Our directors, staff and volunteers have different backgrounds, beliefs and values, but all of them are passionate about their help to St Gregory’s. In the UK we have one full-time employee, Julia Ashmore so we rely greatly on the generosity of our directors and volunteers who help with fundraising, translating, and in other ways.
Our founder patron
The late Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO
Nicholas Kolarz, Chair
Owner and managing director of the ‘Central Europe Consultancy’, Nicholas devotes the majority of his time to St Gregory’s acting as Chair of the charity and providing solid advice and guidance regarding strategy and promotion of the charity. With his family roots in Russia and many years of business experience in Eastern Europe he has a visionary understanding and a passion for supporting the local initiatives of our partners in St Petersburg and Tbilisi.
Our former Treasurer, Tatiana brings her expertise, knowledge and skills as an experienced finance professional (MBA, CPA) with a background in treasury and finance. With her roots in Russia, Tatiana is passionate about helping vulnerable children and families in her own country. Tatiana says “It is a privilege to work alongside such an amazing group of people. It inspires me daily to see the impact St Gregory’s have on the lives of our beneficiaries”
Tania Illingworth (nee Tolstoy), main fundraising volunteer
A long-standing volunteer-fundraiser and Director of the charity, Tania loves Russia with all her heart and promotes the charity’s work here in the UK. A skilled communicator, she helps expand our supporters’ network on all levels here in the UK and builds local contacts in Russia where she travels regularly with her most interesting cultural tours. As she says in her own words “I am proud to be a director of St Gregory’s – this small charity has an unparalleled success record in post-Soviet Russia”.
A charity Director for over 20 years, Sebastian is a long time supporter of the charity and one of the most active participants in the ‘humanitarian aid ’ programme when we delivered over 50 containers of life-saving equipment for hospitals, and clothes, fabrics and wool for workshops enabling local people to earn a living. Sebastian, Helen and family were so impressed by what the founders and supporters of SGF were doing that they just had to join in! Sebastian says “We were privileged and blessed to be able to help and work alongside all of them”. He sees the charity’s task as “assisting people who want to make a difference for those in need, and helping them be effective”
Dr Tamara Dragadze
A British academic writer and editor with over 50 publications, she has taught anthropology at several British universities and done decades long research in her field. This includes Russia, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines, India, Mexico, Brazil, and the North Caucasus as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. However, having worked for many years in Georgia, she is passionate for promoting and helping Mkurnali – our local partner charity in Tbilisi, which provides legal service and rehabilitation to minors, particularly defending street children and teenagers who get in trouble with the police, aiming to make them self-sufficient and, in time, to find a home and family, fully integrated into society at large.
“I am a retired teacher living in Chester and first became involved with SGF through a pilgrimage to Kondopoga from Chester Cathedral, in 2007. I was so impressed by what I saw there that I wanted to help and when we set up a fundraising programme to raise money I quickly became involved. I became the fundraising coordinator in 2009 and I now coordinate all mission fundraising in the cathedral, which includes Kondopoga, which I have visited four times. The two churches are now linked, which is very special as Kondopoga is the only Russian orthodox parish linked with a Church of England cathedral. As a new director of SGF I hope to further my involvement with Kondopoga and strengthen the bond of friendship we have developed.”
St Gregory’s Director and financial advisor, Hamish provides sound advice regarding all aspects of the financial activity of the charity. He has worked with companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals, predominantly in the SME sector in property and financial services. He has been in charge of finance and administration as well as involved in business development, acquisitions, strategy and helping to grow businesses. His expert opinion contributes to the financial stability of the charity.
Kitty Stidworthy, MA,PGCE, taught Russian at every level from small children to the Cambridge Tripos, and, as Kitty Hunter Blair, is a professional translator and writer. She was involved with Pushkin House from its start in the 1950s, and a trustee until 2011; in the 1990s she was actively involved in the Cambridge Community Council’s link with the town of Pushkin; and in the late Soviet years was East Anglian representative of the Foreign Office funded Great Britain-USSR (then GB–Russia) Association. Kitty has been a committed supporter of St.Gregory’s since it was founded, and an active director. She says: “All our partners are remarkable for their skills, dedication and good humour.” ur partners are remarkable for their skills, dedication and good humour.”
Vivian Wright – acting Treasurer
Our actingTreasurer, Vivian has been at the heart of the charity’s activities over the last few years. Now a Director, she remains a devoted supporter and brings on board her passion for the charity, strategic vision, clear thinking and analytical skills. Vivian says “Our partners in Russia and Georgia are so full of energy and hope; they show us how much can be done with very little”
Julia Ashmore, Executive Secretary
“Our supporters form the bedrock of our organisation. They are the driving force behind all that we do.”
Sarah Gale, Online Fundraising (freelance)
“It’s exciting to be part of something which is changing lives for good.”