Variety, the Children’s Charity, announce the appointment of fashion entrepreneur Harold Tillman CBE as its Chair of the Board of Trustees for 2019. Harold’s appointment marks the beginning of a special year for the charity as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Variety supporter James Corden, with the Charity’s new Chair, Harold Tillman CBE

Under Harold’s leadership, the charity will continue its hard work to improve the lives of disadvantaged and disabled children across the UK, every day. Since its foundation in 1949, the charity has helped to improve the lives of almost 1 million children.

Support has included the provision of thousands of Sunshine Coaches, wheelchairs and specialist disability equipment, as well as the delivery of the Variety Great Days Out programme.

Variety also regularly develops specialist projects to improve schools and children’s hospitals such as the Big Build, where it has overseen the transformation of Springwater School in Harrogate. This has included raising almost £1 million in funding and pro bono support to improve the outside play area beyond recognition, from a tired tarmacked playground to a fun-filled landscaped area with a Go- kart track and a covered trampoline, as well as creating a truly world-class sensory room inside the school.

Harold Tillman is an established entrepreneur across fashion and business and is an ambassador and champion of British fashion. He has held pro bono positions, including acting as the longest serving Chairman of the British Fashion Council, as a former Trustee of the V&A, and as Chair of the Fundraising Board for the London College of Fashion. In this latter role, he formed his own Scholarship to support students financially to achieve their MA degrees. He has also recently created and funded a new Scholarship for Sustainability, designed to help students learn about the need for reducing pollution. He currently Chairs the Ethical Fashion Forum. Harold became an Honorary Fellow of the University of the Arts in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded a CBE and in 2011 was Awarded the Freedom of the City of London. 

Tillman has been a longstanding supporter of Variety and founded the charity’s “Patrons of Variety”, created to fund the work of Variety while bringing together philanthropic and eminent individuals to celebrate the charity.

Commenting on his appointment as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Variety, Harold Tillman CBE said: 

“I am proud to take the helm of this magnificent organisation. Variety has now helped almost 1 million disabled and disadvantaged children. It’s a frankly awe-inspiring number, and I’m devoted to helping continue its great work throughout 2019 and the launch of its 70th Anniversary during the year.  

“Launching a 12-month celebration of Variety’s 70th birthday will provide a golden opportunity for Variety to engage with a whole new generation, allowing us to help countless more children in the future and reaffirming its place as one of the nation’s true charitable success-stories.”

Tillman’s appointment follows Frances Lang taking up the post as the Charity’s new Chief Executive in September 2018.  The two will work closely together to ensure that the charity is able to connect with a new generation of supporters, funders, volunteers and beneficiaries as it celebrates its 70thbirthday later this year.

Commenting on the announcement, Frances Lang, Chief Executive of Variety, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Harold as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for 2019.  I have already been bowled over by his energy and enthusiasm. But what really shines through for me, is his drive and desire to see Variety help as many children as we possibly can.

“Harold will also play a crucial role in helping Variety celebrate its 70th anniversary. We have a hugely exciting year ahead, and I can’t wait for us to start working together.”

Also commenting on Harold’s appointment, actor, comedian, TV host and Variety supporter, James Corden, said:

“I can’t think of a better person to be taking the helm of this wonderful charity in its 70th year. I’m in no doubt that Harold will do a fantastic job.”