Board of Trustees

CLAPA’s governing body is a Board of Trustees who are all volunteers. They share ultimate responsibility for governing CLAPA and directing how the charity is managed and run. They also use their varied skills and backgrounds to advise CLAPA staff and provide overall strategic direction to the charity.

The Board is a mix of people affected by cleft lip or palate (with a cleft or parent of a child with a cleft) and health professionals involved in the care of people born with cleft lip and palate.

Individual Trustees are selected on the basis of what skills they can bring to the running of the charity. Vacancies are advertised on the website and via e-newsletters.

For more information on individual Trustees, see their personal bios.

Nick Astor (Chair) – PR and Communication professional and father of a child with a cleft
Jas Bhachu – Finance Professional and Treasurer
Andrew Beedham – Solicitor and adult born with a cleft
David Drake – Consultant Cleft and Maxillofacial Surgeon with the National Cleft Surgical Service for Scotland
Siobhan Handley – Professional fundraiser and mother of a child born with a cleft
Oliver Hopkins – Management Consultant and adult born with a cleft
Emma Howes – HR Professional and mother of a child born with a cleft
Louise Hughes – Solicitor and mother of a child born with a cleft
Marie Pinkstone – Lead Speech and Language Therapist, North Thames Cleft Service
Rona Slator – Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Clinical Director, West Midlands Cleft Service
Amelia Strangeways – Communications Professional and mother of a child with a cleft
Jenny Williams – Retired Cleft Nurse Specialist and mother of a child born with a cleft

Trustees keep in regular correspondence with CLAPA’s Senior Management Team (SMT). They meet regularly as a Board, as well as to take part in various sub-committees. Four formal Board Meetings are held each year to review CLAPA’s accounts and strategies, with the fourth meeting being an ‘Away Day’ where topics are discussed in more detail.


Photo of Nick Astor

Nick Astor


Nick is a broadcast and media professional with over 16 years of experience. He has led an award-winning animation company and, amongst many roles over 13 years at the BBC, commissioned online comedy and helped launch the successful global iPlayer VOD app. For a decade he sat on the committee board of The Network; a small charity dedicated to giving people from all backgrounds help to break into the media industry. He had also worked with other charities, such as Catch22, offering advice and consultancy. He is now a proud member of the Trustees with CLAPA.

Read Nick’s letter to the CLAPA community

Jas Bhachu


Jas is a finance professional and CLAPA’s Treasurer. He works closely with our small Finance Team to ensure best practice and good governance at all levels.

Andrew Beedham

I am a Solicitor specialising in corporate and commercial law.  In addition to my legal qualifications, I have an MBA degree and run my own legal consulting business.

I was born with a cleft lip and palate requiring years of surgery and speech therapy as a youngster. I therefore have first-hand experience of the ups and downs of growing up, working and living with a cleft.  In 2018 I was President of the Birmingham Law Society in its 200th birthday year.  One of my proudest moments was giving the Bicentenary address to a packed audience of lawyers, judges and local dignitaries in Birmingham Cathedral.

I am married to Helen and enjoy golf, playing the piano and being taken for a walk by my Labrador, Lottie.

David Drake

Dave Drake is a consultant Cleft and Maxillofacial Surgeon with the National Cleft Surgical Service for Scotland at the Royal Hospital for Children and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Glasgow. He was a consultant in Morriston Hospital in Swansea for 13 years with the Welsh Cleft service. He has recently moved to Glasgow to join the Scottish Cleft Service.  He has held multiple posts in medical training both at a local and national level. His research interests include early growth changes in cleft lip and palate and speech outcomes in cleft palate patients. His  interest in surgical training led to his being the Chair of the Training Interface Group for cleft surgery in the UK. He travels to India and Nepal treating cleft patients and supports the development of local cleft surgeons and services. In his spare time Dave loves exploring on mountain bikes and motorbikes and travelling with his 3 sons.

Dave has always been a keen supporter of CLAPA both locally in South Wales and nationally and is excited about being a trustee of CLAPA and continuing to help and support the charity.

Siobhan Handley

Siobhan joined the CLAPA Board in 2021 as the Board’s Fundraising Trustee. She has worked in the non-profit sector for eleven years specialising in developing & leading teams to deliver supporter recruitment and retention strategies tailored across a range of audiences.

Her experience working in both large International fundraising organisations such as the British Red Cross and Amnesty and as well as in large and medium-sized domestic charities such as Barnardo’s and Blood Cancer UK has made her passionate about bringing the work of charities to life through storytelling and developing new and exciting products for supporters to connect with and raise income for a cause close to their hearts.

Oliver Hopkins

Oliver is an adult born with a cleft who works in London as a freelance consultant.

Emma Howes

Emma is an HR professional and is the mother of a child born with a cleft.

Louise Hughes

I am a solicitor with 20 years’ experience in Commercial and Intellectual Property law.  I started my legal career as a technology lawyer at Wragge & Co in Birmingham.  After 2 years, I moved in-house to the legal team at Penguin Books Ltd where I combined my love of reading and books with practising law, which was a dream combination.  I’m now Group General Counsel and a member of the leadership team at The Blair Partnership, an entertainment and literary agency, where I head up the legal and business affairs team.

I am married to Adrian and have 2 children; Lily (9) and Ben (6). Lily was born with a cleft lip and palate.  Adrian and I are hugely grateful for the support CLAPA provided to us when Lily’s cleft lip and palate was first diagnosed and all the ongoing help, information and support we’ve had since. Lily also now enjoys taking part in the various online activities for young people organised by CLAPA.  I’m excited to join the Board of CLAPA to give something back to this small but mighty charity.

In my spare time, I like to practice pilates, and run – I recently ran the London Asics 10k to raise money for CLAPA, which was a proud moment!

Photo of Marie Pinkstone

Marie Pinkstone

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with the North Thames Cleft Service in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Photo of Rona Slator

Rona Slator

Former Coordinator of West Midlands Cleft Service, Rona is a cleft specialist Plastic Surgeon and was Chair of Trustees from 2016 to 2021.

Amelia Strangeways

Amelia is a communications professional from Scotland with more than 15 years experience of working in the media and communications. Having started out as a print journalist, Amelia worked within communications for the NHS in Scotland before making the change to the tourism sector. Amelia lives in rural Scotland with her husband, two sons and Beagle. Her eldest son Innes was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and with firsthand experience, Amelia is hugely supportive of the work of CLAPA and a proud member of the Board of Trustees. 

Jenny Williams

Jenny is a retired Lead Cleft Nurse Specialist who has worked within a number of NHS Cleft Teams. She also has an adult son who was born with a cleft.

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