The children clearly enjoy their treatments – to watch a child of four who has never walked take his first steps, initially aided by the parallel bars and then to launch off unaided is truly wonderful
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 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 - Chair of Fundraising
Anthony is a mediator and lawyer by background, with a long interest in inter-fath dialogue and in Palestine and Israel. He is also currently working with the governement as a mentor to radicalised ex offenders.
Anthony is a practising Catholic and lives in North Yorkshire with his wife Lucy, who is a Quaker, where he manages a small farm.
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.
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 is in charge of ABCD's 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 - Project Manager
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. He has more than 20 years experience in acute, rehabilitation and continuing care of people with spinal cord injury.
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 also an accredited Methodist preacher and administrator to the charity Living Stones.
"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 has been the Bishop of Ebbsfleet since 2013. Previous to this he had been 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.
Rt Reverend 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.
"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
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.
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.