Our history

Ormiston Families exists today because of one family’s tragedy.

A young woman, Fiona Ormiston Murray, died while on her honeymoon. Fiona loved children and it was no secret that she was excited about starting her own family. Her family, devastated by their loss, wanted to do something to honour her memory. They created a charitable trust devoted to helping children and families in need. That trust is now known as Ormiston Families.

Our vision

“Safe, healthy, resilient families.”

Our mission

We support families in the East of England to build resilience and make choices to improve the life chances of their children.

Our values

Everything we do is guided by our values of collaboration, compassion and effectiveness. Whether you’re working with us as a family, a colleague, a funder, a volunteer or a supporter you’ll see us demonstrating these values every day in everything we do.

We’re collaborative

We work ‘with’, rather than ‘for’, families. We build supportive partnerships, communities and networks. We value each other’s strengths and we work together to drive results.

We’re compassionate

We listen so that we understand the issues people face. We treat people with respect – always supporting, recognising and reinforcing their achievements.

We’re effective

We monitor how our work, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, leads to the people we work with living safer, healthier and more resilient lives.

Ormiston Families Board Declaration of Interests – 5th December 2022

What we do

We take early and preventative action to support families to be safe, healthy and resilient: all our services help people to build stronger networks, learn from experience and feel in control of their own wellbeing.

Find out more

Our people

Our senior leadership team

Allan Myatt Chief executive

Allan joined Ormiston Families in November 2010 with over 25 years’ experience of working in the voluntary youth sector. Through his previous role as the operations director of Fairbridge, Allan helped to establish three other youth charities: The Youth Enquiry Service in Plymouth, Challenge for Youth in Belfast, and The Venture Trust in Scotland. He was also the first Chair of the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

Kate Higgs Director of income generation and marketing

Kate has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and fundraising in a number of high profile organisations, both private and not-for-profit.

Kate is our privacy officer and ensures that the charity complies with all data protection legislation. You can contact the privacy officer at privacyofficer@ormistonfamilies.org.uk. You can find more information on how we use and protect personal data here.

Karen Moore Director of people and organisational development

Karen joined us in March 2019r. She previously enjoyed a long career as a corporate services director for several social housing providers in the region. Karen holds an MBA, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is an International Coach Federation accredited coach.

Karen is responsible for people, organisational development and volunteers.

Mark Proctor Director of operations

With extensive experience in Probation, Youth Justice, international development and voluntary sector management roles, Mark joined us from the East of England Regional Assembly in 2008, where he was the social policy lead.

In his current role as director of operations, Mark has responsibility and strategic oversight for the services across Ormiston Families, ensuring they are sustainable and remain safe, effective and of the highest quality.

Mark is also Ormiston Families’ Caldicott Guardian, whose role is to ensure that any personal information about our service users is used legally, ethically and appropriately, and that confidentiality is maintained.

Duncan Turner Finance director and company secretary

Duncan joined us having previously held the role of finance director in a local specialist care charity and a countywide infrastructure support charity. Additionally, he brings with him six years valuable experience working with a national care charity.

Before entering the charity sector in 2004 he gained a breadth of experience within the public and private sectors including involvement with family businesses from which he feels he brings a balanced commercial perspective to his role.

Our president

Lady Xa Tollemache

Ormiston Families is privileged to have the support and involvement of Xa Tollemache as its President.

She writes: “It is vital that Ormiston Families shows the breadth and depth of the important work that it bravely takes forward in its many fundraising events held up and down East of England.”

Our trustees

Miranda Kendall Vice Chair and Chair of the Income Generation Committee

With a background in PR and marketing, Miranda now leads a portfolio career as a non-executive and consultant.

Home is the family farm Maple Farm Kelsale, which produces organic eggs, veg and flour, and hosts young children through the Country Trust schemes.

Miranda is a trustee and advisory council member for prison charity Fine Cell Work and a trustee of Snape Maltings with responsibility for the education/creative health advisory group which includes the organisation’s work in criminal justice settings.

She is an ambassador for The Woodland Trust, non-exec chair of Phipps Relations and governor of a secondary school in Lowestoft.

Jessica Godfrey-Withey Chair of the Governance Committee

Jessica is one of the Board’s newest recruits joining in December 2021. Jessica is a Senior Associate at a prominent law firm in East Anglia and specialises in Private Client advice, dealing with tax, trusts and succession planning, among other things with over eight years’ experience under her belt.

Jessica is a Norfolk girl at heart having lived in the county for much of her life, commuting into Ipswich for work.

Catherine McLaughlin

Catherine has worked across health, social care and the third sector since graduating in 1995. She has held operational and strategic positions in a variety of organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, The Kings Fund, Family Action and Voiceability. She is particularly interested in children and families, mental health and domestic violence.

She holds a BA Hons in Theology & Religious Studies from Cambridge University, a MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law from Manchester University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Social Care Leadership from the University of Birmingham.

Catherine is married with two children and lives in Essex.

Di Murray

Di’s career began in the Foreign Office. She later moved to Hong Kong where she set up a Welfare Office for 8,000 Vietnamese Boat People in a Refugee Camp. In Hong Kong she also managed International Conferences for a US Company.

In London and New York she worked for a PR Agency with the Director on a number of high profile accounts and at British American Tobacco she was in charge of Events both internal and sponsored for their Public Affairs Dept.

Di served for several years on The Children’s Society and NSPCC Fundraising Committees. She worked as a Citizens Advice Bureau Adviser for 5 years. She latterly taught in higher education both main stream students and those with learning disabilities.

Peter Murray OBE Founding Patron

Peter Murray OBE is the founder of Ormiston Families, who wanted to keep the memory of his sister, Fiona Ormiston Murray, alive after her tragic death in 1969.

Peter has worked tirelessly with young people and families across the East of England, having been involved in a diverse range of voluntary and charity-based organisations.

Peter’s knowledge of the voluntary sector, strategic planning and financial management have been a real benefit for us.

Gail Tolley Chair

Gail Tolley is the strategic director, children and young people and statutory director of children’s services (DCS) for the London Borough of Brent.

The children and young people department provides services for children, families and schools together with services for the safeguarding and protection of vulnerable children and young people and all children in care and care leavers.

As DCS, Gail is also responsible for ensuring that all council services (including housing, environmental, cultural, sports and leisure) and all other public services in Brent, such as health and the police, work together to improve the lives of children. She chairs Brent’s Children’s Trust.

Gail began her career in teaching and was a secondary school head teacher before moving into local government in 2004 as assistant director Learning and School Effectiveness for the London Borough of Camden. Following this, she spent five years as director of children’s services for Milton Keynes Council before moving to Brent in 2014.

Gail is vice chair of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services (ALDCS) and sits on the Council of Reference for the national Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).

Steve West Treasurer and Chair of the Resources Committee

A graduate in economics from the London School of Economics, Steve qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, London, in the early 1980s. He has over 20 years’ experience as both a divisional and group finance director of large, multi-site, multi-national corporations in industries ranging from white and capital goods manufacturing, to printing and, latterly, agriculture.

Prior to retiring from executive roles in 2015, Steve was group finance director of the Shropshire Group, a mass producer of fresh produce (typically lettuces, radishes, spring onions, celery, onions and mushrooms) for the large UK retailers. The Shropshire Group employs over 5,000 people, and, as well as possessing extensive operations in the UK, is a major producer in Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Senegal and the USA.

Steve is a non-executive director of the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), based on the Norwich Research Park, and chairs QIB’s audit committee. He also chairs the strategy board for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for the East of England.

In 2016, he was appointed to the Board of NatCen Social Research, a major research and survey organisation based in London, and chairs their audit committee. He is advisor to the Audit and Risk Committee of the Company of Biologists, and Treasurer of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Rebecca Wood

Rebecca is former CEO of Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK), the leading dementia research charity. ARUK is a grant-giving charity, and, under Rebecca’s leadership, £53m of vital research was carried out across the UK.

Rebecca then became CEO of Blue Smile, the Cambridgeshire charity giving expert counselling in schools.

She has continued this interest in children’s mental health in her role as CEO of the children’s brain tumour charity, Tom’s Trust, and as a trustee of children’s bereavement charity, Stars, part of Ormiston Families.

This combined interest in medical research and involvement in expert community-focused charities was a perfect fit for her other main role as Charity Director of The Evelyn Trust, which funds health projects in Cambridgeshire.

Rebecca has an additional interest in the work of Ormiston Families as she has an adopted daughter.

Our patrons

Saeed Atcha MBE DL

This patronage adds to Saeed’s recent prestigious appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester; the youngest person to be appointed since their introduction in the 16th century.

He was awarded a MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, and became Social Mobility Commissioner in 2018.

As a teenager, Saeed developed a strong involvement with the media and set up Xplode Magazine, a youth publication which later became a charity which supports young people in providing training in employability skills and experience in the field of journalism.

“Ormiston Families staff and volunteers go above and beyond. What has stood out the most for me is their willingness, desire and motivation to do more to support more disadvantaged people. Growing up in care I faced many of the same barriers and difficulties Ormiston Families’ service users are going through, and I will be using my voice to help champion what the team does day to day.”

Julie Spence, OBE QPM Lord Lieutentant of Cambridgeshire

Julie Spence was chief constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary between December 2005 and September 2010.

She was president of the British Association for Women in Policing between 2000 and 2010 and was also the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers business area for citizen focus before her retirement in 2010.

She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 80th birthday honours list.

Her current roles include being chairman of the Police Mutual Assurance Society and chairman of Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (Community and Mental Health Trust).

In March 2013, she agreed to become a trustee of Ormiston Families. Within weeks, she was instrumental in making our Jail & Bail event in Cambridgeshire one of Ormiston Families most successful ever, with more than £20,000 raised.

Showing a determination and zest that was a hallmark of her career, she then threw herself straight into training for Ormiston Families’ London to Paris Cycle Challenge. She then went on to run three more Jail & Bails in Cambridge and Peterborough and cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats as a 60th birthday challenge – in total raising £100,000 for Ormiston Families.

Julie was proud to be appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in April 2017, a role she will hold until 2030.

Upon her retirement from the Board at the end of 2022, Julie kindly agreed to become a Patron of Ormiston Families.

Rosie Gutteridge MBE JP DL

Following her retirement from the Board of Trustees after nine years, Rosie Gutteridge was delighted to be invited to be a Patron of Ormiston Families.

A journalist and a former Women’s Editor of the Cambridge News, Rosie has a long association with the Magistracy. Appointed to the Bedford Bench in 1979, she is both a past Bench Chairman and Chairman of the Bedfordshire Family Court. Specialising in Family cases for 35 years, she gained a wide understanding of troubled families and the agencies supporting the Family Courts’ Service. She was also a magistrate member of the Bedfordshire Police Authority and a school governor at a Harpur Trust school in Bedford.

Rosie has more than 40 year’s experience in volunteering and fundraising for a number of charities in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire and is a Patron of Cambridgeshire Red Cross.

She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 2011, received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2014 and in 2020 was awarded the Queen’s Badge of Honour by HM Queen Elizabeth II, the charity’s then Patron. It is the British Red Cross’s highest honour and is awarded for exceptional service of the highest order to the BRC Society or to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.