The Team

At the heart of GenR8 is a fantastic group of committed volunteers who give up their time to take a Christian message into primary schools. We are so thankful for their energy and enthusiasm without which we would be lost! Thank you!

GenR8 also employs one full-time director and a number of part-time staff to facilitate and run the day-to-day work of the charity.

Staff and Admin Team

Siân Thorne. Director

Siân became Director in March 2023, having spent the previous four years working with GenR8 as Inspire Prayer Spaces Director. She grew up in Cambridgeshire and has known about GenR8 for a long time, watching many assemblies in her previous role as a primary school teacher. She now lives in Trumpington and attends Christ Church, Trumpington. Siân loves sharing the good news of Jesus with children and using creative ways of talking to God through prayer. She is excited about the future of GenR8 and what God is doing in Cambridgeshire!

Steve Whyatt. Project Leader

Steve set up GenR8 with John Hardwick in 2001 having previously worked for Scripture Union in the Cambridgeshire area as a field staff member specialising in schools, and also as a Baptist Church Youth Worker in Histon. He was employed as director of GenR8 in 2010 and continued in this position until March 2023 when he took a step back to focus on a new role. Steve is passionate about children and young people having the opportunity to hear about, learn from and experience the Christian faith. Steve is married to Rachel, and they have four grown up children – Megan, Ellen, Millie and Alfie – Steve makes do with being an avid Manchester City fan as he can’t kick a ball accurately anymore! Steve and Rachel live in Cottenham and attend the local Baptist church.

John Hardwick. Co-Founder, Scriptwriter and RE Days leader

John is supported by Children Worldwide & Counties and brings his unique talent to a variety of different settings around the country as well as locally. John is an internationally known children’s song writer and author. John lives in Willingham and attends Histon Baptist church. Visit John’s website.


Ruth Gabe. Administrator & Assembly Bookings Coordinator

Ruth has been a primary school teacher for the last 30 years (with an 8-year break to be a stay-at-home mum) and has seen many GenR8 assemblies and witnessed how much the children (and staff) enjoyed them. She was looking for a change of direction and the opportunity to take on the role of administrator came up at just the right time. She is married to Julian, also a teacher, and has two grown-up children.

Paul Brown. Bookkeeper and Assembly team member

Paul first joined a GenR8 assembly team in 2010 while he was pastor of Trinity Life Church. He took a few years break to train and work as a Maths teacher but rejoined the team in 2017. He really enjoys the opportunity to be very silly in public whilst taking part in GenR8 assemblies. He took on the role of bookkeeper in 2020.

Kathryn Gee. Assembly Bookings Coordinator and team member

Kathryn is married to Simon has 2 children and has been involved in children’s ministry at Melbourn Baptist for many years. She returned to GenR8 in 2009 after several years’ absence. She has an extensive supply of props and dressing up clothes, courtesy of her children and particularly enjoys being part of the fantastic GenR8 team.

Helen Tobiss. Communications Coordinator, Assembly Bookings Coordinator and team member

Married and with three grown-up children, Helen works part-time for GenR8 in communications, however being part of a lovely assembly team that visits local schools is what she enjoys most about being involved with GenR8.

Dianne Conway. Assembly Bookings Coordinator

A key organiser within the GenR8 set up, Dianne is a calming influence on any GenR8 team she is part of. As an ex-teacher Dianne is in a good position to offer insight and advice in the realm of school. She also knows everybody in the Sawston area!

Bev Thomas. Assembly Bookings Coordinator and team member

After living in the North West for 26 years Bev and her husband Andy moved to Longstanton in 2015. A keen cyclist and gardener Bev is enjoying the sunnier weather in Cambridgeshire! Their daughter lives with them and supports refugees, teaching English. Bev is now a member of Emmanuel Church Northstowe after several happy years at Willingham Baptist Church. Previously a teaching assistant she has enjoyed being back in school working with the GenR8 Assemblies team and helping with Cool Choices.

Amy Robinson. Script Writer

Amy’s first tour with GenR8 was in 2008, since when she has moved from Cambridge to Suffolk, which doesn’t seem to have made much difference to her level of involvement! She is a freelance writer and storyteller and seems to have landed in charge of the children’s work at the church where her husband is Rector – now I wonder how that happened?! She has two children, Abigail and Jeremy.

Assemblies Team

Gillian Overitt

Gillian lives in Sawston with her husband Andy. She has three grown-up children and five grandchildren. Gillian enjoys writing for children, her first book was published in 2012. She is excited to be involved in GenR8 and the opportunity to take the Christian message to children in such a fun way.

Carol Thorndike

Carol is married to Bob and they have 3 children. 11 years ago they established a charity working to help local disadvantaged adults and children. Part of this work involves organising and taking children away on holiday where they will encounter new things, including experiencing God’s love for them. GenR8 is another way local children hear of His love, and Carol is excited and privileged to be part of this work.

Jane Farewell

Jane is a wife and mother of 3 grown sons. All four of her ‘boys’ are Canadian. When possible she enjoys canoeing in the wilderness, otherwise it’s on the Cam. When not out with the GenR8 team Jane loves gardening, cooking and DIY, but not all at the same time!

David Newton

David is a house husband, an ICT Teaching Assistant in a Primary School, and a member of Cottenham Baptist Church. In his early days in GenR8 he discovered his alter ego in the form of Gordon the puppet. In his spare time he enjoys almost anything which is outdoors and away from computers and phones!

Myra Gaunt

Our Scottish tiger! Myra has grown in confidence enormously over the past couple of years and is a real asset to GenR8 as well as the Ely based Light & Life team. Myra throws herself into most roles (the trouble is she can’t get out!) and is an enthusiastic and key team member. She would be outstanding, but we can’t understand a word of her strange dialect!

Jan Newton

Jan has seen what teams do from the “other side” as she is a Supply Teacher. Having seen the enjoyment and excitement of children (and staff) when GenR8 appear, the opportunity to get involved was too good to miss! Jan is married to Mark and they have two children. When not teaching, she enjoys cooking and gardening and various types of music.

Tony Daggianti

Katalin Kovacs

Cheryl Titmus

Linda Hardy

Gillian Cowen

Sarah Reynolds

Jackie Smith

Jackie is an ex headteacher who believed God was calling her to go to schools and do Christian presentations, which she has been doing under the name of Light and Life in and around Ely for 20 years. She joined GenR8 at its inception in 2001 and still loves being on team (even with Steve!) where she is able to release her inner child!

Peter Smith

Peter has been married to Jackie for 46 years and they still enjoy working together. He is a retired headteacher and, as well as helping to write some of GenR8’s material, has joined the team since retiring. Peter enjoys being able to share the gospel message with children, whom he sees as crucial to the future of the church.

Petal White

Petal re-joined GenR8 in 2010 after training at All Nations Christian College on the one year Arts Pathway course. Petal thoroughly enjoys her involvement with GenR8, describing GenR8 as a ‘wonderful set of people to work with’. She finds a joy communicating such profound messages from the Bible through the channel of acting, puppetry and song while sharing about Jesus.

Gemma Harvey

Gemma joined GenR8 in 2015 and has found it a world away from being a healthcare scientist at Addenbrooke’s hospital! Gemma is working hard at keeping a straight face in presentations as it is so enjoyable!

Mike Sweetlove

Mike, and his wife Pat, live in Baldock from where they help run ‘Friends of Smile Charity Uganda (UK)’, raising funds through craft fairs, car boot sales and the like. When not doing that they are often found walking. They have walked the paths in Corsica, completed the Coast to Coast in England (1 3/4 times), and sections of the GR5 through Europe. Mike also helps out at Food Shed in Stevenage and Make Lunch in Royston. He took early retirement in 2018 and joined the Royston Team after Paul Brown suggested he ‘give it a go’. Still doing that…!

Sarah Thorne

Sarah has recently returned to GenR8 in a ‘job share’ role with the South team. Always enthusiastic and smiling, Sarah is a great ambassador for all that we do.

David Walters

David lives in St Ives with his wife of 7 years, Pam. He has taught in local primary schools for the last 30 years. In recent years he does some supply teaching and teaches sax and guitar privately, when not away! He has attended St Ives Christian Fellowship for 29 years and has helped with youth work and Sunday School. Interests include tennis, cycling, travelling and classic rock!

Laura Andrews

Laura first volunteered with GenR8 in 2004 and after a few years break has caught the GenR8 bug again! The opportunity to join with others in sharing the good news of Jesus in a fun way was just irresistible. The long journey across the fens to meet up with an interesting array of God’s creatures (other team members!) to do this makes it very worthwhile…

Siân Thorne (Director)

Steve Whyatt (Project Leader)

John Hardwick (Co-founder)

Kathryn Gee (Administrator)

Helen Tobiss (Communications Coordinator)

Paul Brown (Bookkeeper)

Bev Thomas (Booking Coordinator)

Inspire Prayer Space Team

Becky Campbell

Becky is married to Errol and has two children. She works as a Teaching and ICT assistant at Great Chesterford Primary Academy and worships at C3 in Cambridge. She loves reading, eating out and spending quality time with people. She is very passionate about Prayer Spaces in schools and connecting with her local community.

Alex Gullon

Janet King

After a long career in primary schools, which included watching quite a few GenR8 assemblies, Janet wanted to continue working with children. An Inspire training day back in 2013 showed her how to combine this desire with her passion for colour and fairy lights! She also works in schools abroad through SVN and Mission Direct and is a member of Bethel Baptist Church, Swavesey.

Peter Rootham-Smith

Siân Thorne (GenR8 Director)

It’s Your Move Team

A group of 11 enthusiastic young people made up the It's Your Move team in 2023. Thanks go to them for their participation in this programme. The team was led by Siân Thorne and Steve Whyatt.

Cool Choices Team

Paul Brown (also Assemblies)

Liz Jenkin (also Trustee)

David Newton (also Assemblies)

Bev Thomas (also Assemblies)

Siân Thorne (GenR8 Director)

Steve Whyatt (Project Leader)

Weekend Team

Linda Hardy (also Assemblies)

Caroline North

Tim North

Gillian Overitt (also Assemblies)

Bev Thomas (also Assemblies)

Siân Thorne (GenR8 Director)

Petal White (also Assemblies)

Steve Whyatt (Project Leader)

Xcellr8 Team

Core Team

Nick Cairns

Libby Dear – Young Team Representative

Eliane Hamaia – Bookings

Susan Meah – Minutes

Emilia Rowland – Young Team Representative

Andrew Staplehurst

Siân Thorne

Steve Whyatt

Connie Wilson –  Young Team Representative

Main Team

Barbara Ashton

Mark Ashton

Aaron Au

Julia Au

Ruth Barry

Rowan Braam

Alison Brock – Head Caterer

Ros Cairns

Sam Cairns

Jason Dear

Callum Dickerson

Elinor Everitt

Lara Hagger

Esther Hawkins

Lynn Hawkins

Matthew May

Bradley McMahon

Rebecca Morgan

David Newton

Caroline North

Tim North

Hatty Staplehurst

Issy Vetoshkina

Young Team

Jonty Addison

Boaz Au

Anna Cairns

Anna Cottenden

John Dear

Marcus Everitt

Matilda Gloag

Anna Lock

Daniel May

Elizabeth Meeks

Miriam Meeks

Previous GenR8 Team Members