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September 23rd, 2020UncategorizedGeoffrey Hand 0 Comments

Helen Taylor Thompson was an inspirational charity trustee –

  • in establishing Europe’s first Aids hospice
  • by founding a charity to educate people in developing countries about Aids
  • and by founding a charitable network of social entrepreneurs committed to tackling social problems through business.

The Mildmay

Early in her career, Helen joined the board of the Mildmay Mission Hospital in London. Helen, then as a charity trustee, pioneered The Mildmay to become Europe’s first hospice for people with Aids-related illnesses. It was at The Mildmay in 1989 that Diana, Princess of Wales, famously shook hands with a patient, helping to break the stigma then associated with Aids.

Aids Education

Under Helen’s charity trusteeship The Mildmay set up a palliative care centre in Kampala which within 18 months had 12,000 patients, half of them children. This inspired Helen to found “Education Saves Lives”,  originally known as “Thare Machi Education”,  for people with HIV in Africa and Asia. It provides DVDs and on-line in the local community’s own language, teaching health, hygiene, agriculture, income generation, child care and birth control.

Social Entrepreneurs

Back home, Helen organised “The Great Banquet”.  33,000 people in London sat down together for a meal with others from all backgrounds. From this Helen as a charity trustee established Community Action Network (CAN), a charity  providing development, promotion and support for 700 social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in the United Kingdom.


Helen was awarded first the MBE then an OBE for her wide-ranging charity trusteeship in the UK and Africa. In 2018 the BBC included her in their “100 women” list of inspiring and influential women from around the world.

Helen Taylor Thompson died aged 96 in September 2020. An inspiration to all charity trustees.


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If you need help turning your inspiration into action, just call me for some practical charity-trustee guidance.


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Geoffrey Hand

Geoffrey Hand is a charity governance consultant, offering governance consultancy and training. He also provides legal services management, helping charities get better value for money from their lawyers. Geoffrey has extensive experience in the charity and legal worlds, and his mission is to help charities deliver good governance.

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