Who’s Who & History
Clive Lewis - Chairman
Professor Michael A Patton
Bernard Lewis OBE
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.
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
More than thirty years after co-founding Newlife the Charity for Disabled children, Sheila Brown OBE has retired as its CEO,...read more
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.
Vanessa is an adult & children’s nurse, having specialised in children’s neurosciences. She has nearly 30 years’ experience within a number of large teaching hospitals working with children with special needs, as well as supporting families in the community providing respite. Vanessa is currently a Director of Nursing at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
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 started with CLARITY-The Soap Co. in the summer of 2018. 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.
Bernard Lewis OBE
Chairman of River Island Clothing Company Limited Director – Lewis Trust Group LTG Lifelong experience in Retail and Management.
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.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Newlife has appointed Mr D’Arcy Myers as Interim CEO. Coming from a commercial marketing background, D’Arcy has been working in the charity sector for 30 years. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the charity sector, both as an interim and full time CEO. D’Arcy is an active trustee. He was one of the founding trustees for The Small Charities Coalition, has been Chairperson for The Parity Trust and The Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities. He currently chairs both The Smallwood Trust and The Association of Charitable Organisations. D’Arcy has also spent eight years as a secondary school governor. Dedicated to impact with integrity and compassion, he is now helping the charity’s Board of Trustees prepare Newlife for its next steps and the appointment of a new CEO.