Newlife exists because if it was your child, you would want the very best for them

Who's Who & History

Newlife Trustees

Chris Chaney

Having obtained a degree from Edinburgh University, Chris went on to join Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSHCC), where he was Deputy Director for Major Gift Fundraising. This means he is very much aware of the vital contribution and need Newlife continues to address to support disabled children and families across the UK. Having moved from GOSHCC to set up a new major giving team at the University of Cambridge, Chris is currently CEO of CW+, the charity partner of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Nigel Lewis

With over 20 years in senior management positions within both the commercial and third sectors, Nigel is an experienced leader with a proven track record of leading and managing complex services and delivering change and innovation. Nigel has been CEO of AbilityNet for 10 years, a charity which helps disabled and older people get access to inclusive and accessible technology.

Clive Lewis - Chairman

Chairman, River Island Clothing Company Ltd and Joint Managing Director, Lewis Trust Group

Clive qualified as a Barrister in 1979 and spent his entire career with Lewis Trust Group Ltd, parent company of River Island, mainly in real estate, finance and investments until 1994 when he joined River Island. He became CEO from late 1990’s to 2007 and as of January 2008, he became Deputy Chairman at River Island Clothing Co. and Joint Managing Director at Lewis Trust Group Ltd, responsible for retail, non-US real estate, private equity and Fund Investments.

Chris Caulfield

Having obtained a first class honours degree in law from Cambridge University, Chris became a lawyer specialising in complex disputes and international trade. Chris is currently an equity partner in Baker Botts' Litigation Practice Group based in London. He regularly advises clients in relation to litigation, arbitration, corporate governance and regulatory issues. He joined the Newlife board in 2012.

Professor Ieuan Hughes

Having graduated from Cardiff University Medical School, Professor Hughes has had a long and outstanding career in Paediatrics and genetic research, with the aim of helping to improve child health. Now Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at University of Cambridge, he was recently awarded the James Spence Medal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for his outstanding contributions to the advancement or clarification of paediatric knowledge. Professor Hughes is a member of the Cambridge in Africa Advisory Board and coordinates a postgraduate training programme for specialist paediatricians in that continent. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. He joined the Newlife board in 2012.

Bernard Lewis OBE

Chairman of River Island Clothing Company Limited Director - Lewis Trust Group LTG Lifelong experience in Retail and Management.

Leonard Lewis

Leonard is Joint founder of Birth Defects Foundation (now Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children) and originator of the brand River Island and MD of River Island to June 1994. He had a traumatic brain injury and became a non-executive strategic director. He is now Board Director of Lewis Family Holdings and a Trustee at James Lewis Foundation.

Professor Michael A Patton

Trustee and Medical Director

Consultant Clinical Geneticist and Professor of Medical Genetics at St Georges. Following a university education at Cambridge and Edinburgh he was appointed at St Georges in 1986 to set up a Regional Genetic Service with clinical and laboratory services for a population of 3 million in SW London, Surrey and West Sussex. He has also run the academic department and has a research interest in birth defects and gene identification in genetic isolates.

Newlife Operations

Mrs Sheila Brown
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Parent of three sons, two of which have faced disability in their lives, Sheila had a long history in the charity sector, both voluntary and professionally, at national and local level. In 2001 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by her Majesty the Queen, for services to child health. She has a history of working successfully at Government level and her passion is said to be 'the rock on which Newlife is founded'.

Newlife History


Birth Defects Foundation Formed

The Birth Defects Foundation was registered as a Charity, launching on March 13th in London. At that time our primary focus was supporting research related to the understanding, prevention and treatment of birth defects, as these were the UK's biggest threat to child health.


Trading Company Set Up

The charity supported the setting up of a separate Trading company. This was to recycle and raise funds from the management of corporate products donated to the charity and processed by the registered recycling company - Birth Defects Trading Ltd.


So Much More Than Research

By this time our focus was much wider and we were not only funding Birth Defect Research, we had our national Nurse Helpline, our Equipment Grants Services and much more.


Name Change

We set aside the term BDF in our name to make it simpler for people to understand who we are and what we do. We became Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. However, our research continues to focus on Birth Defects.


Newlife The Charity For Disabled Children

In December 2016, our Trading Company and Charity placed all their assets into the new registered charity called 'Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children', combining our focus and reducing the costs of running two separate organisations. Now all of our staff have one single focus, a single vision, mission and values. Together, with our supporters and volunteers, we aim to change children’s lives.
Why? Because if it was your child, you would want them to have the very best chance in life. Where funds allow, we want that too for the disabled and terminally ill children of today and by investing in research for the children of tomorrow.


Latest Newlife Charity News

17 Oct
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October 2017
The initiative kicks off this week and is being run at selected Schuh stores across the UK including: intu Merry Hill Shopping Centre branch in Dudley, Ropewalk Shopping Centre in Nuneaton, Meadowhall in Sheffield, Royal Avenue...
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17 Aug
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August 2017
Newlife needs your vote to help ensure more disabled and terminally ill children across the UK get the equipment they urgently need. The OneFamily Foundation is asking the public to vote for a charity to receive a grant of £25,000....
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28 Jun
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June 2017
Find out how Sam Morton’s life has been transformed as he tackles independent living and a university degree course. The inspirational teenager urges other young people to seek out the support they need so they can follow...
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