ECHO - Connecting the Children's Heart Community

Introducing our patrons, trustees and staff

Our people

Our people are committed to the ECHO community. Everything we do is focused on ensuring that heart children and their families get the best possible support.

Our patrons include highly respected cardiologists, experts in their field at a global level. We are also fortunate to include Ulrika Jonsson, herself the mother of a heart child, as a celebrity patron along with Phil Gallagher, a well-known entertainer on children’s television.

Our staff and trustees have a broad range of professional skills and expertise spanning medical, psychology, finance, social care, charity sector, the NHS, business, marketing and personal CHD. They come from diverse backgrounds but share a deep commitment to helping people touched by congenital heart disease.


Samantha Johnson

Chief Executive

Sam enjoys family, theatre and film! She sings loudly in her car, loves anything vintage and enjoys laughing at her own jokes.

Sinéad Houlihan

Communications & Volunteering Coordinator

Sinéad is a lover of every street-cat she comes across, laugh-crying at TV shows, travel and baking (and then immediately devouring) chocolate chip cookies!

07525 833 210
(9am-5pm Mon-Wed)

Emma Orpin

Community Fundraising & Admin Manager

Emma is a fun, energetic whirlwind who loves to shop, eat, dance and drink diet coke. Her claim to fame is she can do the “worm”!

07715 208 077
(9am-3pm Mon-Thurs)

Vicki Ley

Cardiac Support Worker

Vicki loves all things creative, sensory and artyfarty. Vicki aspired to be Ace ventura pet detective, she has now decided however she has surpassed all expectations as owner of best job in the world ever.

07825 601362

Kate Smith

Fundraising & Development Lead

Kate loves working for a charity, it’s all I’ve ever done! Took a “break” to have two children and now I am back and it feels great!

07715 027 259
(9am-5pm Mon, Wed and Thurs)




Professor Shakeel A Qureshi MB ChB FRCP


Ulrika Jonsson


Phil Gallagher (Mister Maker)



Jane Ward

Chair & Heart Mum

Jane attempts to make sense of very large numbers in her job as an accountant, and otherwise trying to keep track of her 4 children, husband, and cat.

James Pincus

Trustee & Heart Dad

When not working and travelling, James enjoys trying to keep up with his 3 boys, all sports and a mug of tea with plenty of biscuits.

Alex Bicknell

Trustee & Heart Patient

Passionate about disruptive technology and all things entrepreneurial, Alex loves mentoring, playing tennis and tries to go on holiday to warmer climates as much as possible!

Joanna Eyeson

Trustee & Doctor

When not spending a disproportionate amount of time “planning” to exercise, Joanna can be found fiddling on a computer, reading a good book or catching up on sleep!

Steve Wood


Steve is very energetic, enjoys music, sport and cooking – mostly Indian food. He has been known to sail in fancy dress and do karaoke.

Sally Williams

Honorary Secretary

Sally’s greatest passion is motorcycling and travelling – usually combined, closely followed by her garden, walking and her family and friends.