Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate

Our Management Team

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Experienced and committed individuals lead our team and together we are focused on finding a cure

Sue Farrington Smith MBE

Chief Executive A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Sue Farrington Smith headed up the finance functions of blue-chip companies, before moving into marketing to head up business development at Safeway and then running her own marketing agency.

Driven by the loss of her niece, Alison Phelan, to a brain stem glioma (DIPG) just before her eighth birthday, Sue co-founded the charity “Ali’s Dream” after being shocked to discover the lack of awareness and chronic under-funding of research into brain tumours. Sue led the coming together of multiple charities in 2009 to launch Brain Tumour Research, facilitated by fellow member The Diana Ford Trust, with a vision to find a cure for brain tumours.

Sue was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours for services to brain tumour research and awareness-raising.

She has been campaigning to raise awareness and funds since 2001, providing the secretariat to the brain tumour All Party Parliamentary Group and initiating, with fellow charities, National Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Since leading Brain Tumour Research, Sue has co-authored three reports into funding, produced the Invest In a Cure manifesto and launched the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day fundraising event. 

Brain Tumour Research has rapidly matured into a multi-million-pound organisation under Sue’s leadership, supporting four Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. She continues to succeed in establishing a formidable network of supporters and expert clinicians all working towards a common goal: to find a cure for brain tumours.

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Ashley Bailey ACMA

Director of Finance and Operations A highly competent and experienced senior executive, with a career spanning 25 years in the corporate sector, including posts as Managing Director and Country President at Loomis and CFO for DHL Freight in the UK and Ireland. Ashley Bailey is a qualified accountant (Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and has also run his own business consultancy advising clients on how to optimise their financial and operational performance.

Ashley has been Director of Finance and Operations at Brain Tumour Research since early 2015. Working closely with the Chief Executive, he has a broad remit to monitor the charity’s strategic plan and ensure ambitious growth targets are met.

Ashley leads a team responsible for financial management and systems, in addition to accounts and forecasts. He acts as a driving force for continued development and compliance, and also steers business and support operations, including the key area of supporter care.

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Matt Smith

Interim Director of Fundraising and Supporter Care Matt Smith joined Brain Tumour Research in July 2020 as our Interim Director of Fundraising and Supporter Care. An experienced consultant with ten years' experience in the third sector Matt comes to us highly skilled in innovation, new product development, digital fundraising, events, community engagement, stewardship, and volunteer management.

Hugh Adams

Head of PR and Stakeholder Relations With a strong background in national broadcast media, including 12 years at the BBC and freelancing for Channel 4 News amongst others, Hugh Adams has a well-established network of contacts. His communications degree and expertise in digital technology brings creativity and pace to the charity’s rapid development.

Having joined Brain Tumour Research at the start of its second year, Hugh was brought in to head up the charity’s core fundraising campaigns and to raise the profile of the charity. Promoted to Head of External Affairs in 2015, Hugh is an experienced commentator regularly representing the charity on national and regional broadcast media, online and in print. He leads the PR strategy, both nationally and regionally, while also driving Brain Tumour Research’s highly successful social media communications.

Hugh has been instrumental in growing the charity and is now a key voice of the brain tumour community, working with dedicated celebrity supporters such as Gillian Anderson, Sarah Beeny and Philip Treacy OBE.

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Michael Thelwall

Head of Community Fundraising Michael has been fundraising since he left university in 2004, and considers himself extremely lucky to have never moved outside the charity sector.
He has built an extensive knowledge of many different types of fundraising and has worked in community fundraising for a range of charities including the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Maggie’s, Bipolar UK and Kidney Research.

Michael joined Brain Tumour Research in February 2018 and is proud to lead a team of Community Fundraising Managers.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys running, badminton, cooking as well as getting involved with local village life and playing the guitar. He has described himself as the most outstandingly average guitar player you’re ever likely to meet!


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Susan Castle-Smith

Head of PR

Susan has experience in national and regional PR, corporate communications, external and internal communications, journalism and marketing. With more than two decades’ experience as a newspaper journalist, she has held senior roles including assistant editor and news editor on regional daily newspapers.

Susan joined the charity in 2014 and oversees our PR team, working with patients, families and fundraisers to share their stories in the media. The team is responsible for the moving and inspirational case studies which are used in national and regional media and which support Brain Tumour Research’s key fundraising campaigns. These stories are also fed into influential Government reports including the 2018 Inquiry report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours.

The work of Susan’s PR team is seen by millions of people each month in print, online, and in regional TV and radio broadcasts.


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Director of Research, Policy and Innovation

We will be recruiting a new Director of Research, Policy and Innovation within the coming months. Please keep an eye on our recruitment page or to find out more about this role or to register your interest in applying, please email our Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith.

In the meantime, we are being supported by Research Consultant Dr Norman Freshney. 

With over 25 years' experience working with medical research charities, the government and academic sectors, Norman provides advice on the development of research strategy and funding of research.

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Help us build the UK's largest network of experts in sustainable brain tumour research and campaign for more investment nationally. Together we will find a cure.

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