Trustees Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Could you be the new Chair of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice?

The Board of Trustees who oversee the running of East Cheshire Hospice are looking for a new Chair.

The successful candidate will replace Will Spinks who must step down in September 2025 after reaching the maximum of nine years as a Trustee.

The Hospice wants to identify Will’s successor by this September, giving the chair elect a year to shadow him before formally taking over.

Will Spinks, Chair of the Board of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice.

Will, from Bollington, said: “The Hospice is a fantastic organisation. It’s been an absolute privilege working with an excellent executive team and a strong trustee board.

“My successor must have an interest in what the Hospice does though doesn’t necessarily need personal experience of it. They need to have a sense of the Hospice’s purpose and mission.

“The Hospice is in an interesting position. We not only run existing services but we also need to innovate, bringing forward new services. That’s really been the feature of my time as Chair.

“In 2020, we made Hospice @Home a 365 days a year 24/7 service, right at the beginning of the pandemic. Hospice @Home has since been expanded substantially as has our Dementia Carers Wellbeing programme.

“During Covid, we built an extra wing to house Hospice @Home and we’ve just reopened the refurbished Sunflower Living Well Centre.

“The challenge for anyone coming into the Hospice is not only maintaining the services we already have but also identifying where there’s still unmet need and bringing forward new services to fill the gaps.”

The Hospice has 11 Trustee Directors. The Chair’s role includes ensuring the Board is working effectively, acting as manager and mentor to the CEO and as an ambassador for the Hospice.

Will said: “The appointment is an open process. If an existing trustee wishes to come forward, they’re free to do so but it’s open to externals as well and we’ll pick the best candidate.”

The new Chair must understand the legal duties and responsibilities of chairing a significant local charity. They also require significant experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level within an organisation, experience of charity governance and working with a Board of Trustees.

The closing date for applications is June 7. To apply visit

For more details contact Claire Duncan, email

Will took over as Chair in 2018 after retiring as Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester. He was with AstraZeneca for 28 years.

Hospice Trustee Rob Barrow Receives University Honour

Internet pioneer Rob Barrow MBE DL has been honoured by the university where he took a degree in computer science more than 50 years ago.

Rob, a trustee of East Cheshire Hospice, has been made an Honorary Doctor of Technology.

The award, which recognises his inspiring role in the development of internet technology, comes after he survived a major cancer scare.

Rob, from Macclesfield, said: “The award from Staffordshire University came as a total surprise and I’m hugely grateful and humbled. It’s a great honour for anyone to be recognised in this way.”

Rob founded software company SurfControl in the late 1980s and it was ahead of even Microsoft and Apple in the early days of internet technology.

The company was headquartered in California for easy access to the rapidly-emerging US online computer market and employed more than 600 staff worldwide, and was valued at more than £1bn on the London stock market, its cutting-edge software allowing major corporations to regulate staff access online.

Its operations included a research and development facility in Congleton which employed graduates from local universities including the one he had himself attended.

Rob’s computing career began at North Staffordshire Polytechnic, which later became Staffordshire University, in 1968 after studying Mathematics at Warwick University.

He spent his third year in industry at the British Railways Board where he was offered a job and where he cut his teeth on technology. He joined computer giant ICL before launching his own company.

Rob retired at 53 in 2003 to focus on philanthropy, taking up several charitable roles including chair of the Hospice’s board of directors. He also became vice president of Cheshire Community Foundation and President of Congleton4Congleton.

Karyn Johnston, Chief Executive of East Cheshire Hospice, said: “Rob’s forward view has modernised how ECH operates, and other charities are looking to emulate what he started at our Hospice. We are pleased his contribution to technological innovation has been recognised with this prestigious doctorate and delighted that he continues to add value to our Board of Directors.”

He was awarded an MBE for services to charity in 2019, having become a Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire in 2015. He is also a Patron of the National Trust.

Rob was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in 2017 and, following major surgery, learned it had spread to his liver and lungs and was given a prognosis of just one year. His commitment to helping others and being at the leading-edge in all aspects of his life meant that Rob volunteered to be part of an immunotherapy clinical trial, which included a six-month inpatient stay at The Christie fighting the side-effects of the pioneering treatment.

In January 2019, he was told the cancer had disappeared.

Rob should have received his honorary doctorate in 2020 but the pandemic meant the ceremony was postponed until this year when he will hopefully finally don his well-deserved cap and gown.

Rob Barrow with wife Pam, daughter Fiona Hobbs and grandson Kit Hobbs when he received the MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2019.

Hospice Trustee Roles

East Cheshire Hospice is looking for two new Trustee Board members.

One of the roles is to chair its Patient Care and Clinical Governance Committee, so a volunteer with a good understanding of healthcare and its challenges is required.

The other position is for a candidate with a more general background. Skills and experience in other sectors, or roles, would be useful.

There is no requirement to have held a trustee position before and induction support is provided.


The Trustee Board, chaired by Will Spinks, is responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Hospice, working with the chief executive and senior management team.

The minimum commitment includes quarterly board and committee meetings, email and phone discussions and attendance at occasional Hospice events. There may be a requirement to represent the Hospice at external events and meetings.

Trustee Jon Beck said: “A trustee role provides opportunities for personal and professional development, including strategic planning and organisational development.

“Becoming a trustee can be immensely rewarding and fulfilling and means you’ll be making decisions that will impact people’s lives and make a difference to your local community.”


Visit for a pack and application form, or contact Governance Administrator Claire Duncan.

Send applications via email to or a hard copy to Claire Duncan, Governance, Milbank Drive, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3DR.

Selection will be conducted in a Covid-19 safe way.  Access to Zoom, or other virtual meeting technology, is helpful. The closing date for applications is Mon, Feb 1.

Will Spinks, Chair of the Trustee Board at East Cheshire Hospice

Nick Robinson – Patron of East Cheshire Hospice

BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson has been appointed a Patron of East Cheshire Hospice where his late father was a patient.

Nick, who was born and bred in Macclesfield, has enjoyed a distinguished career in radio and television, presenting Radio 4’s flagship Today programme since 2015.

His role will involve promoting the Hospice’s work, including hosting Meeting of Minds, a series of exclusive virtual events with high-profile guest speakers.

Nick Robinson, a new Patron of East Cheshire Hospice.

Nick said: “I grew up in Cheshire, my family still live in Cheshire and East Cheshire Hospice has a special place in my heart.

“It’s where my dad Robbie spent his last few days and I’ll never forget the care that he and our family received at that very difficult time.

“I’m particularly honoured to be asked to become a Hospice patron and would urge people to support this wonderful charity any way they can.”

Nick has worked in broadcasting for almost 35 years and was appointed deputy editor of Panorama in 1993, moving into political reporting in 1996.

He is the only journalist to have been political editor for both the BBC and ITV where he spent three years from 2002.

He assumed the same role on his return to the BBC, reporting on Prime Ministers Blair, Brown and Cameron during 10 years in the post.

Nick has made several documentaries on subjects ranging from Sir Alex Ferguson’s career – he is a Manchester United fan – to Brexit negotiations and immigration.

An accomplished author, his Election Notebook charted the lead up to the 2015 General Election and his successful fight with cancer, subsequent loss of voice and his own challenge to report on the election. His Twitter feed @bbcnickrobinson has 1m followers.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “We are honoured that Nick has agreed to become a Hospice patron. His face and voice are familiar on television and radio and he is hugely respected, deservedly winning many awards for his outstanding journalism.”

The Hospice’s other Patron is former Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson.

* Nick Robinson’s guests in the Meeting of Minds series include Terry Waite CBE; Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell, DBE, DL; Lord Jim O’Neill and Sir John Timpson CBE.

Rob Barrow MBE

Rob Barrow DL, a former Chair of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice, has been awarded the MBE for his services to the community.

Wife Pam, daughter Fiona Hobbs and grandson Kit Hobbs joined him at Buckingham Palace where he received the honour from the Queen.

Rob, from Macclesfield, helped set up the Hospice @Home service at East Cheshire where he also strengthened the charity’s governance during his three years at the helm.

The MBE was awarded for services to education, charity and various philanthropic activities.

Rob and his wife have devoted much of their energies towards helping good causes since he retired from business 16 years ago.

Charities supported include Cre8, Cheshire Community Foundation and the National Trust. Rob is a former governor of The King’s School, Macclesfield.

Rob founded a computer software company which employed more than 600 people worldwide and his work took him to Silicon Valley, California, at a time when the internet was in its infancy.

Rob said: “I was humbled, honoured and flattered to receive the MBE and we were nervous when we found out the Queen was issuing the awards.”