The David Tilley Children’s Foundation is a charitable trust which was established by trust deed on September 16th 2010. The objects of the trust are to advance education for the public benefit, in particular (but not exclusively) socially and/or economically disadvantaged children in Africa.

Pictured are 3 of the trustees from the foundation – Mark Tilley, Matt Calvert and Anthony Vaughan – who travelled to Tanzania during November 2010 to visit St Michael School in Kilolo, Tanzania. The purpose of the visit was to report back to the board on the on-going programme of building work at the school, and to arrange for further sponsorship of students. The Trustees are pictured with school staff as well as Susan Vaughan, the Trust Administrator.

The David Tilley Children’s Foundation trustees are shown below. 

Matt Calvert

Matt Calvert

Africa is very close to my heart – after spending the first 7 years of my life living there with my parents, I consider it home!!  When David Tilley invited me to be a trustee it was a real “no brainer” for me and I considered it to be an honour.

David was a total inspiration and his hard work and dedication to the children of St Michael School and Tanzania was extremely powerful. His inspiration has helped develop my deep passion for being involved in the work of the David Tilley Children’s Foundation.

I have spent the last 20 years or more working with some of the most difficult young people this country has to offer. It can sometimes be easy to forget, in the middle of all of their difficulties and challenges, that the children and young people of today are the world of tomorrow. It is my belief that we have to nurture and support them in their development and direction for the future.

Dr Richard Gill

Dr Richard Gill

“Having spent a number of years working as a doctor in a mission hospital in Nigeria in the early part of my career, my wife and I were able to renew our contact with Africa in 2002, when we joined a Soapbox expedition to Tanzania led by David and Helen Tilley. This was to help build a classroom block at St Michael School at Kilolo, in the central southern part of the country. We returned with them to another building project there the following year, and the year after that were asked to lead the team when David was not well enough to do so.

We have continued to lead Soapbox teams to the project, and have seen it progress from being a collection of empty buildings to a vibrant secondary school providing a good education for its pupils.

David Tilley long had the vision for a sponsorship scheme to enable children from poorer families in this area of Tanzania to benefit from a secondary education.  Having been involved with the School for nearly ten years now, I am keen to see it continue to grow and prosper, and for local children in particular to be able to benefit from all it has to offer.”

Mrs Helen Tilley

My first visit to Tanzania was in 1991 when with my husband David I went out to visit his sister Liz who worked there for many years.  We travelled extensively and had a life changing experience as we saw the poverty and hardship of so many people.  We both came back with the strong desire to return and to do something to make a difference.  We became involved the the organisation ‘Soapbox’, which sends teams of willing people into third-world countries on short term missions.  I joined David to lead teams in the summer, and inspired by the vision of the Bishop of Dodoma, Tanzania, we took the first team to dig the first foundations of the St, Michael’s Secondary school, high in the hills of Kilolo, about an hours drive from Dodoma.  At the end of that first trip we  left with the brickwork in progress.

It is incredible to think of that small beginning, and to see the school as it is now, educating 300 students, many of them sponsored in their education through the trust.  It was David’s wish that the fundraising and support he was able to provide should continue into the future, and in 2010 the Foundation was set up in his name and achieved charitable status.  As a group of trustees we have furthered our projects to help provide support where it is most needed.  I am so pleased to be part of the team of such enthusiastic people who like myself want to progress this work into the future.  I am particularly interested in fundraising and in being able to send support to projects in most need.

Mark Tilley

Mark Tilley

Hi this is Mark Tilley. I’m thrilled to be a trustee of the charity started in my dad’s name. I’ve been involved for a long time with his African adventures. My aunt Liz Tilley has spent her whole career in East Africa as a missionary and, with several trips out to see her by family members, I think it’s rubbed off on the whole of our family. When visiting a developing country, you are overwhelmed by basic needs people have, but also how easily you can help. Dad loved to help, and get his hands dirty. When he was asked to help build a school by a local bishop in Tanzania, he was full of enthusiasm.

My first visit to Tanzania was in 1996 with a group of young people to help with a building project with a charity called Soapbox. It was a real eye opener for me. I think I personally benefit from being reminded of how much I have and that some really don’t have anything. A lot of life’s decisions can be based around the people we compare ourselves to, which is why my dad lived a very humble life considering how much he had.

I’ve had the change to go to see St Michael school in Kilolo last November where, as a charity, we have been in partnership from the start. It’s exciting to see the school progressing and also to get to meet the students and talk with them about how they are getting on. We also met 15 students who are sponsored by the foundation for their education.

I see my role in the David Tilley Children’s Foundation as a chance to help continue the work that my dad has started, and also to steer the charity always towards helping needy children to reach their potential. I think following in his footsteps is a big challenge, and keeping the momentum of the amounts of cash that he raised will be difficult too. The reasons for doing it make it easier and I will try to focus on that. My vision is to encourage others to go to Africa to see things for themselves to be inspired to do something about a world in need, and to see themselves as closer relations to someone in another country who might need their help.

Tony Vaughan

Tony Vaughan

“Having been inspired by David Tilley’s project to develop a new secondary school in Kilolo; a poor, remote area in the highlands of southern Tanzania, Sue and I led a 10 person team there in August 2009, to construct a teacher’s house (funded by the Rotary Club of Storrington)  for the school. This led to further involvement in student sponsorship and, subsequently, to David asking me to become a Trustee of his Foundation. We have since returned to Kilolo in 2010, this time focusing more on sponsorship, meeting many of the students and discussing with Bishop Joseph Mgomi, further ways in which the Foundation can work with the school.

A chartered civil engineer, I have managed road and hospital construction projects in Africa as well as port projects in the UK, Middle East and South Pacific. We have travelled reasonably extensively in east, central and southern Africa, areas that we have very fond memories of, and a desire to continue our involvement with.”

Susan Vaughan - Trust Administrator

Susan Vaughan - Trust Administrator

“Tony and I have spent much of our married life working overseas. We have four children who have now all grown up and have families of their own. I worked for 18 years in General Practice managing a Health Centre for a population of 11,500 patients, providing health care and services to the local population.  Using this experience, I now have the responsibility of being Administrator of the David Tilley Children’s Foundation.

During the early 1970s, Tony and I lived in Africa where two of our children were born.  Whilst there, we gained a close understanding of the lives of the people and their children.  The town we lived in was small and our children grew up making friends with the local children.  We have seen first hand the hardship that these families live under. During our time there we were able to work with students helping them to acquire skills to enable them to earn a better standard of living and contribute to the welfare of their families.

In 2009 we travelled with the Rotary Club of Storrington to southern Tanzania; and undertook a 3 weeks project building a teacher’s house at St Michael School Kilolo.  During that time we again spent a lot of time with the local children who have so little but are happy children. On returning we worked with others to set up the David Tilley Children’s Foundation to provide a way forward to improve the life of the children in the Kilolo area.”

Matthew Wykes

Matthew Wykes

I was invited to be a Trustee by Mark Tilley in 2014. I had already been asked by some of the Trustees to help prepare a group of young people from the UK to go to Tanzania for a life changing expedition and help them focus on changing their lives, and those around them upon their return.

I had been aware of The David Tilley Children’s Foundation when David and Helen came to my Rotary Club to present on their achievements.  I am delighted to have been asked to be a Trustee and I am passionate about playing my part in developing the foundation in the future.

Having spent 18 years in the hospitality industry, I re-trained to become a Wealth Adviser in 2006 where I run a successful business and have more time to spend with my children as they grow up. It also affords me some time to put something back when we are fortunate to have so much.

We have great plans to look forward. We must continue to strive to find the means, both physically and financially, to assist the development of the children and the environment in which they are taught.

Eric Gallafant

Eric Gallafant

Having led Soapbox expeditions in the past to South East Asia I was pleased to be asked to join Mark and the Trustees team.

I wasn’t sure ” why me ” at first but having met the team and seen the work of the Foundation I am excited to be able to assist in raising funds and overseeing the spending to assist those children less fortunate than my own.

The David Tilley Childrens Foundation continues to expand it’s work to provide a positive way forward for the children of Kilolo and the surrounding areas, …. and I’m proud to be a small  part of that work.