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Board Members

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is made up of 37 members who all take part in making key decisions that directly affect the Cotswolds AONB.

Members gather at Board, Executive and Sub-Committee meetings across the year and are drawn from three tiers of regional government to ensure that a fair and broad range of views and areas of expertise are reflected.  Of the 37 members, 15 are nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 14 are appointed by government.

Board Member Register of Interest Forms

Alastair Adams

Appointed by Worcestershire County Council

Alastair was elected as a Wychavon District Councillor in 2011, and in 2013 elected as County Councillor for Worcestershire CC (Littletons Division). He Chairs the Overview and Scrutiny Environment Panel.

Alastair attended the University of Warwick and graduated in Engineering. His first job was as a Project Manager installing electrical trace heating in power stations and oil rigs. Then worked as a technical salesman for NCR and became their youngest District Manager, before moving into the glass industry where he became MD of Pilkington Glazing for 16 years. In 2006, he was asked if he would be interested in helping to resurrect a British pen brand, and now he is owner and MD of Conway Stewart – a British fountain pen manufacturer that exports all around the world.

He is married and has three children.

Committees and Groups: Finance & Governance Sub Committee

Nigel Adcock

Appointed by Tewkesbury Borough Council

Born in Sutton Coldfield I have lived in Woodmancote for over thirty years. I studied my undergraduate degree at Bristol Polytechnic, now UWE. My degree is a Humanities degree, the vast majority of modules studied were either Geography or Ecology based. After graduation I worked as an Estate Agent, managing branches for two large companies in the South West.

In my late thirties I changed tack, did my PGCE and became a Secondary School teacher, teaching Geography at a school located just outside Gloucester. During my time teaching I was involved with delivering the Duke of Edinburghs Award, re establishing an Orchard and co delivering the Enterprise scheme up until 2010.

Aside from my professional roles I am both Flood Warden and Tree Warden for the Village. I became a Parish Councillor in 2019. I have been involved organising a scheme to benefit both  biodiversity on our AONB and enhance our flood betterment scheme. Elected to TBC for Cleeve Hill ward in May.

Committees and Groups Wellbeing & Inclusion Working Group; Planning & Infrastructure Working Group

Jo Barker

Appointed by Warwickshire County Council

Jo is a mum, a politician, carer and full-time business woman. She is the 5th generation to manage their ever evolving business – from farming, to haulage of coal, to property today – moving with the times and adapting as rural life changes. She has a professional interest in geomorphology and climate change, having studied for a PhD in these fields. Memberships / Advisory Positions: Warwickshire Country Council, Stratford District Council, F.R.G.S.

David Broad

Appointed by Parish Council Group 4

I have lived in Chedworth since 1956. I was educated at St Andrew’s School Chedworth, Bourton Vale and Westwoods Grammar School Northleach. I trained as motor mechanic and auto electrician. I later worked as courier throughout the Cotswolds. I have been a member of Chedworth Parish Council since 1991.  I was a memmber of Cotswold District Council for 12 years and spent the 12 years as a member of their planning committee and remain an Honorary Alderman.   I have been a member of Chedworth Silver Band since 1967 and Conductor since 1995. I arrange and publish Brass Band music and I write for local newspapers.  My interests include photography, recording rural life, railway preservation, and classic motorcycles. I have a particuar interest in access for the disabled having been diagnosed with a serious illness which should have confined me to a wheel chair but is currently in remission.  My long term aim is to get fit enough to ride my bikes again.

Martin Brown

Appointed by Stroud District Council

Martin has lived in Bisley, near Stroud, since 2016, where he has spent a lot of time since his parents moved here in 1995. Before coming to live in the Cotswolds, he lived and worked as a teacher in New York, with extended spells working in Pakistan and Cambodia and travelling widely in Asia as well as Africa and Central and South America, mostly by bicycle.

He has been on Bisley-with-Lypiatt Parish Council since 2018, and in 2021 he was elected to Stroud District Council, where he serves on the Environment and Development Control Committees. He is also a Director of Bisley Community Composting Scheme.

Together with his partner Leigh, he grows much of their household’s fruit and vegetables, and is nurturing a wildflower meadow on formerly sheep-grazed land. He is a bell-ringer at All Saints Church, Bisley – although as a late learner, not one of the stars of the tower.

Committees and Groups: Climate Action Working Group

Steve Bucknell

Appointed by Wiltshire Council

Steve Bucknell was born and raised in Bisley, Gloucestershire and educated firstly at the village school and then at Marling in Stroud. His family have traced their roots in the parish back to the mid-17th Century, and Steve’s family still live in the area.

Having completed a BSc in Land Management at the University of Reading, Steve became a General Practice Chartered Surveyor in 1991, and worked for local surveying firms Hobbs & Chambers and Dreweatt Neate before concentrating on commercial development work.

Steve was first elected to public office in 1999, as a North Wiltshire District Councillor, and in 2007 he became a Town Councillor in Wootton Bassett, a position he still holds. Serving twice as Mayor (in 2009/10 and 2016/17) he was very involved in the repatriation of fallen service personnel through the town, which resulted in its name change to Royal Wootton Bassett in 2011.

In 2021 Steve was elected to Wiltshire Council, representing Royal Wootton Bassett East. Although his council division does not lie within the Cotswold National Landscape’s boundary Steve’s passion for the Cotswolds and his family’s long association with the area led to his appointment to the Board.

With 30 years of experience in real estate, specifically in town and country planning and development, and over 20 years in public service Steve has a deep appreciation of the complexities and balances required in managing our environment.

He now runs his own consultancy business, advising landowners and local authorities on planning and development of niche projects throughout the UK. In addition, he indulges his passion for antiques and is in the process of establishing a new Auction Rooms in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Steve is married to Allison and they live in the centre of Royal Wootton Bassett with their three dogs. In the little spare time he has, Steve is also the Ringing Master for the church bells in the town.

Nicholas Bumford

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Nicholas has been farming for over 40 years, and been a farm manager for 30 years. He is currently Director of Guiting Manor Farms. Nick has had a voluntary role hosting educational visits at Guiting Manor Farms for 25 years, the farm has been a LEAF Demonstration Farm for five years,  providing education for land based colleges, schools and public groups. Nick has held Vice-Chairman and Chairman roles at the Arable Research Centre, Cirencester Technical Committee; the Gloucestershire Executive Committee of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group; the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire National Farmers’ Union; the Cotswold Sheep Group; the Parish Council, and the Cotswold Arable Study Group. Nick is a qualified Crop and Fertiliser Advisor, and has a wealth of experience in farming (sheep, arable, cattle), as well as woodland, conservation, and landscape management.

Phillip Chapman

Appointed by Cherwell District Council

Phil has lived in North Oxfordshire for thirty years. He was elected to Cherwell district council May 2018. Phil graduated from UMIST in Management Sciences, joined Unilever and has spent his career in International Marketing, mostly in Food, including Lipton Tea. He and his family spent several spells abroad. Phil loves living in the countryside and walks most days.

Committees and Groups:  Executive Committee

Katherine Chesson

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Katherine (she/they pronouns) served for more than a decade at the National Park Foundation, a US-based philanthropic organisation raising private support for America’s national parks. As a senior leader within the organisation, they worked closely with National Park Service staff and local park partners to develop and implement high priority projects and programs across the country that engage people with more than 400 national parks.

Her passion was, and remains, reducing barriers for communities historically excluded from public lands. Since their move to Oxfordshire, Katherine now leads Community Action Groups Oxfordshire, a member-led organisation which supports local climate action across the county. They also have experience programme managing a net zero-focused climate change initiative at the University of Oxford.

She is thrilled to be raising two young children in the countryside with her wife and their black Labrador. You can read more about Katherine at LinkedIn.

Committees and Groups: Wellbeing & Inclusion Working Group

Brendan Costelloe

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Brendan started his career working as a planner at Cheltenham Borough Council. After completing an MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College, he joined the RSPB as a Senior Policy Officer. Following a spell at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, he is now the Policy Manager for the British Ecological Society. Brendan was lucky to grow up near the beautiful Linover Wood in the Cotswolds, and in his spare time he loves to get back to the fresh air of the Cotswolds, watch Cheltenham Town and go running, and recently did a hot, sandy and painful marathon in Malawi!

Committees and Groups: Projects & Fundraising Working Group

Susan Crawford

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Sue is a solicitor with over 30 years experience in the corporate/commercial field.

She has lived in the Cotswolds with her family for the past 20 years, on a farm where her husband rears Aberdeen Angus beef cattle on an organic basis.

She is committed to the Cotswolds, and its conservation and accessibility.

She was a Trustee of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for 8 years, with particular interest in legal, fundraising and marketing issues.

She is a keen gardener and garden designer – a proud holder of an RMS medal. She is also involved with various charities including Maggies Cancer Care in Cheltenham.

Committees and Groups: Executive Committee; Finance & Governance Sub Committee

Paul Crossley

Appointed by Bath & North East Somerset Council

Paul has been a Councillor on Bath City Council from 1988 to 2006 and B&NES from 1999 to present.

From May 2003 to May 2007 and May 2011 to May 2015 he was the Leader of the Council.

From May 1999 to May 2003 and from May 2007 to May 2011 Paul served on the Council Planning and Development Committee.

From May 2019 to present he has been on the Council Cabinet covering Parks, Leisure, Heritage and Tourism.

Paul has experience of delivering and developing strategic agendas, of community consultation and engagement, developing planning policy and deciding on individual planning applications.

Paul’s areas of interest are the environment, climate emergency and planning policy.

Committees and Groups: Executive Committee

Matthew Darby

Appointed by Parish Council Group 8

Parish Councillor for Bredon & Bredon’s Norton. Owns and manages the Kemerton Estate in the north-west Cotswolds. Experience in nature conservation, farming and forestry, town planning, landscape history, and the charitable sector. Current and recent voluntary roles include: National Trust (Midlands) Regional Advisory Board (2012-), Land Outdoors and Nature Board (2015-); trustee of the Howick Arboretum (2018); founder-governor of Kemerton Conservation Trust (1989-); director of (Tewkesbury) Abbey Lawn Trust (2012-); trustee of The Iris Darnton Foundation (2004-); Secretary, Bredon Parish Neighbourhood Plan Committee (2015-17); Read more about Matthew at LinkedIn

Amanda Davis

Appointed by Parish Council Group 3

Amanda is Parish Councillor for Bourton-on-the-Water, where she is on Planning, Highways, Youth and Wellbeing, Finance and Village Environment Committees.

Since joining CCB in September 2019, Amanda has served on the Walking and Exploring Working Group.

Professionally, she is an Economist, secondary Maths Teacher and Project Manager.  With an MSc in Health Economics, Amanda has managed NHS services and had leadership roles in major public health programmes including Tyne and Wear Health Action Zone, which relied on stakeholder management.  She has taught secondary Mathematics at a rural boarding school with a Farm. Before moving permanently to Cotswolds 3 years ago, Amanda also lived on Hadrians Wall, on the edge of Northumberland National Park.

Now in Bourton-on-the-Water, Amanda plays a leading role on Steering Groups for Bourton Health Connect including Dementia Friendly Bourton, has just secured a grant for Council to lead on village mental health resilience, has run an Airbnb and works in walking holidays hospitality.  She chairs her local Residents Association and is Active Member for Midcounties Co-operative.  She competes in Dragonboat Paddling internationally.

Committees and Groups Wellbeing & Inclusion Working Group

Benjamin Dent

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Cotswolds has always been Ben’s spiritual home, despite 25 years in the South East.  He spent 12 years working in government on environment policies, and since then has specialised in improving agri-food supply chains’ competitiveness through collaboration, sustainability and understanding markets.  He has been on the boards of the Farm Retail Association, the South of England Agricultural Society and Kent Farmers’ Market Association, which he founded in 2009.  He chairs the Soil Association’s Standards Board, and served on the Cotswold LEADER Local Action Group.

He also works in Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada and Australia, where is an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at The University of Queensland.

Read more about Ben’s experience on LinkedIn.

Committees and Groups: Projects & Fundraising Working Group; Climate Action Working Group

Ellie Fujioka

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Ellie grew up in Warwickshire and has family roots in Gloucestershire where she now lives. She has worked in international development and environment for over 20 years, studying for the first postgraduate degree, the MA in Environment and Development, at Sussex University, that brought the study of people and environment together.

Currently Head of Institutional Funding and Partnerships at WaterAid UK, she previously worked for an environment think tank in Oxford, Global Canopy, as well as Oxfam GB and Farm Africa.

Her two children benefited from attending a small village school in the Cotswolds and she is passionate about making the countryside more accessible for all children and their families.

Committees and Groups: Projects & Fundraising Working Group

Andy Graham

Appointed by Oxfordshire County Council

Andy Graham is currently the leader of West Oxfordshire District Council as well as County Councillor for the Woodstock Division of Oxfordshire County Council and representing Charlbury, Finstock and Fawler on West Oxfordshire District Council for the past 6 years.

He has served for 16 continuous years on East Herts Council and 6 years on Bishops Stortford Town Council where he was also elected mayor of the town. He served as Chair of the Local Government Arts Forum for the 52 districts and 6 counties of the East of England and served on the regional board of the Arts Council.

Andy is a passionate advocate of the arts and believes the impact it has on on people’s lives shapes our culture and heritage. He is a published playwright and professional theatre producer and director and set up the internationally Snap Theatre Company (1979-2005) creating over 120 professional productions reaching an audience of.  over 3,5 million people. Snap Theatre Company was awarded the Prince Michael Award for Road safety, one of many impactful projects for young people,

He established Ai ai Ltd, an international arts charity (2006-2015) setting up sustainable arts and educational partnerships in Rwanda, Bangladesh, Romania linked to the UK.

Committees and Groups:  Executive Committee

Elizabeth Hodges

Appointed by Parish Council Group 1

Partner in a  Farming/Agricultural Contracting business  working both within and outside the CNL.   Town Councillor, Chipping Campden Town Council. Town Trustee Chipping Campden Town Trust, Vice President;  Gloucestershire Association of Parish & Town Councils., Director – Cotswold Edge Enterprise Ltd,(a community Interest Company) & Gloucestershire Market Towns Forum Ltd.  Having worked in the  food industry, extensively promoted British food .   Am fairly passionate about retaining our Market Towns and villages as living working communities

Committees and Groups: Planning & Infrastructure Working Group

Paul Hodgkinson

Appointed by Gloucestershire County Council

Paul obtained a degree in French at reading University before embarking on a career in financial services for 18 years, working for 3 blue chip companies. Since 2004 he has run his own business specialising in executive coaching and leadership development.

Currently representing the Bourton and Northleach Division on Gloucestershire County Council, he has been Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group since 2016. He served on Cotswold District Council from 2007-2015. He also presents a regular show on Cotswolds Radio and has lived in the Cotswolds for 32 years.

His relevant interests include animal welfare, public transport, equality, climate change and weather.

Graham Hopkins

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Graham is a Chartered Engineer with a career spanning forty years. His last corporate role was as Safety, Technical and Engineering Director for Network Rail, and as part of that, he chaired the Rail Industry Technical Leadership Group. Before that, Graham spent many years with Rolls-Royce plc, including as Director of Engineering and Technology for Defence Engines, and as EVP of Engineering and Technology for Aerospace Component Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the RSA. Graham and his wife have lived in the Cotswolds for over fifteen years, in a small village about 1000 feet above sea level. He has a strong affinity for this area, its landscape, its communities and its beauty. With the skills he has developed over the years coupled with his passion for the environment and how we adapt to climate change, Graham looks forward to making a contribution to the valuable work of the AONB.

Committees and Groups: Executive Committee; Planning & Infrastructure Working Group

Martin Horwood

Appointed by Cheltenham Borough Council

Currently a councillor and cabinet member on Cheltenham Borough Councillor, Martin is a former MP for Cheltenham and former MEP for the South West of England.  He is currently President of the Green Liberal Democrats and has held national party spokespersonships on environmental policy, international affairs and international development.

His professional career was in charity and third sector fundraising and marketing including for Oxfam in the UK and India, as Director of Fundraising at the Alzheimer’s Society and as Director of Engagement and Impact for Bristol-based data & international development organisation Development Initiatives.

He represents Leckhampton on Cheltenham Borough Council and is also a Leckhampton parish councillor and chair of their Neighbourhood Plan working group. He is also a trustee of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Committees and Groups: Planning & Infrastructure Working Group

Jane Hull

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

My engagement with protected landscapes started early, taking part in conservation volunteering on Dartmoor as a teenager. My interest in how people shape landscapes influenced my choices, gaining a Geography degree and becoming a Chartered Forester. I ran a forestry training programme, briefly worked internationally, then joined the Forestry Commission where I’ve worked in frontline and policy roles.

I live close to Oxford, where I’ve been involved in setting up various community initiatives including an intentional residential community, a community café and a Messy Church. I love exploring – by public transport, on foot, by bike and with others…including enjoying time in the Cotswolds.

Committees and Groups: Climate Action Working Group

Juliet Layton

Appointed by Cotswold District Council

Juliet has been a District Councillor since 2011 and has served on the Cotswold District Council Planning Committee since first elected, including a period as Chair until she became a Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulatory Services. Initially, Juliet was District Councillor for the Cotswold Water Park Ward until boundary changes led to her having responsibility for the South Cerney Village ward. However, the Water Park remains part of her portfolio and she is very active in supporting its aims to enhance connectivity and biodiversity.

Cate Le Grice-Mack

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Cate started her working career teaching geography and humanities, economics and maths in Cambridgeshire and London. In 1985 she established Norwood Rare Breeds Survival Trust-approved Rare Breeds Centre breeding a variety of native British breeds, producing meat, cereals and visitor interest on 340 acres. All produce was sold to local customers through the farm shop and farmers’ markets. She introduced renewable energy systems (wind and solar) to power the farm’s butchery and shop. Cate has served as a Somerset District and County councillor, with particular interests in sustainable development, environment and transport, rural “value added” supply chains and employment. She was involved in the early establishment of farmers markets in Bath and Somerset. She was appointed to the board of the Countryside Agency on its establishment in 1999, and served as an environmental partner on the South West Regional Assembly (2000-2009), elected by the environmental NGOs. She retired from active farming in 2007, but remains a judge for the Portland Sheep Breeders Society. Other positions held: CPRE National Policy committee; Chair of Norton Radstock Regeneration Co.

Committees and Groups: Executive Committee;  Planning & Infrastructure Working Group

Brendan McCarthy : Chair

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Following three years at the Royal Agricultural College, Brendan qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer, and spent the majority of his career at the National Trust, including some 14 years as a Regional Director, covering two regions, with Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds at their heart.  He has lived in Daglingworth, near Cirencester, with his wife and two sons (now grown and flown) since 1993.  He served as Chairman of the Parish Council for 10 years.

Until late 2017, he was the Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College in London, where he also chaired the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and was a non-executive director of the Destination Management Company.  During his career, he has also been involved in helping to develop conservation policies in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Bermuda.

He took over as Chairman of the Cotswold Conservation Board in March 2020.  In his spare time, he enjoys all aspects of the countryside, gardens, art and architecture and travel.

Read more about Brendan at LinkedIn

Committee and Groups: Executive Committee (Chairman); Finance & Governance Sub Committee

Tony Merry

Appointed by Parish Council Group 2

Tony is a council nominee from Charlbury Town Council in West Oxfordshire and has lived here for over 30 years.  His  career was a a research biochemist but has always had a keen interest in the countryside. His  other interests include walking, morris dancing, and nature conservancy,

He is  also a  Cotswold Voluntary Warden, and Hon Sec Charlbury Walkers are welcome. He  has a keen interest in local history and in listed sites. In our Parish. Responsibilities include planning committee, sluice gate control on Evenlode, verge maintenance, Charlbury, Charlbury Day Centre Trustee.  Charlbury Town Council has declared a climate emergency .and has set up several working groups to address this .

Tony believes in promoting responsible access for all to the countryside working with relevant landowners.  He also considers urgent action is needed to improve the quality of local rivers and strongly supports the activities of Everyone’s Evenlode.

Tony is involved with the land and nature and journeys groups.   As well as being a Councillor on Charlbury Town Council, he is a member of the Charlbury Society, Walkers are Welcome, the Evenlode Forest Trust, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Bell ringers.

Martin Mitchell

Appointed by Parish Council Group 6

Martin moved to Claverton in the Avon Valley in 2017 and became a Parish Councillor soon afterwards.

For most of his working life he was a police officer with the Metropolitan Police and lived for 30 years on the edge of Epping Forest. He worked in many parts of London and was seconded to the Inspectorate of Constabulary. He sat on the National Executive of the Police Superintendent’s Association.

Since retirement he’s become a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs, a debt coach for a charity; and refugee co-ordinator, mentor/coach and Trustee for an Anglican Diocese.

He’s interested in inclusion, access and disability, and is taking a local interest in climate change, river water quality issues and road & transport planning.

Read more about Martin at LinkedIn

Committee and Groups: Executive Committee; Wellbeing & Inclusion Working Group

Rosie Pearson

Appointed by West Oxfordshire District Council

Rosie has lived in the Cotswolds since 1997. She grew up in Sussex, studied English at Oxford University, and worked in PR, journalism, education, philanthropy and the arts. She lived in Western Kenya for a year, and in Jamaica between 1988 and 1997.

Rosie moved to Asthall Manor, in the Windrush Valley, in 1998, and has used it to stage various events, including the popular exhibition of sculpture in stone, on form. She is hosting a Community Supported Agriculture scheme in the walled garden, and trying to restore biodiversity to her 18 acres of flood plain, woodland and garden.

Rosie was elected to West Oxfordshire District Council for the Green Party in May 2022. An optimist by nature, she believes that human beings are capable of finding a more generous and harmonious way to live on the earth than that which is currently considered normal. She is inspired by a vision of a future which is not only cleaner and fairer, but also happier, less stressful, and more fun.

Committee and Groups: Climate Action Working Group

David Powell

Co-opted onto the Board

David has extensive experience in local government gained in Unitary, County and District level Councils. His career has included roles as a Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and over 10 years as a Finance Director where he was involved in setting up several private /public partnerships.

As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy he has been a Government Advisor, a local government peer reviewer and was involved in the Social Housing Sector as a former Chair of a Gloucestershire Housing Association.

Committee and Groups: Finance & Governance Sub Committee

Margaret Reid

Co-opted onto the Board

After a childhood in Hertfordshire my family moved to Scotland, where I spent the rest of my working life. My working life as an academic at Glasgow University allowed me to work on my goal of improving women’s health through research and teaching. Later management roles probably gave me some useful experience for the time, much later on, when I took on the role of Head Warden of the Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens.

Life outside work was always to do with being outdoors and being physically active, and it was this love of the countryside and ‘outdoors’ that led me to join the wardens when we moved in 2011 to the Cotswolds. Since then I have had a glorious retirement getting to know the Cotswolds paths.

Isabel Ross

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The countryside is my passion and one I have been lucky enough to make my career and my continuing pleasure.

After several years farming on organic holdings and as an organic auditor in the UK, after completing a BSc in organic agriculture I went abroad to Zambia as an organic advisor.  Now as a herb sourcing manager I maintain that global perspective by visiting and building relationships with suppliers and farmers across the world.  15 years at Soil Association as standards manager helped me deliver mission-led advocacy in multi-stakeholder forums, but I never like to get too far from a field.

Committee and Groups: Climate Action Working Group

Ray Sanderson

Appointed by Parish Council Group 5

Ray is a lifelong Malmesbury resident. His working life has included work as a motor technician, higher education at Swindon College, and running a successful driving school with his wife. Ray has been very involved in the community for many decades, becoming a Malmesbury town councillor in 1983, Mayor for the first time in 1987 and then again in 2012. He has served on all the major committees within the council, his favourite being Planning and the Environment.

Over the years he has been privileged to be honoured with the Freedom of the City of York, The Rotary International “Service before Self” Award, and other accolades as a result of his involvement within the community and environment.

He is a member of the Rotary Club of Royal Wootton Bassett and District, Chair of Malmesbury and District Foodbank, President of Malmesbury Youth Football Club, and Chair of Malmesbury Flood Working Group.

Emma Sims

Appointed by Wychavon District Council

Emma Sims lived in Nailsworth, Stroud, until moving to Broadway, Worcestershire in 2019.

Emma was first elected to public office as a District Councillor at Stroud District Council 2011/2015 and is currently District Councillor, for Broadway, May 2023, at Wychavon District Council and is a Parish Councillor in Broadway. Emma has been very much involved with the Parish Council and local schools in Broadway, in promoting community groups to support the development of sustainable projects in and around the village; planting trees, helping develop green spaces and wildlife areas, to mapping walking routes for residents’ health and wellbeing and visitors alike.

Emma’s career started in Newspapers, Stroud News & Journal and then moved to BBC Local and National Radio as a journalist for over ten years and is now writing scripts and Children’s Books on Sustainability.

With over twenty years of experience in property development, management, and investment, public sector experience and with a family connection to farming, Emma has a dedicated interest in promoting sustainability with our social, economic and environmental responsibility.

Emma is excited to be on the journey towards driving, sustainable growth with communities, in the Cotswold National Landscape.

Emma is married to Michael, a Chartered Surveyor and they have two children, and three grandchildren.

Ben Stokes

Appointed by South Gloucestershire Council

With family roots in the Southern Cotswolds, I spent the majority of my free childhood hours at my mother’s livery yard, a wonderful community hub where hundreds of people learnt to ride and appreciate our glorious Cotswolds countryside.

After a career as an Army Officer and then HR Consultant,  I returned to the Cotswolds to run a small rural business and work in the 3rd sector. I managed a church community centre and the Vassal Centre Trust – a barrier free access facility for businesses catering for people with disabilities.

Many years on the Dyrham Parish Council and chairing the Old School / Hall Trust committee have led to a further 8 years as councillor for Boyd Valley at South Gloucestershire Council. There I am the Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health.

I live with my wife, our daughter, 4 horses and a menagerie of chickens on our property near Dyrham Park.

I have been a member of the Countryside Alliance since its founding and have a keen interest in all countryside traditions, gardening and sustainable land management.

Committee and Groups: Executive Committee; Wellbeing & Inclusion Working Group

John Swanton

Appointed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Since July 2014, John has been Team Rector of the South Cotswolds Team Ministry, leading 22 historic churches across 15 rural parishes with a small team of clergy.  He has direct responsibility for five rural parishes in ‘The Ampneys’ near Cirencester and has been there since September 2011.

Before that, John’s career was in housing for some 26 years.  He has a wide range of experience and expertise in housing management, development, finance and community engagement.  He championed rural housing and housing options for older people and people with special needs.  John was a member of the Local Government Association’s expert advisory panel on the reform of Council Housing (HRA) Finance (2008-2011).  When working for a local authority, he had a lead role in safeguarding and liaison with health and social services.

At present he is a Governor of two small village Primary Schools; and a Trustee of a small educational trust.  He is a member of the Diocese of Gloucester’s Resources Committee and a member of Diocesan Synod.  He was made a Canon of Gloucester Cathedral in 2019.

He enjoys gardening, historic buildings, agricultural shows, walking the family dog and keeping bantams/hens.

Committees and Groups: Projects & Fundraising Working Group

Sarah Whalley-Hoggins

Appointed by Stratford on Avon District Council

Sarah was born and brought up in Bradford. Her parents ensured that a love of the Countryside was instilled via frequent trips to the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park and on visits to the Cotswolds to see her maternal grandparents. One of her strongest memories when visiting the Cotswolds was how dark her grandparents’ village was at night.

Sarah has worked as a Police Officer in West Yorkshire and later became a Primary School Head Teacher. She takes a keen interest in Rural Crime and how we encourage everyone to make full use of the Countryside around them.

She is married to a fuel merchant whose company is diversifying into sustainable energy and she is a mother to a son who is having an education that embraces all that the Countryside has to offer.

Currently vacant:

Secretary of State – 2 vacancies, next recruitment is in 2024