Our Trustees and Patrons

​​Our Trustees

​Val Jourdan MBE - Chair and Founder Trustee

Val trained as a physiotherapist at the Middlesex Hospital  in London. In 1983 she spent a year with The Leonard Cheshire Foundation as a foreign volunteer paediatric physiotherapist working with The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation then situated in Bethlehem itself. When she returned to the UK she founded ABCD with Georgina Mortimer.

Alastair Harris

​Alastair Harris is a risk manager and accountant working in the City of London.   He and his wife Deborah live in south west London and have three grown-up children.   Alastair first visited Bethlehem on a pilgrimage in 2001 in connection with ABCD and was delighted to become a trustee in 2016.

​Anthony Glaister FCI Arb

Anthony Glaister is a commercial mediator, arbitrator and adjudicator and has been involved in resolving disputes since qualifying as a solicitor in 1980. He qualified as a mediator in 1994, and as an adjudicator in 1999. He is recognised as a leader in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

​Bassam Aburdene

Born in Bethlehem, Bassam Aburdene is  Chairman and co-founder of the Capital Trust Group.  In addition to being a  trustee of Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability (ABCD), he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University and is active in supporting  many Palestinian and  other international charities.   
​​Carol Godsmark

​Carol Godsmark, a journalist-PR, originally from Canada via other countries, has written about the Middle East for the media and has been a past and recent visitor to the camps and other ABCD work venues on behalf of the charity. She writes the newsletter and other ABCD publications.

​Canon Claire Tillotson G.L.C.M. (Hons) MA

Claire Tillotson is a state registered Music Therapist and is also a lay Canon at Rochester Cathedral. She has been a trustee at ABCD for 4 years now and is in charge of the music therapy projects.

Claire is married to James and has 2 children: Rachel and David and they live in Bromley in Kent.   At present Claire is a freelance music therapist and also Director of Music at St Mary’s Shortlands.

​ Reverend Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton is an Anglican Team Rector in Salford, Greater Manchester.  In the mid ‘80s  he worked for two years in a Palestinian Children’s Home in Ramallah.   For 20 years he was a trustee of the charity “Embrace the Middle East” – formerly known as BibleLands.  He has led many pilgrimages and visits to the Middle East.

​Firas Sarhan

Firas Sarhan is the Director and lead academic for the Centre of Excellence for Telehealth and Assisted Living.  He was previously Senior Lecturer in the School Advanced & Continuing Practice at Buckinghamshire New University.  A Registered General Nurse, specialising in spinal cord injury nursing, he has more than 20 years experience in acute, rehabilitation and continuing care of people with spinal cord injury.
Jane Lavers

Jane trained as a physiotherapist at the Middlesex Hospital, London.  She continued her career working for several years in a busy central London hospital (now the Chelsea and Westminster).  Jane has been a Trustee of ABCD for two years and has made regular field visits to the projects on the West Bank.
​Tom Ridge​​

Tom Ridge - who also sits on the Finance Sub-Committee - is a civil servant in the UK Government. He lives in Dorset. 
Lara Madge
Lara, who has been a part of the ABCD family for a long time, has visited the projects on many occasions and engages enthusiastically in all our fundraising activities. Lara is honoured to become one of the Trustees. 

Our Patrons

Lord Alton of Liverpool KCSG, KCMCO
​Lord Alton is a former Liberal Party and later Liberal Democratic Member of Parliment who has sat as a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 1997 when he was made a life peer. He is known for his human rights work including the co-founding of the children's charity Jubilee Action.

Reverend Garth Hewitt​
Rev Garth Hewitt is first and foremost a troubadour, performing with his guitar across the world his songs of peace.  Founding the human rights charity, Amos Trust in 1985, he worked as it's Director for 26 years.  For 25 years he was also Director of the Greenbelt Festival.  He has written many books and has created excess of 40 albums over the years.

Professor Khalil Hindi
Professor Hindi has been President of Birzeit University in Palestine since the start of academic year 2010–2011. From 2008 to 2010, he was Associate Dean and Professor of Management Science at Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut (AUB). From 2002 to 2008, he was Professor of Engineering Management at The Faculty of Engineering, and simultaneously Professor of Management Science at Olayan School of Business at AUB. From 1998 to 2002, he was Professor of Systems Engineering at Brunel University, England. Prior to October 1998, he taught at the University of Manchester for 10 years and South Bank University, London, for 8 years.

The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP
The Right Honorable David Lidington has been the Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1992, and is currently Minister for the Cabinet and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Previous to this, he was Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has represented the UK at the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, the Council of Europe, NATO and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). His work through the years has taken him to over 45 countries. 

Manuel Hassassian​​
Manuel Hassassain has, since late 2005, been the Palestinian Authority's diplomat in the UK.  He worked for 25 years at Bethlehem University in various positions including Dean of Students, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Chair of the Humanities Department and for the past nine years as the Executive Vice President, during which time he also served as the President of the Rectors' Conference of the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and President of the Palestinian-European-American Cooperation in Education (PEACE) program.

Andrew Mortimer 
 "Accepting the invitation to become a Patron of ABCD was both a pleasure and an honour.  For my family, it helps sustain a close connection with so many of those with whom Georgina worked for some 30 years. After a long career in international banking, I now spend my time as a sports administrator and also as the treasurer of a UK charity working in Tanzania on an endangered species programme. Our differing interests led to many an interesting conversation!"

Rt Rev Simon Barrington Ward​​
Rt Rev Simon Barrington-Ward is a bishop with pastoral care of the University of Cambridge, an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Ely, honorary assistant chaplain of Magdalene College where he has been an honorary fellow since 1987, and a chaplain to the staff of Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

In the New Year Honours 2001 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, having served as the Prelate of that Order. Following the custom for clergy in the Church of England, he does not use the title of "Sir".

The Lord Hylton​
The Right Honorable The Lord Hylton is a British peer and landowner. He is one of 92 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, sitting as a crossbencher. He is currently the longest serving Crossbench member of the House of Lords.​

The Rt Rev James Langstaff​​
The Right Reverend James Langstaff is an Anglican bishop. Since December 2010, he has been Bishop of Rochester.  From 2004 to 2010, he was Bishop of Lynn, and a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Norwich.

Reverend Canon Roger Royle​​
Reverend Canon Roger Royle is an Anglican priest and broadcaster. He has been most well known for presenting Sunday Half Hour on BBC Radio 2.

Afif Safieh​
Afif Safieh is a Palestinian diplomat. He was most recently the Palestinian ambassador to the Russian Federation.  He is considered the most experienced and skilled Palestinian diplomat having served in the three most politically significant capitals: London, Washington, and Moscow.

Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall - Bishop of Ebbsfleet
​​Rt Rev Jonathan Goodall has been the Bishop of Ebbsfleet since 2013.