Service User and Carer Governors are elected and sit on the Council of Governors to represent Service User and Carer members’ views.

Marie Da Silva Bleasdale


Hello, my name is Marie Da Silva Bleasdale. I'm happily married and a mother of a teenager. Whilst working in customer services at the government (for around twenty five years+), in March 2018 I volunteered as an Expert by Experience. This is a specified facilitator role on my day off.

I enjoyed working with patients and psychologists- building resilience and recovery.  I'm a 'people' person, and I am grateful to all the individuals that voted for me. I care and I will do my best to listen and voice the concerns, which represent the Carer and Service Users of Merseyside.

2020 has specifically been a challenging year, however Mersey Care has aspiringly risen to combat these factors. To be exact, it's been great to be able to access these wonderful online self-help courses with The Life Rooms Walton.

Second term from 1 October 2023 to 30 April 2026

Mark McCarthy


I am an experienced service user governor who has a strong track record of speaking out for service users with learning difficulties and other vulnerable service users.

I am a part time maths teacher in a specialist school for students for mental health and other health problems; it is a job I feel privileged to have. Outside of work I am a keen hiker who has hiked over 2000 miles during the past four years and even written a successful hiking guidebook. I have previously worked as an IT manager both in the UK and Portugal and as both a manufacturing and engineering manager in the automotive industry. I have also worked for thirty years as a volunteer helper on the Liverpool Lourdes pilgrimage.

Having had a sibling with learning difficulties has made me a passionate advocate for those with learning difficulties.

I am caring and passionate and have been on the receiving end of our services, so I understand what is important to us as service users. I now have three years’ experience as a governor and have been a constant advocate for our most vulnerable service users especially those with learning difficulties, mood disorders and personality disorders.

Third term from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Hilary Tetlow

Lead Governor since January 2023


As Governor of Mersey Care Foundation Trust, I represent Carers and Service Users I am passionate to make life better for the people I represent.

As a former Consultant in Fashion Merchandising, I am confident when speaking to Board members and Chairpersons of FT listed companies. I am also well versed in speaking to the workforce and the customers of companies to seek their views. I am not afraid to raise sensitive issues and questions in representing the views of the governors, ensuring that as many governors as possible are able to raise their concerns.

I am active in Merseyside and beyond in the following:

  • A founder member secretary and treasurer of SURF (Service Users Reference Forum) for people and carers of people with dementia working together to try to make changes in attitudes and services, provide a voice and influence decision makers
  • Set up general meeting groups for coffee and natter for dementia groups
  • Involved in the patient engagement and experience group of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Founder member of ‘tide’ carers involvement network supported by The National Lottery
  • I am chair of the LExE Group (Liverpool Experts by Experience) of Liverpool University Doctor of Psychology and am involved in selection of course candidates, teaching, research and clinical aspects of the course

As a Governor I try and attend all Board Meetings as many QRV visits as possible plus events open to Governors and members so that I am aware of what is happening in the Trust and the feelings of the workforce and the service users and carers. 

Second term from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Tashi Thornley


I put myself forward to be a governor because I am passionate about service user involvement and want to ensure the service user voice is heard. I also feel I hold all the Mersey Care values.

Before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I was elected Vice President Education at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union. Within this role, I sat on numerous boards and committees representing students and ensuring their voice was heard. During my term in office, I was shortlisted for a national award due to my hard work.

Since being under Mersey Care, I have used a wide range of the services. This has given me an understanding and broad knowledge of the diversity of services that Mersey Care has to offer. This has helped me understand what works well but also where there is room for potential improvements to be made in order for such services to work more effectively for the benefit of all service users.

I am currently under Springhouse Personality Disorder (PD) Hub. Over the past three years, I have sat on steering groups and contributed to the development of what is now a fully functioning seven-day crisis and day service for people with PD.

I instigated a name change of the PD Hub so people could feel more connected to the service and I ensured that this vote was put out to service users. I have also recently been appointed as a Service User Lead at Springhouse.

I am passionate, determined and will always strive to make positive change, ensuring that I do my best to represent those that voted for me.

Second term from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Thomas James Kidd


Becoming unwell was a wake-up call. I have knowledge of health legislation and NHS best practice. I want to be a strong, polite and knowledgeable voice. Patients must come first.

I thought I was secure. I could pay the rent. I had close friends. I have university degrees and job at a university. I've volunteered for charities. I sat on the Board of Directors for a global organisation that fights stigma. I volunteered in shelters. I've competed in sports competitions. I've had a lot of good times.

My experience of illness and MH services changed my world. I'm recovering now and I want to put that knowledge and experience to good use and help others be heard.

I hope to ensure MC keeps people and principles at the centre of the organisation's goals. This is an NHS requirement. I think there is a sometimes a disconnect between how patients would like to be treated and what is offered. I think there is a gap between how employees would like to treat patients and what is prioritised. Its not about complaining. Its about challenging MC to do better: easier access, less red tape, being kinder, patient-centred and keeping MC accountable.

I have a good understanding of what MC is contracted to deliver. I'd like to help the Board ‘walk the walk’.

First term from 1 October 2023 to 30 April 2026

Neil Kelley


As a governor I will influence doctors and staff to be more open minded; influence to not treat patients as ‘one of them' and a no bullying culture.

I have been in hospital 3 times in my adult life; worked voluntarily as a Recovery Group Assistant, a Meeter and Greeter in the Life Rooms, on the Standing Committee to improve conditions for Service Users, and on the Performance Investment and Finance Committee to improve services for Service Users.

I am currently voluntary Chaplain in Clock View which I’ve done for 5 years, and I occasionally sit on Job Interview Panels.

I hope to gain: Knowledge, professional working experience in the mental health industry, insight to a deeper level of mental health professionals, satisfaction that I’ve helped others.

Qualities I think I can bring: Lived experience, inspiration for others, a good work ethic, commitment for the cause, a good attitude, people skills and a helping hand.

First term from 1 October 2023 to 30 April 2026

Colin Pearson

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I have been a volunteer for over forty years serving the community of Merseyside. The last twenty years within North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Trust.

I trained as an architect and in 2000 I was medically retired due to clinical depression. During my recovery at Hollins Park, the hospital chaplain asked would I teach the mental health patients ‘art and crafts’. This has not only helped my recovery but also the patients. Many hospital corridors and offices are now adorned with some wonderful artwork. Both the patients and families are so grateful to the Trust for this excellent therapy. During my twenty years I have supported the Trust on many events and committees.

During my working life I have spoken on Radio Merseyside, given many presentations and speeches. Together with my training background and excellent communication skills I became a valuable member of the trust e.g., Capital Planning, Research and Audit Committees as well as building contracts and a major part in the design and construction of the Atherleigh Park mental health hospital at Leigh.

First term 1 May from 2024 to 30 April 2027

Alex Ruggier

Alex Ruggier.jpg

With many years experience as a service user, over twenty-five under Mersey Care, I understand the vital necessity of services working well and continuing to improve for everyone.

After coming to Liverpool, from the Midlands in the 1990's, I settled in the south of the city.

I have worked in leisure, theatre, music and the arts since going to college in Stratford-upon-Avon and working at the RSC in their studio theatre The Other Place.

I trained as an advocate with Mary Seacole House 20 years ago, and despite being offered a couple of positions in the health environment didn't follow that path as life took a different direction.

I'm a keen walker, and enjoy live music, galleries and a good meal out.

My hope is to get a view of the structure and operational workings of the trust and be in a position to provide the membership, constituent users and public with a critical eye to these essential services.

I can bring a breadth of insight into services past and present supported by a great deal of time-served experience.

First term from 1 May 2024 to 30 April 2027

Robert Jones


Living in Southport where I grew up. I took early retirement from my role as Director of Postgraduate Studies in Education at the University of Manchester to be a carer for my mum. This brought me into contact with the labyrinthine and confusing Social Care System and I learnt a lot, ending up as Chair of Crossroads Together for Greater Manchester- a Charity for Carers and a Carers Trust organisation. I have since contributed to several Social Care projects for IPPR, Social Care Futures and Living Well at Home.

I hope and intend to be a Champion for Care.

I am an advocate for Care, and for Co-Production as a method of working to be the future way of progressing to integrate systems and management. As such I support the Trust's ambition to increase co-production in its work. I am also a trustee of the Better Living Partnership in Sefton which adds the Social-to-Social Care, and a volunteer on a Bereavement Support Group, working with people from diverse backgrounds and different lived histories. I recently had wonderful care after a surgical operation.

As someone experienced in meetings management, along with personal skills, experiences, and sector knowledge I hope that I can provide the judgement and empathy to assist the trust and the directors in these difficult times.

First term from 1 May 2024 to 30 April 2027

To be confirmed following Spring 2024 Election