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Meet Our Board of Trustees

Our trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing Aiming Higher and directing how it is managed and run.

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Paul Jebb OStJ MA BSc(Hons) DipHE RN

Chair (2022– present)

Paul qualified as a nurse in 1996 and worked in numerous posts within nursing, operational management, and a national role within NHS England.

In December 2016 Paul returned to an NHS Trust and is now Associate Chief Nurse Experience, Engagement & Safeguarding at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS FT.

Paul has been involved and led on numerous quality improvement initiatives throughout his career, and has gained several awards and accolades, in 2021 was the PEN NHS Patient Experience Manager of the Year.

Paul is also a member of an NMC Professional Standards advisory panel, and has represented the Royal College of Nursing at local, regional, national and international levels, currently with RCN Nurses in Leadership & Management Forum steering group as well as a member of RCNi Editorial Advisory Board.

Paul was also previously chair of the board of Trustees at Blackpool Carers Centre, and is a passionate supporter of Cavell Nurses Trust.

Hilary Ainge

Treasurer (2011– present)

Parent Volunteer

I have a college degree in art. I also gained 10 O’ levels many years ago. I have worked for the Church Commissioners, Croydon Health Authority and Private Companies, all in the Finance Departments using Account Management and Accounting Records using Quick Books Pro Accountancy Software.

At this present time, (since 2008), I am treasurer of Blackpool Tiggers, a charity that provides out of hours leisure provision for children on the Autistic Spectrum and their families. I am also treasurer of Aiming Higher. I am practised in grant procedures, ring-fencing, accounting for grants spend, monitoring and reporting. I also ensure that all expenditure achieves the best value. Critically, it is central to enhancing the lives of disabled children and their families to who we are accountable.

I am a parent of 5 children, the youngest of which is severely autistic. My third child also has moderate learning difficulties, and my 4th child has Asperger’s and a mental health diagnosis. I have eight grandchildren, 4 of whom have additional needs. I have been involved in the Blackpool Parent Forum since its inception and have gained invaluable insight into how families of disabled children can be helped and what their needs and requirements are.

John Child MBE

Former Managing Director Sandcastle Waterpark (2013 - present)

John was the managing director of one of the top water parks in the world, John himself is the European representative on the board of the World Water Parks Association.

His expertise in establishing that success sees him regularly head hunted by park chiefs abroad, particularly in the Middle East. John  managed the Park for 16 years and was always looking at ways to extend the business. Nevertheless he is proud of his teenage years spent working at the Pleasure Beach (as his mother had) and later studying geology at university he feels it put him in good stead.

He ensured that the Sandcastle Waterpark  won countless awards for customer service. Most notably for winning national acclaim three years running, for their access policies. The park  won the Lancashire tourism customer service award as judges declared: “The customer is number one and staff forever exceed expectations.” Treating his staff well is very important to John.

Another of John’s passions is helping local charities and involving the staff team. Combining these winning qualities makes John an exceptional trustee for Aiming Higher.

Anthea Dawson

BSc Development Studies (2011 - present)

I am a parent of 4 children, including a daughter with Dravet Syndrome. I am involved in the Parent Forum.

I am a School Governor of Thames School in which one of my duties is being The Special Needs & Inclusion Governor.

I have completed Governor training with Blackpool Council on Special Needs in schools, The Green Paper, Volunteering within a schooling/educational environment.

My educational qualifications include a Vocational qualification include Level 1 British sign Language, Basic sign Language & Baby Sign. Administration of Buccal Midazolam June 2012.

Alison Gilmore

Retired Hospitality Manager (2016 - present)

Alison managed the prestigious Imperial Hotel in Blackpool for 18 years (with the exception of 18 months where she trained as a sparky-but that’s another story!). Hotels have been her life for many years and she trained in hospitality in Blackpool before taking her first hotel management position in Cardiff. Her career has taken her all around the country until she ended up back in her beloved town. Her business acumen has been recognised on numerous occasions, being awarded “Hotel of the Year” in her previous company, and “General Manager of the Year” in her role at the Imperial.

After 37 years in the business, Alison has stepped down from her role to spend time with family and friends doing things the wonderful business of hospitality does not always leave time for.

Alison is honoured to be supporting Aiming Higher in her role as trustee.  She says “We have a small but incredible team who pull out all the stops to support local families in so many ways.  Seeing first-hand how much this support can change lives makes me realise how crucial a charity like Aiming Higher is to our local area.”

Jason Bailey

Operations Manager (Waterpark and IT), Sandcastle Waterpark. (2022 - present)

Jason Bailey has worked in the Leisure and Tourism industry for over 15 years. He is an RLSS Trainer Assessor and has trained over 100 lifeguards to a very high standard, to operate in one of the top indoor waterparks in the world.

His current role as Operations Manager for the Waterpark and IT allows him to combine 2 of his passions in his job role – I.T. and working with the public.

Jason is an Accessibility Champion, which allows him to deliver courses on accessible tourism, to improve the knowledge of the people within businesses, who welcome guests with disabilities into their establishments. Before becoming an Aiming Higher trustee, Jason worked closely with the charity both through the Waterpark, as well as assisting them with their I.T. before officially being brought on board as a Trustee.

Catherine Bell

Senior Finance Manager at BAE Systems (2023 - present)

I’m Catherine, wife to Tony and mum to two, not so little boys, Oliver and Jack. I work full time as a Senior Finance Manager at BAE systems and head up a fundraising group Jack’s Belles raising money for charities in my spare time.

Jack has Dravet Syndrome, ASD and global development delay. He’s 16 now and we’ve been supported by Aiming Higher since he was little so I wanted to give something back and use my knowledge and skills as a Trustee supporting where I can.

Ged Mills

Content Creators Blackpool (2023 - present)

Ged currently owns Content Creators Blackpool – A digital marketing and content creation agency which provides paid advertising, videography and social media content creation for businesses and organisations.

Ged is also a shareholder of local DAB radio station Coastal Radio DAB and presents the breakfast show Monday – Friday 6-10am.

In the past Ged presented the Radio Wave Breakfast show for 10 years, worked at numerous BBC stations and national radio stations Talksport and Talkradio.

His passion for Aiming Higher came when he, hosted one of the first Aiming Higher Balls after the funding was cut to parents with disabled children in Blackpool, from then he became an ambassador for the charity, championing Aiming Higher to various organisations and is now proud to become a trustee.

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Latest News from Aiming Higher

Take a Walk on the Wildside! Fundraising Challenge

Posted on 3rd April 2024

Aiming Higher relies heavily on fundraising, donations and sponsorship to be able to provide the wonderful services they do, and to date have helped more than a thousand children and families. The cost of registration for this hiking challenge,is solely to cover the mountain leaders and guides, and therefore participants are asked to also consider […]

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A-Team Aspirations

Posted on 17th July 2024

In recent weeks, The A-Team  have been inspired to think about their futures and just how much they can achieve. Last week they were joined  by autistic author Anna Zoe Quirke who shared their own experiences and debut book “Something to be Proud Of” with the group. This week they had a fantastic and inspiring […]

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Save the date for our Fundraising Ball – June 21st 2025

Posted on 17th July 2024

The Aiming Higher Fundraising Ball will be back bigger and better than ever on June 21st 2025! With a fabulous Mardi Gras theme it will be another fantastic night and we can confirm that our amazing band from this year’s event “Boomin’” will be joining us again. Save the date and watch this space for […]

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Summer Ideas

Posted on 17th July 2024

At the last Parent/Carer Coffee & Chat session of the term (Friday 19th July) we will be discussing ideas for economical activities to keep the children busy over the 6 week break. If you can’t make it, you can see some of the ideas in the Summer Vibes booklet below. 

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