Third Sector Awards: Charity Chair of the Year – Dr Hilary Cass OBE, Together for Short Lives

Awarded to the chair of a charity's trustees who has made the most outstanding contribution to the performance of the charity during the year

Charity Chair of the Year – Dr Hilary Cass OBE, Together for Short Lives

Who is she?

An experienced paediatrician, Dr Hilary Cass OBE became chair of Together for Short Lives, which supports seriously ill children and their families, in 2017. She is a passionate advocate for these often-overlooked families. The charity describes her as “enormously bright, insightful, passionate, accessible and open to challenge, with an abundance of humility, bottomless patience and a fabulous sense of humour”.

What has she achieved?

Cass led the establishment of a new Advisory Council, comprising young people and families with lived experiences, health and care professionals from hospitals, children's hospices and the community, and national partners. The council is a key part of the charity’s governance and has enabled Together for Short Lives to respond quickly to the needs of families, professionals and services during the pandemic.

Cass is a knowledgeable, calm and clear communicator of the sensitive issues surrounding end-of-life care, and has delivered countless interviews, always seeking to advocate for quality palliative care for children

Why did she win?

Over her four-year tenure as chair, Cass has focused on improving the lives of families caring for children with life-limiting conditions, putting them at the centre of everything. During the pandemic, she recognised the importance of effective governance to ensure the charity emerged from the storm robust enough to continue to make a difference. She met regularly with the chief executive to ensure the board were apprised of risks and progress and to offer support. Her leadership has been instrumental in bolstering Together for Short Lives’ support for families and professionals during the pandemic, whether bringing services together to share innovations and ways of working to support families, providing advice to professionals, or answering questions from concerned parents about Covid-19 and its potential impact on their children.

What did the judges say?

“A dedicated, sensitive and passionate chair with a forward-thinking vision, she has been a rock during the pandemic.”

Highly commended

  • John Ormerod, Blood Cancer UK

Finalists

  • Dr Ann Limb CBE, Scouts
  • Ruth Russell, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice
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