Sherine Wheeler Appointed Chief Executive of The Fire Fighters Charity

Photo caption: Sherine Wheeler, newly appointed Chief Executive, The Fire Fighters Charity
Credit: The Fire Fighters Charity


The Fire Fighters Charity has announced the appointment of Sherine Wheeler as Chief Executive.


Joining the charity at the end of April, Sherine brings extensive leadership experience having worked to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of charities, most recently Mayhew, and including Marie Curie, Action for Children and Young Lives vs Cancer. She has also advised a number of charities on strategy, impact and performance.


Speaking following her appointment, Sherine said: “I’m delighted to be leading The Fire Fighters Charity and its specialist teams into the future. Together we will ensure many thousands of members of the fire services community can live healthier and happier, and that they are valued and recognised for their significant contribution to society.


“It’s exciting to join such an impactful and dynamic organisation. It will be an absolute honour for me to play a part in The Fire Fighters Charity’s vital services, supporting the whole fire community and ensuring fire service personnel are fit and well, so they can be there for us when we need them most. I’m very much looking forward to working with all the incredible individuals, teams and partners that support and deliver The Fire Fighter’s Charity’s work day-in-day-out.”


John Baines, Chair of The Fire Fighters Charity Board of Trustees, said of Sherine’s appointment: “I am delighted to welcome Sherine to The Fire Fighters Charity, she has achieved a huge amount during her career to date, leading organisations and teams to affect positive change and engage effectively with supporters and beneficiaries.


“I am confident that Sherine will lead our organisation into an exciting future, building on our 80-year history to ensure we can provide health and wellbeing opportunities, and life-enhancing support to more members of the UK’s fire services community long into the future.”


Sherine’s appointment follows the announcement in November 2023 of current Chief Executive, Dr Jill Tolfrey’s resignation. Leaving the organisation after 10 years in the role, Dr Tolfrey commented: “Stepping away from the Charity comes with some sadness. However, I am very proud of all that has been achieved over the last 10 years and, as we look to begin a new strategic period, I feel the time is right for someone new to take the helm and to drive the Charity forward in its ambition to achieve long term sustainability, together with continued excellence in the field of health and wellbeing.”


During her time as Chief Executive, Dr Tolfrey oversaw significant change across the organisation, including expansion of its in-person and community services, the development of its digital, self-help and prevention-focussed services, the £1.8m redevelopment of the Charity’s Harcombe House centre and, most recently, the launch of its new Suicide Crisis Line.


Over recent years, Dr Tolfrey has also led the Charity through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, both of which required the charity to move quickly in the provision of agile, responsive services for the fire services community, and which brought considerable challenges in regard to fundraising. Having safely navigated those storms, Jill leaves the charity at a time when it is now supporting over 10,000 people a year, providing accessible in-person, community-based and digital services for all serving and retired personnel, as well as their families.


Dr Tolfrey will leave The Fire Fighters Charity on 31 May, after working alongside Sherine during a transition and handover period.

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