St Christopher’s Hospice appoints Helen Simmons as new Chief Executive

Categories: Leadership and People & Places.

South London-based charity St Christopher’s has today announced the appointment of Helen Simmons, current CEO of Nightingale Hammerson, into the open position of Chief Executive at the hospice. This follows the announcement earlier this year of the upcoming departure of Joint Chief Executives Heather Richardson and Shaun O’Leary from the role, who have headed the charity since 2014. (see Shared Leadership)

After eight years at the helm of Nightingale Hammerson, provider of high quality residential, nursing and dementia care to the Jewish communities of Clapham and Hampstead, Helen Simmons said of her new role “I am thrilled to be joining St Christopher’s Hospice, an organisation I have long admired who are making a real difference to end of life and palliative care.

“The timing now feels right to pursue a new challenge, and with both my personal and professional ambitions aligning closely with those of the hospice, I know that together we will continue to advance their ground-breaking and imaginative work in the local community and far beyond.”

Helen originally qualified as a chartered accountant, and has enjoyed a long and successful career in the charity sector – holding director roles at Crisis, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, Jewish Care and the Diocese of North London, before joining Nightingale Hammerson in 2013. She is credited with launching a number of impactful and innovative projects focusing on elderly care and dementia care, as well as working closely with the NHS to facilitate winter step down projects.

Helen also sat on the Care England Board between 2013 and 2020, and has been a trustee on the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) Board.

Neil Goulden, Chair of Trustees at St Christopher’s, said “We are delighted to welcome Helen to St Christopher’s, and very much look forward to working with her to deliver our ambitious plans for the charity locally, nationally and internationally over the coming years. Helen will be an instrumental part of developing our future strategy, and we feel very lucky to have someone with her remarkable experience and expertise filling the shoes left by Heather and Shaun.

“We are also delighted that Heather is keen to stay on at St Christopher’s, and we wish Shaun every success and happiness in his future endeavours. Our heartfelt thanks go out to him and Heather for their valued contribution to the charity and wider hospice movement over the last eight years.”

With Shaun O’Leary due to step down at the end of this year, Heather Richardson will act as Interim CEO from 1 January 2022 until a date is confirmed for Helen Simmons to take over, before transitioning into a new role leading on Research, Education and Policy.

To find out more about St Christopher’s visit


About St Christopher’s Hospice

  • We were founded by Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the global hospice movement with the opening of St Christopher’s in 1967.
  • We are a charity, and we provide care and services free of charge. Though we are partially funded by the NHS, the majority of our running costs are very generously met by public donations. Each year, we need to raise at least £15million.
  • Our vision is of a world in which all dying people and those close to them have access to care and support, whenever and wherever they need it.
  • Our goal is to help people live well until they die, and support those affected by the loss of a friend or relative. We know that each person is unique and we tailor our care to meet social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as manage physical symptoms.
  • We strongly believe that everyone should have access to the best care at the end of their lives and through a blend of expert practice, education and research we work with people across the world to improve and develop hospice care.
  • We usually have over 1,300 people under our care at any one time, and last year we provided care and support to over 5,000 patients and 2,000 families and carers across South London, both at home, out in the community and in the hospice.
  • We have over 500 dedicated staff and over 1,000 amazing volunteers.
  • You can support the hospice by donating, volunteering or shopping at one of our 26 local high street shops.
  • You can find our website by searching “” online, and we are also on social media – search @StChrisHospice on Twitter and Instagram.


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