Our Senior Leadership Team
Our Senior Leadership Team is employed by the Charity and oversees the day-to-day running of activity.
Dr Jill Tolfrey,
Dr Tolfrey started work with The Fire Fighters Charity in 2010 as Director of Operations, to lead the development of our services. Initially qualified in physiotherapy, she has a broad range of experience in trauma management, intensive care, rehabilitation, acute and chronic cardiorespiratory care, education and research. She was appointed our Chief Executive in June 2014 and has overseen the recent £1.8m redevelopment of Harcombe House in Devon.
Director of Beneficiary Services
Sharon joined the Charity as a Registered Nurse in 1995 and was part of the original team who implemented the Charity’s first rehabilitation and nursing services. Before joining the Charity, Sharon worked for the NHS within the field of orthopedic nursing. She has held a number of roles within the organisation, overseeing service development and change, and is responsible for the leadership and management of the our beneficiary services
Martin has been The Fire Fighters Charity’s Finance Director since joining the Charity in 2007, having previously worked in accountancy practice and then commercial and charitable organisations. As well as navigating the Charity through a turbulent period of global financial crisis, he has also managed a number of other departments including a successful three-year spell managing income generation and engagement. Recently he has led on digital transformation and strategic planning.
Director of Organisational Development and Corporate Services
Chris has worked in the voluntary sector for several years and joined The Fire Fighters Charity in 2011. With a broad range of experience in human resource and organisational development, she has also worked in a leadership capacity and has been responsible for a variety of both support and development functions. Chris leads the Charity’s organisation development and corporate governance and oversees our estates and facilities.
Ruth Powell, Director of Engagement and Fundraising
Ruth joined The Fire Fighters Charity in March 2021, having previously been appointed to the Board of Trustees as Lead Trustee for Development and Marketing. Ruth’s career in sales and marketing began at technology giant Apple in 1984, where she rose to eventually become Sales Account Manager for Apple Europe. She is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, a Member of Institute of Fundraising and she previously volunteered as Director of Engagement for the Allied Forces Foundation, taking part alongside injured allied forces veterans in 2019 at Washington DC Marine Corps Marathon. She is currently a student at Warwick Business School on the Executive Masters’ Digital Leadership and Transformation programme. Her brother is a firefighter in Sydney’s National Forest, so she is empathetic and passionate about supporting the fire services community.
Our Board of Trustees
Our Trustees are a body of volunteers who bring a wide range of knowledge, experience and expertise to the Charity. The Trustees approve our strategic and business plans and annual budget. They must ensure that everything done we do genuinely and solely in pursuit of our objectives. We have 15 Trustees who are appointed by our Company Members.
Peter Davies, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Peter joined Kent Fire & Rescue Service in 1979 and became a leading member of its Health & Safety Accident Investigation Board. As an operational officer he was part of the Service’s specialist Marine Firefighting and Rope Rescue teams. He retired after 31 years of service. Peter has been a volunteer for the Charity since 1980, holding continuous office at Brigade, Regional and National level. Joining the Trustee board in 2012 he was appointed Deputy Chair in November 2016. Peter is also the Chair of the Charity’s Trading Company. He has assisted in the recent 2 year project of refurbishing and re-purposing Harcombe House and is currently supporting the new digital transformation strategy.
John Baines, Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees
John served with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service since joining as a fire fighter in 1990 and retired in 2020 as Assistant Chief Fire Officer, leading the Organisational Development Group. Previously as Assistant Chief, John led the Community Safety Group, delivering emergency response together with operations and resilience planning, legislative fire safety, prevention, education and community engagement. He has also co-lead the production of the last two reviews of national operational guidance for Incident Command for the UK Fire Service. Previously John was Vice Chair of the National Fire Chief’s Council’s National Operational Effectiveness working group, Chair of the British American Project, Chair of Northumbria Local Resilience Forum and Chair of Governors at Fellside Community Primary School.
Andrew Best, Member of the Board of Trustees
Andrew is a former Chief Fire Officer and long-time Charity supporter. He has been a Company Member of the Charity for more than 15 years and has served as a Regional Coordinator for the North West since 2008, as well as our interim Volunteer Manager in 2011-12. He is also a Life Patron of the Charity – an award given at the 2008 Spirit of Fire Awards.
Andy Hickmott, Member of the Board of Trustees
Andy Hickmott retired as Chief Fire Officer of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2019 after 6 years in post. He initially began his career in Royal Berkshire Fire Service before moving to London Fire Brigade as a junior officer rising to Senior Divisional Officer. He spent 5 years as Assistant Chief Fire Officer in Buckinghamshire before returning to London Fire Brigade as an Assistant Commissioner in 2009. He joined the Board of Trustees in 2014 and currently chairs the Staff and Governance Committee.
Neil Gibbins, Member of the Board of Trustees
Neil’s 37-year operational fire service career included serving at all ranks, commencing as a fire fighter in Derbyshire. He became Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service after co-directing the merger of the two services. He was lead officer for fire protection within the UK Chief Fire Officers Association from 2007 to 2013, and before this chaired the working group that managed the implementation of the Fire Safety Order by English and Welsh fire services. Neil is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers, where he used to be President as well as its CEO from 2015 to 2018. He has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal and has been an active member of the Charity for his whole career, from early involvement with work parties at Harcombe House in the 1980s to being a company member.
Simon Routh-Jones, Member of the Board of Trustees
Simon served as a fire officer for over 37 years and retired from his post of Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service in April 2016. He was instrumental in Wiltshire’s merger to become Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. He implemented a Juvenile Firesetters programme, intervening and educating young people in partnership with Youth Offending teams and Police, Education and Social Services. Having started in the South West, this developed to form part of the national approach to youth education in fire prevention. He joined HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland in September 2016 as an Assistant Inspector. In June 2018, he was appointed HM Chief Inspector for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Simon is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management. In 2016 he was awarded for Queen’s Fire Service Medal for services to the Fire and Rescue Service. In 2020 Simon was awarded the CBE for Services to the Fire & Rescue Service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
George Wood, Member of the Board of Trustees
George is a Chartered Accountant and a graduate of Heriot-Watt University. After starting his career in the profession, he then moved through management consultancy and internal audit into financial services where he worked for many years before entering the not-for-profit sector. He has served in a variety of senior charity FD/CFO roles over the course of the last twenty years, including working for professional membership bodies and benevolent funds and has extensive experience of working with Trustee Boards and Finance/Audit sub-committees.
Graham Floyd, Lead Trustee, Digital
A Chartered Project professional who specialises in digital transformation and delivery, Graham’s career began in the Royal Air Force, before he joined the NHS and went on to support public and global organisations as a management consultant. Graham is passionate about helping individuals and organisations harness and exploit digital technologies to achieve their strategic goals, often through disruptive periods, including support through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Steve Tolan, Lead Trustee, Clinical
Steve is the London Regional Chief Allied Health Professional for NHS England and NHS Improvement, with a clinical background in physiotherapy. He has been leading the AHP pandemic response for NHS England and Improvement in London including supporting the set-up of London Nightingale, coordinating strategic workforce deployment and leading the delivery of Long Covid services at a regional level. He is also a non-executive director for a health and care innovation hub, Care City. His general professional interests are rehabilitation and recovery, digital healthcare, system transformation, leadership and diversity, and health inequalities.
Chris Hirst, Lead Trustee, Business Development and Marketing
Chris is currently Global Director of Fundraising for an international sustainability charity. He has extensive experience leading fundraising teams based in the UK and overseas, managing significant corporate, trust and statutory fundraising income. A key element of this work has been funding wellness programmes for beneficiaries, which address the impact on physical and mental health. In a previous role, he secured substantial funding to grow and deliver specialised programmes supporting military veterans and their families who battle PTSD and secondary level PTSD. Outside of work Chris is an experienced trustee, having served on the board of an international conservation charity and a UK-based sail training charity.