‘Ten years ago I was working as a nurse teacher at Salford University and owned my own health education company. I was asked to localize a sex education game for South Africa, and I did. What followed was the most eye opening and heartbreaking awareness of HIV, poverty and inequality, township life, and the history and politics of South Africa. Ten years on and I am now retired from academic life, and my daughter has taken over CIC Contraception Education. I have been supporting the Winnie Mabaso Foundation for some time now and am delighted to be reconnecting with South Africa by becoming a Trustee. What a privilege it is going to be.’
I was born and raised in Manchester and am of Irish decent (you’d never guess that from my name would you?). Before I married I had wanted to join the W.R.A.F but circumstances changed that.
I married at a very young age, mother to four wonderful, successful children and four beautiful grandchildren. I took an active part in my children’s school life and served as a Govenor at each of their schools.
My working life has been varied from sales and marketing to spending fifteen wonderful years working for one of the top Barrister’s Chambers in Manchester, latterly working for an exclusive property developer at their headquarters in Alderley Edge.
In conjunction with my full time work I also worked for my Local Authority, as part of their Assisted Lodging Scheme, giving accommodation to teenagers who are looking to leave the care system to go on to independent living, teaching them life skills such as nutrition and budget. Because of the joy and satisfaction I got from this role I decided on a complete career change and in 2013 trained to be a full time foster carer. I work for FCA a national agency as well as my Local Authority in Tameside.
This year I accompanied Lisa Ashton on a visit to Ilamula House. The house itself blew me away! It is beautiful, very well planned and fulfils every possible need for the girls who live there. I spent a great deal of my time helping out in the kitchen but we also had plenty of time to play and dance with the children! I am crying now remembering the sound of laughter! The staff understand so well how to care for the children and they are in such safe hands.’
‘I’m a television producer/director working at the BBC in the Religion and Ethics department in Salford. I joined ten years ago and have made programmes as diverse as Fern Britton Meets to films for pupils studying GCSE Religious Studies. Most of the time I make the BBC’s much loved flagship programme Songs of Praise. This takes me all over the country and it’s a privilege to film in some of the most beautiful locations in the country and to meet people who do remarkable work. It’s a long way from where I began my career in television. In the late 1980’s I presented live Saturday morning children’s programmes for both ITV and BBC 1. As well as being great fun it gave me the ability to turn my hand to anything, not be afraid of challenges and to have an open mind. Whether in front or behind the camera I try to bring a creative approach to work. I hope this will be of real use to the Foundation as we seek to find solutions to problems in the future. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you think creatively!
It was when I joined Songs of Praise, ten years ago, that I first got to know Lisa. Anyone who has met her will know that within minutes she had enthused me with her passion for Winnie and the work she was doing for orphans in South Africa. (There’s no escape with Lisa! ) and from then on I was hooked. Anyone who has heard the stories and seen the pictures of the feeding station, the orphanage, and the Grandparents group can’t help but be moved and inspired by the work going on. I was delighted to be asked by Lisa to join the Winnie Mabaso Foundation as a Trustee. It’s a real privilege to be part of a project that makes such a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young adults. It’s more than a charity, it’s an extended family that embraces not just the people it helps but all those who become involved.’
I’m husband to Lisa #1, dad to Elliot & Harvey & for the last 30 years I’ve worked in the General Insurance industry. I began my my career with Provincial Insurance in my home town of Bolton & along the way worked with companies such as AXA, Direct Line & for the last 13 years Zurich Insurance. It’s during my time at Zurich that I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world & where I first had opportunity to visit “The Rainbow Nation” South Africa, but strangely despite living there for three months in 2014 I did not come across the foundation. That chance meeting came when I went back to SA in March 2015. A very dear friend in the UK who had become involved with the foundation asked me if I would visit Ilamula & feedback the amazing work she was reading about. Being a good friend I agreed to visit but not for one minute believing it would be so life changing for me. The hugs, cuddles & kisses are enough to melt anyone’s heart, even this rugby playing Northern boy.Following that initial visit I was determined to try & do more not only for the girls at Ilamula but for other projects the foundation support & as they say “the rest is history”. Since then I’ve been able to bring some #Mabasolove into the Zurich Insurance world with the team I work with selecting Ilamula House as our chosen charity to support globally. We were all immensely proud to help build Dorothy a new home on the squatter camp & also help fund the girls first trip to see the ocean in Durban.I have been privileged to go back to Ilamula & Finetown on several occasions & see first hand the amazing work being done with the orphanages, the feeding stations & the squatter camp. Too often the word “amazing” is used out of context but what Lisa Ashton MBE (the pocket rocket) & the Mabaso team are doing cannot be underplayed…it is truly amazing & I am honoured to have been asked to become a trustee & to be part of the team going forwards. Doing wonderful things…really is a wonderful thing!
I have been employed my entire working life within the broadcasting industry; starting with the BBC in London and then Manchester. For the last 15 years I have been freelance within TV, working for many different broadcasters. This has taken me, not only all over this country, but throughout the world. During the last 16 years I have also lectured at both Salford and Edge Hill Universities – I am currently on staff as a Part Time Senior Lecturer in Television Production Management.
I have lived in the Manchester area for the last 40 years; I am married (to Robin) and we are the proud parents of 2 grown up sons (James & Alastair) both working and living in London. It was during my time at the BBC in Manchester that I first got to know and also worked with Lisa. A force to be reckoned with! Her passion for this charity rubs off on everyone she meets and I was not immune. I have always tried to help raise funds and awareness for the charity whenever I can. It is a very worthwhile cause where I feel that we can make a difference even with the smallest of donations (be they monetary or otherwise).
In my spare time I enjoy sewing (making quilts) and cooking (allegedly) the best Lemon drizzle cake – but really it’s a Mary Berry recipe, but don’t tell Lisa!!
I’ve been a secondary PE teacher for nearly 20 years now, and have organised a number of Sports Tours, taking pupils to various locations around the world. South Africa has always held a special place in my heart, even before getting involved with the WMF, and I’ve visited the country on Sports Tours 6 times. I first met Lisa in 2014 when I was organising our most recent Tour with the school I work for to South Africa. We’ve always found an organisation or charity to support when on tour, and when I talked to Lisa and heard about the work at Ilamula House, it was an obvious choice. At that point, however, I had no idea of how important a part she and the Foundation would end up playing in both the tour and my own life.
As the preparations started to come together, we organised a number of fundraising events, keeping in regular contact with Lisa about how the money could be used most helpfully: it was amazing to be able to say to her that she could buy a generator for the orphanage from what we’d raised, and to know that that would have such an immediate and direct impact on the lives of the girls there.
There simply aren’t words to explain the impact that visiting Ilamula House and the squatter camps had on me. Seeing the effect the work of the WMF has on the lives of the girls and the families was both humbling and inspiring, and we were all overwhelmed by the love shown to us and everyone there. I knew then that this was an organisation I wanted to be involved with for the long term, and not just through the ongoing fundraising we’re still doing at school. So I am absolutely thrilled at becoming a trustee: it’s an honour, and a role I’m incredibly excited to take on. The charity, the people involved, the girls and families whose lives are being transformed by the work of the Foundation mean so much to me and my family, and I can’t wait to find more ways to help support the inspirational work that they do.