Our Trustees

The Board of Trustees provides a strategic direction to the Hospice.

Gordon Tollefson
Chairman of the Board of Trustees  

After a lifetime of work in the NHS, Gordon took early retirement in January 2006 from his full-time position as a Divisional Director for A&E Services with West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Believing himself to be too young to retire completely, he immediately joined a GP consortium in Leeds as a part-time Executive Director, before moving into Leeds South & East Clinical Commissioning Group as a Non-Executive Director until 2017.

Gordon was appointed to the West Yorkshire Lieutenancy in 2008 as a Deputy Lieutenant. He and his wife Sally have two sons, who both have careers in the financial sector.

Appointed as a Magistrate in 1994, Gordon served on a number of committees within the Courts, including the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, Chair of the Leeds Youth Panel and then as Chair of the Bench for Leeds Magistrates’ Courts in 2014 until it became a part of the new West Yorkshire Bench in 2017.

As well as the Prince of Wales Hospice, Gordon is a Commander of the Sovereign Order of the Priory of St John in England and the Islands, and he serves as the Chair of the South & West Yorkshire County Priory Group of the Order. He is also Coordinator and Registered Manager of the West Yorkshire Medic Response Team – a small charity which trains doctors in pre-hospital trauma care both in the classroom situation and also working in an emergency response car responding to serious life threatening incidents around Yorkshire under the auspices of an experienced senior doctor and supported by a paramedic.


Ruth Roche
Deputy Chair

A local GP for 23 years, and board member for three years, Ruth has a special interest in palliative medicine and, indeed, worked in the Hospice some years ago. She has also gained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Palliative Medicine.

A passionate advocate of excellent end of life care, Ruth takes a particular interest in clinical governance and education.

Heather O'Donnell
Board Trustee

Heather retired from the position of CEO at Age UK Leeds in 2019. In addition to roles in the third sector, Heather worked as a manager in the NHS for 17 years. In 1997, she volunteered with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), working as a Hospital Development Advisor with the World Health Organisation Health (WHO) in Cambodia. She returned to the UK to study a Master’s Degree in Health Policy, Planning and Finance at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine / LSE, before moving to Vietnam to work for WHO on an HIV Prevention project. 

Heather was a Non-Executive Director with Wakefield and District Primary Care Trust from 2007-2012. She is currently a trustee with Home-Start Leeds and volunteers with the RSPB at St Aidan’s and with St John Ambulance as a volunteer vaccinator.



Brynton Parkes
Board Trustee

Brynton has been a trustee since 2002 and was Deputy Chairman for seven years. He takes a special interest in fundraising. He is a keen golfer.


Ann Gleed MBE
Board Trustee

Mrs Gleed has been associated with the Hospice for over 25 years and has been a board member for over 15 years. During her association with the Hospice, she has also worked as a Volunteer Fundraiser, a helper in the Day Hospice and as a Sales Assistant in the Hospice’s shops. 


Sandra Cheseldine
Board Trustee

After a successful career as a senior manager with HSBC, Sandra joined Wakefield CCG in 2013 as a lay member of its governing body and Chair of its audit committee. Though she has left these roles, she remains a member of the CCG’s Patient Information and Patient Experience committee, and of its Equalities Health panel.

Sandra is also the Chair of the Trustee Board of Wakefield Citizens Advice and a trustee of Age UK, Leeds. Outside her charity work, Sandra’s interests are travel, cookery, gardening and, of course, her family.

 Phil Earnshaw
Board Trustee

Phillip is senior partner at the largest general practice in Wakefield. He has worked at the surgery for over 30 years. In the past he helped cover the Hospice medical on call rota when he acted as a Honorary Medical Officer.

He has always been a strong supporter of the Hospice and the ethos of caring. He was the Foundational Chair of Wakefield CCG and is currently Vice Chair of Wakefield District Housing. He is also a church minister at Smawthorne Community Church in Castleford.

Simon Topham
Board Trustee

Simon is currently the CEO of Citizens Advice Wakefield District and also serves as a trustee of Nova Wakefield. Prior to coming to the Wakefield district, Simon worked in York as CEO of Citizens Advice York, and before that spent 25 years setting up, running and co-owning a number of businesses for the LGBTQ community, including the publication, Gay Times based in London.

Educated at the LSE and Doncaster College, he has spent most of his career in the private sector, but is now fully involved in the VCSE sector and chairs the Resident Recovery Group established by Wakefield Council in partnership with the third sector.


Steve Dibb
Board Trustee

Steve is a solicitor and, until recently, a specialist legal adviser and advocate representing children and vulnerable families in Courts across England and Wales.

His career has spanned management roles in both local government and private practice in Yorkshire and the South East. He has been a partner and subsequently a director in a large local law firm since 2009, where he now takes lead responsibility for risk and compliance.



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