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Our highly qualified board are responsible for developing strategic directions and plans for Age UK Hertfordshire, and overseeing implementation


Penny Butler, Chair

Penny was appointed as a Trustee in 2013. Penny has an MPhil in Medicine and worked for more than 20 years in St Bartholomew’s Hospital and medical school carrying out research and development within the pathology department. She moved into NHS corporate management, becoming Assistant Director of Planning (Community Services). 

Penny took up the role of Assistant Director of Adult Social Care in a London borough then moved into management consultancy. She has held a number of voluntary sector roles including as trustee of a local hospice and an area forum representative for Alzheimer’s Society and provides management support to a local adult disability charity. 

Penny is currently also a trustee of a Hertfordshire sexual health charity and Charter Member of Independent Age – a national older people’s charity.

Penny sits on the Quality and Performance and Finance, Remuneration and Audit Committees.


John Ellis, Vice Chair

John joined as a trustee early in 2017 and brings with him a wide range of experience from the charity sector, including fundraising, volunteering and retail. He worked for Barnardo's for approaching 30 years in a variety of roles including Deputy Director for Volunteering. John has been involved in a number of charity organisations; he was Vice Chair of the National Network of Volunteer Involving Agencies, Chair of The Stock & Recycling Group of The Charity Retail Association, and he also chaired the Advisory Group for Modernising Volunteering.

He is currently Lay Pastor and Senior Steward of Watton at the Stone Methodist Church with pastoral and organisational responsibilities.

A family man with two married daughters and three grandaughters, John is keen to use his past charity experience to support and help to develop the work of Age UK Hertfordshire.


John Newman

John joined the Board in 2015 and is a Director and co-founder of Apteligen Limited, a company that provides specialist research and consultancy services to the public sector.

John has over 20 years of experience working with the public sector, both in the UK and in Australia where he began his career as a Physiotherapist. The majority of his experience is in the healthcare and health improvement arenas, and he has worked increasingly with community and voluntary sector organisations over recent years. He is an experienced improvement practitioner and has undertaken a number of important projects which span the public sector nationally. John brings specific expertise in corporate governance and performance management, measurement and analysis, and evaluation of social change programmes.

He is particularly interested in measuring social value, and the impact of community-based interventions on health and well-being. He has also undertaken work to support closer integration across statutory services and the community and voluntary sector.

John Chairs the Quality and Performance Committee and sits on the Finance, Remuneration and Audit Committee.  


Karen Whitaker

Karen has rejoined the Board having previously been a trustee between 2007 and 2016.

She has a lifetime’s experience of social care having started her working life as a Social Worker in Hertfordshire before moving into the voluntary sector where she became a Senior Manager with Age Concern South Staffs and subsequently the CEO of Barnet Care and Support Services.

In addition to her practical experience of managing within the Charity Sector Karen has extensive experience as a trustee having been Chair of South Staffs CVS, having set up and registered Shropshire Geological Society, and been a trustee of Essex Dementia Care.  Most recently Karen has been focussed on registering a new charity supporting work in Eastern Uganda.

Karen is an active volunteer with three national charities, deafblinduk, Epilepsy Action and Victim Support.


Vicky Tassell

Vicky joined is a Solicitor and joined the board in 2018 as a co-opted member.

Vicky works as a Private Client Solicitor in Bishop’s Stortford. A large part of her work includes planning for and supporting older clients, enabling her to assist the Board with both her legal expertise and a unique perspective of the requirements and difficulties of older people in Hertfordshire.

Vicky also has fundraising experience as a member of the Charity Committee at her workplace.

Join the Board

Do you have the expertise and dedication to become an Age UK Hertfordshire trustee?