Our Governors

Our Governors

 Alder Hey has an active Council of Governors representing patients, parents, carers, staff, the general public and partner organisations. The Council represents our membership and represents as far as possible, every staff group and the communities that Alder Hey serves across England and North Wales.

A total of 34 Governors are elected from the membership base. The Council of Governors is comprised of six staff governors (elected by staff), nine public governors, four patient governors, six parent and carer governors (elected by members), together with nine appointed governors from nominated organisations.

Our governors play a key role in working alongside the Board of Directors to ensure the Trust’s plans are being delivered and that the interests of all stakeholder groups have been considered.

Elections to the Council of Governors take place annually in the summer. Vacancies will appear in the news section of the website.

Governors' responsibilities

  1. Governors have a number of key responsibilities which are set by Monitor (2014) and include:
  2. Holding non-executive directors to account for performance of the board
  3. Representing the interests of members and the public
  4. Amending the constitution
  5. Approving the appointment of the Chief Executive
  6. Appointing and removing the Chair and other non-executive directors
  7. Appointing and removing the NHS foundation trust’s external auditors
  8. Receiving the NHS foundation trust’ annual accounts and annual budgets
  9. Preparing the forward plan
  10. Taking decisions on significant transactions
  11. Taking decisions on non NHS income

You can contact any of our governors by e-mailing membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

Public Governors

Marilyn mornington

 Marilyn Mornington

Lead Governor - Public, Cheshire

 Term of office: 2020 – 2023

Who am I? I am a newly retired Family Judge and full time nana of 3 babies. I grew up West Derby and my family have relied on Alder Hey for 60 years. I have a lifetime interest in domestic abuse and its effects on children and was for many years a policy advisor on these issues. I was a specialist Diversity Judge and a Cabinet Office Diversity Ambassador. My hobbies are ballroom dancing, knitting and going to Greatie! 

What do I bring to this role? 45 years in Family Law as a barrister and Judge. I had the privilege of Chairing many national and international bodies concerned with domestic violence, child abuse and honour crime and helping to change law and practice. I have worked in many overseas countries including Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia and bring the experience of engaging with diverse communities here and abroad.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

lowri smith

Lowri Smith

North Wales

Term of office: 2021-2024

Who am I? For the first 20 years of my life, I was cared for by Alder Hey. I live in Ruthin, North Wales but have always travelled to Liverpool for my care. I am now in my early thirties, and I’m being cared for by another great hospital in the city, but I retain a lasting – I would say, lifelong – passion for Alder Hey.  It is a great privilege to have been elected governor to represent the children and families of North Wales. I am a fluent Welsh speaker  

I currently work for the local authority as part of their test and trace service. Ten years ago I set up our local foodbank and I’m also a trustee for the charity. I am a patient representative for the North West Congenital Cardiac Network - a group that was established by a cardiac nurse working at Alder Hey. I also have several other patient rep roles including at the Royal Brompton Hospital. I have been a patient there since 2017.

What do I bring to this role? My experience as a lifelong patient has given me a true insight into the challenges patients face when trying to access care. It has also taught me to advocate for myself.  I watched my parents advocate for me from the very beginning - whether asking for a second opinion or access to a different type of treatment - and I learned from them to take responsibility for my care and to keep asking questions. 

I believe my experience as a patient gives me valuable insights, perspective, and ideas the which will help me represent the interests of the hundreds of families across North and mid Wales served by Alder Hey.  It’s important that we continue these strong links.  

How can I be contacted? 
I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

hilary peel

Hilary Peel


Term of office: Third term, 2022-2025

Who am I? I am a member of the nursing staff at Alder Hey who has forty years of experience working in the profession. This period has seen me move from being a student nurse to a qualified staff nurse, a senior sister and ward manager. Since April 2015 I have been working with the senior nursing team and supporting the move of the Hospital to our exciting new home.

What do I bring to this role? The past forty years has allowed me to both develop a wealth of experience in the care and treatment of children alongside an appreciation of the staff context too. This experience has come from working at the grass roots of the organisation, on the wards. It has enabled me to develop relationships across departments, including junior and senior management, and helped me to understand the issues that staff and our families face.

naomi grannell

Naomi Grannell

Parent & Carer Governor

Term of office: 3rd term, 2020 - 2023

Who am I? I am a qualified Social Worker and deliver a long-term health conditions programme as part of my work with Warrington Disability Partnership. I have been a frequent and long term patient at Alder Hey, having been born with cerebral palsy.

Being able to give something back to the Hospital which has provided such outstanding care to me and my family was all the motivation I needed to become a Governor. I was delighted when I was elected as I am passionate about raising the awareness of the fantastic work the Hospital and everyone associated with it does. I am very proud indeed to represent the Cheshire constituency on the Board of Governors and to be a part of such an incredible team. I witnessed first-hand the compassion of all the medical team when the grand-daughter of a close family friend was a patient at the Hospital suffering from a terminal cancer. This left a lasting impression on me, increasing the esteem in which I already held the Hospital and staff.

What do I bring to this role? With the multiple panels and working groups I sit on in and around Warrington, I get a very good view of the issues impacting on patients and families in Cheshire. I see it as my role to make sure that these views are represented to the Board. I joined the Council of Governors in June 2014, right in the middle of the delivery of, and move to, the new Hospital. This has been a time of huge challenge to all involved, and also a time of real excitement and opportunity for the Trust.

As a Trust Governor I am responsible for holding non-executive directors to account for the performance of the Board of Directors and also approving major decisions such as large financial transactions and issues around mergers and acquisitions. If I can play just a small part in being a voice for the people of Cheshire, then I will feel a real sense of achievement and contribution to something which is so important to so many people.


Daniel Casson

Rest of England

Term of office: Second Term, 2012 - 2025

Who am I? I am a Dad with two teenage daughters originally from Manchester but now living and working in London. My brother was a consultant gastroenterologist at Alder Hey until he died ten years ago, when he was only 45 years old. I have worked in social care for the past 12 years and am now a freelance consultant working in digital transformation in health and social care.

What do I bring to this role? I have a very good understanding of the NHS and how it works within community as a vital factor in community cohesiveness, having worked with carers and vulnerable people in a care setting.  My current work as Digital Development Executive for the largest care home representative body, Care England, means I am constantly looking at new technology and new ways of working in health and social care. 

sue thoms.jpg

Sue Thoms

Wider North West

Term of office: 1st Term, 2020 – 2023

Who am I? I am married and a mum of two children. I have worked for more than 25 years in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical sector. I worked for Alder Hey for 3 years as Director of Business Development, during the period of securing the funding and finalising designs for the new build.

What do I bring to this role? I feel I can support and ask the questions on behalf of my constituents to optimise decisions made to secure the best care for children. I have a passion for science, research and technology thus I want to ensure this leading-edge centre of excellence and innovation continues to attract the best talent and funding for its long-term leadership of paediatric care.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

simon jacobs

Simon Jacobs

Wider North West

Term of office: 1st Term 2020 – 2023

Who am I? I'm 28, a proud Mancunian and I have a minor heart condition; Coarctation of the Aorta, which meant that between the ages of 10 and 17 I was a patient of the hospital. I'm pleased to say that I haven't, nor will I ever forget those experiences, for all of the right reasons.

What do I bring to this role? Since my time at Alder Hey I have studied at university, started businesses, worked with large companies, hosted a podcast, written a book and lived my life with intrigue and excitement. The road hasn't always been smooth, but from these experiences, I have gained business acumen, an eye for innovation, a love of people and an appreciation of different viewpoints. I'll be bringing all of my experience, life lessons and balance to the role of Governor.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

cheryl danher

Cheryl Danher

Parent & Carer Governor

Term of office: 2021-2024

Who am I? I am a married mother of two children, one of whom has been a patient under Alder Hey since 2013. My primary job is as an Assistant Headteacher of a secondary school and I have worked in education for 18 years. I also own an events business working throughout the North West.

What do I bring to this role? I have 16 years experience as Governor in a primary and a secondary school. I have responsibility for educational performance, standards and finance holding the Senior Leadership Teams of both schools to account. As a designated safeguarding lead, I also understand the importance of keeping children safe and understand the issues that families can face.

How can I be contacted? 
I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Micaela Dempsey

Micaela Dempsey

Merseyside (Public)

Term of office: first term 2021 – 2024

Who am I? I am Liverpool born and raised, a mum of one and regular at the Alder Hey Charity shop.  I always want to do better for the community.  I am looking forward to help contribute towards building a healthier future for our children and young people.     

What do I bring to this role? Day to day I work as a practising solicitor.  I have worked in the legal sector for the last 18 years and have a particular interest in continuous development dealing with matters of a technical and sensitive nature which involve medical issues.  I am forward thinking and strike to ensure, where there are areas for improvement, steps are put in place and followed through so the highest quality and standards are maintained and met. Personally I am very positive and empathetic.  I naturally hold dear and apply what I consider to be core values by being open and transparent, respectful and most importantly I genuinely care about the treatment provided and the outcome for the patients, their families and the trust. 

How can I be contacted? You can contact me on this email address - membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Patient Governors

pippa hunter jones

Pippa Hunter-Jones PhD

Parent and Carer

Term of office: 3rd Term, 2020 - 2023

Who am I? I am a parent of two children, who, perhaps like many of us, finds herself spending time with her children in A&E; X-Ray; Audiology; Orthopaedics; and a week on F2 with Bronchiolitis. My relationship with Alder Hey dates back to my own childhood and participation in a Hospital-led, pioneering research trial, which successfully corrected congenital dislocated hips and club feet.

What do I bring to this role? Alongside being a mum, I work in the higher education sector. Here I work in teams, manage projects and participate in meetings which represent the interests of our student population. These meetings also hold different committees to account. My research work explores the patient experience. Here I am involved in projects which collect and analyse data on how we can enhance quality in service settings.

georgia tang

Georgina Tang

Parent and Carer

Term of office: Third term, 2022 – 2025

Who am I?  I am a working mum with a son who has complex medical and educational needs, therefore, Alder Hey is like our second home. He is under several specialist consultants since birth and he is 13 years old now. Also, he has severe Autism, Learning Difficulties and Sensory Processing Difficulties.

I am involved as a Governor because the experience that we had previously was a not positive one. Indeed my son was traumatised by it all, so much so that he had a melt-down whenever I told him we were going to Alder Hey. I used to have to drag him into the hospital and he would never go into any consultation room.

Several years later, it’s a different story, he is quite happy to be in Alder Hey and doctors are able to examine him using various medical instruments. This is a major achievement for him, as previously he developed phobias of all medical establishments and equipment through his traumatic experiences. Thanks to the former Equality and Diversity Director for listening to my concerns and allocated a very experienced Play Therapist to work with us. It has been a long road and along the way, many staff became more aware of the needs of children with additional needs, particularly those with Autism and Sensory Processing Difficulties. I am very pleased to say that I now sit on the steering group to develop Learning Difficulties and ASC strategy for Alder Hey.

I worked in social housing for many years and left in December 2015, so to concentrate on my freelance work with the Care Quality Commission with their inspections on health establishments such as Alder Hey. I have inspected many hospital trusts, GPs surgeries and care homes for people with Autism and Learning Difficulties etc. I also run my own business selling handmade natural & organic skin care and soy wax candles.

What do I bring to this role? My inspection work together with personal experience in accessing health service for my son has given me real insight into the issues which are face by parents, carers and patients. This gives me the experience to represent the interests of my constituency. Also, the knowledge that I gained from CQC work would help Alder Hey in their commitment to raise standards of service delivery to all children. Last but not least, compassion, empathy and caring are qualities that I can bring to this role too.

Nikki Thorbinson

Nikki Thorbinson

Parent & Carer

Term of office: 1st Term, 2020 – 2023

Who am I? As well as being Mum to two children I am also a local GP. I  am privileged to have spent time both training and later working at Alder Hey. As a result, I have been ‘behind the door’ of life-changing moments for families. Shortly after my son was born I found myself on the other side of that door as he was diagnosed with a chronic lung disease. I now understand even more the important role the hospital holds. I can think of no better role than that of Governor, to help me give back to the Trust that has supported me so much, professionally and personally, and I am delighted to have been elected.

What do I bring to this role? I have experience of sitting on both sides of the door as both mother and medic ensuring I understand the challenges faced on either side. I intend to draw on personal and professional experience to represent our children’s needs and my door, like that of the hospital’s, will always be open to hear your views.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

ana samuel.jpg

Ana Samuel

Parent & Carer

Term of office: 1st Term, 2020 – 2023

Who am I?  I am the mother of two girls – one is under the care of Alder Hey and the other under Ormskirk Hospital. Our family is based in Wavertree. I am a barrister specialising in clinical negligence and inquest law, primarily representing NHS trusts. I am also an Assistant Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull and a CEDR qualified mediator. I sit on the Coroners’ Society Law Review Committee and am a member of the Attorney General’s Panel. I have practised law in Liverpool for over 15 years and am passionate about this city and its future. Alder Hey is a credit to Liverpool and I am eager to do all I can to help maintain the high level of service it provides to families in the North West and to repay the hospital for the exemplary treatment they have provided to our daughter.

What do I bring to this role?  My work as a barrister and coroner requires me to deal with complex medical and emotional issues in a sensitive manner. I have the necessary expertise to assess how systems and processes can be improved to reduce risk and am keenly aware of the complexities surrounding multiple stakeholders and the need for effective collaboration. I am able to assimilate voluminous and detailed information and identify key issues. Sitting on the Law Review Committee also allows me to be at the cutting edge of coronial law. I believe that my skill set coupled with my professional experience will assist Alder Hey in continuing to flourish in these difficult times.

Molly Wardle

Molly Wardle


Term of office: 1st Term, 2020 – 2023

Who am I? I am 16 year old girl currently studying my first year of A levels. I’ve been involved with Alder Hey through The Children and Young People’s Forum which is an amazing group of children and young people who voice their opinions about the hospital. I am very passionate about children and young people’s voices being heard in today’s society especially in our NHS. Also I’m a recipient of the Liverpool Jon Moores university good citizenship award.

What do I bring to this role? Being part of the children and young people’s forum has allowed me to meet some incredible young people who inspire me every day. I’m able to communicate with them all well and get their opinions and thoughts on our incredible hospital and how we can improve it.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

bella plows

Bella Plows


Term of office: 1st Term, 2022 – 2025

Who am I? I am 17, and currently in my second year of college studying 3 A-levels (Maths, Further Maths and Computer science) at the University of Liverpool Maths School. I also love animals, and most weekends you’d find me at a horse sanctuary helping to care for horses. In addition to this, I love being outside in nature and walking up mountains or through woodlands.
What do I bring to this role? I was born prematurely, at 26 weeks, and subsequently spent quite a lot of time in hospital as a young child. Throughout my teenage years, I have also received a lot of outpatient and some inpatient care for my mental health. I am passionate about improving mental health services provided to vulnerable young people to ensure they get the help they need. As an autistic female, I also aim to use my past experiences to improve care that children and young people with autism/learning disabilities get. I have been a member of the youth participation group, Camhelions, in Sefton CAMHS for the last 3 years where I always strive to create positive change to the mental health services they provide. I hope that I can use my confidence, teamwork skills, and problem solving skills to implement change and be a voice for other young people.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

emily carragher-leigh

Emily Carragher-Leigh


Term of office: 1st Term, 2022 – 2025

Who am I? I have been a patient at Alder Hey since 2017 and have a business all around mental health, promoting positive mental health and raising awareness while selling self-care boxes to those who need them. I have also been involved with Alder Hey through the Camhelions since early in 2020 and have been given numerous amazing opportunities through the group and have learnt a lot through the group while meeting amazing people throughout the trust. 
What do I bring to this role? I have been using Alder Hey services since I was 13 and have been a patient of numerous departments including gynaecology, gastroenterology and CAMHS. I have had both amazing experiences under these departments but have also had some issues and want to give other children and young people a voice so that they are heard and fully understood.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Leah priestley-black

Leah Priestley-Black

Rest of England & North Wales

Term of office: 1st term 2022-2025

Who am I? My last few years of involvement in youth voice and the hospital's own Youth Forum have formulated both my view of the importance of young people's voices as patients as well as experience in which I have sought to ensure those voices are heard.
Whilst my experience spans influencing local government, health boards and third sector organisations, my keen interest is in healthcare inequalities and patient representation. I currently work with the Cheshire and Merseyside Transforming Care Partnership sub-group to ensure patient representation for young people and I have also been involved with the organisation Youth Access in creating the Altogether Better charter for person-centred mental health services which we later collaboratively presented at the CAMHS National Summit.

What do I bring to this role? Through the experience within the Alderhey Youth Forum, I have developed assurance that in representing patients I can call upon both my personal experiences and the experiences of others as it gives me the opportunity to meet and learn more about a number of other patient's stories.
I believe the experience I've had would help me to diligently represent the patients of the Trust as a Patient Governor and that it could help me offer a fresh perspective to the Council. I hope to also use my experience to ensure that not only are young people as patients represented, but also empowered by helping to evidence the difference they can make.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Staff Governors

sujata de

Sujata De

Medical and Dental Staff

Term of office: Second term, 2021 - 2024

Who am I? I have been a Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon at Alder Hey since 2007. Prior to that I worked at Alder Hey as a junior doctor and a Research Fellow. I have two children who have had to use the hospital services, thankfully not very often. I am an elected member of BAPO (British Association of Paediatric Otolaryngology) and a member of the Clinical Reference group (NHS England) for Specialised Surgery in Children and in these capacities help develop national strategy for surgery in children.

What do I bring to this role? I am a ‘healthy pessimist’. I am immensely proud of Alder Hey; the commitment and achievements of everyone who works for the organisation, but I am not shy to raise issues or to be critical when I feel something could be done better. As an active staff member and member of the Medical board, I can bring experience direct from the shop floor. I hope to use this to enable Alder Hey to grow from strength to strength while always maintaining its core values of putting the patients first and treating all of its staff fairly and with respect.

michael mander

Michael Mander

Other clinical staff, including allied health professionals, psychologists and pharmacists

Term of office: 1st Term, 2020 – 2023

Who am I? I am a Physiotherapist and have been employed by the Trust for 12 years.  I initially began as a rotational Physiotherapist but I now work as a Specialist Physiotherapist in Critical Care.  I am the very proud father of a 3 and a half year old daughter and have lived in Liverpool for most of my life.

What do I bring to this role? I am a union representative and can bring my years of experience to this role.  It allows me to gain a good understanding of what is happening at both a Trust level and also on the “shop floor”.  I hope to be able to be able to represent Other Clinical Staff at Governor level to ensure their voice is heard and provide feedback to them as well from Governor level.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Lachlan Stark

Lachlan Stark

Staff, Other Staff and Trust Volunteers

Term of office: 1st term 2022 – 2025 

Who am I? I have worked within the NHS for over 30 years and have significant experience in clinical and non-clinical areas. I am married to my wife Joanna; we have 2 boys and they are Everton Season Ticket holders.  

What do I bring to this role? I qualified as a Staff Nurse in Dundee in 1994 and moved to London working predominantly within Critical Care, serving within the RAF Reserves within an Aero Medical Evacuation Squadron and then finishing clinically as a Medical Nurse Practitioner. I was also an RCN representative reflecting my interest in staff welfare and providing support to my clinical colleagues. I moved into NHS General Management in 2002 and have worked in a number of NHS organisations across the Midlands and the North West culminating in my current role at Alder Hey where I now work as the Associate Chief Operating Officer for Estates & Facilities. Recognising the importance of ongoing development, I studied at Keele University whilst working full time and passed my MBA Health Executive; the areas of study within this MBA have served me well over the years.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address - membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

Mike Travis

Mike Travis

Staff, Nurses

Term of office: 1st term, 2022-2025

Who am I? I have previously served as a Staff Governor, and currently I'm working within the COVID team in the Trust. Furthermore, many of you will know of my work as a trade union rep at Alder Hey.
What do I bring to this role? Well in this 'post' COVID period, and the huge changes to the NHS structures and funding, it is important that nursing has a strong voice on the Board of Governors, and our nurses have the opportunity to influence the direction of, and the future of nursing in the Trust.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk

Jacqui Pointon

Appointed Governors

councillor barbara murray

Councillor Barbara Murray

Local Authority Appointment

Term of office: Appointed 2012

Who am I? I am Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills at Liverpool City Council and the elected member for Yew Tree ward since 2007. During this time, I have been a member of many select committees including Housing, Education, Audit and Governance and I was the lead member for Strategy and Performance at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for eight years. I currently Chair Liverpool SACRE and I am the Deputy Chair on Mersey Forest Steering Group.

What do I bring to this role? I have an extensive experience of education, governance, scrutiny and a commitment to better opportunities and outcomes for children. I am parent of three adult children and one grandson, all of whom have needed to visit Alder Hey Hospital both on the old and new site.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted at barbara.murray@liverpool.gov.uk.

francine watkins

Professor Francine Watkins

Appointed: 2021 

Who am I? I am a Professor of Public Health and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Education in the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences at The University of Liverpool. I have over 20 years’ experience of working in Higher Education and have spent much of my career training public health professionals at postgraduate level. I am now Head of Education at the University of Liverpool for all areas in Health & Life Sciences including Medicine, Dentistry, Allied Health and Psychology.

What do I bring to this role? I have a range of experiences as a patient, educator, carer, and mother of a teenager. I have worked extensively in a number of areas of Public Health focusing on health inequalities and implementing strategies for improving health and well-being for different communities. This provides a solid foundation and knowledge base for me to ensure that I am able to hold the Trust accountable on your behalf and ensure it is effectively meeting the requirements of the many communities that is serves.

How can I be contacted? I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: membership@alderhey.nhs.uk 

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