SPANA staff treating an abandoned horse in Morocco

Meet the Chief Executive and the Directors of our five departments that comprises our SPANA Head Office:

Geoffrey Dennis – Chief Executive

Geoffrey Dennis Chief ExecutiveGeoffrey started his career in the commercial sector but decided to change career paths after visiting the shanty towns of 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.


Stephen Albone – Director of Education Programmes

Stephen has worked at SPANA since 2011 as an advisor for the charity’s overseas humane education programmes. Stephen holds a Master of Philosophy degree in ecology and a Post Graduate Certificate in education. As a qualified teacher, Stephen previously taught in a number of schools before taking up a position at Durham University in the School of Education. At Durham, Stephen undertook academic research  in the monitoring and evaluation of educational systems, for which he was awarded a doctorate degree. Stephen has trained with the Humane Society of the United States and holds Humane Education Specialist credentials.

Stephen Albone – Director of Education Programmes with donkey

Nancy Kemp – Director of Fundraising

Nancy is responsible for SPANA’s fundraising, leading a talented team of staff who together raise vital income for the world’s working animals. Nancy joined SPANA in 2013, having worked in the voluntary sector since graduating with a degree in Politics and Philosophy. Nancy is passionate about the sector and has previously held roles at The Eve Appeal and Sparks. She was appointed Director of Fundraising in August 2016. Nancy is also Chair of the animal charity consortium Together for Animals.

Nancy Kemp with grey horse

Dr Ben Sturgeon – Veterinary Director

Dr Sturgeon worked in a consultancy role for several years on SPANA’s behalf before recently joining the charity. 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.

Dr Ben Sturgeon

Paul Sylva – Director of Finance

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.

Paul Sylva

Dan Tickle – Director of Communications and Emergency Response

Dan has worked across the voluntary sector in a range of communications and management roles, including Mencap, The Blue Cross, the National Deaf Children’s Society and, most recently, as chief executive of the charity No Smoking Day. He joined SPANA in 2011, building a new department which has significantly increased the profile of the charity through media relations, digital communications and publications.

Dan Tickle, SPANA Communications Director