Our Team

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It was all very simple, very obvious, and very necessary. I didn’t have any prompting from the Lord or any thought or ambition about starting a mission. But seeing mission folk on the breadline, I knew I needed to make their needs known. As the subject of support began to catch on, I very slowly realized the Lord was giving me the green light to start a mission.

Chris French, Founder of Avail

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It has been very encouraging to experience the amount of support received over the past few years. Please accept our thanks as the mission continues to be blessed.

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Chris French


I am from Leeds, and my special interest is gardening, which is pleasurable and hard work. For relaxation, I get a big kick out of meeting and talking to people, no matter what age, colour, religion, or standing in society. Strange as it may seem, I enjoy the mischief moments by stirring the pot.

I think it would be inappropriate not to mention my family, wife Shirley and daughters Esther, Rebecca, Naomi, and son Peter. They support me even when I know they are anxious and concerned. They may say, ‘Then why don’t you act on our advice.’ There lies another tale!

I am very privileged to work with the other trustees and volunteers. Of course, there are challenges, but with our shared vision to follow Him, we find our way through with a bit of give and take. So far, we have avoided being managers but rather learned to be servants.

David Medlock


As the months pass by, I am increasingly grateful for true fellowship and friendship with people around the world. Particularly with my fellow trustees in Avail, with whom I enjoy a wonderful rapport in serving and appreciating the variety of gifting and character in each one, Recently, the lack of travel on pastoral visits has provided an opportunity to seek God and to receive deeper insights into His character and majesty.

I am in awe of His love, wisdom, and holiness as never before. Yvonne and I have spent time enjoying our home in Switzerland, tending the flowers and garden, as well as helping to care for our elderly neighbours and friends, some of whom we have known for over 25 years. I am looking forward to the works that the Lord has prepared for me in the future.

Caitlin Mbewe


I find myself grateful for many things, including:

Good friends, especially those who are willing to be honest with me, challenge me, and point me to Jesus.  I aim to be a good friend to others too, and see my Avail work as an extension of this. The gift of laughter, both in happy times and tough times—I have shared some side-splitting moments with my fellow trustees. Good health and the ability to get out to walk or cycle in the fresh air—rare opportunities of getting into the hills being a special bonus. Being able to play the piano and cello, which is a wonderful way to relax, and to teach both instruments, which is fulfilling and gives me a chance to connect with both children and adults.  But most of all, the joy of knowing the Giver of all these good gifts, whose promise is to be with me always.

Tom Patkai


I often look back at the young, 15-year-old me when I first met Jesus. The passion I had for serving Him hasn’t gone away, and I have known, but not always understood, the Lord’s guiding hand over these many years. I wouldn’t have chosen doing a degree in biology or work, as I do now,in risk management, which I enjoy, if it were not for the Lord.

People say I have a unique sense of humour and an infectious laugh, and my fellow trustees have even seen me do a hilarious impression of John Cleese’s walk. True, there’s more to all of us than meets the eye. My family and I all enjoy spending time together.

I think God has enabled me to be an encourager, and it comes naturally. I love meeting people, writing, communicating, sharing the Good News, and supporting our great partners in the Avail family.

David Vine


After more than thirty years as a doctor in general practice, I retired early to be able to concentrate on other things, including church and conference leadership, as well as Avail and my family. With five growing grandchildren who take up several days a week of our time, life has remained busy. I am now, as a result however, steadily reducing my areas of responsibility. It is time, in many cases, for younger men to take up the reins. I find my relaxation in walking with Ann, often involving a tea room, which I enjoy, even as a serious coffee drinker. I love reading and following virtually every kind of sport, Liverpool being my team. It has been a privilege to share life with my fellow trustees, serving our Avail partners in the work of the Lord together.

Esther Yeadon


Esther works in the office four mornings a week and does a huge amount in that time.

Like everyone else, her work is voluntary. Her biggest job is managing  the accounts which includes transferring monies around the world. Preparing annual accounts and reports for the Charity Commission isn’t something to be sneezed at;  as Avail has grown, so have the questions we need to answer to maintain our legal registration.

Esther shares responsibility for Forget Me Not (FMN) with Lyn Child. Recently she went to Ameva Farm, Zimbabwe, to help Celia Valentine gather information and photographs of children registered with the FMN programme there.

Although spreadsheets absorb her time, she really prefers finding a beach in Northumberland , or anywhere sunny, to sit on. 

Perhaps her greatest task is to keep her dad, Chris French, ‘on song’ with anything to do with the office. Yet another job! 

Our sincere and grateful thanks to a very faithful and hard-working lady.

Lyn Child


Lyn volunteers two half days for Avail and is the ‘go-to’ person for the monthly Prayer Prompt and Prayer Prompt extra. Like Esther, her hours and responsibilities have increased which means she also works from home.  

Lyn’s work also includes the Bolivia accounts and gathering and sending information for the monthly Chit Chatarticles and Reflectionswhich Caitlin Mbewe, one of trustees, oversees.

Outside the officeshe helps in teaching English to international students and, if she has time, she loves exploring the countrysideon foot or by bike, enjoying Gods’ creation and travelling to other countries.

For many years she worked as a missionary in different parts of the world and with this experience she’s a good sounding board for questions about mission work abroad.

Without Lyn’s quiet and dedicated work behind the scenes, we’d find it very difficult to keep up. We are extremely grateful for her contribution. Thank you, Lyn!