Staff and Trustees
Canon Samuels retired after a 40 year ministry as an Anglican priest, latterly delivered as a much loved vicar of St Mary outwith the Walls, Chester. He spent thereafter, a very active decade successfully leading the Trustees of the Charity before retiring as Chair in September 2017. One time Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Kings School, Chester, he is actively involved with Adoption Matters (North West) and is National Chaplain for the Dunkirk Veterans. Chris was appointed Chaplain to the Queen in 2000. He remains very active in preaching and is in regular demand for preaching and services. He is very active in the Rotary Club of Chester and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Chris has been involved with CID since 1989 initially in a very practical way collecting goods and leading lorry convoys of aid, to where the need was greatest in Eastern Europe. He became part of the Children in Distress family of support in 1994. He and his wife Sarah, have devotedly redeveloped their present home on the outskirts of Chester, which also houses Sarah's renowned art gallery and art sales e-business
Sir Neil Thorne accepted the honour of being the Charity’s Life President in 2016 in recognition of his role in helping found and direct the work of the Charity since its inception. Sir Neil has led a life of service to others, initially in the armed service where he served with Gurkha Regiment and subsequently with a professional qualification as a Chartered Surveyor he followed a successful professional career to became an authority in transport and as a Local Authority Councillor, City Alderman and later a Member of Parliament for the constituency of Ilford South. He played a significant role in sponsoring the Parliamentary Bills providing the Heathrow Express, Jubilee Line, Stratford Extension. Docklands Light Railway Bank extension NS1’s, St Pancras Chanel Tunnel line among many others. Sir Neil’s interest in charity is far reaching, but focused primarily on hospices and health care both at home and abroad. He has played a significant role in Children in Distress, being one of those, who signed the Charity’s original founding documents for Romanian Children's AID and Children in Distress and now is the charity's most senior Trustees. Together with his wife Sheila, they generously host many of the Trustees meetings in and around London
Harry and his wife have been long-term child sponsors and initially visited St Margaret’s whilst on a walking holiday in Romania in 2016. Harry is glad to become a trustee of Children in Distress; as a recently retired Paediatric Surgeon and an active governor of the Marjorie McClure School for children with special needs in Chislehurst; he has a deal of experience to share and is happy to share his experience in the context of care for children with special needs overseas. Trained at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and in the Academic Surgical Unit at St Mary’s Hospital, University of London, Harry had hoped to become a General Surgeon with an interest in paediatric surgery, however the excess of trainees in adult practice in the mid 1980’s enabled him to pursue a rewarding clinical and academic career in paediatric surgery. Appointments followed at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital London and Bart’s and the London Hospitals as a paediatric surgeon with specialist experience in continence issues which led to a professional career opportunity leading a multidisciplinary team comprising of paediatricians, specialist nurses, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists managing children with chronic disability, learning difficulties and behavioural disorders. He also has wide experience working to deal with childhood neglect and abuse in many forms.
Florin Chilian, a popular singer and renowned journalist recently became a patron of CID Romania having been actively involved in fundraising events over a number of years. Florin’s commitment and support flows from his own childhood, which he describes as “dark and traumatizing”. His early childhood, in an apartment shared with his mother and sister in one of Bucharest’s meaner neighbourhoods brings only bad memories of “hunger and the terrible desire to be adopted”. When Florin was three his mum simply left, him in an orphanage but he ran home to the only people in his family who loved him, his grandparents. After a while, he left to live on the streets, his time on the streets taught him that he must learn to survive that money meant food so the gang started to steal flowers and sell them so they could eat. For a while, he even slept in the sewers desperately seeking the warmth of the underground heating pipes near sports clubs. With his friends, he started singing in subways to make a little money mostly around Christmas. Florin was in the street seizing freedom when the revolution of 1989 swept Ceausescu away he saw other young men die around him so with his new-found freedom, he took the “golden” road to France seeking life experience and opportunity. He tried work in casinos, met and fell in love but never seemed to settle. He was called back to music immersing himself and sacrificing for his muse. In November 2001 he cut his first album “Iubi-Interface to reality” which was well received but it was the follow up “Ten Commandments” that confirmed his popularity even with the most sceptical critics. His gold and platinum album “The Autistic" followed in 2009 to universal acclaim. As a performing artist Florin has refused to compromise his integrity to popularity or publicity, and he determines himself what to sing, where and for how much. He is an inspiration for the young with little or no support, who have talent, ambition, commitment, potential and a passion to succeed, but he is also a man who has not forgotten his past and is ever willing to help other make the grade.