Our team, volunteers & trustees

The Mary Thompson Funds has had many contributors in the past twenty years. We couldn’t do what we do without these people.

Pete Widlinski

Pete was a founder member of the Mary Thompson Fund back in 2001. Pete has led many campaigns in support of refugees experiencing injustice and has worked in the field of immigration for nearly 30 years, first as Project Manager of the North of England Refugee Service, then as Communications Manager for Justice First. He now co-ordinates ‘Host Nation’, a Befriending Service and is Chair of the MTF.

Kath Sainsbury

Like Pete, Kath was on the original team that set the Fund up in 2001. At that time she was part of Middlesbrough Council’s Asylum Support Team. In 2003 she became Co-ordinator for the North East and Scotland for the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns before taking up a post with Justice First in 2006. She is currently the Secretary of the MTF.

Lucie Fleming

Lucie is our Vice-Chair and is a Caseworker for Justice First, assisting people whose asylum claims have been refused to pursue avenues of appeal or gather new evidence to support their applications for protection. She has been closely involved in the development of services across Tees Valley. Lucie liaises at the Stockton Drop-in which is run by Fiona Cuthill and Pete Spence, from the ‘Melting Pot’.

Alison Smith

Since her retirement from the Education Service where she was a Senior Educational Psychologist, Alison has devoted a lot of her time to voluntary work and MTF is a grateful beneficiary of her services. In addition to her role as a Trustee, Alison maintains a contact list in compliance with GDPR and operates our regular Mailchimp communications.

Maureen Hall

Maureen began as a volunteer with MTF at the Middlesbrough Drop-In where, alongside fellow Trustee Liz Wood, she was responsible for making emergency payments and distributing food. This frontline role enabled her to get to know many of the clients and to gain an understanding of the problems they faced. Family commitments eventually resulted in Maureen taking a less active role, but she remains a supportive Trustee.

Liz Wood

Liz was the other half of the Drop-in partnership which operated from the NERS office in Woodlands Road, Middlesbrough. Soon after NERS relocated to the John Paul Centre, Sally Capes joined the team of volunteers. Liz became a volunteer, then a Trustee after retiring from the Inland Revenue, so brought many skills. She now assists with both administrative and financial tasks.

Veronica Wallace

Veronica is a retired Community Development Worker who served as Treasurer until stepping down last year. In addition to her financial duties, Veronica also has responsibility for feeding her fellow Trustees with her legendary scones, which ensure a good turnout at Trustees Meetings! Veronica also produces our regular Newsletter.

If you feel like you can contribute to The Mary Thompson Fund, please do

Other friends worth visiting

There are many organisations MTF works with, and alongside, that are vital to the welfare and wellbeing of those seeking sanctuary in the UK

Justice First


Working with people in the Tees Valley who are seeking asylum. Justice First is a charity formed in 2006 working with people in the Tees Valley who are seeking asylum.

Open Door


Open Door (North East) is a Christian charity serving asylum seekers and refugees in the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire. Their mission is to support those seeking sanctuary to move out of poverty and destitution and be empowered to achieve their full potential.

Red Cross


If you are a refugee, asylum seeker or vulnerable migrant, the British Red Cross may be able to help you.

Methodist Asylum Project


MAP Middlesbrough offers practical support and social opportunities to those seeking asylum in Middlesbrough, and to refugees. We have been working with asylum-seekers and refugees locally since 2002.

Hart Gables


Teesside’s leading LGBTQ+ service.
Hart Gables celebrates diversity ensuring the Tees Valley is a place where LGBTQ+ members of society feel valued, have equal rights and are empowered to reach their optimum potential.