Safehaven for Donkeys - Trustees

Niall Duffy – Chair of Trustees

Niall has more than 20 years’ experience in communications. He has worked in the public, private, regulatory and voluntary sectors for organisations as varied as Flybe, Nestlé UK, the NHS, IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation) and the RSPCA, where he was Head of Public Affairs during the campaign to ban fox hunting, hare coursing and stag hunting.

Niall most recently worked in corporate affairs for the multi award winning airline, Qatar Airways. He also spent some time in politics and was Leader of Southwark Council between 1997 and 2000, making him the youngest Leader in the country at that time.


Linda Rimington – Trustee

Linda spent her working life in the IT industry managing multinational teams in Europe and the USA for companies such as Oracle, Xerox, IBM and Cisco.

After setting up and selling her own IT business she was able to devote herself full time to animal welfare. Linda has been a member of the RSPCA for forty years and is currently an active member of the local Chiltern Branch, and a trustee of the Enfield Branch and the Croydon Branch. She held the position of Branch Chair for the South Bucks Branch for 15 years and is an elected trustee of the National Society. She is passionate about all wildlife, campaigns against the dog meat trade, the puppy farming trade and all captive and performing animals. She is a founder member of STAE (Save the Asian elephants) and an advisor to Protect Animals Greece.

George Russell – Trustee

After 14 years serving in the RAF where he ended up as a technical trainer on airborne radio equipment, George joined the computer industry, also as a technical trainer. From there he moved into man management and then business management with over 80 staff. After moving into sales training, George was made redundant and after this, ran courses mainly for IT sales people. He then took early retirement, began voluntary fundraising for Safe Haven for Donkeys in the early 2000s and then became a trustee in 2015.

Mike Steel BVSc LLB MRCVS – Trustee

Mike qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon from the University of Bristol in 1981.  He spent 12 years in mixed, mainly farm animal, General Practice in Devon, Gloucestershire and Scotland before joining the Veterinary Service in the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, initially as a TB tester and finally as Senior Principal Veterinary Officer.  In 2010 he became the Animal Health Director in Wales and in 2011 moved to Scotland, where he took over as Director of the Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency.  He is currently a Senior Consultant at Food & Farming Compliance.

Andy Foxcroft – CEO

Andy has worked in animal welfare for over 40 years, 30 of those within the RSPCA’s Inspectorate, taking on the top job of Chief Officer in 2003 until the end of 2007.During his career he served within the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit for 10 years investigating cases of dog fighting, wildlife crime and the illegal transportation of livestock into mainland Europe. As Chief Officer Inspectorate, Andy led the national 500 strong Field Team of Inspectors. In 2007 Andy became Director for England with Defra’s Animal Health agency leading an 800 strong team of veterinary surgeons and technicians. Responsible for the delivery of state veterinary services to the farming, animal-by-product and international animal trade industries.

In 2012, Andy joined The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth to help modernise their European operation consisting of over 300 staff working in 5 countries delivering sanctuary care, welfare services, vet care and research projects. In his last 12 months with the sanctuary, he also managed their worldwide operations focussed on improving the welfare of donkeys globally.

Andy joined the Safe Haven team as Chair of Trustees in 2017 and took over as our new CEO in May 2021.

Wendy and Jonathan the Donkey

Wendy Ahl – UK Operations Director

After 6 years working for a high street bank, Wendy moved into fundraising and spent 8 years working for a local hospice before joining Safe Haven for Donkeys in 2004. Wendy holds the “Certificate in Fundraising Management”, the UK’s largest fundraising qualification and in addition to fundraising and PR, is responsible for all aspects of the running of the UK office.

Melanie Thorpe Social Media Officer

Melanie Thorpe – Social Media Officer

Melanie joined Safe Haven in 2010, prior to which she worked in recruitment. Melanie is responsible for the charity’s social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – as well as supporter care.