The Board of Trustees

Tony Weller is the Chairman of our Board of Trustees. An Australian living & working in London, Tony spends a good deal of his life travelling for both work and pleasure.  He is passionate about GAGA and the projects we support and is always keen to participate in an innovative fundraiser!

Charlie Homer black & white head and shoulder photo

Charlie Homer is the Vice-Chairman of our Board of Trustees, he has been involved in GAGA since the very early days and was, in fact, our first Director.  Charlie has lived and worked in South Africa and he knows the area we operate in very well.  He has travelled extensively through Eastern and Southern Africa on sabbatical in 2019 and currently holds the post of Head of Fundraising and Communications at a hospice in Worcestershire.

Ann Smith black & white head and shoulder picture

Ann Smith is the foundation of GAGA, she has been working indefatigably to promote and support this charity since her granddaughter first told her about an orphanage in KwaZulu Natal where she had volunteered.  Ann maintains GAGA's links with Rotary and WI organisations, opening up opportunities for us to give talks, sell our handmade, beadwork and participate in joint fundraising events.  

Mandy Barrie black & white head and shoulder pictureMandy Barrie joined the Board of Trustees in 2016 and she is also a Trustee of the charity KYGN UK which supports the Primary School, Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need in Tanzania.  Mandy brings her experience of KYGN to the GAGA Board and currently holds the office of Treasurer.  

Sarah Hodgson colour head shot

Sarah Hodgson joined the Board of Trustees following a period of nearly four years as the Director of GAGA and she now holds the office of Secretary.  A First Class honours graduate in International Relations, Sarah has travelled extensively in the southern hemisphere and worked as a monitoring and evaluating coordinator for over two years in an Early Childhood development project in Kwa Zulu Natal. We are delighted to retain Sarah's knowledge and experience in GAGA in her role as trustee.

Richard Lucas black & white head and shoulder photoRichard Lucas is a management consultant specialising in organisational development and business transformation. Joining the GAGA Board of Trustees in 2019 his particular focus will be to help us develop our proposal to Corporate donors.  He worked extensively on a volunteer basis with the leadership team of one of the Prince’s charities, Youth Business International, helping them to develop from a small team, to launching as an independent charity and onwards to a team of over 30 at the centre of a network of youth entrepreneurship programmes across the world.

GAGA Employees

Claire Whatley black & white head and shoulder photo

Claire Whatley joined GAGA as the Director at the start of 2019, after fundraising and volunteering with GAGA for a couple of years.  She is a qualified accountant and had a career in financial services before moving to the third sector.  Having grown up in southern Africa, Claire has a strong affinity with that part of the world and she is passionate about her role with GAGA and using her skills to maximise the impacts for beneficiaries from the generosity of donors and supporters here in the UK.

Debbie Young black & white

Debbie Young lives in KwaZulu Natal and has been associated with GAGA since the early days.  Debbie is the eyes and ears on the ground for us, she can react quickly if needed and she provides valuable insight into new project opportunities.  She manages our Sangobeg Scholarship programme and is the first point of contact for all of our students in South Africa.