The Foundation


A new grant-giving charity

The Vaughan Williams Foundation (VWF) was established in 2022, exactly 150 years after the birth of the celebrated composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. It brings together the two charities originally founded by Ralph (RVW Trust) and his wife Ursula (Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust) and is funded by the royalties earned from RVW’s music.

The principal aims of the Foundation are to honour RVW’s desire to support his fellow composers, and to make his own work widely accessible to the general public.

VWF is now open for applications and the first grants will be awarded in 2023.

All enquiries regarding the RVWT and the VWCT, and any outstanding grants, should now be addressed to the Foundation.

Who we are


A picture of Sally Groves VWF Chair Oct 2022 © VWF

Sally Groves MBE


Sally was a close friend of Ursula Vaughan Williams. As a music publisher, she was responsible for Schott Music London’s contemporary music catalogue and received the RPS Lesley Boosey Award honouring champions of new music; the ABO and IAMA Awards and the BASCA Gold Medal. Until 2022 she chaired the VWCT and served on the RVW Trust. She now chairs the Max Trust, the Music Libraries Trust, is a governor of the Royal Society of Musicians and a trustee of Nash Ensemble, UPROAR and RIOT.

John Axon


John Axon was a trustee of Help Musicians (MBF) between 2006 and 2021. In that time he was the trustee appointed to represent MBF on the RVW Trust and Delius Trust. Originally a Chartered Accountant, he worked in brewing and retailing before moving to PRS where he spent some 23 years in copyright administration and royalty collection, becoming an Executive Director. He grew up in a musical family and developed an interest in a wide variety of music and a lifelong admiration for the work of RVW.

Nicolas Bell


Dr Nicolas Bell is Librarian and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Until 2015 he was a curator in the Music Collections of the British Library, looking after Vaughan Williams’s manuscripts alongside those of many other composers. He served as Chairman of the Gerald Coke Handel Foundation until 2021, and is a Trustee and member of the Editorial Committee of Musica Britannica. He was a Trustee of the Vaughan Williams Charitable Foundation between 2016 and 2022.

Richard Causton


Professor Richard Causton is a composer and Professor of Composition at the University of Cambridge. He was a Trustee of the RVW Trust between 2018 and 2022 and is an Honorary Patron of the Centre for Young Musicians. His music is represented by Cathy Nelson Artists and Projects and published exclusively by Oxford University Press.

Hugh Cobbe OBE, FSA


Hugh Cobbe, formerly Head of Music Collections at the British Library, was a close friend of Ursula Vaughan Williams and, at her request, became editor of Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895–1958. He chaired the RVW Trust between 2008 and 2022, and was a director of RVW Ltd from 2001-8 and Director of its successor, the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, from 2008 to 2022. He was a former chairman of the Gerald Coke Handel Foundation, and a Past President of the Royal Musical Association.

Helen Faulkner


Helen Faulkner was an academic music librarian and lecturer at Goldsmiths College before moving to the BBC as manager of music and orchestral libraries. In 1994 she became CEO of the Musicians Benevolent Fund (now Help Musicians UK). Since 2005 she has run charities including RVW Trust, Delius Trust and New Berlioz Edition Trust. She was a trustee of the RVW Trust, and is on the boards of the Loan Fund for Musical Instruments, Henry Wood Accommodation Trust and Gerald Coke Handel Foundation.

Nicola LeFanu


Professor Nicola LeFanu is a composer whose works have been widely played, broadcast and recorded; her music is published by Novello and by Edition Peters. Between 1994 and 2008 she was Professor of Music at the University of York. Nicola is a former trustee of the RVW Trust. Her mother, the composer Elizabeth Maconchy, studied with Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music and Nicola knew both Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Andrew Hunter Johnston


Andrew Hunter Johnston is a Director of the specialist charity investment management company CCLA and was previously Head of Charities at BlackRock. He studied Music at Cambridge University and sang in the choir of King's College Chapel. He served as a Trustee of the RVW Trust until 2022.

Bernard Watson


Bernie Watson is a Chartered Accountant, holds the Diploma in Charity Accounting and, until his retirement in 2018, was in professional practice as a partner in haysmacintyre. He has been involved professionally with all types of charities for over 25 years.


Rosie Johnson MBE


Rosie has worked for over 40 years as an administrator and publisher in support of British composers. She was, for 20 years, Executive Director of the Royal Philharmonic Society, and in 2018 became secretary of the RVW Trust, working with the Trustees to launch the Vaughan Williams Foundation in 2022. She is a proud trustee of Open Up Music, creating opportunities for young disabled musicians across the country.

Chris Wright


Chris studied German at Bristol University, but strayed into accountancy during his work with Making Music (formerly the National Federation of Music Societies). 30 years on, he is now an independent finance consultant with clients including performing orchestras, record labels, radio stations and, not least, composer trusts. Away from his spreadsheets Chris is also a professional actor and singer.