He joined the NHS at 18, is a doting grandad and a car karaoke specialist. Meet our new Chair Philip Lewer


Our new Chair Philip Lewer is now in post. 

Philip is a Lancastrian, started work on a market stall when he was just 14 before becoming a social worker and joining the NHS aged 18. He has  since worked for  the NHS in many roles at regional and national levels.  Here's his first impression after 12 days at CHFT and much more besides.

"I was nervous and did not sleep much the night before. I met some staff as I walked to the office on my first day and they smiled so that helped made to feel better and give me confidence.  I was welcomed by Owen and his team and began to smile.  I got lost trying to find the board room.  By the end of Day 3 I was tired as I had chaired my first Board meeting, managed to remember most people's names, had been "CQCed" and had  joined the tea fund!. I went to bed soon on Friday night very tired.  So far so good - I just know I am going to enjoy working with the people at  this Trust."

Find out more about him here. 

Hello My Name Is.... Philip Lewer.   I am married to Janette.  We met when we were 16.  I have one daughter (Kate) and four granddaughters.  (Maddison, Isabelle, Darcy and Scarlet). (see attached photo)

I enjoy living in Yorkshire (Harden, near Bingley).   I have lived there nearly 40 years.  I need to confess that I was born in Lancashire.  I studied in Leeds and qualified as a Social Worker in 1972.  I was fortunate to gain a Masters Degree in Management in 1990 from Lancaster University.  It was a two year (part-time) course which I did in my own time but it took me 3 years.


What is your position?

Chair of the Board at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS FT from 1.4.18.

Tell us about your career background

I started my working life at the age of 14 as a market trader.  I had an outside market stall and it was hard work – I can never remember being warm.  I was fortunate to be appointed as Trainee Mental Welfare Officer by the Health Service when I was 18.


I have worked with City of Bradford Council, Calderdale Council, NHS Improvement , the Department of Health and the NHS, regionally and locally.  I am very fortunate to have worked with people l like and admire.  Although there have been challenges  I have always found that the people I worked with and the people I served as a public servant helped make my career fun and enjoyable.


What are the best bits about your job?

Working with and meeting people.


What is the career highlight so far?

Becoming Chair of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.


Sum up your role in three words

A public servant.


What did you want to do when you were growing up?

I just wanted to work with people.  I knew I did not want to work in the local cotton mill as a weaver, something I had done and failed at.


Who is your hero/heroine and why?

Martin Luther King – he inspired his people and made brave decisions.  ‘I have a dream’ speech is brilliant.


When not at work

I have an eclectic taste in music, Motown, Chopin, Beatles.  I love and look forward to Car Karaoke with my grandchildren on the way to and from the gym.  It started with “Frozen” and is currently “The Greatest Showman”.


What is your favourite place?

Monda – a little village with 2000 people in Andalucia, Spain.


What will people be surprised to know about you?

Approximately 20 years ago, I once leased with some friends a 1952 London Transport double decker bus for three years, and provided wedding transport for some colleagues – it was on my bucket list.


Philip succeeds Andrew Haigh who left us after seven years at the helm and we have now have updated our Executive Board photo board to include him. If you have a paper copy displayed of the old chart, please make sure you replace it. Find it here.