UK Board of Directors

Charles Besley

Board Chair

Charlie was appointed to the BethanyKids UK Board in May 2010 and to the BethanyKids International Board in September 2012. Charlie graduated from Southampton University Medical School in 1992, and subsequently pursued post-graduate training in General Practice. From 2000-2006 he served as a GP Trainer in the UK and is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK.  After almost ten years in National Health Service Practice in the United Kingdom Charlie joined the team at AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kenya in 2006 where he served for five years; three of these as Hospital Medical Director. He has a passion for palliative medicine and whilst currently working part-time in General Practice at the Waterside Health Centre in Hythe, he also has an appointment with Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington. He is a tutor with PRIME International – Partners in International Medical Education – and takes every opportunity to encourage those working in East Africa. Charlie is married to Jacqui, a qualified nurse & health visitor, and they have three wonderful children – Emily, Thomas & Andrew.

David M. Killingray

David was appointed to the BethanyKids board in October 2010 and to the BethanyKids International Board in September 2012. He resides in Sevenoaks, Kent, UK. He is Emeritus Professor of History, Goldsmiths, and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, both in the University of London and Honorary Professor of History, University of Stellenbosch to 2012. From 1989-2002 he was Co-Editor of African Affairs, the quarterly journal of the Royal African Society. From 1972-2003 he served as Lecturer/Professor of History, Goldsmiths London and from 1961-72 Schoolteacher in UK and Tanzania. In 1955 he BECAME A FOLLOWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. David is a recognized writer and editor, teacher, lecturer/public speaker and handyman. He has served on various academic bodies and as Vice President of The Royal African Society. He attended two secondary schools, the London School of Economics where he earned a BSc(Econ) in 1962 and Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of York in 1968. He earned his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) from the University of London in 1982. He has been married to Margaret since 1961. They have three married daughters and eight grandchildren.

Peter Smith

Peter commenced his working life on the 5th September 1960 as a junior clerk in the Town Clerk’s Department of Gloucester County Borough Council. After one year in this position he was given his articles (training contract) and was admitted as a solicitor (legal counsel/lawyer) in 1970.

At that time he was the Legal Assistant with the Gloucester Rural District Council but moved in October 1970 to the Malvern Urban District Council where he became the Deputy Chief Executive. Subsequently, Peter became the Chief Executive of the Council and in 1974 moved to the Severn Trent Water Authority where he was the Divisional Secretary to the Severn River Division. Later he became the Regional Solicitor for the water authority covering an area from Bristol in the South to Wrexham in the North, Coventry in the East and the Welsh coast to the West.

Responding to the call for full time ministry through officership Peter entered The Salvation Army Training College in 1978 and was commissioned and ordained in 1980.

There followed three Corps (Church) appointments and in April 1989 Peter was transferred to The Salvation Army International Headquarters and became the Legal and Parliamentary Secretary, a post which he held until retirement on 1st December 2009. In this capacity Peter advised 6 different Generals (international leaders) and The Salvation Army worldwide on a very wide range of legal issues. Many overseas visits took place to resolve legal problems and such visits have included Legal Workshops in many places which have been greatly appreciated by those who were privileged to attend. Also over 2,000 Salvation Army officers have benefited from his lectures at the International College for Officers during the 20 year period.

Throughout this period Peter advised The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland on all legal issues and following retirement Peter continued in this appointment as the Director of Legal Services. He finally left this position in February 2011.

During this time Peter served as a Director/Trustee of The Salvation Army Trustee Company, The Salvation Army International Trustee Company and was a member of the Board of Management of The Salvation Army Housing Association. These positions and appointments have all given Peter a wide experience of law and administration of charitable bodies both in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Peter is currently the Chairman of The Rechabite Friendly Society which trades as Healthy Investment. Peter joined the BethanyKids UK Board and BethanyKids International Board in 2012. Although he has many interests and hobbies Peter particularly enjoys being with his four grandsons.

John Swinfen

John was born at The Salvation Army’s Mother’s Hospital, Clapton, London UK on 24th January 1931. He emigrated to Salisbury, Rhodesia in November 1932 with Salvation Army Officer parents appointed there.

John grew up as a Salvationist, was educated and worked in Rhodesia until 1954, marrying Norma on May 29ththat year and travelling to the UK to enter The Salvation Army International Training College together as Cadets in September 1954.  They were commissioned in May 1955 to a UK Corps (Church).

In 1959 John and Norma were appointed to Tshelenyemba Mission School, Rhodesia, and served in Salvation Army Education programmes at Mazowe High School and Howard Institute until 1975, including as Principal of the Institute from 1971 – mainly during the Zimbabwe “Freedom” War.

From 1977 to 1981 John was the Director of Studies at The Salvation Army William Booth College UK, then Undersecretary for Africa at the International Headquarters, followed by appointment to East Africa as Chief Secretary.  This was followed by 6 years as Director of International Development at International Headquarters, then 3 years as Territorial Commander Congo Brazzaville and finally as International Secretary for Africa, retiring in October 1998.

The first 11 years of retirement were spent as Part-time Tutor (3 days a week) at the William Booth College in London, with 3 short-term assignments to lead a Salvation Army territory in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia) and other visits to territories for Strategic Surveys and Brengle Institutes.

John and Norma are currently living in retirement in Beckenham, UK.  They attend the Nunhead Salvation Army Corps (Church) in Greater London.