Camp Simcha chief executive Neville Goldschneider has announced his plans to retire next Spring to make Aliyah.

Mr Goldschneider, 61, has been at the helm of the charity, which supports families with seriously ill children, for over 18 years.

Making the announcement, Mr Goldschneider said: “Our son, his wife and our grandsons live in Jerusalem and all of my wife’s family live in Israel.  It is times like this, more than ever, that we feel the need to be together with our loved ones, especially when things are so very hard in Israel.

“In the best possible way, Camp Simcha has been at the forefront of mine and my family’s lives now for so long. I am very proud of all we achieved over the years, most notably for me – taking the charity beyond supporting only cancer way back in 2005; our more recent extension to help families who have a child with a serious mental health condition and our collaborations across the wider community – particularly our work with Noah’s Ark Hospice to create a hospice provision accessible for all Jewish children.

“Whilst it will be a very difficult thing for me to leave the team, I will always be part of the Camp Simcha family. I believe passionately in the impact of the work we do and will always be a big ambassador for the charity.”

When he first took on the role of chief executive, Camp Simcha was supporting eight families in North London who had a child with cancer. It now provides 23 different practical, therapeutic and emotional support services to over 1,500 family members annually throughout the UK, coping with more than 50 serious, life-changing and life-threatening childhood medical conditions.

Camp Simcha Chair of Trustees, Simon Johnson, said: “I applaud Neville’s decision to make Aliyah and be with his family, but it is most definitely the end of an era for Camp Simcha. He has embodied Camp Simcha, its values and ethos for so long that it will be odd not to have him at the helm. He has built on the goals and mission of Rachely and Meir Plancey and has kept Camp Simcha as a family which ensures that no seriously ill child should have to cope without our support.

“The Trustees will now form a small committee that will determine the process towards recruiting a new chief executive and ensuring the very smoothest transition: we will make further announcements in due course.”

Camp Simcha co-founder Meir Plancey added: “Neville will be moving on, knowing that he has changed and helped the lives of thousands of families over the years. Rachely and I are truly indebted to Neville for keeping true to our vision for the past 18-plus years.”