Board of Trustees

Professor Ray Donnelly FRCS MBE


Ray Donnelly was born in Glasgow in 1936, graduated from St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London, in 1961 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1969. Cardiac research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, in 1973 and in 1975 appointed Consultant in Liverpool, specialising in paediatric cardiac and adult thoracic surgery.

A pioneer of stapling in thoracic and oesophageal surgery, in 1991 he was the first person worldwide to remove a lung cancer using minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery. Author of over 75 scientific papers and a similar number of presentations to learned societies he was elected to membership of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons USA.

He served on the National Executive of the Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland and was chairman of the Medical Research Council Working Party on cancer of the oesophagus. He travelled widely as visiting professor to several universities abroad. Ray retired from surgical practice in 1998 and was appointed Professor of Lung Cancer Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. In 1990 he founded the Lung Cancer Fund, later renamed the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University 1994. Appointed MBE in 2009 for voluntary services to healthcare. Citizen of Honour Liverpool 2013. Doctor of Laws University of Liverpool 2019.

Professor Donnelly is a keen golfer, family man and supporter of Liverpool FC, and lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in Formby near Liverpool. They have five grown up children and seven grandchildren.

He is the author of several books including ‘With Jesus to Calvary’, ‘Roy Castle Remembered’ and ‘Cinderella Cancer’ (a personal history of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation).

Marion Needham

Board Secretary

A Cestrian born and bred, Marion started work in the NHS in 1965 as an Administrative Trainee and worked in various roles in Cheshire and Wirral, retiring in 2006 from the post of Director of Human Resources. Following retirement undertaking a number of volunteer roles for a range of different organisations this included ten years as a Trustee at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd. For 18 years, Marion also served as a Governor at Chester College, becoming a member of the University Council when the College attained University status being awarded an honorary Doctorate by them in 2018. A rather different volunteer role was working in a company secretary role for ChesterFC. Links with the Hospice and her husband’s cancer experience drew her to awareness of Pause for Hope and it was her wish to raise awareness of the organisation that led her to join the Chester Pause for Hope group in 2015 and to help with the organisation of the Chester services; Marion joined the PFH board in 2019.

Brian O'Connell

Scotland Representative

Brian Connell born in Glasgow, married to Ann for 49 years, 50th Anniversary on June 26th 2021. 4 sons, 3 grandsons and one Granddaughter. He is the Patron for Pause for Hope in Scotland and works closely with Glasgow Churches Together. At present, Brian is the Past Provincial Grand Knight for the Knights of St COLUMBA Glasgow and Paisley and an active member of his local Church, St Teresa's Possilpark Glasgow. In his spare time Brian enjoys reading, crosswords and walking.

Michael Brookes

Northern Ireland Represenative

Michael is a Geordie although by now must be an adopted scouser as well as an Irishman! He has been married to Dolores from Co Tyrone for nearly 46 years having met at Christ’s College, Liverpool whilst both doing teacher training. They have four children, neatly arranged as girl-boy-girl-boy and they are all married and fairly scattered (Northern Ireland, Wales, Sefton, Merseyside and Australia) so far giving their parents nine grandchildren with the balance clearly in favour of the girls - the latest was born right at the end of February this year - another girl, Aoife Brigid. The children clearly gave the teaching profession the cold shoulder, instead following a career in law and the younger three all in different branches of medicine - orthopaedics, GP and Emergency Medicine. Both Michael and Dolores spent many years teaching - Dolores in languages and Michael teaching RE in North Wales and Liverpool. In between these areas he spent time teaching adults and clergy at what was the Upholland Northern Institute where he was also responsible for developing resources. He has now spent a couple of years setting up a Pause for Hope service in Northern Ireland using his Irish connections and family. Hopefully this will come to fruition in 2021 having been sidelined in 2020 by the pandemic. It’s now expected to be May 2022.