COVID-19 information

Visiting is once again welcomed at The Walton Centre. So that we can safely reintroduce visiting, visits should be pre-booked with an allocated appointment slot. Patients can have two visitors each.

General safety measures remain in place at The Walton Centre - and in our other clinic settings within the community – until further notice. These include temperature checks, the wearing of face coverings and social distancing.

Meet your Governors 

The Council of Governors consists of 17 Public Governors, four staff Governors and 12 Partnership Governors. 

Public - Merseyside

Barbara Strong - Lead Governor

“I have a lifetime commitment to public service, specifically to improving the quality of health and care services and I am both privileged and proud to be part of this outstanding trust.”
Barbara is currently Lead Governor and a member of the National Lead Governors’ Association. She is Chair of the Council of Governors (COG) Advisory Group and the COG Membership and Engagement Group. Barbara has worked in the NHS for more than 45 years. She is a retired registered nurse, whose main area of clinical work was in operating theatres. She also has a broad experience of working in NHS managerial and leadership roles up to and including board level. Since retiring she has also volunteered as a Dementia Befriender with the charity PSS. She holds a Master’s degree in the Ethics of Health Care. 

Jonathan Desmond

“I have been a patient at The Walton Centre for many years, due to changes in my condition. I have been especially fortunate over the last few years to have The Walton Centre on my doorstep.  I know first-hand the excellent care and support The Walton Centre staff provide for their patients. As a Governor I have seen how hard the Trust works both in terms of its clinical, and non-clinical work in caring and supporting its patients.  The past four years as a Governor has been something I have enjoyed personally playing a small role in the success of the organisation in providing excellent care for its patients.”
Jonathan has been a Governor since 2017. He has experience as a Civil Servant as well as having worked in the private sector and is an elected Town Councillor. He has volunteered for many organisations including the NHS. In his first term as a Governor he has been a Member of the Patient Experience Group, and the Patient Information Panel. 

William Givens

“As a Governor I can contribute to high level board meetings, policy, decision making and patient care issues, which is a privilege - participation so interesting. As a Public Governor and beneficiary of NHS services I am proud and privileged to represent Merseyside patients and to contribute to the ongoing success of this world class neurosciences trust.”
William has a background is in multi-sector business and Investor In People consultancy. He is semi-retired and continues to use his extensive 30 years’ experience gained in the healthcare, business, charitable and political sectors. William believes The Walton Centre is a global centre of excellence and this motivated him to become part of the Trust team contributing to the ongoing quality service to patients.

John Lloyd-Jones

“In the last year, I became an outpatient at The Walton Centre, to treat a spinal condition. My ability to walk has been restored, and I am absolutely delighted with my care and outcome. I am very keen to contribute my skills and experience to the outstanding work of the Trust, and its continuing development.”
Before retirement, John was employed in the NHS for nearly 40 years in various locations throughout the UK, including as HR Director. More recently, he has completed his final permitted term as a Lay Member with Health Education England, covering the North West Deanery area, where his duties included reviewing the progress of doctors in training at The Walton Centre.

Public - Cheshire

Robert Howe

“I have been a member of The Walton Centre now for a number of years and feel it is time to do a bit more. Having followed the impressive work of the Trust over those years and having benefited by participation in their pain management programme, I would like to help in some small way to maintain the outstanding care provided."
Robert has worked in government service, both in the Home Office and the Diplomatic Service. He has been a Trustee of a local branch of the charity Riding for the Disabled and considers himself to be a team player. During his Civil Service career he sat on committees and worked with people of all nationalities and philosophies. He has always looked at problems in a sensitive and practical way and hopes to bring that approach to the Council of Governors. A passionate supporter of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Robert is extremely proud to have sponsored many pups through their training. Since retiring he has taken up writing, including publishing his memoir and poetry.

Ian Linford

“I believe it is essential that patients are always involved in, and placed at the centre of, all service change and service delivery. I have worked for many years to ensure that patients, carers, and their families should always be treated with dignity and respect. My experience as a senior NHS employee, my own patient experiences, combined with my knowledge and enthusiasm make me an ideal Governor of The Walton Centre.”
Until leaving the NHS in 2015 Ian had worked across a spectrum of healthcare organisations including a GP surgery, Clinical Commissioning Groups, hospital trusts, health authorities and NHS England. Many of these roles were working across multiple organisational boundaries at senior manager, senior clinical and Executive Director level. His key driver was improving the performance and delivery of patient-focused services with the patient always being at the heart of service planning, implementation and delivery. In 2017 Ian was appointed to the position of “Experienced Patient” on the Cheshire and Merseyside Clinical Senate and has subsequently undertaken major service reviews focusing on patient experience and patient engagement. 


Tom Stretch

“I have been a patient for all of the time The Walton Centre has been open and so can fully appreciate many of the positions that patients find themselves in. This equips me better to represent the issues of patients and members. I am also familiar with means of interacting with partner organisations on behalf of a body. In addition I have also recently applied to volunteer at The Walton Centre. The Walton Centre has always been there for me and has given me a lot, I would simply like to start giving back.”
Tom is a Halton Borough councillor, taking part in the democratic and decision making processes and regularly seeks the opinions of the public.  He is familiar with the structure of NHS trusts and working with partner organisations.  

Public - North Wales

John Taylor

“Fifteen years after first having major surgery at The Walton Centre, I am currently undergoing another round. Over the years I have met many others who say their lives were either saved, or - like mine - radically improved by the skilled care of Walton Centre staff. They don't only mean the brilliant clinicians; staff at every level make for a 'culture' that delivers a second-to-none patient experience, for which the Trust is rightly known.”
John knows, as a long-time resident of North Wales how important it is to patients to have access to the world-class, specialised - often cutting-edge - treatments at The Walton Centre and the challenges to commissioning and service delivery. After a senior career in the environment sector, both charitable and governmental, he knows about the challenges of running an organisation that aims to be outstanding in all it does. Becoming a Governor is his way to 'put something back' as both a patient and critical friend, helping to keep up The Walton Centre's superb reputation; holding leadership accountable and representing the needs and views of Welsh patients in particular.


John Kitchen

“Recovery from the pandemic and planned changes to the NHS will affect The Walton Centre and its governance. The next three years will be challenging. There will undoubtedly be further complexity relating to cross-border NHS issues between England and Wales, satellite services, independent neurological nurse specialists, very expensive precision drugs and procedures and more; the list seems endless. Against this background, the role of Governor remains to hold the non-executive directors to account.”
Over the past six years John has accrued experience as a regular member of the Patient Experience and Research, Innovation and Medical Education Committees, attended Audit Committee and Council of Governors. He has also attended meetings at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Maelor Hospital and Neuroalliance groups.


Public - Rest of England and Wales

Cameron Smith

“I have experienced Walton Centre care first-hand as an epilepsy patient since 2013. I have received exceptional treatment from wonderful front-line staff, including brain surgery and a period in intensive care in 2017. I am honoured to use my personal patient experience to ensure that the hospital continues to provide amazing person-centred care for all of its patients. Finally, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the staff, from the ward to the board, for their phenomenal work.”
When Cameron joined the Council of Governors in 2019, he was a mathematics student at The University of Manchester; he is now an analyst at Public Health England. Before becoming a Governor, he volunteered on a ward at Aintree Hospital and in a specialist dementia care home in Merseyside, as well as shadowing his neurologist at The Walton Centre.


Chris Sutton

Information to follow


Staff Governors

Dr Rhys Davies - Medical

“I have an interest in the neurology of dementia, Huntington’s disease, neurology education and training, and research and innovation. I am very happy to discuss Governor duties with any colleague.”
Rhys is the Director of Medical Education and Clinical Director of Research and has worked at The Walton Centre since 2010. He brings experience as a consultant neurologist, a staff member for several years and is a native of North Wales. Outside of The Walton Centre Rhys is part of the North Wales Neuroscience Board, President of the Welsh language Medical Association and Honorary Senior Lecturer and Neurology /Neurosensory system lead at Liverpool Medical School.

Louise Pate - Nursing

“The NHS is continually changing and it is essential that we work together to enhance staff, patient and family outcomes. I am recognised as being approachable, an excellent communicator, fair and empowering others to make a positive difference. I am extremely passionate about working at The Walton Centre and I believe that recognising equality, diversity and inclusion of staff is essential to support staff with protected characteristics so that they feel able to bring their whole selves to work.” 
Louise has worked at The Walton Centre for the last 21 years, spending the last two years as the Manager of the Outpatients Department, 17 years as Research Nurse and two years as a staff nurse on Dott Ward. This has given her a wealth of information and experience to support the delivery of outstanding care to patients and their families. She is a role model for others and strives for excellence within the clinical areas and has gained a gold outcome in her Walton CARES assessment.

Amanda Chesterton - Clinical

“I enjoy the opportunity to interact directly with our executive and non-executive team and developing a wider understanding of how the Trust operates. This in turn gives me more confidence in my organisation and the care that I can give to our patients.”
Amanda has completed one three year term as Governor and sits on the Membership and Engagement Committee. She has been a clinical lead Occupational Therapist at The Walton Centre since 2013. Amanda has worked for the NHS since 2003, after initially training and working in Australia. Prior to joining The Walton Centre, she was clinical lead OT for acute inpatients and the stroke unit in Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. In addition to her clinical role in The Walton Centre, she is the Practice Placement Coordinator for all OT students within the Trust. 

Carla Worrall - Non-clinical


“I have recently been appointed as the Neuropsychiatry Admin Coordinator and I find this role very interesting. I am looking forward to being a Governor.”
Carla has worked at The Walton Centre for the past 19 years as a medical secretary within neurosurgery and neurology/neuropsychiatry divisions. She has worked in the NHS since leaving school in various Merseyside hospitals in a variety of clerical roles including junior admin officer, medical records and as a medical secretary. In her personal life Carla enjoys keeping fit by walking, shopping, reading and travelling. Her partner is a learning support in a school, a children’s entertainer and DJ.  Her son Joe is studying Civil Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University. 

Partnership Governors

Nanette Mellor - The Brain Charity

“Governors get the fascinating opportunity to see up close how a world class hospital like The Walton Centre is managed and make sure all decisions have the best interests of the patients at heart.”
Nanette has dedicated her career to championing disabled people. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the public, private and third sectors; including campaigning and managing residential care. She became a governor of The Walton Centre in 2014 when she was appointed as CEO of The Brain Charity, due to the close links between the organisations.


Melanie Worthington - Cheshire and Merseyside Neurological Alliance

“In my spare time I can be found in church yards and local historical archives searching for long lost ancestors, watching true crime, walking my dog and knitting, although not necessarily at the same time.”
Melanie has over 20 years’ experience working and supporting people with neurological conditions. She works for the Motor Neurone Disease Association as the Service Development Manager for Cheshire, Merseyside, and Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Her role involves working strategically with health and social care providers and commissioners with the aim of improving and developing services for people with MND. Prior to this, she worked as a Regional Care Development Adviser for the MND Association. as a Service Development Officer with the MS Society and as a welfare officer and community team leader for Blind Veterans UK, covering the north west of England and also as a senior carers development worker for the Gaddum Centre, a charity based in Manchester, where she was responsible for developing carers support services across Bury.

Ella Pereira - Edge Hill University

“I have a particular interest in the continuing provision of high quality care by The Walton Centre, especially with the support of innovative use of technology, which aligns with the government’s initiative on digital NHS. Within this context, I will endeavour to contribute to the seamless implementation of the digital NHS vision within The Walton Centre.”
Ella is the Director of Research in the Department of Computer Science, overlooking its growing research environment. She also leads the Smart Systems and Applications research group whose interests are around the key enabling technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), fog, cloud and AI to deliver solutions to some of the grand challenges related to digital healthcare. She has well established links with the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine at Edge Hill University, one of the largest providers of health and social care education in the north west and is a founding member of the Health Research Institute. Edge Hill University has excellent relationships with several NHS hospitals and community trusts. The Walton Centre is one of its longest standing partners.

Peter Clegg - University of Liverpool

“As a partnership governor my interests are in integrating research and development, and clinical delivery. Outside of work I spend most of my time juggling family life as well as spending as much time as possible in the mountains either climbing, skiing or running.”
Peter is currently Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology at The University of Liverpool, as well as being the Executive Dean of the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences. Peter is a part of the MRC/Versus Arthritis Centre for Integrated Research in Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA). He has extensive experience of post-graduate supervision and has successfully supervised 38 PhD students through to graduation.

Jan Vaughan - Merseyside and Cheshire Clinical Network

“I have a focus on diabetes, mental health, stroke, end-of-life, respiratory and, more recently, the reintroduction of the cardiac networks.”
Jan started her career as an accountant in industry and joined the NHS in 1993. Since then she has held senior positions in finance and general management in primary and secondary care as well as SHA level. In addition she has sat on a number of national working groups and has presented her work both nationally and internationally. Since 2002, Jan has worked within the network environment, firstly in cardiac and stroke. Jan was appointed Director of Clinical Networks in April 2011. This role encompassed cancer, cardiac, stroke, neurosciences, kidney care, critical care and neo-natal care networks. In 2012 she was appointed as Associate Director for Strategic Clinical Networks and Senates for Cheshire and Merseyside. In 2016 her remit extended to include Lancashire and South Cumbria. Jan has an MSc from Manchester Business School. She is currently undertaking her Doctorate at Middlesex University. She has attended Harvard and Berkeley in the USA on leadership courses.

Corporate Secretary

Tel: 0151 556 3477

Membership Manager

Tel: 0151 556 3484


Page last updated: 23 February 2022