Thomas Fund symbol

Who’s who

Jan Hall
Jan Hall PGDipMT, BMus, PGCE Co-founder and Music Therapist
Jan Hall has been a music therapist since 1983 and has worked within Northamptonshire since 1985. Her work has included individual and group therapy sessions and she has a particular interest in enabling all children to be able to communicate with music through the use of switches, technology and specially adapted instruments. She has spoken at courses and contributed to research and publications on this subject. Jan has become increasingly aware that some children are not able to benefit from music therapy due to long absences from school at a time when they may need it most. In order to redress this she was instrumental with Lucy Smith in the setting up of Thomas’s Fund and in the search for qualified therapists to undertake this important work.

Lucy Smith
Lucy Smith Co-founder
Lucy is the mother of Thomas, in whose name the charity was founded, and Harry, who has the same undiagnosed neurodegenerative condition and benefits from music therapy. She is also the fundraising co-ordinator for Thomas’s Fund. She says, “This is a role I can contribute to quite well because I’m the mum of Thomas and Harry. Music therapy is something that I can see the great benefits of for children like mine. Just watching Harry with the therapist I can see how Harry takes the lead in the session, which for a severely disabled child doesn’t happen often. It is wonderful to see your child enjoying themselves and it gives great memories for the parents and family.” Lucy’s role involves meeting people to introduce the fund to them, to encourage them to fundraise and to raise overall awareness. She has lived in Northants all her life and is married to Tim. Benji the dog also helps keep them both busy.

Harry Smith Young Ambassador
Harry, aged 12, was Thomas’s brother and he too had the same undiagnosed neuro-degenerative condition. Harry sadly died in December 2010, but he had been very active helping his mum Lucy to promote the fund and was delighted to be the first junior ambassador. His role was to support his mum with photos, meeting fundraisers and going along to events so people could see an example of the children and young people Thomas’s Fund helps.

Sophie Baylis Young Ambassador
Sophie, aged 11, has become a young ambassador for Thomas’s Fund to help support Harry Smith, the first young ambassador. Sophie has been out and about at various fundraising events such as Northampton Cobblers and the Around The World event. Sophie loves music and she enjoys playing her own guitar. Sophie is looking forward to continuing support Thomas’s Fund with promotion and fundraising.

Thomas and Matt Redmond Young Ambassadors
Friends with Harry Smith, Thomas attends Greenfields School and Sports College and Matthew is at Northampton School for Boys. Thomas, who loves anything music-related, is in a signing choir at school and attends Y Not Arts, a music and drama group for children with special needs. Matt plays electric guitar and saxophone in various groups including a Wind Band and Big Band at school, and the county’s Jazz 3 group. Both boys are really pleased to be involved in Thomas’s Fund.

Andrew Collins Patron
An author, critic and broadcaster born in Northampton, Andrew has written three memoirs about his life, Where Did It All Go Right?, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, and That’s Me In The Corner. As a scriptwriter, he has co-written two sitcoms for the BBC, Grass (with Simon Day) and Not Going Out (with Lee Mack), Gates for Sky, and Mr Blue Sky for Radio 4. He is Film Editor at Radio Times and presents a weekly show on Classic FM.

Earl Spencer
Earl Spencer Patron
Charles Spencer is the 9th Earl Spencer, the second and only surviving son of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and the Honourable Frances Burke Roche (Frances Shand Kydd). The youngest of his three older sisters was the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, a historian and author. His family house, Althorp in Northampton, is open to the public and celebrates its 500 year anniversary as the family home in 2008.

Esther Mitchell
Esther Mitchell MA Music Therapist
Esther Mitchell qualified as a music therapist in 1997 from John Ruskin University, Cambridge and completed her MA in music therapy in 2002. She has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems and specialised with work with families and parent/child dyads whilst working in Nottingham for eight years. Esther began working for Thomas’s Fund in May, 2007 on a sessional basis, taking on referrals as the Fund’s work developed. In February 2008 Esther began working for Thomas’s Fund for one day per week, carrying out clinical work with the children and families referred and further developing awareness of the fund through meetings with healthcare and educational professionals and other appropriate agencies.

Andy Stevens MA Music Therapist
Having completed an MA in music therapy at the University of the West of England, Bristol, Andy qualified as a music therapist in 2010 and began working as a music therapist for Thomas’s Fund for one day a week. His other music therapy jobs include working in a children’s hospital, a spinal injury centre and a specialist school for children with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. Andy has provided music therapy for further education students with autism, adults with learning difficulties and adults with dementia. Andy has previously worked with children and young people as a music teacher, youth worker and as a musician. He has also supported bereaved children and teenagers as a volunteer through a hospice and spent a year with a children’s project in Malawi.

Kathryn Cave PGDipMT, PGDipAppliedSystemicTheory Music Therapist
Having completed her music therapy training at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kathryn qualified in 2006. Since then, she has worked in a variety of clinical settings with children and adults with learning difficulties, challenging behaviour and life limiting conditions. Kathryn began working for Thomas’s Fund in October 2017. She also works within an NHS Child Development Service, has a private clinical and supervision practice and runs inclusive music groups for children under 5. Kathryn has a passion for family work and gained her Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Theory in 2012. She is a past Chair of the British Society for Music Therapy.

Jeni Melia CTABRSM (violin), LRSM (voice), MA Music Therapist
Jeni studied at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, and was awarded her music therapy MA in 2010. In addition to her work with the Thomas’s Fund team, Jeni works in schools with children on the autistic spectrum, and with adults with dementia in Bedfordshire. Other experience includes music therapy with adults with learning difficulties, and children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. As a singer specialising in Renaissance lute songs, Jeni also continues to perform and record with the English Ayre – listen for free here

Lynn Connor PGDipMT BA (Music) Music Therapist
Lynn qualified as a music therapist from Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, in 2004. She has been working as a music therapist for Thomas’s Fund for one day a week since May 2015. She also works one day a week with children who have learning disabilities, emotional and behavioural difficulties in a school setting. In addition to this she works in private practice, mainly with children and young people. Lynn has previously worked as a support worker for children and adults who have a range of difficulties including social, emotional, behavioural and acquired brain injury.

Andy Dickson Ambassador
Born in Bedfordshire in 1956, he moved with his family to Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Suffolk and joined the police in London in 1976 and served at Edmonton, Victoria and Hendon before transferring up to Northampton in 1989. I then worked in all parts of the county, with the exception of Kettering and Corby, before retiring in 2006. Since when he has volunteered at Favell House in Northampton, a respite and day centre for those with MS, Parkinson’s or other neurological conditions In September 2008 Andy become the 997th person to successfully swim the English Channel, in 18 hours 23 minutes. It was through this challenge that he met Harry, Tim and Lucy Smith and became involved with Thomas’s Fund.

Jonathan Gunthorpe Musical Patron
Having performed a concert repertoire ranging from French baroque and Bach to Britten and new commissions, at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, NCH Dublin, Parco della Roma and La Chaise Dieu, Jonathan gained an MA in music at Birmingham Conservatoire, and attended the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He has played Papageno (The Magic Flute), Arsenio (La Spinalba), The Soul (Grabmusik), Alcandro (L’Olimpiade), Mr Noah (Noye’s Fludde), Faber (The Knot Garden), and Horned Thing (Where The Wild Things Are, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles). He has also appeared at the National Theatre in Brecht’s Mother Courage with Fiona Shaw and is currently writing a new singing translation for Tchaikovsky’s Onegin.

Damian Thantrey Musical Patron
A regular recitalist who has played in major venues across the UK and Europe, Damian studied law at Cambridge and worked in the City before studying singing at the Royal College of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal and the Mills Williams Junior Fellowship. His many operatic appearances have included Deputy Mayor (Anna Nicole), Marullo (Rigoletto, Royal Opera House), Mr Lindquist (A Little Night Music, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Chau Lin (A Night at the Chinese Opera), Eisenstein Die Fledermaus and Brother (Seven Deadly Sins, Scottish Opera). He is also the MD and vocalist for cabaret and dance ensemble Cabaret Chordelia.

John Bowman Musical Patron
An active member of the UK music scene since the mid-1980s, performing in venues and festivals across the UK, John has composed for TV and radio, recorded extensively as a session musician and produced numerous albums. He’s also arranger and musical director for Martyna Wren. Passionate about using music to inspire young people, John devotes much of his time to educational and therapeutic music projects, as an author, tutor and workshop leader. In 2002 he founded Notivate, an organisation that has provided songwriting and recording projects, jazz improvisation workshops, ensemble coaching and music technology training for over 5,000 young people in the UK and Uganda.

Paul Parker Trustee
Paul has been teaching music for 26 years in schools in London, Zambia and Northampton. In 2006, he was appointed as Assistant Head and Music College Director of the first Music College specialist school in the UK. He is proud to have been a keen promoter and supporter for Thomas’s Fund since the very beginning, over ten years ago, and was appointed a trustee in July 2012. Throughout his involvement with the Fund he has supported the music therapy with resources, facilities, time and performances. Paul is passionate about the performing arts and the life-changing impact they have on people’s lives, as you can see in the Thomas’s Fund videos. Paul wrote the original music ‘Smile’ for the first Thomas’s Fund video which has been performed on three different occasions.