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Our Patrons and Trustees

Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL



Cyrus Todiwala is Chef Patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, the landmark Indian restaurant set up with his wife Pervin fifteen years ago. 

Cyrus appears regularly on television and radio, contributes pieces to magazines and journals, and has authored three cookbooks, including the best-selling 'Indian Summer'. Cyrus and Cafe Spice Namaste have won a multitude of awards. 

Already a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, in 2010, Cyrus received an OBE for his contribution to the hospitality industry.

Cyrus was invited to become a patron of Learning for Life for his remarkable contributions towards our continuing success in achieving our vision.


Daniel Doherty



Daniel is Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle, which opened in August 2012 on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, at 110 Bishopsgate in the City of London. The phenomenally busy restaurant is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and boasts unparalleled views across London. 

Daniel’s modern take on European cuisine showcases his culinary diversity, with an emphasis on local, rustic, seasonal and sustainable British ingredients. He won the Rising Star Chef Award at the Tatler Restaurant Awards 2013 and released the Duck & Waffle cookbook in October 2014.


Perosha Tengra



Perosha was appointed Treasurer in April 2008. Perosha is a partner in a small Chartered Accountants based in Holborn that was established in 1984.

In September 2008, Perosha took part in our Paris to London cycle event, Cycle for Life, raising a huge sum for Learning for Life.

Minaxi Desai

Chair of Trustees


Minaxi, a seasoned Human Resources expert and a member of the CIPD, joined LfL in 2007. She has over 25 years’ experience in HR, gained in the private sector, starting her career with the Ford Motor Company and then moving onto to gain experience in the Entertainment Industry (Thorn EMI). The last 16 years of her HR career were spent within the Logistics Industry (United Transport International, Danzas, Tibbett & Britten, and Exel/DHL).

Since taking the decision to leave the Private Sector in 2006, Minaxi has worked in the Not for Profit Sector; undertaking a one year interim assignment assisting in the successful merger of two charities and becoming a Trustee of Greenwich CAB.

Shernaz Engineer

Deputy Chair of Trustees


Shernaz is the founder of Verity Appointments, primarily a legal secretarial agency, and then Veracity Education, an agency which supplies permanent and temporary staff to schools and other educational establishments.

Having joined Learning for Life's board of Trustees in 2004, Shernaz is an active member of the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners and was EFBWBO winner in 2000. Shernaz was awarded the 'London Day Business Award' by Ken Livingstone in 2003 for making a difference to life in the Capital.

She is Vice-Chair of Governors of Charlotte Sharman School in Southwark, a member of Bank of England Small Business Advisory Panel, and a board member of the Equal Opportunities Commission investigation into Pregnancy Discrimination.

Chris Hough



Chris joined the board of Learning for Life in 2004. He is a barrister practising in the fields of medical law and catastrophic personal injury, and a Director of a charity supporting medical facilities and staff in Orissa, India.

Chris was instrumental in developing the Cycle for Life event in 2008 - a successful fundraising cycling challenge from Paris to London that we look forward to sponsoring for many years to come.

Chris brings much enthusiasm to his role as trustee, and also as a fundraising participant himself!

Sue Simmonds



Susan Simmonds has over twenty five years experience working with non profits and central, regional and local government, in the UK and internationally. Her work has focused on strategic communications and she has worked as a communications consultant for leading UK NGOs, coalitions and on advocacy campaigns. 

Susan has been CEO of three charities focusing on poverty reduction, housing and education.  She is recent past Chair of St Mark's Family Centre in London, Deputy Chair of the Citizenship Foundation, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Fifth Estate Committee. 


Suniya Qureshi



Suniya first worked with LfL in 1998 as an office volunteer, when studying for her Masters Degree. At this time, she met the founding trustees Charlotte Bannister-Parker and Sophie Swire.

After completing her Masters in Media and Cultural Studies, she worked in Print/Radio and Asian TV, dabbling in some work for the BBC World Service as well. From there she went into relationship management and marketing for a publishing house, often fundraising for LfL whenever an opportunity arose.

She is currently working as a Strategy Advisor for the Department of Work and Pensions and remains very passionate about the work of LfL. 

Suniya joined our board of trustees in Spring 2008, and will be helping to increase our fundraising efforts. Suniya recently wrote, directed and produced a play, 'Chai aur Rishtas', which had a two night stint at a West End theatre, raising money for, and the profile of LfL.

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Learning For Life is a Registered Charity. Charity Registration Number: 1105277

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