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Benevolent Fund Trustees
  Committee Trustees

Biddy Fisher - Chair

Biddy Fisher had a career in Academic Libraries working in Norwich, London and Sheffield. A career long member of CILIP she was honoured to be made President in 2010 and doubly honoured to be awarded the OBE in the Queen's New Year’s Honours of 2011. Since retiring Biddy spends time on her motorbike often participating in charity rides and walking in the North Yorkshire Dales with husband John. Her voluntary work includes leading historical tours of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is close to her home in Denby Dale, West Yorkshire. Biddy joined the CILIP Benevolent Fund Board of Trustees in 2014 and became its Chairman in 2017.

Nicky Whitsed - Deputy Chair

Nicky was formally Director of Library Services at the Open University for over 20 years where her remit included university-wide information management services as well as services to 200,000 distance learners and academic and professional staff of the University. She has also worked in FE, NHS and pharmaceuticals. Nicky has been an active member of the profession throughout her career. She was a Board member of the Digital Preservation Coalition, Co- Chair for the International M-Libraries Conference, Chair of CILIP UKeiG 2013-2016 and is currently the Marketing & Publicity co-ordinator for CILIP’s new Knowledge & Information Management special interest group. Nicky is also a CILIP mentor. Her particular interests are staff & professional skills development, user experience, academic research practices (open access, research data management etc), digital preservation & archiving, & knowledge sharing. You can find Nicky on both Linked in and Twitter.

Richard Osborn - Treasurer

Richard has been a Trustee and Treasurer of the CILIP Benevolent Fund since 2018. Before taking early retirement in the summer of 2017, he worked for 32 years in health libraries, latterly as the Strategic Lead for Library Services and eLearning for the NHS in London for 10 years. This role involved him playing a leading part in the national programme of work "Knowledge for Healthcare" in which he led the workstream on the national procurement of electronic information resources. He was honoured to receive the CILIP Health Libraries Group Cyril Barnard Memorial Prize in 2018 for his contribution to medical librarianship. He continues to chair the Board of the Health Library and Information Services Directory. Since 1992 he has been a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Church of England and, in recognition of his contribution to the life of the Diocese of St Albans, was installed as Honorary Lay Canon of St Albans Cathedral in November 2018. His interests include music, cricket and medical history.

Gail Downe - Administrator

The Administrator, Gail Downe, had a career in the academic sector as Assistant Secretary both at a federal and national level. Liaising with members seeking assistance and supporting the Trustees of the Benevolent Fund is a natural extension of her work and she enjoys the variety of tasks involved.

Graham Cornish

Graham Cornish has been a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund since 2002 and served for four years as its Chairman. He worked at the British Library (mostly based in Boston Spa) for 33 years and combined the role of copyright law officer with a research programme for IFLA. In 2001 he set up his own consultancy and training business in copyright. He was President of the Library Association in 2000. Since 1984 he has been an ordained minister of the Church of England and acts as chaplain to the local ASDA superstore.

Stephanie Kenna

Stephanie Kenna retired in 2010 after a long career at the British Library where her many roles included reference work, preservation, research grant administration, regional programme management and, finally, strategy and planning. Since then she has, among other things, done some consultancy work, joined CILIP’s Audit Committee and enjoyed being Secretary to the Friends of the British Library. Her interests include crime fiction, horse racing, Coronation Street, and long country walks - not necessarily in that order!

Judith Powles

Judith (Judy) Powles has been a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund since 2015 following her retirement in 2014 from her post as Librarian/Archivist at Spurgeon’s College, a theological college in South London, where she had worked for nearly 30 years. Prior to that she worked in academic libraries at Royal Holloway College and the University of Exeter, followed by a post as Chief Cataloguer for the London Borough of Southwark. She was also Chair of the Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries (ABTAPL) from 1991 until 2008. In retirement she has been volunteering at Dulwich Picture Gallery as well as keeping busy helping with grandchildren, but also remaining in touch with the profession.

Michael Saich

Michael’s career was spent in London public libraries beginning as a junior assistant at Islington, progressing to Branch Librarian at Hendon and Finchley, District Librarian at Hillingdon, a new borough formed at the reorganisation of the London boroughs in 1965, and Borough Librarian of the London Borough of Merton. He studied at the North West Polytechnic under Edward Dudley. Michael served on the Library Association Council as the representative of the London and Home Counties Branch of the Library Association of which he was a member for many years and Chairman in 1977. Michael was involved with the International Sub-Committee of the Branch through which the Librarians of the French, Spanish and Italian Embassies met to foster cooperation, arranging meetings and exchange visits. Being a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund has been an important part of his recent years and he is also Chairman of the Library Services Trust. Michael and his wife belong to the NT, English Heritage, The Woodland Trust, Plantlife, Ramblers and particularly Surrey Gardens Trust: they are busy!

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