Supporting living, giving and learning.

Board of Trustees.

Dr. Tim Richardson
Tim Richardson, a former University of Sheffield lecturer who spent 21 years loving teaching students and working in research with friends and colleagues, was the founder of, and inspiration for, Inspiration for Life. His cancer diagnosis motivated him to find ways of helping other people to realise their potential, and of supporting local cancer charities in their work with patients and carers. He said that his battle with cancer ‘has allowed me to see just how inspiring and wonderful people really are. Life is precious and a privilege and we should all use it to inspire others to achieve their ambitions - this is what Inspiration for Life is about.’ Tim died in February 2013. The diary he kept after his diagnosis can be purchased through Inspiration for Life via our BT MyDonate page.

Ms. Catherine Annabel (Chair)
Catherine was Departmental Administrator for Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sheffield for ten years, before moving to become the Faculty of Science’s Knowledge Exchange Manager. She is a part-time PhD student in the Department of French. She is married with two grown-up children, and devotes what little spare time she has to reading and listening to a wide variety of music. Catherine tweets on behalf of Inspiration for Life, as well as in a purely personal capacity. She writes a personal blog on a range of topics, from politics to football and Dr Who. Contact her at

Ruth Arnold
Ruth Arnold is Head of Strategic Projects and Communications at The University of Sheffield. In addition to her work with several not-for-profit organisations, Ruth has spent most of her professional life in various senior communications roles in higher education. She particularly loves working with students, and acts as a mentor for women students and those from under-represented groups. She also led in the development of a joint campaign on the value of international students with the Students' Union and Universities UK.

Ms. Tracy Hilton
Tracy is a Student Support Adviser for the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Sheffield, and a part-time spin instructor. She is mum to Alex, who regularly attends Inspiration for Life meetings and events, and her husband Mike has raised funds for the charity, most notably through the Iron Man event in 2014. Tracy is also currently studying for a PGCert in Higher Education with the Association of University Administrators. She worked with Tim for over a decade looking after first year students.

Prof. Richard Jones
Richard Jones is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation. An experimental soft condensed matter physicist, he came to a chair in Sheffield in 1998. He was Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1999 to 2003, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. He has had a long-standing interest in public engagement and in the wider social and ethical dimensions of science, particularly around the subject of nanotechnology; his book for the general reader on nanotechnology, Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life, was published by OUP in 2004 and he has lectured extensively on the subject to lay audiences.

Prof. David Mowbray
David is Professor of Solid State Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy with research interests in the area of semiconductor nanotechnology. He has been actively involved in outreach for many years with particular emphasis in working with primary schools. When not working he enjoys walking, photography and bird watching. He is married with three children.

Greg Oldfield
Greg Oldfield is Head of Public Engagement with Research at the University of Sheffield. Greg leads a team of professionals supporting academics across the University to bring their research to the public through festivals, events, sponsorship and regional partnerships. The team has delivered the University's Festival of the Mind, "Ideas Alive at 5:45" as part of Off the Shelf and Mobile University. Greg's previous roles have included Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice and Corporate Fundraising Manager at Cancer Research UK and Corporate Fundraiser at ChildLine. Greg recently completed an MA in Working with Communities at the University of Sheffield, enjoys listening to a wide range of music, is a keen thriller and science fiction reader, an Agatha Christie superfan and enthusiastic spinner (often taking part in Tracy's class!).

Ms. Sue Richardson (Secretary)
Sue Richardson runs her own estate agency ( and also works as an accountant. She has worked for big international companies and small businesses with great success. Originally, she trained as a chemist (first class at Durham University) but claims to have forgotten everything! She is a great mum to two fabulous sons.

Prof. Tony Ryan
Tony Ryan is Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science at the University of Sheffield where he was previously the ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry, Head of the Chemistry Department and Director of the Polymer Centre. His research covers the synthesis, structure, processing and properties of polymers and he was in at the beginning of polymer nanotechnology. He has co-authored more than 200 papers and 8 patents and written a book on polymer processing or how things are made from plastic. Tony is a regular contributor to TV, radio and newspapers. He was born in Leeds and got his three degrees from UMIST. Married with two daughters, Tony is a creative cook, a keen cyclist and an occasional mountaineer with a weakness for gadgets. He was made an OBE in 2006 for ‘Services to Science’.

Dr. Mike Weir (Treasurer)
Mike Weir is a Research Associate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield. He is interested in polymers, and in particular he enjoys using large research facilities that act like giant microscopes, using X-rays and neutrons to peer into materials on the molecular level. Besides his hobbies of running and playing music, Mike is interested in science communication and keeps a blog.


Co-opted members and advisers