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Peter Harkness,
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Peter Harkness is a media entrepreneur and an experienced charity trustee. He joined the Trust at its launch and became chairman in 2016. He is chairman of Ink Global, which is the media partner of more than 34 airlines around the world, with headquarters in London and divisions in the USA and Asia. Peter is also Senior Independent Director of the £600m business information group, GlobalData plc.

Before re-locating to the Cheltenham area Peter was a Trustee and vice-chairman of the York Museums Trust, which manages York’s Art Gallery and two major museums and was a pioneer, 16 years ago, of the charitable trust model for managing civic assets upon which The Cheltenham Trust is based.

Peter and his family found themselves visiting Cheltenham’s festivals, sporting and cultural attractions so often that they bought a second home in the town many years ago and in 2013 they moved permanently from Yorkshire to a farm near Cheltenham where Peter raises award-winning pedigree sheep. Inspired by his connections with the art galleries in York and Cheltenham, Peter studied History of Art at the University of Buckingham as a mature student and was awarded an MA.

Duncan Smith,
Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Duncan is an accountant currently working for a national bank. He has extensive financial and commercial experience gained across a wide range of sectors including IT, retail, shipping and the public sector.

Duncan was a borough councillor for 18 years and also served on the County Council for eight years. During that time, he was Mayor of Cheltenham, leader of the Borough Council and is now an Alderman of Cheltenham.

He has held a wide range of charitable and community based roles including vice-chairman of Cheltenham Borough Homes, trustee and governor at Balcarras School, and governor of 2gether, the NHS Foundation Trust providing mental health services in Gloucestershire.

Judith Hodgson

Judith has become involved with various voluntary roles since retirement, including as a trustee at Bletchley Park, a school governor in Cheltenham and leading, and fund raising for, a heritage restoration project as a member of a community group in Pittville.

Her professional life has included teaching, the voluntary sector and, for most of her career, GCHQ, where she held a Board-level position and gained experience of senior management, large scale projects and corporate services.

Brought up in the Slad Valley and educated in Stroud and London, Judith has spent most of her life in Gloucestershire (apart from spells in Scotland and the USA) and is an enthusiastic participant in the cultural and leisure activities that Cheltenham and the vicinity offer. She has 3 grown-up children and 2 grandchildren.

Jacqui Grange

Jacqui is an artist, curator, project and event manager. She is a partner in Creative Solutions, and Creative Producer of the Cowley Road Carnival in Oxford. She is also an Arts Award advisor, manages public art projects, and validates Artsmark for the Arts Council and Trinity College.

Creative Solutions works both independently and for clients such as Groundwork UK, English Heritage and Creative Partnerships, to take high quality and innovative arts and media practice into new locations. Prior to establishing Creative Solutions, Jacqui worked as a principle arts officer for Birmingham City Council, running the award winning Gallery 37, and as an Audience Development Officer for the Arts Council. She was also a founder member of the Art House in Lewisham, and has lectured on artists’ professional development, public art and audience development.

Laura Brookes

Laura has built a career in Procurement, focussing mainly on ICT (Information Communications Technology) procurement, in both the private and public sectors. She is very experienced in managing strategic supplier relationships, complex contract negotiations, and generating procurement strategies.

Laura worked for BT for 14 years, gaining experience from a number of different posts, then moved to Orange where she was involved in several procurement negotiations to support the success of the Orange/T-Mobile merger (EE), before taking a senior procurement role in the public sector 3 years ago.

Laura moved to Cheltenham 5 years ago after meeting her husband Dan, and Cheltenham has really become her home. She has always had a keen interest in sports and leisure (she has a BSc honours degree in Sports Science) – she played badminton at county level, and has a great love for outdoor activities such as horse riding and snowboarding.

Jaki Meekings-Davis

Jaki is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant with extensive experience at Board level in the NHS, in Local Government and the water industry. Her expertise includes strategic planning, financial management, commissioning and governance.

In recent years she has undertaken a number of Non-Executive positions and is currently a Board member of the North Bristol NHS Trust and the local Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum.

A Lancastrian by birth, Jaki moved to Cheltenham almost twenty years ago in order to join her husband and family. She and they are keen supporters and users of “…all the good things that make Cheltenham such a great place to live and visit”. Through her Trusteeship of the Trust she hopes to play her part in sustaining and developing its services and extending its reach to all residents and visitors.

Karl Hobley

Karl has lived in Cheltenham since 2013, having moved to take up a post with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

In May 2016 he was elected to Cheltenham Borough Council as Councillor for St Pauls Ward, the home of Leisure at Cheltenham. He is one of the Borough Council’s nominated trustees, having previously been a member of the board of the National Union of Students and Chair of Trustees for Reading University Students’ Union.

Karl studied for a BA in Politics & International Relations at Reading University, which included a period of study in the Canadian capital. Since graduating he has developed a career in public relations with specialisms in stakeholder engagement and higher education. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Outside of work Karl maintains a keen amateur interest in history, architecture and the arts. He is keen to ensure the Trust remains engaged with, responsive to and rooted in Cheltenham’s community, whilst also having the freedom to be progressive and bold in its development.

Paul Owen

Paul is an experienced Board Advisor and Company Director who has worked across a wide range of industries and sectors over the last 2 decades. Much of Paul’s career has been spent building and developing businesses, with particular areas of focus around customer development, product offering and routes to market both nationally and internationally.

Having lived in Cheltenham for almost 20 years, Paul moved from his home town of Sutton Coldfield in order to marry and outside of his business interests has served in Governor and Trustee roles in education and the third sector whilst at the same time enjoying family life with Julia and their 3 daughters and also trying to make the most of the surrounding countryside on foot (with dog), in trainers and on Mountain Bike… whilst he still can!

Ian Renton

Ian has worked in horseracing for many years and is the Regional Director for the South West region of The Jockey Club, with his main area of responsibility lying in the management of Cheltenham Racecourse. Ian joined Cheltenham Racecourse during 2012, and has overseen the recent £45 million development of the racecourse, completed in November 2015.

Ian’s previous role was as Managing Director for Arena Leisure PLC, who owned seven racecourses at the time. During his eleven years at Arena Leisure, he also held non-executive positions as a Director of the governing body of British racing, the BHA, and as a Director of the Racecourse Association. Ian’s first role in racing was as a trainee manager at Cheltenham Racecourse, with subsequent roles managing Wincanton and Salisbury racecourses and as Clerk of the Course at Aintree.

Louis Eperjesi

Louis has over 30 years knowledge and experience of the manufacturing and supply of building products into international markets. He has a strong commercial, marketing and product background from his early career with Caradon Mira (now Kohler Mira in Cheltenham) and Redland Plc. Since 1999 Louis has held leadership roles in Lafarge SA, Baxi Group and Kingspan Group Plc. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of Tyman Plc, a leading international supplier of engineered components to the door and window industry, where he has successfully driven strategy development, change management programmes and M&A activity.

Louis is very keen on all sports and in his younger days represented the town at colts’ rugby and water polo from junior levels through to the senior national league team where he played and coached Cheltenham for over 20 years. His sporting interests now are primarily as a spectator and include membership of Gloucester Rugby Club and Cheltenham Racecourse.

Sian Morgan

Sian is an experienced business leader, strategic partnership manager and fundraiser who currently works for a leading local school. Sian has an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford and started as a management consultant for Arthur Andersen.  Sian subsequently worked for leading media companies including AOL, BT and Telewest, where she ran the internet service provider blueyonder and was also a Managing Director for Cheltenham Festivals, which uses many of the Trust’s venues.

Sian was educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and moved back to the area with her family 10 years ago, drawn by the vibrancy of Cheltenham, with its cultural and sporting opportunities.  She played international lacrosse at University, but her passion is skiing – however, she now spends a lot of time watching her children play rugby, cricket, athletics and many other sports!

Maxine Melling

Maxine’s working life started in Cheltenham at North Gloucestershire College and concluded, also in Cheltenham, at the University of Gloucestershire, where she was Pro Vice Chancellor on the University’s executive team until her retirement in early 2018. In between these two Cheltenham-based positions she worked in several universities in leadership roles with responsibility for student facing services including libraries, IT, student administration and student support.

Her career has included a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Her particular interests are in strategic planning, customer service, support for e-learning and the development of collaboration between institutions. Throughout her working life she has also led capital building projects including the development and refurbishment of university libraries and the development of student residences. She has spoken regularly at sector conferences, written professional papers and books and has been a guest lecturer on library and information undergraduate programmes.

Maxine’s contributions to voluntary and community groups have including working as an adult literacy tutor, acting as a former Trustee for the Gladstone Library, chairing the Cheltenham Civic Society and chairing the Cheltenham Festival of Remembrance Committee. Maxine is a regular contributor to leadership development programmes run by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. She acts as a mentor to people in early career leadership positions and continues to write on the role of libraries. Maxine is a keen amateur artist and also enjoys walking – she and her husband enjoy walking their dogs in the countryside around Cheltenham.

 

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