Up to nine elected members act as SWVG trustees, taking overall responsibility for ensuring our charity works efficiently and effectively. They meet every two months. Our current trustees are:
Christine Knight (co-ordinator)
A retired Biology teacher who worked at Peter Symonds’ sixth-form college, Christine leads and supports our volunteer visiting service. She also works on our Legal Justice Group and the Drop-in advice service we run every week at Avenue St Andrews’ church.
Anne Leeming (chair)
A retired teacher and faculty head at Peter Symonds’ College, Anne joined in 2007 and is now SWVG’s Chair. She says she is inspired both by the resilience of the asylum seekers the charity supports, and the dedication and professionalism of its volunteers.
Elizabeth Prescott Decie (deputy co-ordinator)
A former Classics teacher, governor and headmistress, Elizabeth joined in 2002. She works as our deputy co-ordinator, and is a member of the Legal Justice, Money allocation, and Non-ASSIST monitoring groups.
Angela Sealey (vice chair)
A former social worker and trustee for several other charities, Angela has spent her career working for social justice, and now works as part of our visiting team. She says she is inspired by the courage of our asylum seekers and learns a huge amount from them.
A former nurse, teacher, and commissioner of NHS education, Lesley started volunteering with SWVG in 2015 and maintains an active visiting role. She is a core member of the Campaign Group and is active in local and national marches to support refugees. Lesley also works with City of Sanctuary to enable local universities to become universities of sanctuary. Making a difference to people’s lives when they are at their most vulnerable is what matters to her.
A former architect, town planner and planning inspector, Sue became an SWVG visitor in 2010, and sits on our fundraising and training groups. She is amazed by the courage of our asylum seekers, often in very difficult circumstances.
Andrew White (treasurer)
Retired chartered accountant with extensive experience of running small companies, Andrew joined SWVG in 2008. He chairs our fundraising group and is a member of our Money Allocation and Legal Justice groups.
A German national, Claudia is a former teacher who works in our visitors’ team, and leads on organising trips and events. She says she finds aspects of her role challenging, but very rewarding when you see an asylum seeker you support settle into a new life here.
Nele van der Weilen
Having moved from Germany, Nele joined SWVG in 2014, and now works as a visitor for us. As a migrant herself, she understands the importance of getting friendly support and help when you arrive in a new country.
We are most grateful to our wonderful patrons, who support us in so many ways:
- Dr Shirley Firth: Shirley has worked for Oxfam, lived with German refugees in 1947, and as an academic has led fieldwork with British Asian communities. Her involvement with local refugees includes supporting Vietnamese families settled in Winchester and Kurdish asylum seekers on hunger strike in Winchester Prison during the 1980s. in 2001, she continued her work with asylum seekers detained in 10 local prisons. She played a major role in founding the Winchester Action Group for Asylum Seekers (WAGAS), later SWVG.
- Miriam Margolyes OBE: Miriam is well known as an actor, appearing on TV, radio, and in films, and in 2001 was awarded an OBE for her services to drama. As a member of a Jewish family that left Belarus to come to England, she has a long-standing commitment to refugees and asylum seekers. In 2009, she and some of her famous friends, including Stephen Fry and Sandy Toksvig, gave a sell-out performance at Winchester’s Theatre Royal. All gave their time free to support SWVG.
Read more about Miriam
- John Pilkington: A Winchester-based travel writer and broadcaster, John has been called ‘one of Britain’s greatest tellers of travellers’ tales’. In 2006 he won a Royal Geographical Society award for popularising geography and the wider understanding of the world. Sheffield-born but now living in Hampshire, he often raises funds for SWVG by recounting his adventures, including crossing the Sahara by camel, going up the Mekong to Tibet, and travelling from Georgia to Afghanistan.
Read more about John
Pages in this section:
How we work
Trustees and patrons