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Adoption UK's chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE to retire

Published: 30.01.17

Hugh Thornbery CBE, the chief executive of Adoption UK, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of March.
Adoption UK's chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE to retire

Mr Thornbery said that leading Adoption UK has been an “enormous privilege”.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge enormously, I have learnt so much from wise adopters and skilled professionals and I have strived to make a difference and can reflect on significant changes for adoptive families that Adoption UK has brought about,” he said.

“I also know that Adoption UK still has a vital role in supporting adopted children and their families: there is so much need that is still not well enough recognised and consequently poorly met.”

'Immensely proud'

Mr Thornbery said that after 40 years working as a professional in children’s social care it was “time for a change”. By the time Mr Thornbery leaves Adoption UK he will have been at the charity for four-and-a-half years. He has previously held roles as director of business development and, prior to that, strategic director of children's services for England south at Action for Children.

Mr Thornbery, who was appointed chief executive of Adoption UK in October 2012, said: “I am immensely proud that the experiences of our fantastic members and the skills and passionate commitment of our team of volunteers and staff have been able to influence such important changes for so many adoptive families.

“I have found my time at Adoption UK both rewarding and humbling. Rewarding, in that I believe that I have, with the help and support of others, made a difference; and humbling, in that I am inspired on a daily basis by the love, resourcefulness, resilience and generosity, that I see and experience in the adoption community. I’m indebted, as someone without close personal experience of adoption, to those adopters who have shared with me their most personal experiences of the joys and challenges of adoption.”

Through his position at Adoption UK, Mr Thornbery has a place on the Adoption Leadership Board, which was established in 2014 to drive through government reforms in the sector.

Mr Thornbery added: “This may or may not be an active retirement as I’m going to have a think about how best to frame the next stage of my life – the Third Age - as Charles Handy described it in 1990 in his book The Age of Unreason.”