The People

Katherine Bonner and Robin Ewart-Biggs (Charity founders and owners of Thorneythwaite Farm), together with experienced volunteers, will welcome and guide guests during their stay.

Katherine is a teacher who has over 30 years’ experience working with children in a variety of settings and has specialised in running creative projects in schools and outdoor learning.

Robin  has worked in the mental health field since 1992, for substance misuse services, NHS primary care and running rehabilitation services for survivors of torture, as a family therapist, group leader, trainer and service manager.

“As with the start-up of many charities in the health and social care sector, there is another more personal reason for Flynne’s Barn. Our daughter Flynne was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013, soon after her 14th birthday. Hers was a rare type of cancer for a young person. She was fortunate to benefit from excellent treatment from the NHS, the support of friends and family and blessed with a remarkably positive and resilient outlook on life. This meant that during two years of treatment she lived to the full. She went on two sailing trips with the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust and realised the importance of meeting with others who were going through similar experiences. We looked for ways in which she could connect regularly with others and, whilst there were a number of valuable one-off events, we all found that there was a greater need for young people to meet away from the hospital environment”.


Ellie Rowsell is a singer/songwriter who heads up the alt rock band Wolf Alice. The group have released two Mercury Prize nominated albums both of which reached no.2 in the album charts. Ellie penned a beautiful song called Heavenward in memory of Flynne. This is the opening track on Wolf Alice’s Mercury prize-winning studio album, Visions of a Life, released in 2017. It’s a very special tribute from the guys. We’re delighted that Ellie will be a patron for Flynne’s Barn and look forward to musical times with her and the lads up in the mountains.

“I met up with Flynne to teach her how to play the guitar whilst she had some time off school. I didn’t have much to show her as I am not very technical but our time together reminded me that’s not what music is about. Music is a language in which we can express things that we feel unable to do elsewhere. It is a world we can escape to when we want to lose ourselves. It is a thread to tie people together, to help make new friends and to have a good time. I may have taught Flynne a couple of chords but she taught me a wealth of lessons that will undoubtedly be passed around at Flynne’s Barn”.


Katherine Bonner

Katherine is a teacher who has spent the last thirty years working with children in a variety of settings. She began her career working with visually impaired children with the RNIB and from there has always been drawn to pupils with particular challenges. Katherine spent many years working in a Camden primary school, specialising in Early Years education and running the Nursery. During this time she mentored new teachers, supported pupils who speak English as an additional language, was the Early Years Leader and lead on the development of outdoor learning spaces. She has a keen interest in the arts in education and has run creative art projects across the Key Stages to enhance pupil’s well-being,  learning and development.

Anne Darlington

Anne has over 20 years’ experience of working in the charity sector as a volunteer; trustee and employee. She has experience of charity management and governance; project management; business planning and fundraising.

“Flynne was a dear friend of  my daughter, Issy, and our family. Issy and Flynne went on many adventures together and sometimes I was lucky enough to be part of them – creating art works in the back garden, tobogganing down the stairs on duvets, swimming on Hampstead Heath and in the sea in Devon. Flynne’s courage and joy is a constant inspiration to me. Not long after she was diagnosed with cancer, Flynne was at our house on bonfire night. I said; “I’m sorry Flynne, we’ve only got sparklers.” Flynne just took the sparklers and danced with delight.”

Sian Macfie

Dr Sian Macfie has thirty years’ experience of working with young people both as a creative arts teacher and as a schools and community-based adolescent counsellor. She currently works as an education consultant offering support and advice on staff well-being issues and is involved in conducting a piece of research at King’s College into the impact of arts engagement on grief processes.

“I can’t think of a setting more inspiring than Thorneythwaite, nestled among the mountains and wide open skies. The farm is a haven of peace and tranquillity. Katherine and Robin have the professional expertise, the personal experience, the vision and the passion to make a huge positive difference to the lives of young people living with cancer. Music, nature and connecting with others were the things that made Flynne happy and fulfilled throughout her life and especially during the time that she lived with cancer. When young people are able to do the things that they love and to discover new interests and passions cancer’s power is lessened. Connection with art, with nature and with each other at Flynne’s Barn will help young people to feel more fulfilled, more in control and more like themselves again.”

Richard Mckerrow

After gaining a Masters in English Literature, Richard worked in New York as a journalist at The Nation Magazine from 1989 to 1991. On returning to London he joined Yorkshire Television, where he became a documentaries producer/ director. Between 1997 and 2004 he was a commissioning editor at Channel 4 in the Education department and then the Managing Director of Maverick Television.  In 2004 he set up Love Productions with his partner Anna Beattie, where he has since been the Chief Executive and Chief Creative Officer. Love Productions is a multi award-winning independent production company of factual television, known for its ground-breaking documentaries and other television programmes such as The Great British Bake Off.

“I’ve known both Robin and Katherine for more than thirty-five years and I honestly can’t think of two individuals better qualified to be the custodians of something as invaluable as Flynne’s Barn. Throughout their lives they have demonstrated an extraordinary humanity and a generosity, both in their work and through their relationships with friends and family. If home is where we start from, Robin and Katherine have always welcomed anyone and everyone into their home. Flynne’s Barn will be a remarkable new holiday ‘home’ for young people with cancer and I’m sure that anyone who visits will be welcomed with love and support and treasure a very special time there.”

Claire Wormsley

Claire has built and developed a successful international financial events and training business. She has also developed other profitable businesses in graduate development, training, events and recruitment. Claire  has experience in the public sector having been a Strategic Consultant for the Central Office of Information working closely with the Department of Health.

In addition to Executive Board experience, Claire has NED and trustee experience, previously as a Trustee with Keen London, a charity bringing sport to disabled children, and currently as a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Lord Mayors Skills for Londoners Taskforce and as a trustee for the multi academy trust, Lions Academy Trust. She is a qualified executive business coach through The Work Foundation and is currently training to be an accredited governor.

“Kathy and Robin are inspirational and creating a positive and lasting legacy for the beautiful Flynne is something I feel lucky to be involved with. I’m excited to be part of the team making the vision of Flynne’s Barn a reality.”

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