The Board of Trustees

City of Joy Aid, UK is governed by a board of four trustees committed to assisting with the raising, allocation and transfer of funds, ensuring that the money is used for the purposes for which it has been given and that projects are completed and maintained.

All trustees give their time voluntarily and receive no remuneration or other benefits.

The trustees of City of Joy Aid, UK are:

Commander John Coo QPM

John Coo first went to Calcutta (as it was then) in 1987 to accompany his wife, author Kathryn Spink, for a meeting with Mother Teresa. Whilst there, he visited Udayan and met James and Lallita Stevens. On returning to England, at James’s request, the couple coordinated what was then an informal group of supporters in the United Kingdom, known as the Friends of Udayan. As a longstanding friend of the Lapierres, with a background in law and a very practical approach to care for the less fortunate, when in 2000, Dominique Lapierre established City of Joy Aid, UK as a formally registered charity to enable readers of his books to donate to India’s poor, John was a natural choice of trustee.

Mr. Christopher Mann

Chris Mann was still a student at St Joan of Arc Catholic school when he first joined one of Caroline’s parties to India in February 2007. He was to return to Kolkata on numerous subsequent occasions, and continued to support the home whilst studying for his BA in Finance and Accounting at the University of Kent. Chris served City of Joy Aid, UK as secretary until 2015 when a fourth trustee was being sought, and he now combines both roles. His sustained efforts on behalf of the Udayan children, his financial skills and IT literacy make him a valuable member of the board.

Ms. Kathryn Spink MA Oxon

Kathryn Spink (Coo) first became involved with the Lapierres when Dominique was writing his international bestseller, “City of Joy” about the indomitable spirit of the poor of Calcutta. As the English translator of that book and a number of Dominique’s subsequent works, and an authorised biographer of Mother Teresa, she was introduced to the slums of Calcutta and to Udayan, and became a faithful supporter of it and a number of other Indian NGOs.  In 2000 the Lapierres asked her to manage the UK based charity, City of Joy Aid, UK and she has been a trustee ever since.

Mrs. Caroline Weldon MA London

It was in St Peter’s Square, Rome in 2003, whilst waiting for the ceremony of the beatification of Mother Teresa to commence that Caroline Weldon and Kathryn Spink discovered their shared concern for leprosy sufferers. Caroline had long harboured an interest in the ministry of Father Damien to people with leprosy in Hawaii.  She was promptly provided with information about Udayan, and together, she and Kathryn started taking students from St Joan of Arc, the school where Caroline was a teacher, and other potential Udayan supporters, out to India. Caroline was to continue this for a number of years until she retired in 2017, and was a tireless fundraiser at her own and other schools.