Governance and Trustees
Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG) is a registered charity (1124328) and registered company (4911257). We are governed by a board of trustees, who are also directors of the charity for the purposes of the Companies Act 2006.
Our charitable objective is to give charitable relief to immigrants and refugees who are suffering hardship, distress or are in need.
Our mission is to improve the welfare and wellbeing of people held in detention by offering friendship and advocating for fair treatment.
Please see our Articles of Association for more details: Articles of Association
The charity has seven paid employees, and we otherwise deliver our services through volunteers. The volunteers visit people held in detention in the Gatwick area.
Our trustees are:
Marie Dewson (Chair)
George Fitzsimons (Treasurer)
ChairMarie Dewson has had an association with GDWG for more than 20 years, having been a visitor for 14 of these years. She was introduced to the excellent work of the charity by Ann Locke, one of the founder members. On Marie’s retirement she concentrated on her volunteer work for FineCellWork (a charity which helps prisoners) and also on being a trustee for Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid. On relinquishing these posts after many years, Marie was delighted to be invited to become a trustee of GDWG. Marie has also assisted in the Art Class at Tinsley House and at a food bank in Merstham.
Marie, a graduate of Glasgow University, taught for many years at St Bede’s School in Redhill and, along with her husband, Eddie, brought up four children and now has 10 grandchildren.
TreasurerGeorge is a Chartered Accountant and has been a Director of various companies, including non-profits. He is an experienced financial manager, is very familiar with best practice in corporate governance, and works as a financial and governance consultant. He has a strong interest in social justice, humanitarian issues and international affairs and has worked as a Trustee and volunteer in various charities working in the UK and overseas.
George became aware of GDWG through Worth Abbey, where he is a parishioner, and his wife has been a GDWG visitor and supporter for some years. His leisure activities include music (mainly singing), hiking and Japanese calligraphy.
Felicity DickFelicity started to visit detainees in the Beehive Detention Centre at Gatwick in 1995. She became the first Chair in 1996 when the group obtained charitable status and continued in that role until 2007. She has lead GDWG’s fundraising activities and, supported by staff and many dedicated trustees, the group has raised more than £1.5 million pounds since 1996.
She has a degree in Psychology and for many years worked on attitude studies for industrial companies. She has a Diploma in Counselling.
Joseph learnt about GDWG in 2011 when he was detained at Tinsley House. He had a regular visitor and was supported by GDWG.
Joseph lives in East Grinstead with his wife and two children, and he works in the health sector at the local pharmacy.
Avril became a volunteer visitor with GDWG in 2014 and has been active in the Refugee Tales project since the first walk in 2015. She has a commitment to social justice, equality, community and human rights which she feels are embodied in the work of GDWG and its outreach through friendship and practical engagement with people, networks and policy makers.
She was a Professor of Education at the University of Brighton until her retirement at the end of 2017. She lives in Brighton with her husband Geoff, who is a jazz musician.
Jamie first heard of GDWG around 2005 and became a visitor in 2011 after his children left home and he had more free time. He has found the experience rewarding and fulfilling. Jamie has been attending trustee meetings since December 2015 and believes that he has a good understanding of the work and aims of GDWG. He feels able to make a valuable contribution to the board as a visitor as well as through his business experience.
He has worked for most of his working life in the building industry and a recent switch to part time working has once again given him more free time to offer GDWG.
In 2013 Greg heard that St John’s church in Watford were forming a choir. At his second service he met ‘Mahdi’, a 23-year old Iranian tailor, who had been visited in detention by GDWG. His parents had housed personal friends from Uganda, when they became refugees in 1971, and then a mother and young son from Sarajevo in 1992. Following their example, he offered Mahdi the spare room in his flat and transformed both their lives. Shocked by the tortuous six year wait, hopes, setbacks, re-detentions, adjournments and total lack of financial support for Mahdi, Greg wanted to be involved with GDWG.
A qualified Insolvency Practitioner he specialised in personal insolvency before switching to compliance and process technology roles. Mahdi is now Greg’s third God-child, has refugee status, and they share their flat in Hertfordshire with Tala their dog, enjoying off-the-beatentrack travel and learning to run a tailoring business.
Michael started as a volunteer visitor with GDWG early in 2018 and continues to visit regularly.
He retired from full-time work in the City four years ago and now works part-time as an investor relations consultant and is a nonexecutive director of two companies – one a leading City PR firm and the other a stock exchange for growth companies. He worked in investment banking for 15 years followed by a further 18 years in communications consultancy. Before that he taught in Italy and in Japan.
Other experience includes 8 years as a Governor of an inner London state school where he chaired the Finance Committee and brief spells as a relief worker in Nepal and in India. He graduated from Cambridge in Classics and has an MBA from SDA Bocconi in Milan. He is married and has two more or less grown up sons.
Louise began her social work career in London in 1977. She was horrified that a legally resident colleague was detained on returning to the UK – Louise had no idea that happened here. Nearly 20 years later, working at the Refugee Council, Louise campaigned hard against the detention of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Another 20 years later, Louise is shocked that indefinite detention of adults still continues – and in such numbers. Now retired, she is free to work with GDWG – but also to play the flute in an orchestra, sing in a choir and do international circle dancing! She lives in Ashington, West Sussex with her husband Roger.