Trustees, Ambassadors and Advisory Group


Nick Maskell

Nick Maskell

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mesothelioma UK

Nick Maskell is a Professor of Respiratory Medicine at University of Bristol  (UoB) and Honorary Consultant Chest Physician at North Bristol NHS Trust. He was appointed as a consultant there in 2004. He leads the pleural service at Southmead hospital and is the head of the Academic Respiratory Unit at UoB.

He has a major interest in mesothelioma, running a tertiary mesothelioma clinic and chairing the weekly regional mesothelioma MDT. He chaired the current BTS mesothelioma guideline group and was on the committee for the ERS mesothelioma guidelines. He is also a co-chair of the forthcoming BTS pleural disease guidelines (2021) and is an advised to the NPSA on pleural safety matters related to pleural interventions.

He has been the senior author in large published randomised controlled trials in mesothelioma that have led to changes in practice. He also is a co-founder of the Avon Mesothelioma Foundation (AMF), a local charity supporting mesothelioma research and patient care.

Michael Peake

Michael D Peake MB, ChB, FRCP

Professor Peake is Clinical Director of the Centre for Cancer Outcomes, University College London Hospitals, a Clinical Advisor to Cancer Research UK and Chair of the UK branch of the CODE (Collaboration for Oncology Data in Europe) programme. He is also Emeritus Consultant and Hon. Professor of Respiratory Medicine in the University Hospitals of Leicester.

He has had a major interest in lung cancer and mesothelioma for many years, establishing the National Lung Cancer Audit. He was heavily involved in the development of the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service and was National Clinical Lead for Lung Cancer until the NHS reforms of 2013. He founded the UK Lung Cancer Coalition, chairs the Board of Mesothelioma UK, is a member of the board of the British Thoracic Oncology Group and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses.

He has been involved in the development of national cancer policy since the mid-1990s. He has published widely, his major interests being early cancer diagnosis and improving outcomes for cancer patients by proper service configuration, supported by good clinical outcome data.

Avinash Aujayeb

Avinash Aujayeb

Avinash is a consultant in, and Pleural Lead for, Acute and Respiratory Medicine in Northumbria HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust. The North East sees one of the highest rates of mesothelioma and the disease forms the bulk of his work.

Avinash is responsible for thoracic ultrasound and pleural procedure training locally. He is very involved in local and regional projects regarding pleural procedures and pleural cancers. He regularly presents at local, regional and international conferences. His various contributions are on

Avinash is from Mauritius and actively participates in teaching there delivered via the University of Mauritius. He is a keen cyclist and mountaineer and combines this with being a husband and a new father.

Helen Childs 18_crop

Helen Childs

Helen is a partner at the law firm Royds Withy King where she heads up the team of specialist Industrial Disease solicitors. Helen and her team are dedicated to representing individuals affected by asbestos related illnesses, and Helen is an APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) accredited specialist in this area.

Helen has represented the claimant in several recently reported decisions which have clarified and advanced the law with regard to those affected by mesothelioma.

Helen is honoured to be able to help support Mesothelioma UK as one of its trustees.

alida coates

Alida Coates

Alida is a solicitor with Irwin Mitchell LLP, specialising in asbestos related diseases claims. She has over 20 years’ experience helping those diagnosed with mesothelioma (and other asbestos illnesses) gain access to compensation and is considered an expert in this area with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the issues faced by her clients. Alida has been a Trustee of Mesothelioma UK since 2009.

Sharon Hague

Sharon Hague

Sharon is a Senior Vice President at Pearson plc, a leading global education company, where she has worked for nearly 20 years. She is responsible for the development and delivery of qualifications and assessments together with providing primary and secondary schools both in the UK and internationally, with high quality teaching and learning resources.

In 2017, Sharon’s father, Douglas Hague was diagnosed with mesothelioma having worked as a telecommunications engineer in London for nearly 40 years. Sharon supported her father throughout his illness until he passed away in August 2018. Having had this experience, Sharon feels passionately about the role Mesothelioma UK has in supporting patients and their families and raising awareness of asbestos-related illnesses.


Dr David Hetmanski

Dr Hetmanski is the Assistant Director of Research & Innovation at University Hospitals of Leicester. He has over 16 years’ experience in research management and is chair of the East Midlands R&D Leads as well as holding an honorary position with the University of Leicester. Before moving into research management he held a number of posts in the NHS and the university sector.  Dr Hetmanski has been a Trustee of Mesothelioma UK since 2010.

Dawn Mckinley

Dawn Mckinley

Dawn is the Senior Executive Officer for British Thoracic Oncology Group (BTOG) and before becoming a Trustee, provided Mesothelioma UK with operational management services. Her role with BTOG is to provide inspiring and innovative management and play a key role in the development of BTOG in collaboration with the Board of Trustees and Steering Committee and overall management of all BTOG projects and activities.  Her earlier professional background included marketing, PA roles and VAT accountancy. Prior to BTOG, Dawn worked in Australia as a VAT Consultant

Melanie Waters

Melanie Waters

Melanie Waters was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Help for Heroes in November 2016, taking over from co-founders, Bryn and Emma Parry, who established the Charity in 2007. Prior to joining Help for Heroes Melanie was Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory – an independent employment charity, which puts the recovery and employment of disabled ex-Service people and their families at its heart.

In her earlier career Melanie held significant roles in the commercial sector, leading the External Affairs, Business Improvement and Operations for companies such as the Automobile Association (AA) and Unite Students. Having graduated in Law from Manchester University Melanie joined The AA and quickly became one of the first female patrol managers. She attained her MBA in 2005.

In non-executive roles, Melanie is a member of NHS England’s Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group and an Executive member of Cobseo (Confederation of Service Charities). She is also a trustee of Mesothelioma UK.

Melanie has a strong personal interest in disability and was awarded the OBE in 2017 for services to the Armed Forces.

Once a keen athlete, Melanie’s interests now are Pilates, running and cycling; she completed her first Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride in 2017 and has cycled the 350 miles each year since.


We currently have five wonderful ambassadors covering different parts of the country and providing expertise from different walks of life. They support the charity and give their time selflessly.

The main part of their role is:

  • To attend events and deliver a clear and concise message of gratitude to those who have held an activity/event or raised monies in support of the charity
  • To help promote Mesothelioma UK through our website, other social media sites, Twitter and Facebook. Provide leaflets and/or flyers to distribute where possible and at events. Direct any press/PR enquiries to the Mesothelioma UK Communications Team
  • To have a good knowledge of the portfolio of support that Mesothelioma UK can offer, emphasising the need for continued funding to support everything that we wish to achieve in the future
  • Wherever possible, to ensure that the name ‘Mesothelioma UK’ becomes more recognisable and commonplace, thereby becoming a part of the news agenda wherever possible, enabling us to build a stronger presence in social media arenas and to sit comfortably alongside the more familiar cancer charities
  • Become familiar with the work of Mesothelioma UK in general, through our strategy, newsletter and website

Current Ambassadors

  • Brian Wallis
  • Christine Emmett
  • Hayley Pattrick
  • Nicky Pitcher
  • Rosemary Giles

Advisory Group

The Mesothelioma Advisory Board is an expert advisory group that meets to discuss and make recommendations concerning the needs of mesothelioma sufferers. The Advisory Board was established and an inaugural meeting was held in April 2015. Meetings are held twice yearly.

Members include: nurses, clinicians, patients, carers, asbestos group representatives and Mesothelioma UK Operations Team members. One of the key recommendations made by the board was the introduction of travel expenses for patients attending centres for treatment. This was approved by the Board of Trustees and the initiative was launched from 1 April 2017.