Patrons and ambassadors

Patrons and Ambassadors provide high level support to the charity with wishgranting, fundraising and profile-raising activities. They’re volunteers, generously donating time, gift in kind and expertise, as well as making personal donations to the charity.

Patrons

Leslie Rose, OBE (Life Patron)

Leslie has been part of the Make-A-Wish team since the charity’s inception in 1986. He organised the first fundraising Ball in 1989 which has become a must-attend annual event ever since. As a result of the success of the Winter Ball, Leslie played an integral role in the implementation of its sister event, the Spring Ball, formerly known as the Valentine’s Ball. With the support of two Committees, these two Balls held at the Dorchester Hotel have raised over £16 million for the charity. Leslie received his greatest accolade in 2015 being awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for services to Families and their Children and in 2017, Leslie became the first Life Patron for Make-A-Wish as a result of his tireless contribution and passion for the cause.

Batia Ofer

Batia Ofer is the Chair of Art of Wishes, a patron of Make-A-Wish UK, Honorary President of Make-A-Wish Israel and Honorary President of the Global Shared Appeal. Batia has been involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for over ten years now and is the force behind The Art of Wishes Gala, which in its inaugural year raised 2.8 million.

She also oversees the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation, which supports initiatives in the fields of education and fostering peace in the Middle East. The Foundation’s notable donations include a £25m gift to fund the Sammy Ofer Centre at the London Business School. The foundation also established in conjunction with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government the Sammy Ofer Fellowship Fund for Emerging Leaders from Israel and Palestine to help promising students from the region attend the School. Batia also sits on the International Board of the US Middle East Project, a US backed initiative aimed at achieving a dignified settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Batia Ofer is an avid art collector and committed philanthropist. Since moving to London in 2013, she has curated one of the leading family-owned collections of Post-War Contemporary art and is an advisor for Sotheby’s.

Graeme Sands

Graeme is Managing Director of Conance Limited a leading Independent Trade finance company supporting the SME market in the UK.

He became a Patron in 2006, and has been joint Chairman of the Winter Ball Committee since 1999. He was initially a guest at the Ball, and was captured by the wonderful work of Make-A-Wish. This inspired him to become involved and make a difference to so many children and their families.

Oliver Cookson

Oliver, who grew up in Manchester, comes from a working-class background. After completing a modern apprenticeship in IT, he became a self-taught contract website developer for major global organisations, before combining his technical abilities with his love of fitness and nutrition to launch Myprotein® in 2004 with just a £500 overdraft.

Oliver, who joined our patrons in 2020, is now an author and businessman as well as the presenter of the podcast ‘Bootstrap your Life’. He said “It’s clear to me that Make-A-Wish makes a huge difference in the lives of children facing critical illness. I love what they do and am honoured to become a patron of the charity. I hope that together we can give some joy to many more children.”

Robert Small

Robert Small

If you play any games on your mobile phone, then chances are it has something to do with Miniclip which is now one of the top five game publishers on mobile devices in the world. It has more than 40 million daily players.

The man behind that company is Robert Small, an entrepreneur and passionate gamer, who co-founded the business in 2001 and went on to lead it for two decades. He became a Patron for Make-A-Wish UK in 2020.

Rob told us: "With two young children of my own, I wanted to support a charity that was really making a difference to the lives of kids all around the UK. Make-A-Wish has a mission and purpose that really fulfils that brief and I am thrilled to become a patron."

Rob transformed Miniclip from one of the largest online game websites in the world, to a major global mobile developer and publisher. Under his innovative leadership and without any external investment, Miniclip successfully grew its audience to more than 250 million monthly users. These accomplishments were recognised when Rob was awarded the Ernst & Young ‘London Entrepreneur of the Year' Award in 2008.

Rob stepped into the role of President in 2020, after serving as Chief Executive Officer for 20 years. He sits on the Board of Directors and the Boards of each of the companies in the Miniclip Group.

Jean Bevan

Jean Bevan (together with her brother John Bevan) is a partner in their law firm Bevan Kidwell LLP, where Jean heads up the corporate and commercial department. Jean has been involved with Make-A-Wish for over 15 years and has been involved with the Valentine’s Ball, now the Spring Ball since its inception. Jean is a Patron for Make-A-Wish. In her spare time, Jean enjoys running marathons and playing football; though she tells us she has recently commenced homemade jam production. Watch this space.

Ian Morton

Ian is Senior Vice President of International Promotions for 20th Century Fox, based in London. He oversees all commercial partnerships for films made by the studio and among the movies he has worked on are the ‘Ice Age’ franchise and ‘Avatar’. Prior to Fox, Ian held executive roles for Warner Bros. and was involved in the rebranding of the Odeon Cinema chain. He is patron and a member of the Winter Ball committee.

Additional Patrons

    • Barry Clayman, OBE
    • Bradley Walsh
    • Iain Edwards
    • Jessie J
    • Justin Fletcher, MBE
    • Simon Moran

Ambassadors

Stuart Tucker

Stuart has been responsible for the production of around 30 Make-A-Wish Winter/ Valentine’s Balls. He has worked closely with Leslie Rose each year to achieve the wonderful experience our guests receive on the night. Stuart became an ambassador of the charity in 2015.

John Bevan

John Bevan (together with his sister Jean Bevan) is a partner in their law firm Bevan Kidwell LLP, where John heads up the commercial property department. John has been involved with Make-A-Wish for over 10 years and has been involved with the Spring Ball, previously the Valentine’s Ball since its inception. John is an Ambassador for Make-A-Wish. When not at work John can be found applying his expert skills to restoration projects; most recently to the restoration of his regency house in Brighton.

Additional Ambassadors

  • Warwick Davis
  • Clemmie Moodie
  • John Terry
  • Miranda Leslau
  • Bruce Attree

Volunteer Ambassadors

Angela Costello

Angela joined Make-A-Wish in 2012. Angela visits the children who are referred to us to find out what their One True Wish is and has also taken on the role of training volunteers who are new to this. Angela is chair of the fundraising group in Portsmouth. She is a Public Speaker and is always looking for opportunities to promote her ability to talk about Make-A-Wish. She has done a number of talks to local schools. She also has a number of collection tins in the area. She is a key representative for Make-A-Wish in the Portsmouth area and will always volunteer for activities within this area, but is willing to travel too. In addition to all of this, Angela has recently applied to help support our special events e.g. the Winter Ball.

Toni Findley

Toni started volunteering in 2015. Her son Matt had his wish to swim with dolphins granted in 1992. Toni visits lots of our wish children to talk to them about their One True Wish and the empathy she shows families is immeasurable. She has mentored colleagues who are new to this role and been a great support to them. Toni has also helped with fundraising activities such as telling her story at events, bucket collections and selling Christmas cards. Toni was our most active volunteer between 2017 – 2018.

Paul Blakeborough

Paul started volunteering with Make-A-Wish in 2013 and since that time has become involved in many areas across the organisation. He visits wish children to capture their One True Wish and regularly appears at superhero wishes dressed as one of his Marvel/DC alter-egos (such as the Green Lantern for George's wish). He also assists our families on the day of their wish to ensure their experience is the best it can be. In addition to his involvement in wishes, Paul actively seeks to raise awareness and funds for Make-A-Wish: he makes appearances in costume where he requests any fee be donated to us, he regularly helps at our Spring and Winter Balls, sources talks to local businesses and universities and, undeterred by a sky dive for us previously, last year he abseiled down the ArcelorMittal Orbit dressed as Deadpool.

Ruth Briggs

Ruth has been a Make-A-Wish volunteer for 10 years and has been one of our most active Wish Visitors over the past year, capturing the One True Wish of more than 30 children. In 2015 Ruth became a Wish Visitor Trainer and last year she led one of our flagship training events in Manchester as well as organising some local training sessions; in total she helped to train 30 new Wish Visitors as part of our recent recruitment drive. Ruth is also part of our Wish Visitor Community Leader pilot and has been a welcoming and friendly point of contact for our new Wish Visitors across Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

Shane Coleman

Shane has been volunteering with Make-A-Wish since 2007 and during this time he has visited over 100 children in order to discover their One True Wish. He is often involved on the wish day itself, ensuring our children have the best day possible. Several years ago, Shane became a Wish Visitor Trainer – training new volunteers with regards to good practice and how to ensure that the child is always at the centre of everything we do. More recently he also volunteered to take part in piloting a new role with us, as a Wish Visitor Community Leader. In this role he supports all Wish Visitors in Northern Ireland, offering guidance and providing a point of contact. He has established a channel by which all Wish Visitors in the region are connected and has plans for team building activities also.

Shane is also an active fundraiser, delivering talks to local organisations and attending fundraising events. He is extremely passionate about the work we do and the impact it has on children’s’ lives.

Friends of Make-A-Wish

  • Adam Collins
  • Jenson Button, MBE
  • Alec Stewart, OBE
  • David Ian
  • Samantha Barks
  • Amy Childs