Dr Rosemary Gillespie, director of policy and research, Breast Cancer Care. Gillespie joins from her role as head of the South-West London Improvement Academy, which helps NHS organisations to improve patient services.

She previously led the Patient Involvement project at the King's Fund between 2001 and 2002, after which she spent two years as associate director of education with the NHS Clinical Governance Support Team.

"I have a long-standing interest in the impact of breast cancer through personal connections," said Gillespie. "I care passionately about patient and service-user empowerment and the need to challenge government policy to get the best services."

Richard Clarke is the new chief executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. He joins from North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where he was director. Clarke succeeds Robert Terry, who steps aside after three years to take on the role of company secretary.

Anna Clarkson has joined global humanitarian charity Mercy Corps as senior communications officer. She joins from disability charity the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, where she was senior press officer for three years.

Tom Philpott has been appointed marketing manager at the School Governors' One-Stop Shop, a charity specialising in the recruitment and placement of school governors in England. He moves from the charity's customer services team.

Fiona Alexander has taken up the new post of media and celebrity liaison officer at the Children's Trust. She joins from the communications department of consumer PR agency GCI.

Dianne Asher
is the new chief executive of the Wirral Autistic Society. She joins from the Henshaws Society for Blind People, where she was chief executive for nine years. She previously spent 18 months as regional director for MacIntyre Care, a national charity for people with learning disabilities.

Steve Billington will take up the position of income generation director at Age Concern England in March. He joins from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, where he has been director of marketing and fundraising since 1998.

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