Hillcroft Students in 1950

Patrons of Hillcroft

Dame Jane Newell

Director and chairman elect of the John Lewis Pensions Partnership Trust Jane Newell OBE, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the pensions industry and to charity in the 2013 Queens New Year’s Honours list.

Born in London, Jane attended Merrow Grange Convent School and then Guildford Technical College. In December 1991, the newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell died suddenly and shortly afterwards it was discovered that some £440 million pounds was missing from his companies’ Pension Fund, leaving 30,000 pensioners potentially bereft.

A Trust was established by the Government in July 1992 to help solve their plight and Jane Newell was appointed a Trustee. Three years later she became Chairman of the Trust where her work earned her great praise in the industry and, in 1997, the award of an OBE.

She chaired the pensions schemes of DSG (the Dixons’ Group) and of United Utilities, where she also served as a non-executive Director on the main Board for ten years and was one of the very few women who were directors of a Footsie One Hundred company. She also chaired the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme and was Deputy Chair of Glaxo Trustee Companies, and a trustee of the Glaxo Smith Klein Pension Plan. In 2005, she was appointed to chair the Royal Mail Pension Plan, the second largest scheme in the country, with 450,000 members and assets of £24 billion.

Jane Newell has also shown long standing commitment to public service across a wide range of roles – a non-executive director of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust, Independent Assessor for the Cabinet Office, and assessor for the Home Office for appointments in the Police, Prison and Fire Services, a Trustee of Common Purpose Charitable Trust and a magistrate in Liverpool and more recently in London.

Edward Davey

Edward Davey, Former MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, previous Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer and Postal Affairs, continues to support Hillcroft and its mission to help women returners to education.

Six months after graduating from university Ed answered a newspaper advertisement and got a job as Economics Researcher for the Liberal Democrats in Parliament, working in the Commons from 1989 to 1993, principally for Alan Beith and Paddy Ashdown. Promoted to be the party’s senior economic adviser, Ed was closely involved in developing the party’s economic policies and was in charge of costing the 1992 election manifesto, while studying in the evenings at Birkbeck College, London University, for his MSc in Economics. In 1993 Ed left Parliament to work for Omega Partners, visiting 28 countries to work on strategic market analysis and business forecasting projects for postal services in countries such as Belgium, South Africa, Sweden and Taiwan.

He was chosen as prospective candidate for Kingston and Surbiton in March 1995, and won the seat (with a majority of 56) at the 1997 General Election after three recounts. In October 2002 Ed was appointed to shadow the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government and the Regions, in which role he took the lead in the Liberal Democrats’ campaign to scrap the unfair Council Tax. Ed was made Liberal Democrat Shadow Education and Skills Secretary in 2005 before being transferred by Sir Menzies Campbell in March 2006 to a new role as Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary. In December 2006 he was additionally appointed Chief of Staff to party leader Menzies Campbell. Ed was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Chair of Campaigns and Communications after Nick Clegg was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Carly Ward

As of March 12th 2012 Carly secured Government funding for her programme to be taught in schools and colleges across the UK for the 16-18 age group giving young people the opportunity to learn entrepreneurial and life skills in the curriculum.

The 12 Steps to Success Programme was born and is a structured 12 Step programme including interviews, videos , workbooks and suggested reading aimed at any young person under 25 who wants success in life. Carly and the YES team work with schools, colleges, universities and young people who are unemployed.

The YES Network is Carly’s latest venture. The YES Network is to create sustainability for any young person having gone through The 12 Steps to Success Programme but is also for any young entrepreneur under 35 who has just an idea or even a thriving business. The YES Network is a networking group meeting once a month with access to funding, business advice, mentoring, motivational speakers, workshops, special discounts and lots more. The YES Network launched in London in April 2011 and plans to expand nationally.

Shiraz Mirza

Ever since his recovery from long term paralysis, he has dedicated his life to the community. For the past twelve years he has had the pleasure and honour of meeting different people from different walks of life, this he says, has enhanced his knowledge of the citizens of this wonderful borough.

In 1998 he was given the opportunity by the Liberal Democrats to stand for council. With the help of the community he joined the Liberal Democrats and was honourably able to represent the Chessington South Ward. In 2000 he was elected as Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. He became the first Asian to hold this position in Kingston. A year later he decided to take my responsibilities further a field and become a Governor of Kingston College.

He opened the first Shiraz Mirza Community Hall in Norbiton in 2003. Building on the success of the first hall, the council wanted the Shiraz Mirza Trust to take on the responsibility of managing a second hall. This was officially opened by the current Mayor of London Boris Johnson. He has also developed many formal links with many local organisations such as The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, ROYAD (Reach Out Young Adult Disabled, The Chrysalis Club (Founder member) and Kingston Carers Network of which he is a trustee.

Professor Sir Deian Hopkin

Professor Sir Deian Hopkin is President of the National Library of Wales, one of the world’s major libraries. In 1991 he was appointed Dean of Human Sciences and later Vice Provost at London Guildhall University and during that period was involved in the construction of the Women’s Library in Aldgate, the home of the Fawcett Library of the suffragette movement.

In 2001 he was appointed Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of London South Bank University. After his retirement in 2009 he was appointed interim Vice Chancellor of the University of East London and, following his inquiry for the government, interim Chairman of the Student Loans Company.He continues to be Emeritus Professor at both London South Bank and East London.

He is also patron of several educational charities and an Ambassador for Cerebra. He serves on the all-Party Higher Education Commission and is a trustee of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. A Freeman of the City of London, he is a court warden of the Company of Educators in the City of London. Having received several honorary degrees and fellowships, both in the UK and abroad, he was knighted in 2009 for services to higher education and skills and now serves on the Cabinet Office’s Education Honours Committee.