Sarah Woolnough - Chief Executive
Sarah is CEO of Asthma + Lung UK, leading the fight to improve care and support for everyone with a lung condition. She oversees all aspects of the organisation. Sarah is Co-Chair of the NHS England National Respiratory Board, which directs NHS England’s efforts to improve outcomes for those with lung disease. She also sits on the Board of the Accelerating Access Collaborative, a key government initiative aimed at encouraging swifter adoption of new technologies and treatments to tackle ill health. Sarah has a background in policy and communications, having spent many years as Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications at Cancer Research UK, has worked in the civil service, Parliament and at membership organisation, the Sport and Recreation Alliance. Sarah is a Trustee of mental health research charity MQ, a member of the Richmond Group of health charities and a previous trustee of ASH, the Association of Medical Research Charities, the National Cancer Research Institute and Bliss, the special care baby charity.
Sarah is passionate about improving outcomes for all those with a lung condition and reversing the historic lack of investment in lung research. Sarah has led several successful public health campaigns and is a vocal campaigner for clean air.
Sarah has 4 young children who keep her busy outside of work. If there is a spare moment, she enjoys swimming and visiting friends and family, particularly in mid-Wales.
Follow her on twitter: @swoolnough
Our executive team
Ben leads the Operations team, ensuring that Asthma + Lung UK runs smoothly and that we deliver at our best for people with lung conditions. He is also Company Secretary. A CIPFA qualified accountant, Ben started his career in the public sector with the Audit Commission, where he led audits across a range of local government and NHS clients. From there, he moved into the not-for-profit sector with Macmillan Cancer Support, where he was Head of Financial Operations, and then to the London Community Foundation as Director of Finance and Resources. Ben sits on the CIPFA Charities and Public Benefit Entities Forum, is a Trustee of Contact, a charity supporting families with disabled children, and was previously a Trustee of Lewisham Speaking Up. Ben joined Asthma UK in September 2019, and was part of the central team that oversaw the two charities coming together through a merger.
He spends his spare time running, whether that’s along the streets of Bromley borough, or running around after his 3 children. He's also a part-time cyclist and music lover.
Ben is passionate about making the organisation the best it can be, and making it a great place to work. He wakes up excited to be working with so many people with the courage to drive real positive change for lung health.
Mike's passionate about how patient centred support services can improve people's wellbeing. He leads Asthma + Lung UK's services division, creating and developing our suite of support services to help people live well with their lung condition. He's worked in the not-for-profit sector across homelessness, child poverty and supporting adults with complex long-term medical conditions for over 30 years, and joined the British Lung Foundation in 2010.
Mike is also a keen 'fair weather' road cyclist and on dry weekends can be found exploring the quieter lanes and roads of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
James leads Asthma + Lung UK's fundraising and engagement, enabling us to deliver outstanding services and fight for everyone with a lung condition. He has nearly 25 years of not-for-profit experience, and although he started out in marketing and public relations, James has spent most of his career raising money for good causes around the world. He joined British Lung Foundation as Director of Fundraising prior to the charity’s merger, having previously spent over nine years driving income growth at Parkinson’s UK.
When he’s not raising money for Asthma + Lung UK, James spends his spare time keeping up with his two daughters, playing guitar and nervously watching Norwich City Football Club. James is also a Trustee at a local Mind association that serves the areas of Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.
Henry leads our campaigning and media teams, ensuring we can fight for your right to breathe with policy makers and raise the profile of lung health. He has a range of communications, policy and public affairs experience from working in parliament, not-for-profit organisations in health and housing, and in local government.
Henry has previously worked at the Health Foundation, lobbying government to invest in the NHS, and National Housing Federation, campaigning for affordable housing, as well as senior roles at London Boroughs of Newham and Barking and Dagenham.
Henry has two young children who keep him very busy in St Albans and he spends most holidays in Barcelona, where his wife's family is from and where he can practice speaking Spanish and Catalan. He is also a trustee at Gingerbread, a charity that provides advice, support and community for single parents.
Samantha leads Asthma + Lung UK's research and innovation division, overseeing our own research and innovation spending and constantly pushing for better treatments and innovative technologies to support everyone with a respiratory condition.
She's passionate about ensuring more research spend is directed towards respiratory research and innovation and that patients are involved in research to maximise the chances of them benefitting from it. Samantha led a successful pan-European, multi-sector consortia to identify asthma research priorities and was the architect of the world-leading Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research. She advises and supports several high value-high impact respiratory research collaborations across the UK to ensure the findings add impact and value to the patient population involved.
Samantha joined Asthma UK in 2011. A nurse by training, she did a science PhD at Imperial College London and maintains her research activity through active participation in cutting edge research programmes across the UK. She has published extensively on asthma and allergy for over 25 years in high impact research journals.
She is a keen 5k runner, enjoys trying to get better at yoga and pilates and spends her weekends and holidays with family and friends in west London, Cumbria and southern Spain.
Tamara is a celebrated British businesswomen with a career in the marketing and advertising industry, where she has held leadership positions at some of the world's most prestigious agencies including Wunderman Thompson, Grey Group, McCann Worldgroup and Saatchi and Saatchi. Between 2001 and 2011 she served as chairman of Visit London, and in 2011 was appointed an OBE for services to tourism through her work with the organisation.
As well as her work for Asthma + Lung UK she is currently chairman of integrated content agency The 10 Group, chair of the ESG committee as a NED for Marks and Spencer and non executive director of Intertek and Marsh Mclennan, and from February 2023 will take up a non-executive director role at Reckitt Benckiser.
Ian is Director of the NIHR-Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and works clinically as a respiratory physician, running a specialist clinic for patients with severe asthma in Nottingham. Ian has over 25 years' experience in this clinical area and in 1993 was appointed as the inaugural National Asthma Campaign Senior Research Fellow. Ian has been heavily involved in research management and clinical academic training at a national level, as well as medical education. He chairs the UK Respiratory Research Collaboration.
Ian has supported Asthma UK over many years, serving on the Asthma UK research panel, contributing to Asthma UK reports, and participating in workshops for a range of activities including EARIP.
Jim became a trustee in March 2017 to help Asthma UK maximise the benefit of its use of digital technology. He is the founder of digital agency Manifesto. Jim has worked in digital for over 20 years helping people create products and services around the needs of users, working predominantly across the health, housing and charity sectors. He presents the podcast Alexa Stop!, which discusses the impact of technology on our lives.
Jim is Chair of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee.
Caroline brings over 25 years’ experience in online strategy, digital transformation and marketing. Her previous roles include that of Chief Commercial Officer of Ennismore, Chief Digital Officer at Sun European Partners and Director of Digital Transformation at glh Hotels. Before that she held the role of Chief Operating Officer of MySpace International as well as senior positions at Expedia and Kingfisher. Prior to this she founded a pioneering e-commerce business in New York City. She started out her career as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Co.
Caroline served for six years as a trustee of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and is a former Governor of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
Victor’s career stared with an engineering degree from Cambridge University with practical and management training from the Ministry of Defence, followed by international consultancy at Bowaters Paper. Victor then moved to Michelin Tyre UK, gained an MBA in finance from Imperial College, London and became the UK Commercial Administration Manager. Victor then moved to the Michelin HQ in France where he spent the next 20 years contributing to, and often leading, various European and Group financial projects. His final post was as Group Contract Manager responsible for the outsourced finance partner.
Victor is currently the chairperson if the Breathe Easy North Staffs support group and volunteers in the workshops of Emmaus North Staffs. He has COPD, diagnosed in 2020.
After completing a chemistry degree at Oxford University, John trained as an accountant with Deloitte. He worked in industry with BP, the Seiko Epson Group in the UK and eventually became Finance Director of Northamber plc, a FTSE 250 company. In 1996 he became Finance Director of NSPCC, and in 2008 moved to the Royal British Legion as Finance Director.
During his 20 years with the charity sector, John has been involved in a number of sector initiatives including advice on pensions and risk. For eight years he sat on the Charity Commission SORP committee helping to articulate the international accounting standards for the benefit of the charity sector.
John Hannaford joined the Trustee Board in August 2023. John studied history at the university of Reading before qualifying as a chartered accountant and building a high-profile career in banking. He has been a leading member of the UK investment banking team at Credit Suisse for some twenty years and worked in trustee roles at other charities, including Independent Age and Fight for Sight, informing their decision-making by bringing his knowledge, financial acumen and risk management skills to the table. John will serve on the Finance and Audit committee as well as the main Board.
Katherine is Director of Marketing and Transformation at Fenwick. Previously she was Head of Business Planning for Sainsbury's Argos, providing insight and governance for various steering groups and Board level committees.
Katherine has wide experience balancing customer, commercial and strategic initiatives and hopes to use this to support the partnership's future activity.
Mike has held CEO posts since 1989 with his last fulltime role at StepChange Debt Charity, the UK's largest debt advice charity. He was CEO at Consumer Focus, the statutory consumer body; the Olympic Lottery Distributor and the Millennium Commission. His early career was in the Department of Health, where he was the Private Secretary to two Ministers, and in HM Treasury and Cabinet Office. He was a Trustee of the Mental Health Foundation and Action on Smoking and Health. He is a member of the Advertising Advisory Committee at the Advertising Standards Authority and Vice Chair of the London Irish Centre Charity. He received a CBE for public service in 2000 and is a member of the Council of Fellows of the University of Keele.
Niren is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Aviva Investors, responsible for managing liability hedging mandates for institutional investors. Prior to joining Aviva Investors, Niren was a Director within the Solutions business at BlackRock. Niren began his career at KPMG LLP where he worked in investment and pension consulting. Niren is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Ian is a retired consultant in respiratory medicine, and was previously an asthma specialist in Sheffield. He undertook a PhD in asthma-related research at the National Heart and Lung Institute at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and continued research in this area as a consultant and Professor at the University of Sheffield. He still works with the University of Sheffield researching in medical humanities.