Terry Waite CBE
Terry Waite CBE was born on May 31, 1939 in Cheshire, the son of a village policeman. He was educated in London and abroad, and has worked for much of his life from a Church base. After working with the Church of England Board of Education in the UK and as an adviser to the Bishop of Bristol he accepted a position as adviser to the first African Archbishop of Uganda. During his time in Uganda, Terry dealt directly with Idi Amin to champion the release of Ugandan and overseas prisoners who suffered as a result of the Amin coup. Following his time in Uganda he moved with his family to Rome, Italy and spent several years working on conflict resolution and development issues throughout the world.
In 1980 Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed Terry Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs to work with churches abroad. After a few months Terry played the key role in securing the release of several European and Iranian captives when they were held on spy charges in Tehran. Terry’s reputation as a special emissary was cemented when in 1984 he established contact with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, where three Britons had been detained following the murder of a policewoman outside the Libyan Embassy in London, and was instrumental in aiding their release.
In 1987, Terry made a dangerous journey to Lebanon to negotiate for hostages there. This journey was made despite the threat to his own safety, and out of Terry’s commitment to advocate for the release of hostages as the only negotiator who had met the kidnappers face to face. He was captured on 20th January 1987 and spent almost five years in captivity, nearly four years of which were in solitary confinement. No information on his whereabouts or survival reaching the wider world for over four years. During his incarceration, he was blindfolded, beaten, and subjected to a mock execution. He lived much of the time chained to a wall in a room without natural light. In the final months of captivity he suffered from a severe chest infection which almost cost him his life. He was finally released in November 1991.
After his release, Terry was elected to a fellowship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he completed his first book Taken on Trust, that he had written in his memory during the years of captivity when he was without pencil or paper. Today he is deeply engaged in many humanitarian causes including the homeless, overseas development, prisoners. Terry has been awarded the MBE and CBE for his humanitarian work and is the recipient of many honorary doctorates from Universities both in the UK and abroad. He is married to Frances and they have four children and three grandchildren.
Terry is Hostage UK’s Founder and President.
I helped found Hostage UK as I believed that hostage families are helped by being able to talk with others who have been through the experience themselves – either as a hostage or as a family member. I also recognized the need for an independent organisation to engage in research into hostage taking and to co-ordinate activities in this field.
Phil is involved in Hostage UK’s family support work.
Phil Bigley was born in Liverpool and worked as a maths teacher before moving into the commercial sector. In 2004, Phil’s brother Kenneth, a British engineer, was taken hostage while working in Iraq and killed. The kidnap of Ken and his murder became a high-profile case in Britain and overseas, putting the Bigley family under immense public scrutiny, and also inspiring immense public support. Phil joined the team at Hostage UK to work with the relatives of hostage victims, providing pastoral support and advice, and also to help improve government’s and organisation’s responses to kidnapping and their family liaison.
A kidnap puts a family under a lot of pressure. At Hostage UK we put the family first, and help them find a safe space and the resources they need, in an otherwise difficult situation.
Tim joined the Board of Hostage UK in December 2016.
Tim served as a political adviser in the Downing Street policy unit and as Deputy Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg in the coalition government of 2010-15. He is currently Director of Policy at Open Reason, a non-profit organisation based in London. He has a particular interest in national security and human rights, and a background in the policy and politics of criminal justice.
I got to know Rachel Briggs and the work of Hostage UK while I was in government. I was impressed by the calm and professional way they approached very difficult situations. The organisation is truly unique and a lifeline for families going through extremely tough experiences.
Maria leads on communications and media for Hostage UK.
Maria Darby-Walker is a communications expert and has worked in communications for over 25 years. She specialises in advising international corporations and charities on matters ranging from reputation management to crisis and issues management. She sat on the fundraising committee for the British Red Cross for several years and has advised the Boards of global organisations such as Cadbury, Rio Tinto and Rolls-Royce plc.
She joined the Hostage UK Board in September 2015.
I met several Board members from Hostage UK prior to joining including Rachel Briggs, John Smith, Terry Waite and Jude Tebbutt. I was hugely impressed by their dedication and touched by the personal stories they recounted. As a communications expert I want to help the organisation raise its profile so that hostage families know that they can come to us for help, and if they need help on handling the media I can do that also. It is a privilege to be involved
Sophie is involved in Hostage UK’s family support work.
Sophie now works as a freelance consultant and writer after eleven years with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, including postings to Hong Kong and Rome. Prior to that, she was a BBC news producer in China. Recently, she has worked as a consultant and adviser on global health, development and private sector engagement strategies for organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Through involvement with Hostage UK’s family support work before becoming a trustee, I’ve seen how much the organisation is able to help those directly affected by a kidnap – when often their overwhelming feeling is powerlessness. Perhaps our greatest strength lies in our ability to provide those who want it with a confidential, supportive but neutral environment in which to talk, be listened to and objectively shape the questions they need to ask.
Gerry joined the Board of Hostage UK in July 2016.
Gerry is currently Chief Risk Officer of Bupa Insurance having spent a career involved in risk management, governance and compliance across the banking and insurance. Gerry advises company boards on best practice in risk management design and execution and his experience spans the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.
I was introduced to the great work of Hostage UK in 2015 when I worked with John Smith to explore practical ways in which Bupa might be able to help returning hostages and their families. I was honoured to be asked to join the Board as a trustee and I look forward to contributing to the future growth and success of this special organisation.
Carlo Laurenzi OBE
Carlo is Hostage UK Co-Founder and works closely with the team, especially in relation to governance.
Carlo Laurenzi OBE is former CEO of the London Wildlife Trust and former Executive Director of Prisoners Abroad. He has also worked for Lloyds Bank, the London Borough of Islington, and the Open University, and has been Director of Policy and Research at the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCF) and worked on secondment at the Foreign Office in Consular Services.
I helped set up Hostage UK because I saw there was a gap in service provision and a very real need for what we offer. My experiences before Hostage UK showed me that there was no genuine and thought-through support for the families of a hostage victim that put them first. I find the work challenging and immensely rewarding – you can be looking at geopolitics one moment and then individuals’ emotional needs the next.
Peter is Hostage UK’s Vice-Chair and is also involved in our family support work.
Peter Rudge is the Managing Director of duckrabbit, a film production company based in London. Peter spent 11 years in the British Diplomatic Service and was one of a number of tourists kidnapped by separatist rebels in northern Ethiopia in 2007.
As someone with first-hand knowledge of kidnapping, I understand the positive difference that Hostage UK can make to former hostages and their families.
John Smith is the Chairman of HostageUK, a Board Member and co-Founder of HostageUS, and is heavily involved in responding to the growing international demand for the services of both organisations. In (semi) retirement he advises international organisations on security, intelligence and resilience management. Prior to retirement he was Director of Group Resilience at Prudential plc. He served in the British Army in general management and specialist roles.
John is a Past President of the International Security Management Association, a member of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (a business support organisation sponsored and funded by the US State Department) and an Emeritus member of the Risk and Security Management Forum.
I got involved with Hostage UK because hostage- and kidnap-crises must be a subject of concern to any corporation working in regions where there is any level of risk. Duty-of-care lies at the heart of all security considerations, and corporations should be conscious not only of the needs of staff, but also of their families.
David is Hostage UK’s Hon. Secretary and helps us to make connections in the legal world, both among those who would like to offer their time pro bono and those who can offer specialist services for families.
David Wilkinson is a partner at leading law firm Kennedys and has been selected by Chambers and Legal 500 as one of Britain’s top lawyers in insurance/reinsurance litigation. David’s practice also include professional disciplinary and regulatory law, and professional negligence.
He is a member of the British Insurance Law Association, ASG Advanced Studies Group (ASG 242), the International Association of Defense Counsel, and the City of London Law Society (Insurance Law Committee).
I was keen to do pro bono work and Hostage UK looked like an interesting organisation, doing valuable work. Subjects such as Kidnap and Ransom are relevant to my professional practice, and I am delighted to be able to bring my professional skills to assist.