family Support Lead

Rachael BirdseyHaving 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.

Quirky facts - 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!

Julie Smith

Family Support Partnership Lead 

Julie SmithI am a qualified Teaching Assistant and worked within the education sector before moving into the Travel industry. My passion, however, was always to work with children.

The Joshua Tree was a charity I was aware of and having had first-hand experience of cancer as a sibling I admired their work. An opportunity to join the Family Support Team arose and I was thrilled to be offered the role. I work very closely with the families and tailor the support we offer in response to their needs, identifying the relevant support sessions required, for example tutoring and counselling.

A large part of my role is working closely with the oncology department at Alder Hey and I have been successful in building strong relations with them to continue the support beyond treatment and when the families need us most. I also partner with other charities to ensure we optimise the support we provide to our families.

Fact about me: I’ve starred alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant; however, I am still waiting for my Oscar nomination!

Marie Moss

Family Support Co-ordinator 

Marie MossHaving trained as a nurse before working at an independent school and liaising closely with children and parents, I moved on to volunteer for Home Start as a Family Mentor working with local families.

When the opportunity arose at The Joshua Tree, I jumped at the chance to get involved. I now work as the Family Support Co-ordinator within the Family Support Team, where I visit families at Alder Hey weekly, provide support in the community and manage the monthly Saturday Sessions.

Fun Fact: I’d like to throw myself out of a plane in aid of The Joshua Tree… with a parachute attached (I’m sure there are a few colleagues who would offer to give me a push too!)

Sian Longley

Family Support Worker (North Wales)

Marie MossI completed my degree in Glasgow University qualifying with an MA in Social Science (Management Studies). Following this I worked abroad for a while before deciding to enter into the teaching profession.

I qualified as a secondary school teacher in 2004 and currently am Head of Faculty for Business and Vocational subjects. In 2013 my Daughter Isobel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). I left work temporarily to care for my daughter and realised that we needed some support with processing what we had been through. This is where I first heard about The Joshua Tree; the charity worked closely with Isobel and her sister Abbigail offering support and play therapy.

It was at this point that I became aware that I would like to help support families in North Wales as they navigate the cancer journey and so put in an application to go part time and work one day a week for The Joshua Tree.

Joanne Lowry

Children's Support Worker

Marie MossAs the most recent member to join the Family Support Team, I am looking forward to working with the families and schools across the North West and North Wales. After leaving the BBC where I worked as a Producer, I became a teacher where I found a particular passion for child psychology. Having recently gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Family and Child Psychology I am currently studying a Masters in Pure Psychology.

There is something very special about The Joshua Tree. I love the big family feel of the Saturday sessions and the children are an inspiration!

Fun fact: I love running and am a big fan of Joe Wicks! And I once interviewed Will Smith!

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