Thomas Fund symbol

Who's who

Jan Hall
Jan Hall PGDipMT, BMus, PGCE Co-founder and Music Therapist
Jan Hall has been a music therapist since 1983 and has worked within Northamptonshire since 1985. Her work has included individual and group therapy sessions and she has a particular interest in enabling all children to be able to communicate with music through the use of switches, technology and specially adapted instruments. She has spoken at courses and contributed to research and publications on this subject. Jan has become increasingly aware that some children are not able to benefit from music therapy due to long absences from school at a time when they may need it most. In order to redress this she was instrumental with Lucy Smith in the setting up of Thomas’s Fund and in the search for qualified therapists to undertake this important work.

Lucy Smith
Lucy Smith Co-founder
Lucy is the mother of Thomas, in whose name the charity was founded, and Harry, who has the same undiagnosed neurodegenerative condition and benefits from music therapy. She is also the fundraising co-ordinator for Thomas’s Fund. She says, “This is a role I can contribute to quite well because I’m the mum of Thomas and Harry. Music therapy is something that I can see the great benefits of for children like mine. Just watching Harry with the therapist I can see how Harry takes the lead in the session, which for a severely disabled child doesn’t happen often. It is wonderful to see your child enjoying themselves and it gives great memories for the parents and family.” Lucy’s role involves meeting people to introduce the fund to them, to encourage them to fundraise and to raise overall awareness. She has lived in Northants all her life and is married to Tim. Benji the dog also helps keep them both busy.


Harry Smith Junior Ambassador
Harry, aged 12, was Thomas’s brother and he too had the same undiagnosed neuro-degenerative condition. Harry sadly died in December 2010, but he had been very active helping his mum Lucy to promote the fund and was delighted to be the first junior ambassador. His role was to support his mum with photos, meeting fundraisers and going along to events so people could see an example of the children and young people Thomas’s Fund helps.


Sophie Baylis Junior Ambassador
Sophie, aged 11, has become a young ambassador for Thomas’s Fund to help support Harry Smith, the first young ambassador. Sophie has been out and about at various fundraising events such as Northampton Cobblers and the Around The World event. Sophie loves music and she enjoys playing her own guitar. Sophie is looking forward to continuing support Thomas’s Fund with promotion and fundraising.

Andrew Collins
Andrew Collins Patron
An author and broadcaster born in Northampton, Andrew has written three memoirs about his life, Where Did It All Go Right?, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, and That’s Me In The Corner. As well as broadcasting regularly on Radio 4 and 6 Music, he has co-written two sitcoms for the BBC, Grass (with Simon Day) and Not Going Out (with Lee Mack).

Earl Spencer
Earl Spencer Patron
Charles Spencer is the 9th Earl Spencer, the second and only surviving son of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and the Honourable Frances Burke Roche (Frances Shand Kydd). The youngest of his three older sisters was the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, a historian and author. His family house, Althorp in Northampton, is open to the public and celebrates its 500 year anniversary as the family home in 2008.

Esther Mitchell
Esther Mitchell MA Music Therapist
Esther Mitchell qualified as a music therapist in 1997 from John Ruskin University, Cambridge and completed her MA in music therapy in 2002. She has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems and specialised with work with families and parent/child dyads whilst working in Nottingham for eight years. Esther began working for Thomas’s Fund in May, 2007 on a sessional basis, taking on referrals as the Fund’;s work developed. In February 2008 Esther began working for Thomas’s Fund for one day per week, carrying out clinical work with the children and families referred and further developing awareness of the fund through meetings with healthcare and educational professionals and other appropriate agencies.


Andy Stevens MA Music Therapist
Having completed an MA in music therapy at the University of the West of England, Bristol, Andy qualified as a music therapist in early 2010. He has been working as a music therapist for Thomas’s Fund for one day a week since March 2010. His other music therapy jobs include working with children and young adults with autism and communication difficulties, adults with learning difficulties and adults with dementia. Andy has previously worked with children and young people as a music teacher and youth worker. He has also supported bereaved children and teenagers as a volunteer through a hospice in Bristol.


Jeni Melia CTABRSM (violin), LRSM (voice), MA Music Therapist
Jeni studied at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, and was awarded her music therapy MA in 2010. In addition to her work with the Thomas’s Fund team, Jeni works in schools with children on the autistic spectrum, and with adults with dementia in Bedfordshire. Other experience includes music therapy with adults with learning difficulties, and children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. As a singer specialising in Renaissance lute songs, Jeni also continues to perform and record with the English Ayre – listen for free here


Andy Dickson Ambassador
Born in Bedfordshire in 1956, he moved with his family to Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Suffolk and joined the police in London in 1976 and served at Edmonton, Victoria and Hendon before transferring up to Northampton in 1989. I then worked in all parts of the county, with the exception of Kettering and Corby, before retiring in 2006. Since when he has volunteered at Favell House in Northampton, a respite and day centre for those with MS, Parkinson’s or other neurological conditions In September 2008 Andy become the 997th person to successfully swim the English Channel, in 18 hours 23 minutes. It was through this challenge that he met Harry, Tim and Lucy Smith and became involved with Thomas’s Fund.


Jonathan Gunthorpe Musical Patron
Having performed a concert repertoire ranging from French baroque and Bach to Britten and new commissions, at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, NCH Dublin, Parco della Roma and La Chaise Dieu, Jonathan gained an MA in music at Birmingham Conservatoire, and attended the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He has played Papageno (The Magic Flute), Arsenio (La Spinalba), The Soul (Grabmusik), Alcandro (L’Olimpiade), Mr Noah (Noye’s Fludde), Faber (The Knot Garden), and Horned Thing (Where The Wild Things Are, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles). He has also appeared at the National Theatre in Brecht’s Mother Courage with Fiona Shaw and is currently writing a new singing translation for Tchaikovsky’s Onegin.


Damian Thantrey Musical Patron
A regular recitalist who has played in major venues across the UK and Europe, Damian studied law at Cambridge and worked in the City before studying singing at the Royal College of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal and the Mills Williams Junior Fellowship. His many operatic appearances have included Deputy Mayor (Anna Nicole), Marullo (Rigoletto, Royal Opera House), Mr Lindquist (A Little Night Music, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Chau Lin (A Night at the Chinese Opera), Eisenstein Die Fledermaus and Brother (Seven Deadly Sins, Scottish Opera). He is also the MD and vocalist for cabaret and dance ensemble Cabaret Chordelia.