Our Team

The team behind Cancer Focus NI are passionate about what they do and the difference they make to the lives of local people.  Find out more about our team here:

  • Board of Trustees
    Professor Roy Spence OBE, JP, MD, MA, LLD (Hon), FRCS

    Professor Spence is a Consultant Surgeon specialising in breast cancer at Belfast City Hospital.  He is a Professor of Surgery at Queen’s University Belfast, an Honorary Professor and Member of the Council at the University of Ulster and he has been awarded Honorary Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of England and Glasgow.  Professor Spence was appointed an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2001.  With a wide range of professional and academic accolades and years of dedicated public service, Professor Spence brings a wealth of knowledge and strategic leadership to Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

    Mr Boyd Carson FCA
    Honorary Treasurer

    Boyd has a wide range of finance and investment experience.  He is currently a partner in Sapphire Capital Partners LLP which focuses on real estate financing and investment advice and he also serves on the Board of numerous companies.  Previously he was a Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in New York where he worked in the Corporate Finance Group.  Boyd is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

    Ivan McMinn profile pic
    Mr Ivan McMinn

    Ivan offers extensive experience in business and finance having worked at Danske Bank, formally the Northern Bank, for more than 35 years.  He has an extensive track record in raising funds for charity and also brings personal experience of living with a cancer diagnosis.  Ivan received a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2011 and nine months after having his chemotherapy treatment, he completed the London Marathon, and again in 2014. Together both marathons raised some £202,000 for cancer charities and other deserving causes.

    Ivan is a Director and the Company Secretary of Stranwood Estates Ltd and is also Director of Visit Belfast.  He has many more voluntary and community interests.

    Mark Lawler profile pic
    Professor Mark Lawler

    Mark is a member of the Steering Committee of the European Cancer Concord and holds an Associate Director position at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast. Mark has a keen interest in both research and cancer policy, and has been at the forefront of a number of patient focused cancer healthcare initiatives aiming to remove inequalities and improve cancer care for the citizens of Europe.

    Violet Spence

    Violet has had a long career in financial management, having worked in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and Danske Bank.  She has a strong background in corporate governance, financial reporting, collation and analysis of management information and systems implementation.  Violet has been a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants since 1998 and a member of the Cancer Focus NI Finance and Policy Committee since 2009.  She retired from her post as Senior Audit Manager with Danske Bank in 2014. Since then she has developed a strong interest in the social enterprise and small business sector, and advises on set up and operational issues.


    Dr Jim Birnie

    Jim is a chartered Quantity Surveyor and a retired University Lecturer.  He has published numerous academic papers in construction economics and cognitive psychology.  Jim has been involved in Cancer Focus NI for 40 years.  He is a member and secretary of our Ballymena Cancer Support Group since 1973 and a Board Member since 1985.

    Dr Bernadette Cullen

    Bernadette is Chair of the Action on Smoking NI committee, which and works in liaison with the other ASH committees in England, Scotland and Wales to control tobacco and reduce smoking prevalence. (ASH NI is a sub-committee of Cancer Focus NI.

    Dr Cullen has 24 years’ experience as a consultant in public health with the Eastern Health and Social Services Board and then the Public Health Agency. Now retired, she had particular interest in health improvement, population screening, skin cancer and melanoma strategy implementation. She has been engaged in a broad range of community health initiatives, including Chair of Belfast Healthy Cities from 2007 – 2013 and has extensive experience of working in partnership with the voluntary sector.

    Mrs Pat McClelland 

    Pat has been a registered General Nurse since October 1982 and currently holds the position of General Manager of Cancer Services in the Northern Trust. She has led on several nursing initiatives and nurse development programmes within the acute hospital setting and she manages a team of health professionals, nurses and admin staff.  Pat has recently secured funding for a further 6 cancer nurse specialists to improve provision of support within the Trust and she works closely with voluntary groups – including Cancer Focus NI and Macmillan to secure improved support for cancer patients.

    Dooley Harte Donald Harte
    Mr Dooley Harte

    Dooley has been a full-time Trade Union Official with NIPSA for the past 18 years, working in particular supporting NIPSA members in the Civil Service.

    Dooley became involved with us in 2010 when his wife, Ann, was seriously ill with breast cancer.  Dooley and his five children used our Family Support Service through their bereavement. Dooley has been a tremendous support to the service and to other parents. He also worked with us in our successful application for Big Lottery funding for the service.

  • Chief Executive and Senior Management team
    Profile pic of Richard Spratt
    Richard Spratt
    Chief Executive


    Richard took up the position as Chief Executive in September 2020. His career has spanned both the private and voluntary sectors. Having previously worked in the banking sector, he has held posts in the voluntary sector since 2009 within international development. He has served on other charity Boards as a Trustee and completed his Masters in Business Administration in 2015.

    Patricia Barrett
    Head of Administration


    Patricia worked in the private and public sector before being appointed Head of Administration in 1999.  Her role incorporates human resources, finance, I.T. and facilities management.

    Gerry McElwee
    Head of Cancer Prevention


    Gerry has trained professionals in and campaigned for healthier policy for over 20 years. He is central to local tobacco control efforts, including the campaign for a smoke free Northern Ireland. A qualified teacher, Gerry has been Head of Cancer Prevention since 1999.

    Cancer Focus NI
    Dervilia Kernaghan
    Head of Care Services


    Dervilia, who trained as a nurse, was appointed as Head of Care Services in 2019. Previously a part of our cancer prevention team, she brings vast experience and knowledge of patient care to the role.

    Angela McGrath
    Head of Retail

    028 9205 7002

    Angela was previously Retail Manager for Cancer Focus NI and in 2017 was appointed Head of Retail. She has extensive management experience in high street retailing, including Waterstone’s and Marks & Spencer.

    Maeve Colgan
    Head of Income Generation


    Maeve was appointed as Head of Income Generation in 2014 and has worked in the voluntary sector since 2004.  Maeve is responsible for fundraising and building relationships with corporate and community groups throughout Northern Ireland.

  • Care Services team

    Our team in Care Services is made up of specialist nurses, therapists and counsellors. We provide a range of services to help support you and your family when you’re dealing with cancer.

    Free Information and Support Nurse Line


    0800 783 3339

  • Cancer Prevention team

    Our Cancer Prevention team help people reduce their risk of cancer and raise awareness of early signs and symptoms. Team members are all highly qualified experts in health promotion and offer a wide range of programmes from nursery level to old age.


    Stop Smoking services & Professional Training
    Naomi Thompson, Senior Cancer Prevention Officer


    028 9066 3281


    Keeping Well vans
    Sandra Gordon, Keeping Well Van Coordinator


    07977 501908


    Schools programme
    Eileen Donnelly, Programme Co-ordinator Schools & Young People


    028 9066 3281


    Well Aware programme
    Dervilia Kernaghan, Project Coordinator


    028 8676 6866
    07810 371 118

  • Income Generation team

    Every year we depend on the generosity and goodwill of our supporters to raise 90% of the money we invest in our services, programmes and research.  Our fundraising team is enthusiastic, dedicated and always ready to go the extra mile!  Contact us to see how you can get involved or find out how to give a cash gift, either regular, one-off or through your payroll.


    Community Events
    Suzie Colledge, Community Fundraising Officer


    028 9066 3281


    Challenge Events
    Kathryn Holland, Challenge Events Manager


    028 9068 0771


    Direct Marketing
    Ollie Govett, Direct Marketing Manager


    028 9068 0740

  • Retail team

    There are 12 of our shops in towns located across Northern Ireland, so wherever you live there’ll be one close by. Why not pay us a visit or donate some items.


    Angela McGrath,  Head of Retail


    028 9205 7002

    Michelle Fordyce, Retail Support Manager

    028 9042 4364


    You can find contact details for each of our stores here.

  • Communications and Marketing team

    Talking to you is important to us; hearing what you think about our work and understanding how we can help. See our latest news and blog articles or sign up to our e-newsletter

    Louise Carey, Communications Manager


    028 9066 3281
    07884 362749


    Marie Foy, Communications Officer


    028 9066 3281


    Karen McMinnis, Digital Communications Officer


    028 9066 3281

  • Administration and Finance team

    If you have any queries in regards to jobs or invoices our Administration and Finance team are always ready to help.

    Patricia Barrett, Head of Administration


    028 9066 3281


    Dawn Dawson, Finance Manager


    028 9066 3281

  • Volunteer team

    We have 350 amazing volunteers who give us  20,000 hours of their time  every year to help in all sorts of ways.  Our volunteer team looks after our volunteers and co-ordinates all of their work with us. If you’re interested in getting involved please get in contact.


    Morag Chambers, Volunteer Service Manager


    028 9068 0773


    Jade Knowles,  Volunteer Service Coordinator


    028 9068 0755


    Ruth Davidson, Volunteer Service Admin Officer