Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

Skip to navigation

Our trustees

Lawrie Haynes (Chairman)

Lawrie Haynes

Lawrie joined the RAF as an apprentice at No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton, in 1969 and served for nine years, mostly on 41(F) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby.

Lawrie joined Rolls-Royce plc on 1 February 2009 in the new role of President - Nuclear, with responsibility for both the civil and defence areas. In May 2013, he was appointed President - Marine and Nuclear at Rolls-Royce, taking on the leadership of both the Marine and Nuclear businesses. Lawrie was previously CEO of White Young Green plc, CEO at the British Nuclear Group and a main board director of BNFL plc. Prior to his retirement from Rolls-Royce in December 2016, Lawrie was (in June 2014) appointed as Chairman of Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG (formerly MTU Engines) and, simultaneously, as President of the newly formed Land & Sea Division, which included the Marine and Nuclear entities. He also sat on the Rolls-Royce Group Executive.

He has extensive experience in the aerospace and telecommunications sectors, and in the public sector. He also worked for five years as Chief Executive of the Highways Agency. Lawrie was a Non-Executive Director at Network Rail and was Chairman of the Safety Committee until July 2013. Lawrie also previously served on the Board of Louis Berger as a Non-Executive Director and, latterly, took the chairmanship of Magnox Ltd, responsible for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear reactor sites.

Lawrie has a degree in Business Law and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering in 2011 from Heriot Watt University. He served as a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund from 2005 to 2012 where he was a member of the Finance Committee and Chairman of the Pension and Remuneration committees. He was reappointed as a trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees in January 2014.

Frances Brindle

Frances Brindle is a marketing and communications specialist who has worked across a range of sectors and industries. Most recently, she was Director of Audiences at the British Library, where her team’s responsibilities included fundraising and commercial revenue.

Prior to joining the library, she was Global Marketing Director at the Financial Times. She now runs a crowdfunding website focused on the charity sector that she launched with a business partner. She has a Masters degree in Virology from Oxford University.

Both of her parents were in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, her father was in Bomber Command and her mother was an officer in the WAAF. Frances was a member of the RAF Benevolent Fund Development Group before becoming a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2014. She is now Chair of the Fundraising and Communications Committee.

David Cheyne

David Cheyne is a lawyer with over 40-years of experience in corporate and financial transactions. He was a Senior Partner of Linklaters until his retirement in 2011.

From 2011 to 2015, he was Vice Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Asia at the investment bank Moelis and Company. He also works as a consultant to other organisations and is on the Board of Blackrock World Mining Investment Trust. He has a law degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. He was appointed as a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2014. He is now the Senior Independent Trustee and Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Graeme Craig

Graeme Craig is CEO of the Omar Group, a leading UK manufacturer of residential park homes and luxury lodges.

Prior to that he ran the Beer Business at Shepherd Neame, Britain's oldest brewer, after joining them in 2006 as Sales and Marketing Director. Before this, he spent 12 years with PepsiCo across a number of commercial roles, latterly as Convenience Director.

Upon graduating from Glasgow University in History and Politics, Graeme joined the Royal Naval Reserve, serving for 12-years. Graeme became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2016. He is a member of the Fundraising and Communications Committee and the Remunerations Committee.

Wing Commander Sarah Davis

Wing Commander Sarah Davis is an HR professional.  She served in the Royal Air Force for 21 years having enjoyed a full career in numerous personnel, welfare, instructor, and media appointments both in the UK, overseas and on Operations.

She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and has an MBA and MSc in Strategic Human Resource Management. She joined the RAF Benevolent Funds Main Grains Committee in 2018 and was appointed as a trustee in 2020.  She is Chair of the Main Grants Committee.

Alastair Irvine

Alastair is an Investment Director at Jupiter Fund Managers. He began his career in 1985 at stockbroker Laurie, Milbank & Co followed by over 20 years in equity research, including being a top-rated analyst and Deputy Head of Equity Research for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Merrill Lynch. Later, he was a Principal, Partner and Head of Portfolio Management at Triple Point LLP, a fund management house specialising in Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes. Among other charitable positions, he is also a Trustee of the Air Training Corps General Purposes Fund.

Wing Commander Marie-Noelle Orzel

Wing Commander Marie-Noelle Orzel is the Senior Nurse Advisor (Reserves) for the RAF and a Non-Executive Director of a mental health Trust. She completed her registered nurse training in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, serving from 1979 to 1985. Her professional expertise is in accident and emergency, and children's nursing.

On leaving the Royal Navy, she worked in London and Oxford in both clinical and academic settings. She currently works in healthcare consultancy. Previously Marie-Noelle worked in a national role as an Improvement Director for NHS Improvement, supporting challenged healthcare organisations. Prior to this she worked as the CEO of North Bristol NHS Trust.

She joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1988 as an Aircraftswoman and was the first member of her squadron to be commissioned from the ranks whilst deployed in support of Operation GRANBY in 1991. She is still a serving reservist and, following deployment in 2003 in support of Operation TELIC, she was appointed Officer Commanding of 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

In 2013, she was appointed as the UK Vice President to the Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve. This is a NATO-related organisation that provides a forum for members to share reservist developments and discuss strategic issues underpinning the use of reservists.

She has completed a master’s in advanced clinical Practice, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and Leadership, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the NHS and Nursing in 2005, and the Queens Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) for services to the Reserve Forces in 2013, both in the Queen’s Birthday Honours lists.

She became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2014. She is now the Safeguarding Lead Trustee and is a member of the Welfare Committee.

Graeme Shankland

Graeme Shankland worked in the financial service sector for over 30-years with Clydesdale Bank, Deutsche Bank and Lloyds Banking Group before setting up his own private equity business, Caird Capital, in 2010.

He ran the European Leveraged Finance team at Bank of Scotland and the Private Equity businesses at Lloyds Banking Group in addition to being Chairman of Halifax Share Dealing. Caird Capital has acquired two portfolios of equity investments from Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group and is one of the most successful secondary managers, with funding primarily from Coller Capital.

Graeme is President and past Captain of the April Fools Club, which develops channels of opportunity for employment in civilian life for ex-Royal Air Force personnel and raises significant funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund. He became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2016 and is a member of the Finance Committee.

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraftwoman in 1978 at the age of 17 and was commissioned very soon thereafter. Throughout many tours across the RAF, she enjoyed a variety of mainstream personnel and infrastructure appointments in both Germany and the UK.

With her promotion to Air Vice-Marshal on 1 August 2013, she became the first female across the Armed Forces to hold 2-Star rank. Elaine assumed the role of Director Projects and Programmes at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation where she was responsible for the transformation of RAF Lyneham into a Defence Technical Training College, the provision of additional facilities at RNAS Yeovilton for the Wildcat helicopter platform, and provision of Defence Infrastructure for HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Elaine became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2016. She is a member of the Welfare Committee.

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter