SPANA vet and man looking at donkeys
SPANA vet and man looking at donkeys

Our Staff

Smiling man sitting among donkeys

Geoffrey Dennis – Chief Executive 

Geoffrey started his career in the commercial sector but decided to change career paths after a visit to Bangladesh. On his return to the UK he joined the British Red Cross as International Director.

The scale of the British Red Cross’s international work doubled during his tenure – Geoffrey led emergency operational teams in locations including Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Following a period leading the International Red Cross / Crescent’s operations in first North Korea and subsequently across the whole of South Asia, he was appointed Chief Executive of CARE International in the UK. After the 2004 tsunami he worked on emergency and reconstruction operations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, including agricultural and livestock projects.

Man in suit smiling

David Bassom – Director of Fundraising and Marketing

David leads all aspects of work to generate voluntary income, brand awareness and support for SPANA. Prior to joining the charity in 2017, David served as Director of Fundraising and Marketing at the Royal National Children’s Foundation and Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Barnardo’s. He has also held head of marketing and communications roles at Blind Veterans UK, the NSPCC and Girlguiding UK. David’s work in the charity sector has earned several accolades, including PRCA, IOIC and Fundraising Magazine Awards, as well as a CharityComms Inspiring Communicator Award. David began his career in journalism, contributing to national and local titles including The Guardian, Radio Times and Heat.

Man in blue shirt smiling

Dr Ben Sturgeon – Director of Services

Dr Sturgeon leads the work of SPANA’s core services, which encompasses our global provision of veterinary care, community training, humane education and emergency support. Ben worked in a consultancy role for several years on SPANA’s behalf before joining the charity in 2017. Ben previously lectured at Dublin and Edinburgh Universities before entering private equine practice for 16 years. He represented BEVA sitting on the Welfare council and Medicines council. He is published in Equine Infectious disease and in Orthopaedic disease. He is certified in Equine Practice, Equine Sports Medicine and is a member of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians.

Man in glasses and blue shirt smiling

Paul Sylva – Director of Finance and IT

A chartered accountant from New Zealand, Paul worked for a number of commercial organisations before moving into the charity sector. Within the sector he has held various finance roles in a number of charities including Brain Research Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and Victim Support, before joining SPANA in 2017. He is responsible for the finance, human resources and administration functions at SPANA.

Looking for more information about the incredible people who work for SPANA? Meet our trustees here, or if you’re interested in working for SPANA yourself, see our current vacancies here.