Members of the Board are elected annually at the AGM but may be co-opted throughout the year.

The current members of the Board are

WillyWilly Goldschmidt

President and Communications Lead

Elected to the Board 2013

Willy has served as Communications Lead since 2013 and is a member of the Financial Strategy Group. He was Chair of the Charity between 2016 and 2021.

When COVID lockdown was eased he lead restoration of Volunteer services and recruitment for the Charity.

After retiring from a career as a senior manager in the textile, transport and IT industries, Willy spent 2 years as a Non-exec Director of the George Elliot Hospital.

His motivation in joining the Friends is to give back to the Trust which supported him and his late wife during periods of poor health. He is also a Research Ambassador for the UHCW Trust.

DougChair and Governance Lead

Elected to the Board 2018

Doug has served as the Governance Lead and as a member of the Financial Strategy Group since becoming a Trustee. He was elected as Chair at the 2021 AGM.

He has an extensive background across both Private and Public Sector bodies at a senior level with a wide range of experience within Retail Banking and Local Government.

Doug and family moved to Rugby in 1995 and he and his wife have been actively involved with the Charity as volunteers within the Social Fundraising Committee for a number of years and have been supporters for in excess of 20 years.


Brian Cheney


Elected to the Board 2022

Brian has served as Treasurer and as a member of the Financial Strategy Group since joining the Board as a Trustee in October 2022

Since qualifying as a Chartered Cost and Management Accountant in 1988, Brian has had an extensive career in finance, having worked for many years in the engineering, automotive and education sectors.

In addition to his role as a Trustee of The Friends, Brian has been a school governor in Rugby for over 25 years. He is currently Vice Chair of Governors at the Avon Valley School in Newbold on Avon.

Brian has lived in Rugby for his entire life.


June Witcomb


Elected to the Board 2011

June worked for many years within the Community Mental Health Assertive Outreach Team based at Clifton Road and then, in Bilton, as a Behavioural Family Therapist

On attaining a Masters Degree in Community Mental Health June was seconded to a new team based in the Probation Service at Coventry.  

After three successful years she took another secondment to the Training and Development Dept., in the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Trust.  Her main role there was organising mandatory training for all staff within the Trust.  

June took early retirement from the Trust. She has had many happy years working for the Trust and lately as a Trustee for the charity.


Elizabeth Burnett

Volunteer Support

Elected to the Board 2020

Elizabeth has enjoyed being a volunteer at St Cross for six years. She is the Service Coordinator for the Ward Trolley Service and the Tea Bar.    

She has lived in Rugby for 46 years but was born and raised in Newcastle on Tyne.  She was a primary School teacher in Rugby and Coventry for over forty years and was a Head Teacher in Coventry for 23 years before retiring.  



Tracey Lennard

Social Fundraising Lead

Elected to the Board 1999

Tracey was born and grew up in Rugby. She is part of a large family that was looked after on many occasions by the Hospital of St Cross.

She was persuaded to join the board of trustees by her former school teacher and one of the charities former trustees Isabel Liddle.

Tracey leads the Social Fundraising Team and has a wealth of experience in organising and running very successful social fundraising events. She is also a strong advocate of the hospital, working tirelessly to raise the profile of St Cross.



Gita Natarajan BEM

Community Fund Raising

Co-opted August 2023

Gita is a highly experienced project manager and specialises in social engineering/innovation, community cohesion and volunteer management. She has worked alongside Rugby Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and The Benn Partnership Centre for over 20 years to help regenerate various deprived council wards in Rugby and transformed them into productive, thriving, cohesive and resilient communities.

During COVID she managed the Locke House Vaccination Centre, leading a team of over 80 healthcare professionals and 120 volunteers to deliver a regional record of more than 160,000 vaccinations.

Gita is currently working as the Transformation Project Manager with the Rugby Primary Care Network, leading on the management and delivery of Enhanced Access to GP Services with a focus on addressing health inequalities across the region.


Collette O’Connor

Co-opted to the Board October 2023.

Collette has a strong interest in helping the marginalised and the vulnerable in our community

and helps to oversee our Befriending Scheme, which The Friends offers all year round.

Collette has previously worked in Private Practice as a Solicitor, has extensive experience in the Third Sector and currently sits on a number of Boards.

She joined The Friends as she has a strong interest in healthcare and wanted to help with the important work that The Friends undertake.


Ramesh Mohan Lal Srivastava

Community Lead

Elected to the Board 2015

Former Mayor of Rugby and Justice of Peace.

Chair of British Organisation of People of Asian Origin (BOPA).

Graduated from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow ,1967. Chartered Engineer by profession. Has been a resident of Rugby since 1967 when he was employed by GEC / Alstom Power Ltd, Rugby retiring after 42 years of service in 2009.

Has been a Rugby Borough Councillor since 2003.  Presently represents Newbold and Brownsover Ward, Rugby. Has been involved in local Education for a number of years as a School Governor. Has also been a Non-Executive Director of Rugby Primary Care Trust, George Elliot Hospital and a Trustee of The Benn Partnership Centre, Rugby.


Stephen Walshaw

Purchasing Lead

Elected to the Board 2019

Stephen has served as the Purchasing Lead since becoming a Trustee and more recently became a member of the Financial Strategy Group.

Now retired, he has an extensive background in Energy Procurement and Infrastructure Projects, across both Private and ex-Public Industries.    

Stephen and family moved to the area in 1990, he and his wife have been actively involved with charitable activities from before that time. He joined the Friends through the Daily Mail’s Helpforce Campaign, to help staff and patients by making a difference in local healthcare.

Paul WessonPaul Wesson

Co-opted to the Board January 2024.

Paul, a Rugby resident since 2013,  is new to the Friends.  He is a former non-executive director of South West Oxfordshire NHS PCT where he was charitable funds lead for 2 trusts. He served as a RAF officer for 16 years and since then has worked internationally in democratisation for over 20 years.  Paul was a member of Oxfordshire Schools Admission Appeals Panel for 14 years and has been a member of Warwickshire Schools Admission Appeals Panel since 2017.