The Emma Maltby Memorial Fund was established In October 2003, in memory of Peter Rawson and Emma Maltby, father and daughter. Both Peter and Emma died of cancer at a young age. Peter, aged 47 and Emma, aged 38.

Emma’s mother, Wendy Morrell, and her sister, Jane Stevens run the charity between them.

Read Emma’s Story.

What does the fund do?

The Emma Maltby fundraises money to provide educational support in hospitals for children, teenagers and young adults living with cancer.

The fund has raised over £950,000 over the last nine years.

What has the fund achieved?

Provided Learning Mentors in a hospital setting both at the LGI and St James’s University Hospital who support the educational needs of patients aged 5 -25 years.

This post is the first Learning Mentor in a hospital setting in the United Kingdom and the Fund is very proud to have their name associated with such a worthwhile service.


We now have Specialist Learning Mentors for Wards 76,77,78 79 and 94.

The Specialist Learning Mentors are part of the education team of The Hospital and Home Teaching Service.

Karen Thomas is the Specialist Learning Mentor for Ward 78 at the Leeds Children’s Hospital and Ward 94 at St James’s University Hospital. Karen supports young people aged 13 to 25 who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Barbara Howorth is the Specialist Learning Mentor for Ward 76. Barbara works with children aged 5 – 12 who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Both Learning Mentors support the children and young people on Ward 77 ( Bone Marrow Unit).

The post of the Learning Mentor at Leeds General Infirmaryis an ongoing commitment. Originally, we started out with a Learning Mentor who worked 26 hours per week. In Year 3 we were able to increase the Mentor’s hours to 37 hours per week. Funding a learning mentor costs the fund £32,000 per annum; without the Fund this post could not exist.

We soon experienced the positive impact the Learning Mentor was having on teenage cancer patients and realising one Mentor was not enough funded additional Learning Mentor in 2007 to work with the under-13 cancer patients in the children’s cancer unit at Leeds General Infirmary. The following year, St James’s opened a new Cancer Centre, and a second Teenage Cancer Trust Unit forms part of this building. The new Unit specifically cares for the older age group, 17 -25 year olds. Karen is now based on both of these Teenage Cancer Units and cares for patients aged 13 -25, allowing Barbara to care for the younger age group. Many of the cancer patients at both Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital make full recovery from their illness and the Fund offers one off grants to those who wish to continue with their studies on completion of their treatment. Over the eight years the Fund has given around 20 bursaries ranging from £250 – £500.

We are thrilled with our new recruits Karen and Barbara and knowing our supporters they will want to know more about them both! Therefore we have provided you with a profile of each of our ladies explaining their reasons for taking on the role of the Mentor and what they hope to achieve in the future.

Barbara is first to talk about her role.

Work Experience:

I have had a very long and varied career! It began back in 1977 when I started work as a Nursery Nurse in Bradford, teaching young children from Asia to speak English ready for Primary School.

After having a few years break to raise my own family ( now both in their 20’s) I went on to work in schools in Manchester and Nottingham before settling in Leeds for sometime.

In 1993 I joined the Hospital and Home Teaching Service and worked as a Nursery Nurse and later as a Learning Mentor in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Hospital . This involved teaching the children who were admitted to hospital and working closely with their families and schools and with the Nursing Team.

16 years later, I had an opportunity to try something different. I had obtained a BA( hons) degree from Leeds University and decided to take 2 years to travel. I was offered a teaching post on a small island in Thailand in the first year and taught children aged between 5-8 in a tiny international school. In my small class of 10 I had 7 countries represented! It was quite amazing.

For the last year and until August this year I was living and working in Munich, Germany. With a German colleague I taught in a bi-lingual school and we had 22 children aged between 3-5 years old in our class. My colleague taught in German and I taught in English. The children were from many mixed heritage families and many of them could speak 3 languages at such a young age.

Why did you chose this job?

Once I made the decision to return to the UK I did not hesitate to apply for the post of Specialist Learning Mentor. I already knew what an outstanding service and team the Hospital and Home Teaching Service was- but I also felt that working in the new Oncology department at L.G.I would be both challenging and rewarding and that it would be a privilege to work with families and try and make a difference however small.

What does the job involve?

At the heart of the job is the child and their education. The job involves teaching them if they are well enough to engage in the activity or may simply involve reading to them if not. Often the children will enjoy a group lesson in school and this requires supporting.

Parents often appreciate having the time to talk to someone who isn’t quite as rushed as the Nursing team and it is important to gain parents trust and confidence in matters related to school.

To ensure a smooth transition within the educational services, the post involves a significant amount of liaison with the child’s own mainstream school . Often working alongside the appointed Macmillan Nurse we go out together to discuss the child and the type of care they will require when they return to school. School are also responsible for providing work and this is then collated by the Learning Mentor who will then inform colleagues in the Hospital and Home Teaching Service of the child’s levels of attainment and ability.

When a child is not able to attend school during the course of their treatment the Learning Mentor is responsible for setting up and liaising with the Home Teaching Services around the region.

What is the most interesting part of the job?

Being new in this post (at the time of writing and only four weeks in!) everything about it is interesting! The children and parents are an inspiration as they cope with their illness and it is a good feeling to know that the Learning Mentor can at least ensure that the childs education will continue throughout.

It is also great to offer a nice experience through education and make it fun for the child while in hospital when they are under- going some difficult treatments. It is great to get alongside them and become a friendly face.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Undoubtably the most challenging part of the job is seeing the children suffer and feel unwell. It can be distressing and hard to ‘switch-off’ at times.

Thankfully we work within a supportive team and it is good to share concerns.

Karen Thomas talks about her role.

Work Experience: I recently graduated from Leeds University in the summer of 2011 with a BA in English Language. Being fresh out of the education system myself means I understand the current academic processes and issues that the young people I work with may be going through and can guide them using my own personal experiences. Outside of my degree I have spent a great deal of time working with young people of all ages, through many outlets including the running of summer play schemes and volunteering as a leader at a Guide unit back at home in Birkenhead.

Why did you choose this job? Education is an incredibly important part of carving a future full of opportunities and I firmly believe that everybody should be entitled to the same access and opportunities despite any setbacks they may be facing in other areas of their lives. When I saw this position advertised I thought it was such a vitally important role, and a great opportunity to really help young people whose education may be suffering through no fault of their own as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

What does the job involve? Oncology patients often find that they are missing out on attending school or college for extended periods of time while they are undergoing treatment. The main part of my job is ensuring that school and college aged students are still receiving the same access to their studies as their peers. This involves liaising with the schools to make sure that we are delivering lessons which are appropriate to what is happening in school, as well as working with nurse specialists, social workers and other professional bodies to make sure that appropriate measures are put in place to make sure that the student can get into school as much as possible. Another part of my job is working with young people who want to further their education through university or an apprenticeship course. For example, I am currently working with a young person whose cancer diagnosis has given him motivation to gain qualifications so that he can support himself in the future and so at the moment I am helping him research Mechanics courses.

What is the most interesting part of the job? The job involves so much interaction and building relationships with the young people on the wards. Often during treatment, education can be the last thing on a patient’s mind, and so an important and really enjoyable part of my role is to spend time engaging with the young people by taking part in activities on the wards or just being there for a chat so that they know who I am and feel comfortable about approaching me for advice and guidance when they are ready.

What is the most challenging part of the job? Naturally, seeing these young people who are often of quite a similar age to me going through something as difficult as cancer is extremely tough. Seeing their day to day lives being put on hold due to their treatment can be very difficult but the strength and determination most patients have to carry on with learning as well as bringing fun and laughter to the wards is incredibly admirable and a pleasure to see.

Here’s a picture of Karen and Barbara.