Our Staff

Meet our staff team members!

Patient & Family Services 

  • Pat McBride - Head of Patient & Family Services

Pat began her link with The Foundation back in 1995, as a Volunteer Area Co-ordinator, launching Liverpool Support Group in 1996. Pat's pituitary condition of pituitary abscess, DI and high prolactin was diagnosed in 1986 resulting in craniotomy surgery and Pat takes all replacement hormones to this day. Pat started as a Regional Co-ordinator working with Local Support Groups and on the Early Awareness Project (EAP). In August 2006, Pat became the Patient Support Manager (and likely, those of you who have been around for a while will have noticed her making her mark) with responsibilities including the National Helpline, Pituitary Life editor and our Telephone Buddy service.

  • Sammy Harbut - Patient & Family Services Coordinator JR PF VTE 0290

Sammy became involved with The Pituitary Foundation in 2010 after being diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. Following transphenoidal surgery, she now takes hormone replacement medication daily. She volunteered as a helpline volunteer for over four years before being appointed to her current role in 2015, but has held several other voluntary positions with the Prince’s Trust, at an adult education centre, local primary school and as a Samaritan.

Originally from North Wales, Sammy studied at Manchester, Birmingham and Bournemouth Universities, gaining BA (Hons), B Sci (1st Class Hons) Dip SW and M Soc Sci qualifications. She trained as a Social Worker specialising in Probation, working as a Probation Officer for 17 years. Recently she qualified as an Occupational Therapist, and in this role she is passionate about helping to improve the lives of pituitary patients and their families. She can often be heard saying "Doctors can save your life, Occupational Therapists will help you live it!" Sammy will be assisting Pat McBride in all Patient and Family Support activities.

  • Pauline Whittingham - Endocrine Specialist Nurse 

PaulinePauline joined the Foundation in 2018 as our Endocrine Specialist Nurse with her main responsibilities being to run the Nurse telephone helpline. She also answers any e-mail helpline that may have medical content and helps review and devise the Foundation information leaflets/booklets. Before working for the Foundation Pauline worked at a large NHS Trust in North West England and has over 25 years experience of working with patients with pituitary and endocrine disorders, both as a specialist nurse and as a team member of a Programmed Investigation Unit. During that time she added to her Registered General Nurse training by undertaking Nurse Prescriber, DipHSM and BSc (Hons) qualifications. She also ran independent nurse led clinics for patients with a variety of endocrine problems and managed the growth hormone service, training and monitoring patients receiving growth hormone replacement.

  • Darshna Patel - Endocrine Specialist Nurse 

DarshnaDarshna has been an Endocrine Specialist Nurse for 7 years at a local district general hospital and a Thyroid Specialist Nurse at a tertiary centre for 5 years before that.

"I love Endocrinology and everything that comes with it.  It’s a complicated system which impacts on the person fully, so I feel it is essential to offer a support and help system for those patients and their families affected by these disorders.

The Pituitary Foundation encompasses everything a patient needs.  It has been my ‘go to’ for many years and my patients and their families have benefitted tremendously with their support. 

When I’m not at work I love walking and spending time at home."

  • Siân Pitman - Events & Volunteers Manager JR PF VTE 0273

Sian is originally from a small village in Dorset, and joined The Foundation in April 2016 after graduating from Bournemouth University where she studied MSc Events Management. Previous to this she has studied BSc Psychology & Sociology at the University of the West of England.

Sian’s previous employment and experience has mostly been in the hospitality industry. Since joining The Foundation she has been in various administration roles across all three departments, but now manages the charity's Patient & Family Services events, as well as managing and delivering the volunteering programme.

  • Miranda Payne - Communications & Projects Officer

Miranda profile

Miranda grew up in Southampton before moving to Bristol to study BSc Chemistry at university. During the final year of her degree, Miranda volunteered in the National Support Office one day a week for 6 months as a Fundraising and Marketing Intern. She  started working for The Foundation full-time in August 2018. Miranda leads our day to day digital and communications activities and co-ordinates administration across all 3 departments and projects



  • Jay Sheppard - Head of FundraisingJR PF VTE 0257

Jay joined The Foundation in January 2013. Jay himself had a rare brain condition when he was just 15, having just a 10% chance of survival. It is this experience of living with a rare condition that makes him so passionate about his work. Jay has a burning desire to increase public awareness of The Foundation so that no patient need suffer in isolation. After his illness Jay dedicated his life towards fundraising through volunteering and fundraising on a personal level before finally realising his dream of working within the sector. He brings with him a wealth of experience and is always willing to take on any challenge, endurance challenges have always been favourites and highlights include 5 marathons and a triathlon. Jay is always receptive to new ideas or suggestions and would welcome your call! 

  • James Charlick - Assistant Administrator 

JamesJames joined The Foundation in October of 
2019 as a part-time Assistant Administrator. He graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Pharmacology in August of 2019 and is currently undertaking a Master’s by Research in Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Bristol, alongside his role at The Foundation. James is keen to work for the patients, relatives and loved ones affected by conditions that might not get as much public attention, but that are still life-altering. In pursuit of this goal, James will be providing administrative assistance across all of our departments.


Finance & Resources

  • Martin Cookson - IT & Systems ManagerJR PF VTE 0254

Martin was born and raised in Lancashire before studying Applied Biology at Bradford University.  After gaining a Masters degree in Computing, he spent twenty five years working in the IT industry, most recently as a freelance database developer working in the insurance and defence sectors.  Martin joined The Foundation in October 2012 and works four days a week at our National Support Office in Bristol.  He is mainly responsible for keeping our membership database up-to-date and processing the orders we get for our merchandise, alongside IT support and other admin duties.

  • Gabrielle Welland - Office & Finance Manager Gabrielle profile

Profile coming soon.