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 MBEChief 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.
Ashley Bailey ACMADirector 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
Jason RigbyDirector of Fundraising and Supporter Care
Jason formerly worked as Director of Fundraising and Communications with Children with Cancer UK. Prior to joining the charity sector, he had extensive experience in the commercial sector, including roles at Mitie, Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone.
Having joined Brain Tumour Research in March 2021, Jason oversees our Fundraising and Supporter Care teams. His teams work closely with supporters, building and maintaining relationships, ensuring their needs are met and they have the support they need to achieve their fundraising targets. He works to develop innovative, enterprising and effective strategies to exceed income targets and help build a sustainable future. Working with the Chief Executive and Director of Finance and Operations, he contributes to the overall strategic direction of the charity.
Jason has very personal reasons to join the fight to find a cure for brain tumours, having experienced the double tragedy of losing his father and brother to glioblastoma.Read more Show less
Hugh AdamsHead of 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
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.
Michael ThelwallHead of Giving 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 work with a range of dedicated and generous supporters across a range of fundraising disciplines.
In his spare time, Michael enjoys keeping fit, 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!Read more Show less
Susan Castle-SmithHead of PR & Communications
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.
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.Read more Show less