We remain independent, focussing on the needs of the children our partners work with.
ABCD’s Trustees and Patrons
Val Jourdan MBE - Chair and Founder Trustee
Val trained as a paediatric physiotherapist. 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 - Chair of Finance
Alastair Harris is a semi-retired risk manager and accountant, having worked for over 30 years 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 - Chair of Fundraising
Anthony is a mediator and lawyer by background, with a long interest in peace making and inter-faith dialogue in Palestine and Israel. He has also worked as a mentor for high-risk ex-offenders.
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, 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.
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 - Project Manager
Firas Sarhan is Clinical Education Transformation Lead working at the National Spinal Injury Centre with NHS England developing educational curriculum on spinal cord injury management and rehabilitation. Previously he was the Director and lead academic for the Centre of Excellence for Telehealth and Assisted Living at Barnet Southgate College. Firas was also principal and Senior Lecturer in the School Advanced & Continuing Practice at Buckinghamshire New University. He has more than 30 years experience in acute rehabilitation and continuing care of people with physical disabilities.
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 was honoured to become one of the Trustees in 2018.
Alison was ABCD's administrator for over ten years. Her name is now synonymous with ABCD, having fostered relations with so many church communities and taken part in many pilgrimages. She is an accredited Methodist preacher and welcomes invitations from churches to talk at Sunday services of worship or to midweek groups.
"I grew up with stories of ABCD narrated by my beautiful Mum, Georgina Mortimer. Mum loved ABCD. She loved the cause, the work, the children and of course the people whom she shared her passions with. It is with great honour and delight that I accepted the invitation to be a Patron of ABCD. It allows me to engage in Mum's passion, in her absence, and it provides me with an opportunity to share my passion for the role of the Arts in education and the known benefits they can have on children's wholistic development. Having worked as an educator for many years and having the privilege of working with children with disabilities, I'm a strong believer in arts-based and play-based pedagogies and their capacity to empower children as well as affording them with opportunities to communicate and share their stories in safe and inclusive spaces. We all have stories to tell and I look forward to supporting ABCD by listening to theirs."
Dr Husam Zomlot
Ambassador Husam Zomlot is the Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK. Born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, he previously served as the Palestinian Envoy to the US before the closure of the PLO Office in Washington DC instigated by President Trump in 2018. Ambassador Zomlot has since advocated that Britain spearhead the peace process in the Middle East, and acts as a leader in global diplomacy
Rt Rev'd Dr Michael Langrish, formerly Bishop of Exeter
Bishop Michael has a background in education and pastoral ministry. Since retiring as Bishop of Exeter 2013 he has lived in West Sussex, acting as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Chichester. He has a long connection with the Middle East, taking a particular interest in the people and communities of Israel/Palestine and speaking regularly about their needs, particularly when a member of the House of Lords. He has visited the region often in connection with the wide range of Middle East focused charities with which he has been associated and also regularly led pilgrimages and study tours to the area.
Rt Reverend Jonathan Goodall - Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Rt Rev Jonathan Goodall was formerly Bishop of Ebbsfleet. Previous to this he served on the Bicester Team Ministry, including time as Assistant Chaplain at HMP Bullingdon. Following this he was research assistant and chaplain to the Bishops of Gibraltar and ecumenical secretary and chaplain to the Archbishops of Canterbury.
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.
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.
The Rt Reverend 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.
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.
"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!"
The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP
David Lidington served in the House of Commons for almost 28 years before retiring at the 2019 General Election. After holding a number of shadow ministerial posts, including Opposition spokesman on the Middle East and North Africa, he entered government in 2010 as Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He subsequently served as Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, and Minister for the Cabinet Office, in which last capacity he was also deputy to Prime Minister Theresa May. David has represented the United Kingdom at the EU, NATO, OSCE, Council of Europe and UN Security Council. Since leaving Parliament, he has taken on a number of responsibilities including Chair of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the UK’s leading think tank on Defence, Security and Geopolitics.
Reverend Canon 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. He is also a Canon of St George's Anglican Cathedral, East Jerusalem.