Who’s Who

Meet some of the people who make Bede happen. To get in touch, please visit our Contact page.


The Right Rev Christopher Chessun, The Lord Bishop of Southwark

Vice Presidents

Roger Harrison
Andrew Sutton


Councillor Sunil Chopra, former Mayor of Southwark
Jane Holbrook, CEO, Wagamama to December 2018
Sir Simon Hughes, Chancellor of London South Bank University

Bede Council of Management (April 2020)

Chair: Wendy Cookson

Wendy joined Bede in January 2017 and was appointed Chair in July 2019. She brings over 25 years’ experience as a nurse, director and governor in the NHS. For the last eight years she has worked independently as a specialist advisor to hospital and commissioning boards. Her areas of specialisation are corporate and quality governance and leadership.

Vice Chair: Julie Cotton

Julie has been a trustee of Bede House for over 10 years. Her focus is community engagement. She currently works as Head of Housing Programmes at Homes England. Prior to this she worked for Peabody Trust on Community Regeneration and Employment Initiatives.

Treasurer: Nitu Panesar

Nitu joined Bede in July 2014, and was appointed Treasurer in November 2015. She is a senior finance professional with over 10 years’ experience in the NGO and Commercial sector. Nitu has successfully developed and led teams globally. She is now working for a large public research university in London.

Secretary: Charlotte Cook

Charlotte is a solicitor and partner at law firm Winckworth Sherwood. She first got to know Bede when they were appointed the firm’s “charity of the year” in April 2011. Charlotte works mainly with housing associations acquiring land for development. She has particular expertise in supported and sheltered housing providers.

Council Members

Alison Booth

Alison has worked for many years as an editor and editorial director in the travel industry. She got to know Bede through her work at Belmond, as Chair of the company’s corporate social responsibility committee. Alison became a Bede trustee in 2018.

Martyn Hickson

Martyn joined Bede in May 2016. His career began in management of large commercial projects. He is currently responsible for customer loyalty for a national rail operator. A Southwark resident, he has experience volunteering for a range of local and national charities.

John Kent

John brings wide commercial experience to Bede Council. During his career he has focused on corporate development, strategy and operations for both large and small businesses. He has also worked in central government and the City. He joined Bede in 2016.

Caroline Knight

Caroline is a freelance editor and editorial tutor. She has worked in the book publishing industry for nearly three decades. Caroline has been a trustee of Bede House for 25 years, including several as Chair of trustees. She takes a particular interest in the Bede Youth project and fundraising.

Jamaria Kong

Jamaria is a local resident and has been a trustee of Bede House since July 2014. She is the link trustee for the Bede Learning Disability project. Jamaria is an independent management consultant, advising both corporate and private equity clients. Her focus is mergers and acquisitions, business transformations and operational improvements. She brings governance, financial, project management and digital skills to the council. She is also a trustee at the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College.

Paul Lindsay

Paul studied in Belfast, Northern Ireland until 1981. He then spent a year working with Operation Mobilisation in Sudan and completed a degree in Quantity Surveying. Paul has worked in the construction industry in London for 30 years and is a partner in a construction consultancy. He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a trustee for OMUK. In addition, he is Chair of the board for YFC Central Moscow, Russia.

Catherine McGrath

Catherine joined the board in 2014 and was Chair of Trustees for three years until July 2019. A civil servant, she currently works in the Cabinet Office. She brings expertise in government and communications to the Bede Council. Before joining the civil service Catherine worked for communications consultancy Madano, and in Government Relations for Ofcom.

Katrina Ramsey

Katrina came to Bede in 2004 as a recent graduate of Clare College Cambridge. She worked in the Bede Learning Disabilities service for six months on volunteering projects. In 2008 she became a trustee and then went on to become Chair of Trustees from 2011-2015. Katrina currently works on environmental programmes at the Greater London Authority. She brings project management skills and experience of managing grant schemes to Bede Council.

Senior Management Team

Director: Nick Dunne

Nick joined Bede in 2002 after nearly 13 years with a charitable organisation helping street homeless people. A qualified social worker, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Services Management. He has over 30 years’ senior management experience in the charity sector.

Finance Manager: Pam Whyte

Pam is an AAT qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience in finance. She joined Bede in 2013 as Finance Assistant and was recently appointed Finance Manager.

Bede Learning Disabilities Project Manager: Carole Brady

Carole joined Bede in 2014 and has worked in social care for over 30 years. This includes 12 years in management roles with Southwark and Lambeth Councils, Camden Society and Bede. Carole was born and brought up in Bermondsey and still lives locally.

Bede Youth Project Manager: Fokrul Meah

Fokrul is a qualified Youth and Community worker who joined Bede in 2007. He previously worked for 10 years with Enfield Youth Service.

Bede: Ending Domestic Abuse Project Manager: Ahlam Laabori

Ahlam joined Bede in 2010 and became Bede Starfish Project Manager in 2015.  After social work training with Westminster Social Services, she joined the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Ahlam is a qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) and trained Freedom Programme leader.

Facilities & IT Manager: John Phipps

John joined Bede in January 2019. A member of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), he brings extensive experience in facilities management to our charity.