Marilyn Adams, Chairperson
Marilyn is the current Chairperson of the Trust, a position she has held since she co-founded the charity with Sharan Patel in February 2008. She received her undergraduate degree from London University and then trained as town planner at Aston University. Now retired after many years working in local government, she originally visited Darjeeling in 2007 as a volunteer teacher at a municipal primary school. She has returned to Darjeeling many times since that first visit. In her spare time she enjoys photography, walking, cycling and travel.
Robert Adams, Treasurer and Secretary
Robert graduated from Leeds University with an arts degree in 1968 but, after VSO in Indonesia, drifted through teaching into finance (you could do that sort of thing back then!). He is now retired after 35 years of working for the local government and a water company. Robert’s main interests when he is not busy balancing the Trust’s books, are walking, running, travel, and literature.
Major Pasang Wangdi, Trustee
Major Wangdi grew up in Darjeeling, and attended St. Joseph’s College. When he was twenty one years old, he joined the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer and retired after twenty years of active service in 1994. He fulfils countless tasks on behalf of the Trust, including acting as our representative on the Management Board of the Kripasaran Buddhist Mission and driving the orphanage redevelopment project forward.
Sharan Patel, Trustee
Sharan is a co-founder of the Trust. She first went to Darjeeling in April 2007 as a volunteer teacher and assistant at the girl’s orphanage. She was so touched by the children that a seed to continue helping them on her return was well and truly planted. Sharan was born in Kenya and has since lived and worked in many countries including the United States and Hong Kong. She has an IT background specialising in banking software. Sharan enjoys reading, walking (although the pace is now a bit slower following a skiing injury) and travelling. She has several nieces and nephews who keep her young.
Hugh Heron, Trustee
Hugh was born in Scotland, and currently lives in Yorkshire. After selling his shares in the financial planning business he started when he was 25 years old, he decided to take a TEFL course. He headed out to Darjeeling to share his new found teaching skills and has never looked back, becoming a Trustee in 2009. Hugh is organiser in chief of the annual Darjeeling Cup golf event, and he hopes to maintain his annual visits to Darjeeling in the future. In his spare time, Hugh enjoys badminton, cycling, trekking, and of course regular trips to his homeland!
Katherine Carr, Trustee
Katie became a founding trustee after her parents spent time teaching English in Darjeeling. She has a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University and has worked in central Government for a number of years. She has responsibility for the Trust’s child sponsorship programme, and lives in Bristol with her husband and their own two small children (aka the Trust’s youngest supporters). In her spare time she enjoys running, travelling and singing in her local choir. Katie visited Darjeeling in 2009 to see for herself what a difference the Trust makes. Once her children are older, Katie plans to return to India with them.
Clare Blakeway-Philips, Trustee
Clare gained a BSc in Social Science and Administration from Bedford College, University of London and an MPhil from LSE. She trained as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital and became a health visitor. She then worked approximately 30 years as a commissioner of health care services, specialising in the areas of health promotion, continual quality improvement and patient and public engagement. Taking early retirement has meant that she is able to travel as well as focus on her voluntary work. In the spring of 2014, she travelled to Darjeeling where she spent a wonderful two months teaching English to 8-14 year olds and health education to older teenagers in the Mahatma Gandhi High School as well as assisting in the girls’ orphanage. This great experience was facilitated by the Darjeeling Children’s Trust. She wished to continue to be involved and support the children and joined the Trust as a trustee later in 2014.
Vik Patel, Trustee
Vik has 20+ years business experience in ‘fast-growth consumer companies’, within a wide-range of senior leadership roles. He has lived and worked in India, China, Europe, Africa, and America. His recreation time is taken up with Trekking, Cricket and Travelling. In 2014, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise money for the Trust. Vik is married with 2 children and lives in the UK.
Sunita Halai, Trustee
Sunita has been a friend and supporter of the trust since it was founded and she joined a trustee visit to Darjeeling in 2011. This opportunity to get involved hands-on, visit a number of schools where essential works were carried out, and meet all of the children on the sponsorship scheme gave her an invaluable insight into the impact that the work of the trust has on the community in Darjeeling. She became a trustee in 2016 and is on the major fundraising event organising committee. Sunita lives in London and after working for a large property firm for a number of years now works independently, specialising in commercial relocation projects.