Governance & Structure

Catholic Women’s League (CWL) CIO Governance & Structure

Good governance is fundamental to a charity’s success. It enables and supports a charity’s compliance with the law and relevant regulations. It also promotes a culture in which everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s ethos and vision.

A governance structure is a set of essential processes and systems which are put in place to ensure that a charity is run properly. An appropriate charity governance structure ensures that the CWL as a charity complies with relevant legislation, the finances are in order and the charity is able to meet its goals.

CWL Structure

A little about the National Officers

National Secretary, Jean Clarke

Jean Clarke here, a retired teacher, taking time out from my role as National Secretary with my grandchildren – all 5 of them. They give me great joy and happiness and are often with me, or I with them when I am not working for CWL. My role as National Secretary involves many duties – arranging meetings, overseeing projects, writing up Reports and Minutes, answering the telephone and responding to emails but, by far the most enjoyable part of my job is talking to and meeting with members.

National President, Siobhan Garibaldi

I joined the CWL in 2016 and, despite being a relatively ‘newbie’,  couldn’t recommend membership highly enough! My background over the past 30 years is as a volunteer in the charity sector; in the past as a diocesan president and trustee of the St Vincent de Paul Society, school governor, member of the Caritas Diocese of Westminster Advisory Board, founder of a refugee support group and Parish Safeguarding Representative and, currently, as a trustee of the anti-poverty charity, Z2k and coordinator of the homeless project known as Vinnie Packs. I have two adult sons and have been married to the ever-patient Nick since 1987.

National Treasurer, Christine Burke

I have been associated with the Catholic Women’s League from a very early age – my Grandmother and Mother were founder members of our local Section, so I was “volunteered” into “helping” at many of their activities! I would not have had it any other way. The CWL has been an integral part of my life, and I cannot imagine not being part of it. My role as National Treasurer is different, but rewarding, in that I have the chance, not just financially but socially as well, to meet and speak with so many of our members throughout the country.

Trustee, Sue Arthur

I have been a member of the Catholic Women’s League for over 30 years. I have three children who are now in their late thirties and early forties, and two grandsons aged four and seven. I became an infant and junior school teacher when I was forty and retired in 2013. My husband retired a few years later. I began to attend Branch and National events after I retired and became a Trustee just over a year ago.

Executive, Sue Gornall

I have been a member of the CWL for many years, in my own Lancaster Branch and as an Executive Officer, both of which have given me a wide variety of experiences, and the chance to meet so many people in many different circumstances. I volunteer at Ladyewelle Shrine, in Preston, which is more like a full-time job, but undoubtedly a most enjoyable one.

Trustee, Eileen Brown

I am one of the ‘senior’ members of the League. I am an 80yr old widow, native of West London, but have lived in Farnborough since my marriage in 1977.

All my working life was spent as a medical laboratory technician.   I joined The Catholic Women’s League, Farnborough Section in 1989 & in all the time of my membership I have enjoyed many wonderful times and made many friends and wish to continue to do so.

Executive, Wendy-Brice-Thompson

I have been on the Executive for about two years and my main task is to put together your monthly newsletter.

I was brought up in the CofE and I did not become Catholic until Easter 1997 so I consider myself to be the new kid on the block as I am always learning new things about the Catholic faith. In spite of my status as a convert, my Parish Priest has appointed me to be Steward of the Gospel which means I get to represent him at meetings and serve many cups of coffee at various functions.

Most of my adult life has evolved around meetings – school governor meetings, Council meetings – I was a local Councillor for 24 years and had to chair many committees and I served as Mayor of my borough back in 2006/07 when I was allowed to bang a small gavel to bring the members to order!

In my spare time I work as the administrator of a London wide road safety charity.

Executive, Nicolette Tibbles

The Catholic Women’s League is a wonderful organisation, and I am proud to be a member.
I have been retired for thirteen years now having worked in the National Health Service for forty four years as a nurse. A profession that I loved, and the care of people is important to me.

Being a Trustee has given me great insight into the workings of the League and has increased my faith, opened up valuable friendships and support and allowed me to carry on caring for people.

As well as being busy in the CWL I am a very keen gardener not just growing flowers but I also try to grow most of our veg. Then there are my lovely chickens, the two wonderful choirs that I belong to as well as my quilting, upholstery, cake making. and In my parish I am a Eucharistic Minister, run the Repository, and did I mention making cakes?

And … gosh, I think that is enough, don’t you?

Executive, Veronica Cross

Well, here I am again! They just can’t keep an Essex girl down! It must have something to do with the air in my Section, Dunmow, where I am Chairman. I have worked with the Executive previously as CWL Liaison with WUCWO (World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations).

More recently, I took on a new and exciting challenge of working for the League as a Trustee. This has given me the opportunity to see all the ‘background’ work that enables the League to function the way she does. I really am enjoying this side of CWL and am particularly looking forward to my dual role as a direct link between the Trustees and Executive.

Executive, Teresa Wiseman

As a member of the League for over 45 years I have had the privilege of serving as Secretary, Chair and Treasurer at Section level, President at Branch level and over the past four years as a Trustee. My family of two sons and two daughters have grown up seeing members of the Wymondham Section as extended family. My five grandsons, when they visit, love being involved with social events. The Catholic Women’s League enhances, in some way, all aspects of my spiritual, parish and family life.

Executive, Margaret von Speyr

At the age of 14 I became a junior member of Chester Section. Since then, my involvement has progressed through Letchworth Section, where I served as Chair, before moving to Bexhill in 1986, before its closure.

I became a Direct Member of A&B Branch eventually becoming President. This led me to serve as a National Officer working mainly on recruitment and publicity.

At that time, I reopened Bexhill Section. We hold evening meetings to enable younger parishioners, along with the older ladies, to attend, offering lifts to those who need them.

We are a very vibrant Section with over 32 members.

I am very pleased to be involved with the Executive and hope to help many Sections with ideas for attracting new members, maybe even opening or reopening Sections. Please contact me if I can be of help.

Trustee, Catharine Dean

I have been associated with the CWL in Richmond for many years as my mother is a really dedicated founder member of the Section and former national officer.  I only joined properly during lockdown but have volunteered for many events over the years, in particular making and selling cakes at the Richmond May Fayre! I have recently retired as an Modern Foreign Language teacher and am still a school governor. I’m also a Safeguarding and Cafod  Representative in my parish.

In my spare time I’m learning Italian and working one afternoon a  week  in the local hospice shop so I’m pretty busy. I’m looking forward to being a trustee and learning more about how the League works. 

Executive, Elizabeth Upsher

National Executive member and a Past National President of CWL. Former Branch President (Brentwood) and currently Treasurer Westcliff-on-Sea Section. I live-stream every day at 9.30am on CWL Facebook page singing a hymn (2 or 3 on special days, including Sunday at 8.45am). All hymns are by request so do join in, sing along or catch up later and request a hymn for you or a loved one.

Trustee, Anne Campbell

I was raised in Northern Ireland the eldest of 7 in a Catholic family which,  because of The Troubles, had to leave and move to England. I graduated and began work as a teacher before meeting my husband. We both went to Zambia and spent nearly 4 years teaching in a Mission school.

Since moving to England, I have raised 3 children, worked as a teacher in various Secondary schools and been involved in many aspects of parish life wherever we have lived.

I am now a Grandma to 8 (aged from 4 to 21) which keeps me busy but I also volunteer in the Bexhill Foodbank,  am an RCIA catechist and Marriage Registrar for the parish and of course am lovingly involved with CWL.

In 2013 my husband and I were honoured by Pope Benedict as Papal Dame and Knight.

Trustee, Maureen Sawtell

I joined Crewe Section shortly before the ‘pandemic’ and have really enjoyed being a member. Although still relatively new, I shall do my very best to support the League as best I can. 

My main career job was in personnel management in Royal Ordnance and later British Aerospace undertaking a variety of roles and project management, before working as a project manager in an Education Business Partnership in Leyland, Lancashire. I organised engineering roadshows with exhibitions and workshops in high schools of that large and beautiful county. I enjoyed the job meeting so many young people and their dedicated teachers. When I retired, I relocated to Crewe to be nearer my son and his family.

I belong to two local u3a groups as a member of a choir, an art class and a Sunday lunch /discussion group. 

On 29 July I will have completed my 3rd pilgrimage to Lourdes where I sing in the Diocese choir at every day throughout our stay. For that service I recently received a three-year Hospitality Medal.

Trustee, Adelaide Lyons

I am a member of Aylesbury Section in Northampton Branch. I became a member about 6 years ago when I moved to Aylesbury from London.  I am 63 years old, a medically retired school teacher with two grown up daughters and an adopted son who became part of my family when he was 3 years old and now in his GCSE year in secondary school. 

After I adopted my son, I decided to make myself useful by becoming a volunteer across many charities like Age UK as a befriender with three clients – I was awarded their first ever 10years Befriender badge early last year. I have been a befriender for Bucksvison for about 7 years and I am an emergency driver within Aylesbury.   I am also a parent volunteer leader for Boys Brigades and in addition I also support some members of our church community who have become housebound in any way that I can. My involvement with children social care and welfare began after I adopted my son. I found that there was a lot of work to be done in the field to support children and their families, so I joined the Family Rights Group and Kinship.   My role in this field was recognised when I was invited to attend the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Afternoon Tea in 2018. I continue to work with the government and other ministries to ensure that the voices of children and families are heard which often takes me to Parliament for meetings with the (APPG) All Party Parliamentary Group.   

I love the outdoor life, walking, camping outside Wimbledon to watch tennis, cooking, gardening, and above all traveling. I like to think that I eat healthily and no junk food comes out of my kitchen.   Family means a great deal to me and I do a lot with my children. 

I am truly humbled and honoured to be appointed as a trustee for the League.