Justin James Apthorp
Justin Apthorp was Buying Director at Majestic Wine for 10 years before retiring at the end of 2015. He remains on the Majestic Board as a Non-Executive Director. Justin was educated at Aldenham School before going on to read Metallurgy at Manchester University. He then spent another two years at Manchester University gaining an MBA, as well as captaining the Manchester University Ski Team.
Justin has lived in Berkhamsted since 1996 and is married to a local dentist. He has three daughters who all went to Berkhamsted School. Justin was a Governor of Berkhamsted School for twelve years and is currently a trustee of The Friends’ of St Peter’s.
Justin Apthorp holds positions with a number of organisations including:
Kate Belinis is the CEO of CDA Herts since 2006. She has worked in Hertfordshire and London for many years as CEO in the voluntary sector. Prior to her voluntary and community roles, she worked in the private sector for 20 years in the analytical/testing of retail products and quality assurance sectors.
Her passion is in the development of sustainable communities and their infrastructure needs to enrich their communities and quality of life. Her work and networks cover rural affairs, social enterprise, community gardens, transport solutions, the criminal justice system and marginalised communities including the protected groups.
Kate continues to maintain an active role in several volunteer groups and sits on several Boards in Hertfordshire: Herts Independent Living Services; Herts Young Homeless; Stevenage World Forum for Ethnic Minorities; Ware Arts Centre; School Governor; Herts Equality Council and MENTER (Minority Ethnic Network in The Eastern Region).
Her interests are Communities, Multiculture, Women’s groups, education, heritage.
Luther Blissett, “Watford’s Favourite Son”. Joined Watford FC aged 16, having moved to the UK from Jamaica aged 5, with no idea about football, or who Sir Elton John was. Luther’s illustrious career went on to embrace numerous records for Watford FC, from appearances to their greatest ever goalscorer as well as a headline-making £1m transfer to AC Milan in Italy, before returning to his spiritual home, Vicarage Road. In 1982 he won the Golden Boot for Europe and at the same time received his first call up for the England Squad, the first Watford FC player to ever be selected. He became only the 5th black footballer to represent the country and the very first black footballer to score in an England shirt. To Luther, there is no greater honour in football than wearing the 3 lions. On retirement Luther joined Graham Taylor OBE as a coach, taking the Club to the Premier League for the very first time.
Away from football, his work in the community is equally legendary. Brought up on Graham Taylor’s vision. Locally and nationally he has been an ambassador for equality and racial harmony, representing Show Racism the Red Card on their schools programme and being a media spokesman. He has worked with Herts Police to educate on knife and hate crime. His approach always inclusive and educational, which means that people listen. He is a national ambassador also for Sporting Memories, enabling him to again provide local advice and support for Watford Council’s dementia-friendly initiatives.
He worked throughout 2020 to provide reassurance to fans and those in the local community, as well as care homes and hospital services. He drove a campaign to call up volunteers and provide meals for local families as well as care packs for NHS workers and the local Peace Hospice of whom he is a Patron. In 2020 Luther was awarded a BSc by the University of Hertfordshire for his inspirational contribution to sport and was also granted Freedom of the Borough by Watford Mayor for his community work. He has recently created the Former Players Club, which will bring ex-footballers together for each other and the community. They will be working alongside Veterans, who Luther has always supported strongly with various projects such as Race of Remembrance. He continues to provide football commentary and media appearances alongside his charity work.
Dame Claire Bertschinger DBE
Dame Claire Bertschinger DBE DL DEd DSSc DSc (Hon Causa) MSc RGN works as Assistant Professor and Director for Tropical Nursing at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She was honoured as a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List for services to Nursing and to International Humanitarian Aid.
She is known as the nurse who inspired Bob Geldof to create Band Aid/Live Aid.
Dame Claire has been decorated on multiple occasions:
2019 Soka University Japan Award of Highest Honor In recognition of her enduring contributions to the promotion of education, culture and the cause of world peace.
2018 Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion Honorary Fellow
2017 Scientific Exploration Society Honorary Advisory Board
International Human Rights and Nursing Awards :
2007 International Human Rights and Nursing Awards From the International Centre for Nursing Ethics (ICNE)
2005 Woman of the Year Window to the World award Saluting a woman whose dedication to her work, often in demanding and difficult circumstances, has opened all our eyes to a world we otherwise would not have known about or even tried to understand.
1991 Florence Nightingale Medal To honour those persons who have distinguished themselves in times of war by exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of conflict or disaster.
1985 Bish Medal by the Scientific Exploration Society For courage and determination in the face of adversity
2012 Anglia Ruskin University Doctor in Health Sciences
2011 Stafford University
2010 Robert Gordon Aberdeen University Doctor in Education
2009 Du Montfort University Doctor of Science
2008 Brunel University Social Science
1997 Brunel University MSc in Medical Anthropology
St Mary’s Hospital London Registered Nurse
Dame Claire is a Patron of a number of organisations including:
- Patron – African Children’s Educational Trust
- Patron – Buburi
- Patron – Promise Nepal
- Patron – The Chocolate Run
- Vice HQ Leader – Soka Gakkai Buddhists in Hertfordshire
Hobbies and Interest
International Female Education and Humanitarian issues
Author “Moving Mountains” 2005 by Transworld publishers & 2006 Bantam Publishers
Janine di Giovanni, (author of Madness Visible: A Memoir of War)
“It was Claire Bertschinger, who brought the world’s attention to the starvation in Ethiopia. If not for her, there would have been no BBC cameras, no Live Aid, no Bob Geldorf, and no outpouring of compassion and camaraderie that restored one’s faith in humanity, if only for a few minutes. Bertschinger’s courage is matched only by her conviction; her tireless effort to comfort the hungry and dying (her biography ‘Moving Mountains’) is a beautiful story that needed to be told and, more importantly, needs to be read”
Bob Geldof said “In her was vested the power of life and death, she had become God- like, and that is unbearable for anyone”.
Michael Buerk wrote: “The story of the woman who inspired Live Aid, one of the true heroines of our time. Claire is the dyslexic tomboy who grew up to spend her life patching up humanity’s self-inflicted wounds, working with the wounded, the sick and the dying, in the battlefields and famine camps of the late twentieth century; a life often lived beyond breaking point that threatened to destroy her. An ordinary woman who did extraordinary things and really did move mountains”
Never at Rest In this film Claire tries to make sense of years spent working in war zones.
July 2005 Interview: Deirdre Fernand meets Claire Bertschinger
HARDtalk Interview: Stephen Sackur talks to former Red Cross nurse Claire Bertschinger . 3rd January 2006 Compassion Fatigue
The Times Heavens, Andrew (2005-01-29). “Journey from famine to the hunger of the soul”
Ethiopia: A Journey with Michael Buerk 11th January 2004 In this film Michael travels back to Ethiopia and talks to many people whose lives have been permanently scarred by the horrific famine, featuring Claire Bertschinger.
Audio file with BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour
Marion Brown MBE JP
Marion’s employment history is within the charitable and administrative sector. Her voluntary roles have included being a member of the senior leadership team for National Youth Ventures, Chair of a Building Committee for a major church refurbishment and extension, co-leading leadership courses for those in positions of responsibility in church, work and/or community.
She has been a magistrate (JP) since 2003 (roles have included membership of the Advisory Panel for Hertfordshire, mentor, appraiser, schools’ presenter and Deputy Bench Chair West and Central Hertfordshire), Consultant for clergy reviews in the St Albans Diocese, “Assistant” for the Diocesan “Support in your Ministry” scheme (listening service for clergy and church workers), school governor in a number of local primary and secondary schools.
Marion is an active member of St Paul’s Church, St Albans and is involved with a number of voluntary activities with individuals and local organisations, with a particular emphasis on developing people, and initiatives that strengthen community links. Her personal interests of “creative and craft” and hospitality play a key part in this.
Marion Chairs the Lieutenancy Area Panel for St Albans, Welwyn and Hatfield and is a member of the Education, Social and Media Panels. She is married to Andrew and has two adult children.
Sally Burton studied law at Bristol University and qualified as a solicitor in 1981.
Moving to Hertfordshire in 1985, her main activities have involved work in the voluntary sector, mostly for Breast Cancer Now and the Hertfordshire Breast Unit Appeal as Chairman of the Fighting Breast Cancer Committee.
Sally has served as a school governor and chaired her School Parents’ Association and the Stevenage Patrons’ Club. She is currently Chairman of the Mid-Herts branch of Women in Fellowship, a ladies’ group meeting monthly involving speakers, outings and church services.
She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in 2012 and currently chairs the Social Panel, whose remit is to arrange Lieutenancy visits to places and organisations within Hertfordshire as well as encouraging cohesion and friendships amongst the Deputy Lieutenants and their partners.
Sally became a Trustee of Hertfordshire Community Foundation in 2018 and is taking over as Chairman of the Grants Committee in September.
She is married to Mark, with three adult children and two brown standard poodles, Truffle and Tiffin. She loves playing tennis and skiing, trips to the theatre and discovering new restaurants in London. Her current project is trying to become fluent in French.
Roy Button OBE
Roy has been a member of the UK film industry for over 46 years. He started in the industry in 1969 as a runner and graduated up through the ranks of AD’s, Production Manager, Producer etc.
Roy joined Warner Bros. in January 1993. In his capacity as head of Physical Production for Warner Bros. Productions Limited, he is responsible for all Warner Bros. films based out of the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and has been responsible for over 150 films all over the world.
Roy was also the key driving force to Warner Bros’ Investment in Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden which has created Europe’s largest studio, solely owned and run by Warner Bros.
Roy is heavily involved with training programmes within the UK Film Industry and is currently sitting on the board of the Film Industry Training Board. He is also responsible for all Health and Safety matters related to productions and for bringing further major motion pictures to the country.
Roy was awarded an OBE for services to the film industry as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours List and was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Hertfordshire in 2010.
Lord Charles Cecil
Charles Cecil was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2011/12. His focus was on the prevention of offending and re-offending and he remains involved in many areas and organisations related to this in Hertfordshire. Amongst other activities, he is, with his wife, a Patron of Emmaus St. Albans and he is President of Pro-Action and a member of the Alban Foundation (for St. Albans Cathedral where he was also a member of the appeals committee). He is a member of the Court of the University of Hertfordshire.
In the Lieutenancy, he is also a member of the Business Group.
His family have lived in Hertfordshire for over 400 years and are actively involved in the community. He is married to Virginia.
His career has been in the financial field – particularly in private equity and investment, nationally and internationally. He was co-founder of two well-respected companies in international private equity services (subsequently successfully sold) and is or has been a board member of a number of other companies both in the UK and overseas. He has travelled widely for business in Continental Europe, the US, Australia and Latin America. He is Trustee and adviser to some major private groups. He chairs the Development Board of Christ Church Oxford where he read Modern History.
Charles has spoken at conferences in the UK, the US, Australia and a number of Continental European countries on a variety of subjects. He speaks French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and some Italian.
Charles Cecil is involved with a number of organisations including:
- Patron – Emmaus St. Albans
- President – Pro-Action
- Member – Alban Foundation
- Member – Court of the University of Hertfordshire
- Chairman – Development Board of Christ Church Oxford
Ant was born in St Albans and attended Hitchin Boys’ School and then Portsmouth Polytechnic. Qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor he worked in London for a large Surveying practice. He then joined the family business, Chapman Ventilation, based in Welwyn Garden City where he and his brother have worked together for the past 20 years.
Ant has also had a parallel career in the Reserve Forces and holds the Rank of Captain, Royal Navy Reserve. He is currently responsible for the Royal Navy’s relationship with current and future Employers of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Reservists. He has also deployed to the Middle East in support of UK operations and also commanded HMS WILDFIRE, Hertfordshire’s Royal Navy Reserve Unit.
Ant is married to Katharine and they live in Welwyn Garden City with their 2 children. In his spare time he competes in triathlons and enjoys sailing in the UK and abroad. He also enjoys mentoring individuals looking to grow their own business enterprises.
- Vice-Chairman – East Anglan Reserve Forces and Cadets Association
Dr Sarah Coffey JP
Dr Sarah Coffey JP lives in Broxbourne and is married to Peter. She has caring responsibilities for her parents.
Sarah has been a Magistrate (JP) on the North & East Hertfordshire Bench and remains on the Supplemental List.
Sarah served two terms as a member of the Joint Audit Committee for the Hertfordshire Constabulary and Police & Crime Commissioner. Sarah had previously been an independent member of the Hertfordshire Police Authority, with interests in Performance Scrutiny and Audit.
She has previously been County President for St John Ambulance, and a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Princess Alexandra NHS Trust, with interests in Quality & Safety, and the Audit Committee.
Sarah has a Bachelors Degree in Medical Biochemistry from Birmingham University, also a Masters and PhD Degree in Biotechnology from Reading University. She has worked in the Biotechnology and the Pharmaceutical Industries, in Research & Development, and Quality Assurance, and spoken at international conferences.
Her Husband, Peter is Treasurer of the historic St Andrews Church in Greensted.
Josephine (Jo) Connell OBE
Jo Connell’s career was in information technology where she became Managing Director of a software company followed by a number of Non-Executive Directorships with a variety of IT and Telecommunications companies.
Her current activities and interests are Chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, Chair of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Older and Disabled People, Trustee of the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Past Master (2008/9) of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and Chair of their Charity, and Patron of the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.
Over a long business career, Gerald served on the boards of 13 different public companies, seven of them as Chairman. He is currently chairman of Segro plc, Britvic plc and Numis plc. Previously he chaired Betfair plc, the Towry Group plc, Moneysupermarket.com, SSL plc and Woolworths. He has been a non-executive director of Numis plc, MEPC plc, Burmah Castrol plc and Greencore plc. He was the Group Financial Director of Redland plc and Grand Metropolitan plc. He was Chief Executive of Railtrack.
He was Chairman of Action on Hearing Loss (the Royal National Institute of the Deaf). He was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire for 2010/2011 and served on the Council of the High Sheriffs Association between 2008 and 2011. He is Chairman of the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the St Albans Cathedral Music Trust, the Cathedral Appeal “Alban, Britain’s First Saint” and Marylebone Cricket Club.
He was educated at Tonbridge School and Pembroke College, Cambridge University. He gained an MSC with distinction in Business Studies from the London Business School and was an exchange scholar at Harvard Business School. He is married to Virginia who is an artist. They have four grown-up children and live on a farm near Redbourn, Hertfordshire. His personal interests include watching cricket, golf, country pursuits and playing bridge.
Louise Faure Walker
Brought up in North Yorkshire, Louise trained as a nurse at the Middlesex Hospital in London before marrying Teddy and moving to Sandon Bury Farm. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
She has been a school governor at Sandon JMI School and Maidwell Hall, Northampton, she organised the Holly Ball at Hatfield House for 9 years, worked as a volunteer at the Isabel Hospice, as well as supporting her husband as High Sheriff, Vice Lord Lieutenant and Ordained Priest.
In 1995 she returned to nursing at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, retiring in 2013. She was appointed Patron Marie Curie 2013-2016, running three highly successful Art Shows with the NGS Open Garden at Sandon Bury for Marie Curie.
Nick Halsey served in the TA in Hertford, Hemel Hempstead and elsewhere and was Deputy Hon Colonel for the Royal Anglian Regiment.
He was Chairman of the Hertfordshire Society (CPRE) for 7 years, Chairman of the Ashridge Estate National Trust Management Committee for 15 years, member of the National Trust Regional Committee and Estates Panel and a governor of the Berkhamsted Schools.
More recently, he was President of the Royal Forestry Society (England, Wales and N. Ireland). Currently he is President of the Herts Scouts Council.
By qualification, he is a Chartered Surveyor (Land Agent) and in practise a farmer/forester.
Dr Helen Hanbury
Helen Hanbury qualified as a doctor from Barts Hospital in 1981. She moved to Hertfordshire in 1994 and stopped working to bring up her family. She has a long association with the voluntary sector working from 1995 to 2015 as a volunteer and then Trustee for Independent Age.
She became a school governor in 2002 serving for several years in two school and was Chair of Governors at Lonsdale School for disabled children in Stevenage from 2005 to 2017.
She now works as a volunteer for the Citizens Advice.
Helen is married with three children and enjoys gardening, walking, Opera and Ballet and travel.
Suzana Rose Harvey
Suzy Harvey grew up and went to school in West Sussex. She studied for a degree in Natural Sciences at Durham University followed 30 years later by a Master’s degree in Criminology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
She was self-employed as a wedding dress designer for 10 years in London and in Hertfordshire where she has lived for 30 years. She is now partner in the family farm which has diversified into property and a business park.
Suzy was chair of the Bishop’s Stortford branch of Cancer Research UK for 15 years and also volunteered for Fine Cell Work, a charity which makes beautiful handmade products in British prisons. She was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2018/2019 with a special interest in the issue of modern slavery.
Her interests include endurance rally driving, travel, tennis and skiing.
Commodore Tim Hennessey
After graduating from Durham University Tim Hennessey served in the Royal Navy until 2012 as Fleet Air Arm aviator and Surface Warfare Officer.
On leaving the RN he joined the Institute for Statecraft, assisting in work on the Prevent programme and lecturing on leadership. He also helped establish the Institute in its current premises in Temple Place. In 2014, he returned to his original passion and became a flying instructor and ground theory lecturer for prospective airline pilots. In 2016 he also qualified as a commercial pilot.
He is Chairman of Trustees for the Sailors’ Children’s Society, of which the Princess Royal is Patron, and he is a Trustee for three other charities. Tim is currently the Church Warden at St Peters in Berkhamsted.
Tim has been married to Kate, a Senior Financial Ombudsman, since they met at Durham in 1979. They have 3 children and 5 grand-children.
Tim is a Trustee of a number of organisations including:
- Trustee – Sailors’ Children’s Society (Hull based)
- Trustee – John Sayers Almshouses (Berkhamsted)
- Trustee – Bourne & Salter Educational Foundation (Berkhamsted)
Katherine (Kate) Holland-Hibbert
Kate trained in primary education working in London before moving to Hertfordshire with her husband in 1992. She brought up their family of four children and now works alongside her husband in their property and events business.
She has been involved with Mid and West Hertfordshire NSPCC for over 25 years, the Hertfordshire Gardens Trust school’s initiative – ‘Mrs Wheelbarrow’ and more recently with the Keech Braveherts appeal. Her principal interests are with family life children and children’s charities.
Dr John Howie
John is CEO & Co-founder of Hertfordshire based business Lintbells Ltd, the UK’s leading nutritional supplement manufacturer for dogs, cats & horses.
Having started his career in science with a biological sciences degree from Oxford and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics, John quickly moved into the commercial world managing various European food raw material and health enterprises, ultimately leading to him co-found Lintbells in 2006.
As well as supporting the health of over 1.5 million pets, the Lintbells business has been honoured to receive several Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, and also supports pet charities and rescue centres at a local, national and international level.
John believes strongly in using business as a force for good, and with a strong interest in the environment, is setting his company on a path to become carbon negative within 3 years.
John lives in Harpenden with his wife, Charlotte, and their two children.
Darryl Anthony Keen QFSM
Mr Darryl Keen is Chief Fire Officer and Director of Hertfordshire County Councils Community Protection Directorate and has been a member of the Fire and Rescue Service for 28 years with the last 8 years in Hertfordshire.
As part of his responsibilities, he represents the Directorate on a number of boards, including the County Councils Strategic Management Board. He established and chaired the Hertfordshire County Council Prevent Board and the Hertfordshire Multi-Agency Prevent Board. He has chaired the Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum since 2017 which is tasked with coordinating preparations for and management of major incidents in the County. He is the Strategic Lead for Operational Communications for the National Fire Chiefs Council. Mr Keen is the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) for all UK Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) using the Airwave radio system and is working closely with British Telecom to replace the 999 infrastructure for the UK.
Mr Keen is an enthusiastic supporter of the Firefighters’ Charity and was previously the Brigade Co-ordinator in Buckinghamshire and until December 2016 was the Fundraising Co-ordinator in Hertfordshire, he is now the Service Champion. He has been a key member of the organising team for the FireSportsUK (FSUK) National Cross-country Championships. He is a keen cyclist and chairs the FSUK Cycling Section.
Darryl has lived in Hertfordshire for 25 years, he is married to Rachel and has two children aged 18 and 21.
Darryl Keen works with a number of organisations including:
- Director – Hertfordshire County Councils Community Protection Directorate
- Chairman – FSUK Cycling Section
- Chairman – Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum
- Patron – Road Victims Trust
Hobbies and Interest
He is a keen cyclist and chairs the FSUK Cycling Section.
Martha Lytton Cobbold
Martha Lytton Cobbold is the Managing Director of Knebworth Estates and Lytton Enterprises Ltd., and Administrator of the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust. She is responsible for the management of Knebworth House, Gardens, Park and Estates, a complex combination of a busy leisure management business, a private charitable trust, a conference and banqueting centre, a family estate with three active generations, forestry work, farms and residential and commercial rental properties. She runs five different companies, and budgets, personnel, legislation adherence, licensing, health and safety, sales, restoration, education, concerts, filming, and community liaison. She believes strongly in community involvement, responsibility and support and has worked with a variety of community and national groups and advisory boards supporting health, arts, education, heritage and leisure.
Martha is a graduate of New York University, with a BA double major in Journalism and Art History, a double minor in Law and Spanish. She is a dual US/UK citizen, a UK resident since 1993, is married to Henry with two adult children, and has rehomed rescue Great Danes for three decades. In addition to sitting on numerous boards and advisory committees, Martha is the President of the Historic Houses Association, and Vice-Chair of the Visit Herts destination management organisation for the county.
Jane McCue moved to Hertfordshire in 1996 on taking up her appointment as a Consultant Colorectal surgeon at the QEII hospital in Welwyn Garden City which subsequently merged with the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and later the Mount Vernon Cancer centre. During her time in the Trust Jane also held a number of management positions culminating in almost ten years as Medical Director for the combined East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust until her departure in December 2017.
Now semi-retired she continues to work in a part-time capacity as a mediator with healthcare teams in difficulty and with a healthcare management consultancy.
She is also the Honorary Colonel for 254 Medical Regiment which includes 162 squadron based in Hitchin, a Volunteer surgeon with Hernia International and a past Governor of the University of Hertfordshire.
A resident of Bengeo, Jane is married with a son and daughter. Her interests include gardening, tennis, skiing, dancing, travelling and learning French.
After being diagnosed with the degenerative muscle wasting disease Muscular Dystrophy (MD) aged just 18yrs in 1984, Michael graduated from Oxford Brookes with a degree in Hospitality Management. Some 16yrs later, he made history by becoming the first disabled person in the world to lead expeditions to the North (2002) and South Poles (2004). His Arctic and Antarctic exploits provided a launch pad for The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), a multi award-winning national family charity based in Hertfordshire. Rooted in family values, MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, called Muscle Dreams for children and young people with muscular dystrophy; Michael is the Founder and CEO.
Michael is also an accomplished sought-after inspirational keynote speaker, providing insights and life lessons to business and public sector clients on themes such as resilience, compassionate leadership, change, risk and diversity. His greatest strength is his emotional and intellectual force in connecting with audiences that uplift human and corporate consciousness. He provokes, stimulates and inspire behavioural change.
In 2004, he was recognised by the Queen for his ‘contribution to national life’ and included in the Christmas Day broadcast to the nation by Her Majesty reinforcing diversity as a strength. In 2004, he was appointed the disABILITY Champion for Hilton Hotels UK & Ireland and in 2005 received the Business Traveller of the Year Award in Dubai. A London 2012 Paralympic Torchbearer, Michael has since been named one of Britain’s most influential people with a disability, as featured in the Power 100 list in 2018, 2017 & 2016. Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Hertfordshire in 2018 in recognition of his motivational and inspirational work for persons with a disability.
Michael is key member of a number of organisations including:
Fergus McMullen is Production and Sales Director of his family brewing and pub company McMullen and Sons Ltd.
He is Chairman of the Hertfordshire Community Liaison Group and sits on the Hertfordshire Criminal Justice Board. He is also chairman of the Hertfordshire ‘Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel’. Fergus also chairs the Keech Hospice Care, BraveHerts Charity and is Vice chairman of Future Living Hertford, a charity dealing with addictions and domestic abuse.
He was president of the Hertfordshire Agricultural Show in 2017 and High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2013/14. Fergus is married to Kate and they have five children and three grand-children. Kate works for the Cancer Research Trust for Addenbrooks and is a member of the BraveHerts Appeal committee. Kate enjoys travelling and teaching her grandchildren tennis and swimming. Fergus is a keen cricketer and fisherman and loves his dogs beside him at all times!
Fergus is a Patron of a number of organisations including:
Brigadier John Palmer
John was born in Belfast and educated at Haileybury.
He was commissioned into The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in 1967. After graduating from Nottingham University, where he met his wife Sue, his early career was spent largely in Germany, Northern Ireland and England, including a posting as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
His subsequent career alternated between postings in the Ministry of Defence and command jobs in Germany. On promotion to Brigadier, he joined a team charged with recommending changes to the Army’s command structure – most of which were subsequently implemented.
He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
After leaving the army he became Bursar at Haileybury, the school that both he and his two sons had attended, until 2005. His elder son lives in Indiana, USA with his wife and three sons. His younger son Richard was killed on operations in Iraq in 2006 whilst serving as a Lieutenant with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The family has subsequently actively fundraised for ABF The Soldier’s Charity in his memory, and he is Chairman of its Hertfordshire Committee.
John is a Patron of a number of organisations including:
- Trustee – HCF
- Trustee – St Albans Cathedral Music Trust
- Member – ABF The Soldiers Charity Herts Committee
- Chairman – Ware 41 club
Hobbies and Interest
He is keen on sport, particularly rugby and tennis, but his need for competition now largely involves playing very bad golf. He is also an enthusiastic gardener.
Dame Alison Peacock DBE
Professor Dame Alison Peacock is Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching which aims to provide a professional body ‘by teachers, for teachers’. Prior to joining the Chartered College, Dame Alison was Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire.
Her career to date has spanned primary, secondary and advisory roles. She is a member of the Royal Society’s Education Committee, a trustee of Teach First, a Visiting Professor of the University of Hertfordshire and a columnist for TES.
In March 2015, Alison was appointed by the Department for Education as a member of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels and she is author of Assessment for Learning without Limits.
Ian Pigott OBE
Ian runs a diversified farming business near Harpenden. He has a particular interest in reconnecting the British public and in particular young people with food, farming and the natural environment.
He chairs FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) and his own charity The Farmschool, which is an interactive farm-based programme for children from the inner cities and local schools.
He has a keen interest in sport, particularly cricket and golf.
He is married to Gillian and has two young children.
The Hon Richard Pleydell-Bouverie
Richard has been involved with many things in the County over a period of many years. He currently chairs the Diocesan Glebe committee and is also a member of the Diocesan Board of Finance.
Having assisted with the recent Appeal for St Alban’s Abbey, he is a member of the Alban Foundation and the Cathedral Council. He is Lead Governor of the Herts Partnership Foundation Trust which is responsible for Mental Health Services in the County.
He is a member of the University Court and until recently he sat as the Independent Member of the Hertfordshire Criminal Justice Board, retiring in 2016.
His interests include shooting, Natural History and racing.
Dame Joyce Plotnikoff DBE
Joyce has a law degree from Bristol University, the Diploma in Social and Administrative Studies from the University of Oxford and the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work. She is a member of the United States Bar.
In 1991 she formed Lexicon Limited with Richard Woolfson to undertake research and consultancy assignments on behalf of government departments involved in the operation of the legal system.
She was made a Dame in the 2015 honours list for services to justice, particularly vulnerable and child witnesses. She has also received awards from the US Supreme Court and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Hertfordshire.
Joyce and Richard married in 1987.
Vice Admiral Alan Richards CB JP
Alan served for 38 years in the Royal Navy specialising as a helicopter pilot and surface warfare officer. He commanded two frigates, HM Ships MONMOUTH and CUMBERLAND, and was the first Commander UK Carrier Strike Group flying his flag in HMS ILLUSTRIOUS. Time at sea was punctuated by a series of policy, finance and other roles in the central staff of the Ministry of Defence. He retired from the Royal Navy as Chief of Defence Intelligence in 2015 and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2016.
Alan lives in Chorleywood with his wife, Sara. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Emma Robarts was educated at St Swithun’s School, Winchester and Clare College, Cambridge. She spent ten years as a solicitor at a City law firm. On moving to Hertfordshire (where her husband Charles grew up) in 1995, with her family, she left the firm and took up freelance writing.
Emma has had her work published in the Times and Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, Spectator and Church Times. She also works part-time as a company secretary.
She is a trustee of an educational charity. She is a churchgoer and has done voluntary work for her parish church for 26 years, running the choir, doing a stint on the PCC, writing and directing Sunday School plays, giving help with building projects, running fundraising events, and organising food bank collections during lockdowns and parish litter-picking. She has also helped in the village school and ran a fundraising production for a new village hall.
She and Charles have three adult sons. Her interests include music, reading, drama, walking, swimming, tennis and Bridge.
The Most Hon the Marquess of Salisbury KG KCVO PC
Lord Salisbury was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He spent several years in banking in California before being elected Conservative MP for South Dorset in 1979. He stood down in 1997 after eight years of particular interest in foreign affairs, constitutional affairs and Northern Ireland.
He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1992, becoming a life peer in 1999. He served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords until 2002.
He is Patron of Politeia, a forum for social and economic thinking, connected with “Open Europe” and a founder member of Afghanaid.
He is involved with many charitable and community enterprises in Hertfordshire and Dorset. Formerly Chairman of the Council of the Royal Veterinary College and President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, he is currently the Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire. He is also President of the St Albans Cathedral Campaign and Chairman of the Chelsea Pensioners’ Appeal.
He became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in 1987.
Dr Amjad Shah
Dr Amjad H. Shah holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He is the Dean of the Shīʿah Institute, which he established in 2012, in order to facilitate and promote scholarship on Shīʿah Islam, its heritage and its peoples.
The Shīʿah Institute is located in Bloomsbury, the academic, scholarly, and publishing heart of London. The Fellowship of the institute comprises more than seventy reputable international scholars from some of the most renowned universities around the world. Other leading academics, also associated with the institute, advise on various editorial boards for the institute’s numerous publication series.
Dr Shah’s published monographs and academic interests include subjects as diverse as classical and modern Arabic literature, critical editions, history, jurisprudence from the Medieval to the Modern period, mysticism, philosophy, and theology. He is currently engaged with numerous academic projects, including an English literary translation and Arabic critical edition of the Nahj al- Balāghah.
Over the past few decades Dr Shah has given more and more time to good causes both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and continues to give his free time in a voluntary capacity to charitable projects on matters related to fundraising, education, and community issues.
He became Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in 2016.
Harjit Singh is married with 3 children and from a very young age has played an active part as a member of the Watford Community. Helping to raise thousands to make the first-ever Gurdwara in Watford. Later, to become the youngest member to sit on the executive for SGSS Gurdwara management committee in Watford. A founder member of BOSS (British Organisation of Sikh Students) and playing an active role locally, regionally and nationally.
Inclusion & Equality Officer for Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, since July 2002.
Presently, Chair of Trusties for One Vision Charity since Nov 2020. The honour of being elected on to the executive committee for the Sikh Council UK. Director of Watford & Three Rivers Trust. Co-founder of the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) & Chair of the Eastern Region, Advisor to Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Watford (previously the President from 2015-18), Chair of Watford Interfaith Group (WIFA) since 2019 and being an active member for about 15 years, as well as sitting on the executive member of Watford Celebrations for many years. Executive committee member for Hertfordshire Crime Stoppers. Sit on Herts BAME Network Group. Co-founder and executive member for HCC’s BAME Staff Network Group and co-founder of CPD BAME staff network Group and part of SING. Previously, Chair of Watford Racial Equality Council back in 2004-06. School Governor for Cassiobury School (2005-2009).
Stelio Stefanou OBE
Stelio was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2016/17.
His charity, the Stefanou Foundation, has created For Baby’s Sake, which works with mothers and fathers from pregnancy until their baby is aged two, supporting them to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start in life. For Baby’s Sake was launched in Hertfordshire in 2015.
Previously Stelio owned and chaired a public services and construction company.
His hobbies include cooking and photography.
Vinay Tanna is a Solicitor and Managing Partner of a law firm in West London. He is a council member of Bhaktivedanta Manor – Hindu Temple in Aldenham. Vinay is a pro bono legal advisor to a number of charities and organisations. Vinay sits on the Lieutenancy Interfaith and Queens Award for Voluntary Service Panels. His interest also includes animal protection and environment.
Vinay is married and has a son who attends Edgegrove in Aldenham. Vinnay writes poetry, runs, and is a keen gardener.
Dr Ros Taylor MBE
Ros qualified as a doctor at Cambridge University in 1980.
In 1996 she took on the strategic leadership role at the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, a post she held until March 2015. She is now working as Clinical Director for Hospice UK, a national umbrella charity for the hospice movement, and part-time as a physician at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
Dr Taylor has over 20 years’ experience in palliative care, and has lectured widely, nationally and internationally. She believes clinical leadership is vital, keeping core values of care in focus from the bedside to the Board.
She was awarded an MBE for Services to Hospice Care in 2014, following nomination by a patient.
She tweets as @hospicedoctor.
The Viscount Trenchard (Hugh)
Lord Trenchard is a banker and company director. He worked for Kleinwort Benson Limited from 1973-76, including 11 years in Japan. He has also worked for Robert Fleming & Co. Limited, Prudential Financial, Inc. and Mizuho International plc. He is a former Director-General of the European Fund and Asset Management Association.
He is currently Chairman of Stratton Street PCC Limited and a Director of several companies including Lotte Chemical UK Limited. He is also a Consultant to Simon Robertson Associates LLP and a Senior Advisor to Optum Health Solutions (UK) Limited and to Adamas Asset Management (HK) Limited.
He was a member of the House of Lords from 1987-99 and returned to the House as an elected hereditary peer following a by-election held in May 2004. He is a Vice Chairman of the British-Japanese Parliamentary Group. He served as joint Chairman of The Japan Society from 2000-04. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, by HM The Emperor of Japan in 2014.
He is Deputy Chairman of The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, having served as a Trustee from 1991-2003 and as Chairman from 2006-13. He served with 4th Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets, TA, from 1972-80 (Captain 1976) and was appointed Honorary Air Commodore, 600 (City of London) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, in 2006. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Hertfordshire in 2008 and a Lieutenant of the City of London in 2014.
Hugh was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married to Fiona who served as High Sheriff of Hertfordshire 2013- 14. They have four children and four grandchildren and live at Standon, Hertfordshire. His interests include watching skiing and country pursuits.
Karen is a chartered accountant who worked in audit practice at Deloitte before holding Finance and Procurement management positions in the retail sector between 1989 and 2003.
Subsequently, she has held several non-Executive and Chair positions in Public Services in health, justice and education sectors.
She has been a magistrate since 2004 and is Chair of the North and East Hertfordshire bench and a member of the Hertfordshire Out of Court Disposals Scrutiny Panel.
Her other current positions include being Chair of Governors / Trustees at The Broxbourne School, Chair of Governors at Wormley C of E Primary School (VC) and Deputy Chair and Lay Member for the NHS North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group.
Earlier work included five Non-Executive roles within the NHS and also Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Hertfordshire Probation Trust.
She has lived in Hertfordshire since 1982 and is married to Jonathan and has three adult children.
The Countess of Verulam (Dione) CVO
Lady Verulam CVO succeeded Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon as the Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in June 2007. She retired from the role in August 2017 but continues as a Deputy Lieutenant. She is a liveryman of The Goldsmiths’ Company.
She was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2002/3. She co-chaired Alban in Glory and Alban 2000 and has served on various National Trust Committees and on the Resources Acceptance in Lieu of Tax Panel.
As an artist, she has undertaken various stencilling commissions including at Cliveden and Hambleton Hall, several churches and for private clients and decorators. In 1980 she was a co-founder of Verona Stencilling.
She is married to the Earl of Verulam and they have four grown-up children and ten grandchildren.
2017 University of Hertfordshire Doctor of Arts
Lady Verulam CVO is a Patron of a number of organisations including:
- Patron – British Polio Fellowship
- Patron – Herts Practical Parenting Programme
- Patron – Iain Rennie Grove Hospice Care
- Patron – International Organ Festival
- Patron – St Albans and Herts Architechtural and Archaeoogical Society
- Patron – St Albans and Hertsmere Domestic Violence Forum
- Patron – St Francis Hospice
- Patron – The Living Room
- Patron – Youth Talk
- President – Beds& Herts Historic churches Trust
- President – Herts Community Foundation
- President – Tring Park for the performing Arts
- Chair – Appeal for the landscape project at the Cathedral
Hobbies and Interest
skiing, riding, golf, walking, trees, gardening, sightseeing, opera, theatre, dance, history, needlework and above all painting.
Lionel is an Aeronautical Engineer, Consulting on Aviation Safety and a graduate in Law from the University of Hertfordshire.
He is a minister working particularly with Italian Churches in Europe. Lionel is involved in various charity and community organisations, including the Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panel of the Crown Prosecution Service.
He is married to Dawn and they have 2 boys.
Janie is a member of the Honours panel within the Lieutenancy. She also sits on the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service panel as an assessor within the county, is a member of the Court of the University of Hertfordshire, and an assessor for CPRE rural living awards in Hertfordshire.
She moved to Hertfordshire with her family in the 80’s having lived in New York. Initially she did voluntary work for the NSPCC and the Hertfordshire Association for Young People (HAYP). She was a founder Trustee and Chairman of Pro-Action Hertfordshire. She served as a school governor for 11 years and as a director of an art company in central London for 10 years.
Janie was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire between 2009-10 with a special focus for her year on hospices in Hertfordshire and young people. She has organised fundraising activities and events for various charities including the NSPCC, University of Hertfordshire law school; a commemorative dinner for Armistice, and dinners and talent shows (rehearsing and encouraging young people to perform on stage) for Pro-Action.
Janie is Chairman of her Parish Council and Patron of Tring School for Performing Arts and Vice Patron of Pro-Action.
She has a passion for skiing, worked for the National Ski Federation of Great Britain and raced – in her youth! She has a great love of the countryside, mountains and animals, and enjoys both the visual and performing arts. She speaks adequate French. Janie and her husband have three adult daughters and six grandchildren (so far!)
David Williams was the Leader of Hertfordshire County Council from 2017 to 2021. Having been first elected as the member for Harpenden North East in 2013, he previously held the Cabinet portfolios of Resources, Property and the Economy and Enterprise, Education and Skills. He also served as Chairman of the Hertfordshire Local Government Pension Committee which had assets under management of £4.5bn.
A determined champion of local collaboration and partnership across the public sector, David chaired Hertfordshire Forward, the Hertfordshire Public Sector Leaders Steering Group, the COVID-19 Local Member Outbreak Board and co-chaired the Hertfordshire Emergency Services Collaboration Board.
David has had a keen interest in ensuring that good local growth builds on the strengths of the Hertfordshire economy, is sustainable and delivers homes to meet local housing needs in communities that exemplify Hertfordshire’s placemaking heritage. He established and chaired the Hertfordshire Growth Board, sat on the board of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Stevenage Development Board and was a Deputy Chairman of the UK Innovation Corridor.
Nationally, David was the chairman of the County Councils Network from 2019 to 2021– a cross-party grouping of 36 county authorities that represent some 26 million people across England. He sat on the Executive of the Local Government Association, the National Outbreak Control Plans Advisory Board and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Economic Recovery Group.
David is a Governor of the University of Hertfordshire and sits on the Finance Committee.
Born and educated in North Wales, David spent 24 years with Barclays culminating in senior executive roles. He has an economics degree from Cardiff University and an MBA from Henley Business School. He is married to Claire and has two grown up children.
Professor Sir Tim Wilson
Tim retired from the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire in 2010, having served the University for almost 2 decades; a period when it grew from being a small Polytechnic to a large international University. The University also achieved both the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial University of the Year award during his tenure.
His entire career was focused on the interface between higher education and business, promoting collaboration in the fields of research exploitation, specialist consultancy and skills development. In that context, he was a core member of the Lambert Review (2003) on research exploitation, the primary author of the government sponsored Wilson Review (2012) of University-Business Collaboration, and an expert witness to the Select Committee for education. He has held key national and regional roles in the CBI, in University sector Policy boards, and in economic development agencies.
He holds degrees from Reading, Lancaster and Walden (USA) Universities and honorary doctorates from Hertfordshire, Plymouth and London South Bank Universities.
Her Majesty The Queen conferred a Knighthood on him in the New Years Honours list 2011, for Services to Higher Education and to Business. He became a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hertfordshire in January 2011.
Since retiring from the University of Hertfordshire, he has held non-executive board positions in several companies – FTSE 250, private equity, and in private ownership – and chaired boards in specialist universities and colleges in London, Coventry, Singapore, Vancouver and Athens. He retired from these positions in 2020.
He has been a Trustee of Garden House Hospice since 2011.
He is a past Captain and past President of Letchworth Golf Club. He strives for acceptable mediocrity in playing the sport, and continues to fail. He is a Vice President of Letchworth Rugby Club, extending a lifelong commitment to rugby.
With his wife Jackie, he has been a resident in Letchworth since 1991. Jackie is an active volunteer at the Lister Hospital Children’s ward and with the Riding for the Disabled charity.
Dr Richard Woolfson
Richard holds a doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Oxford. He was an academic before the diamond industry in a research capacity.
He spent eight years in the Information Systems industry before forming Lexicon Limited with Joyce Plotnikoff to undertake research and consultancy assignments on behalf of government departments involved with the legal system. He has sat on the Access to Justice subgroup of the Civil Justice Council and the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex Courts Board. He facilitated the CPS Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
He and Joyce married in 1987.
Akhtar Zaman attended primary and secondary education in St. Albans then went onto gain a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. He has spent his working career with several multinational software companies both as a technician and in a management capacity including the role of CEO for a start-up consultancy business. He has travelled for work to over 20 countries worldwide, experiencing many and varied cultures. Akhtar is married and has a daughter and two sons who also live and work in Hertfordshire.
Akhtar grew up in St. Albans and has been active from a young age with many faith groups, race relations, and charities. He has served and represented the Muslim and Asian communities over the past 30 years on various committees; currently, this includes being a trustee and chairman of two organisations. Areas of interest include Faith Groups Collaboration, Youth Enablement Initiatives, Helping the Disadvantaged, Community Integrations/Relations, Promotion of Digital initiatives especially in the community.
In 2020, Akhtar became a governor of a Special Needs school in St. Albans – Heathlands School, and a Trustee for a Computer Training charity – Computer Friendly.
He enjoys watching and playing all sports.
He is the chairman of the Lieutenancy Media Panel and a member of the Inter-Faith Panel.