Meet the Team


Sadie Panter: Chairperson & HR Lead

Sadie Panter

I have over 15 years of Management experience working within the Financial Services Industry. Alongside that I have supported many charities mainly through fund raising and helping promote their identity. I am a firm believer in supporting the community and paying it forward when you can. We all have the hidden gifts that can help make a difference.

Having personally gone through some recent bereavements Wiltshire Treehouse were superb in their approach 'picking us up' as a family and providing some fantastic coping tools to help us along the way. Now it's my turn to pay it forward and offer the support back and help wherever I can.


Faye Auty: Treasurer

I have over 18 years' of research funding and the evaluation of its impact on both science, policy and practice.  I am excited to bring forward my transferable experience and skills to assist in raising funds for this special charity.  I have lived in Swindon for over thirteen years and have two children.


Helen Pepler: Safeguarding Lead

I have practiced as a nurse and then a midwife in Swindon since 1982, and have developed an interest in supporting those who care for others.

My counselling training is in Bereavement care. I was involved with running the Rainbow Club and am now supporting the development of Wiltshire Treehouse, and am excited at the prospect of being able to provide more support to more bereaved families in our neighbourhood and beyond.


Amanda McConaghy: GDPR Lead

I have worked within the Compliance department within a large insurance brokers for over 10 years.

Using my skills from this role I look forward to helping the charity raise awareness and funds.  

Previously working in the care industry I know how important it is to support others in their roles and where they have experienced bereavement. 



Kath Brownlee: Service Director

I have been working with children, young people and their families for over 20 years. By background is in youth and community work and my career has been dedicated to helping children and young people to navigate the challenges they face.

As Service Director for Wiltshire Treehouse I have responsibility for the delivery of our bereavement support services and, alongside our Business Director, for the strategic direction of the charity.  

I am passionate about developing support for grieving children and young people, and about breaking the taboo associated with death and dying. As such, I am proud that Wiltshire Treehouse has grown to become a leader in quality bereavement support in Swindon & Wiltshire.  


Sarah Bear: Business Director

Joining the charity in 2019 and with a wealth of community work expereince, Sarah has been helping develop our financial sustainability. Establishing links with corporate organisations and individual donors, Sarah also manages our relationships with trusts and foundations. All of which helps us to maintain our free services for the children, young people, and families that we support.

So, if you are a business looking for a team challenge, or a local person who wants to help raise awareness of children and young people’s bereavement please do get in touch. From sitting in a bath of beans, to skydiving or staffing one of our community events, we really could not do such a great job without your help!


Sica Wheeler: Senior Practitioner

I have been working with children and young people, and their families, for 15 years and my career has included Teaching and Family Support roles. I have a passion for child development and using my ever-growing knowledge and skills to support young people to empower themselves through developing robust emotional literacy to navigate the challenges that they may encounter as they grow up.

I joined Wiltshire Treehouse at the end of 2023 and, as Senior Practitioner, I have responsibility for the delivery of our bereavement support services, such as our group programmes. I love working directly with the families who use our services and I am passionate about helping them unlock the skills they have within them to support them in their grief, and during a time in their life when they may need a supportive hand.


Rachel Clarkson: Support Worker

I have nearly 10 years in Bereavement Support starting first with Cruse Bereavement Care and then around working with Wiltshire Treehouse as a volunteer before securing the post of Support Worker. I have recently started our Mid Wilts NEST sessions for teenagers near Trowbridge which along with our Day to Remember sessions in Chippenham are broadening our catchment area supporting children and Young People from Mid Wilts.

Working with the young people within Wiltshire Treehouse brings me so much happiness knowing they have somebody to turn to when their lives have been turned upside down.


Amanda Black: Fundraiser

Hello, my name is Amanda, and I am the fundraiser for Wiltshire Treehouse. I inspire, motivate and support people to take part in fun and interesting activities that raise money to help children who have experienced bereavement.

I have previously worked with organisations that empower and support marginalised people.  I have developed and led projects that promote welcome and inclusivity, and that celebrate diversity.  My creative skills have helped me to lead engaging campaigns that support community cohesion and promote positive wellbeing.

Being a fundraiser is a great way of bringing people together and helping others to develop their hobbies, interests and skills.  Encouraging and supporting fundraising activities helps people to achieve new and amazing ambitions while simultaneously supporting children and families within our community.

Don’t hesitate to get in contact with me if you would like to help raise money for Wiltshire Treehouse, together we can find your individual or group activity that can help you to support children who have experienced the loss of someone close to them.


Gemma Stanley: Administrator

With over 20 years experience of working for local and national charities, Gemma joined Wiltshire Treehouse in August 2019. She supports the Service Director and Business Director.



Sue Ward: Safeguarding Specialist Consultant 

mental health first aider

I am a midwife at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and have worked there since 2000 following my training in London; I love my job and am a volunteer for two charities in Swindon. 

I joined the Rainbow Club in 2003 as a volunteer and have a keen interest in supporting bereaved children and families. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with many amazing families which led me to volunteering with Wiltshire Treehouse which I feel fills a much-needed gap in support services for Swindon.


Liz Rothschild: Volunteer Specialist Advisor

(Former Volunteer Trustee Chair). I run Westmill Woodland Burial Ground and have received 2 Good Funeral Awards: cemetery of the year and the most significant contribution for understanding death. Through my work and in my personal life I have seen the damage that can be done when a family does not get the support it needs through a bereavement. As a celebrant I regularly conduct funerals and other ceremonies. Working within the Arts I have assisted learners with disabilities as part of Reach inclusive arts and was also a founding Trustee of Root and Branch and Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust. Having stepped down from my trustee role, I offer my knowledge and experience as a Specialist Advisor, watching the charity grow from strength to strength.


Tom Wilkes: Volunteer Grants Advisor

Tom Charnock 

Tom Wilkes is a retired teacher who enjoys helping groups with a social conscience to raise funds that enable them to pursue their goals.


Steve Henderson: Spiritual Support Advisor

I have worked as a pastoral specialist since 1983 in both the church and since 1998, full-time in the NHS. During my career, I have seen many occasions of bereavement and from time to time have reflected upon the more complex and painful impacts of grief when there has not been appropriate or effective support. It has been an inspiration and a source of real encouragement to have been connected with the inception and development to date, of the Wiltshire Treehouse Charity. I am very happy to be a part of this enterprise and see it as a privilege to be able to support the very worthy and compassionate work with bereaved young people. I look forward to giving all the assistance I can to see the work done to the highest professional standard and deliver supportive care and nurturing to young people wrestling with all the stresses and strains of life as they grieve and hopefully, eventually, regain their resilience.


Lys Kirby: Schools Specialist Advisor

Lys Kirby

I have worked in education for over 30 years, initially as a primary school teacher in the Middle East and Southern Africa, before returning to teach in the UK. For most of my teaching career I have supported school children of all ages, who face additional challenges - with their behaviour, learning or health.

In 2001 I began working for EOTAS (Education Other than at School). My role is to help children continue with their education whilst they are ill.

In both my personal and professional life, I have experienced the impact that bereavement has on the wellbeing of all concerned. I believe that we each respond to bereavement through our own experiences of loss.

I am honoured to be part of "Wiltshire Treehouse", and hope that together, with you, we can move forward from the adversity that is bereavement.


Copyright Treehouse Wiltshire © 2024. All rights reserved.
Registered charity No. 1159719

Registered charity number in England and Wales:
1040419 and Scotland SCO42910