Our Trustees

Meet our Board of Trustees

Meet our other teams

We are fortunate to be supported by an exceptionally talented board of trustees, who kindly donate their time and expertise to ensure that British Exploring Society receives the support it needs to continue along the right path and thrive as an organisation.

All of our trustees bring with them a highly impressive background in business and as a collective they serve a vital role in ensuring that as a team we are working towards our aims and overall goals within youth development and expedition.

Marvin Rees - President

Marvin Rees went on expedition with British Exploring Society in 1990, and accepted the role of President of British Exploring Society in the summer of 2019. His education includes a Master's in Political Theory and Government at the University of Wales, a Master's in Global Economic Development at Eastern University (United States) and completion of the World Fellows Program at Yale University.

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Rees was brought up in Bristol, where he later worked as a freelance journalist and radio presenter at BBC Radio Bristol and Ujima Radio, as the Programme Manager for race equality in mental health issues at NHS Bristol, and as the Communications and Events Manager at Black Development Agency (now Phoenix Social Enterprise). Rees is the Founder of The Bristol Leadership Programme, a two-week programme that helps a dozen young people annually from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain what they aspire to. On 5 May 2016, Rees was elected Mayor of Bristol.

Richard Walton - Chairman

A former Commander at New Scotland Yard, Richard was Head of Counter Terrorism Command between 2011-2016 having spent the majority of his thirty-year policing career in the field of Counter-Terrorism.

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He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and has travelled extensively to countries affected by terrorism, providing advice to governments. He is Chair of The Educational Frontier Trust that funds education projects in Kenya and a trustee of Mission EmployAble that provides training to young people with learning disabilities. He believes that all children will thrive if given the right opportunity at the right time. Richard joined Council in November 2023 and became Chair in February 2024.

Carolyn Young - Trustee

Carolyn has worked in marketing for over 20 years, including at the National Trust, British Museum and currently Art Fund, often taking special responsibility for developing and growing membership schemes. She has extensive experience in developing brands, fundraising, commercial partnerships, market research and marketing communications.

Claire Royston - Trustee

Claire qualified at the University of Manchester before holding numerous senior positions within the NHS covering both clinical practice and research. She was registered as a specialist in General Adult and Old Age Psychiatry in 1997. In 2005 Claire was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in recognition of her contributions to the field. Between 2004 and 2006, Claire went on to act as Vice President of the Royal Society of Medicine.

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During her career, Claire has held several senior level positions including Lead Psychiatrist for Mental Health Act Commission, Medical Member and Trainer for the First Tier Tribunal Service, Mental Health. For over a decade Claire acted as Group Medical Direct for Four Seasons Health Care and was a Board Director with particular emphasis and responsibility for all aspects of the quality and governance of care delivery. She has continued her commitment to enhancing care, bringing her wealth of knowledge and practical experience to support the Envivo Group at Board level. Claire currently acts as Director at Sempergens, focussing on the development and implementation of new technologies regarding customer feedback, quality assurance and compliance.

David Tilston - Trustee

David is a chartered accountant and non-executive director. He has previously been CFO of several listed PLCs across a range of sectors, most operating globally. His prior voluntary experience was as Council Member of The Association of Corporate Treasurers where he also chaired their Education Committee, overseeing the financial education of 1,200 students internationally.

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David's first visits camping and walking in the Lake District left him determined to walk all the Wainwrights, and he has recently visited the Antarctic Peninsula. His outdoor adventures have been and continue to be a rewarding and enjoyable part of his life.

David Wells - Trustee

Before studying education and becoming a secondary school teacher, David worked in a variety of different environments and settings within outdoor education. Throughout his career David has been driven by his passion to get young people into the great outdoors. His particular focus has been working with schools and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds

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Ian is a passionate believer in what British Exploring Society does and in particular that its expeditions are truly open to all. He joined Council in September 2019 and became Chair in November 2019 before stepping down at the end of his term in February 2024.

Ian Maginnis - Trustee

Ian has held a range of senior management and board roles in large companies, government and charities, and has particular expertise in strategy, business transformation and finance. In recent years, he has focused on working to transform the lives of young people through outdoor education and adventure: he is a Duke of Edinburgh leader, has taken school groups on overseas expeditions with World Challenge, and was Treasurer and a Trustee of the YHA for several years.

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Ian is a passionate believer in what British Exploring Society does and in particular that its expeditions are truly open to all. He joined Council in September 2019 and became Chair in November 2019 before stepping down at the end of his term in February 2024.

Jim Hopkinson - Trustee

Jim is a registered social worker based in Yorkshire. He has held senior leadership roles in both local authorities and charitable organisations. In the 1980s Jim completed an expedition with British Exploring Society to East Greenland and has maintained a love of the outdoors ever since. Having experienced first-hand the transformational power of expeditions, Jim is has taken every opportunity to encourage other young people to get involved with British Exploring Society ever since.

Mark Fawcett - Trustee

Mark has worked extensively in youth development and social mobility over the past 25 years. He has led overseas youth expeditions in mountain and jungle environments and trained adult leaders.

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He set up National Schools Partnership, now called We Are Futures, in 2005 to encourage and support a wide range of businesses and charities to do more to support young people in formal education, skills development and careers opportunities. He has advised a wide range of corporate clients including Sky, NatWest, Samsung and Asda on their approach youth engagement and young talent.

Rahul Moodgal - Trustee

Rahul works independently helping firms build out their businesses. He was previously the Partner who headed Investor Relations and Business Development for the TCI Platform where he worked and built The Children's Investment Fund, Parvus, TCI New Horizon, KDA Capital and Algebris Investments (2005-2009).

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Prior to TCI, Rahul worked as the Head of International Institutional Clients at UBP London (2004-2005) and as the Head of Client Service at TT International (1998-2004). Prior to working in finance, Rahul was an academic and studied in the UK, USA, Russia and Japan.

Soo Redshaw - Trustee

Soo is based in Cumbria but travels extensively for work. She established a new leadership and management company in 2014 with colleagues from Cranfield University. They work with a diverse set of clients, both individuals and organisations, using a conscious, mindful and transformational approach.

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She first became involved with British Exploring in 1987 and has remained involved ever since, always as a leader. She brings to the Society her practical expedition experience along with her current leadership work and background in outdoor education, underpinned by her belief in the potential of young people.

Tim Passingham - Trustee

Tim is the Founder and Chairman of Cambridge Management Consulting. Tim is also a Non-Executive Director of Irish subsea telecommunications company Aqua Comms and a Non-Executive Director of cyber security business C2 Cyber. Tim acts as a strategy adviser to numerous organisations and has extensive senior executive experience in the information and communications technology industry.

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Tim is passionate about youth work, adventure, travel and the outdoors having travelled to over 80 countries and climbed or hiked in many of them. Tim has previously helped run youth clubs, summer camps and worked as an outdoor instructor. In addition to being a Trustee of BES, Tim is also a Patron and serves on the Development Board of British Exploring Society.

Michael Blakey - Board Advisor

As Board Advisor, Mike provides expert knowledge and complements the existing board of trustees. He challenges and gives focus to our thinking on key issues relating to safeguarding, operations and the needs, outcomes and safety of our client groups. Michael is passionate about the development of young people. His own love of the outdoors was first ignited at a local education authority outdoor education centre when he was in primary school and has continued ever since.

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He’s been involved in mountain rescue for over 25 years and served as team leader for Patterdale MRT until 2018. Michael is currently the operations lead for the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association. He’s held various roles in his career including Head of Children and Young People’s services at Brathay, National Strategic Lead for youth services for one the UK’s biggest children’s charities, and he served for several years as an Ofsted inspector. He’s currently the Director of Quality and Outcomes for Outcomes First Group, the UK’s largest provider of children and adult services.

Toby Salt - Board Advisor

Professor Toby Salt is an experienced advisory director and non- executive director. His present clients include the Ed Tech company Zen Educate and he is senior adviser for AQA. Until recently he was the CEO of AQA the largest exam board in the UK. He was previously Chief Executive of Ormiston Academies Trust, which sponsors 37 academies across England, with responsibility for 26,000 students and 3,500 staff.

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Prior to that, Toby was Deputy Chief Executive at the National College for School Leadership, an executive agency providing leadership development and policy advice for schools and ministers. Toby has worked in a variety of education leadership roles, including as Executive Head of a federation of three schools, and has led schools to achieve ‘outstanding’ gradings under Ofsted. In 2000, he was appointed by the Prime Minister as Director of the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit to lead innovation in school practices and structures. He has also held a number of voluntary and non-executive director roles including appointment to the Cabinet Office Innovators’ Council and as a board member of UCAS. He is a visiting professor of education leadership at the University of Wolverhampton; a member of All Souls Group, Oxford; and a member of the Windsor Leadership Trust Chief Executives’ working group. As Board Advisor Toby provides expert knowledge and complements the existing board of Trustees. He challenges and gives focus to our thinking on key issues relating to education, the needs, outcomes and safety of our client groups and on key areas of policy.

Rachel Smillie - Board Advisor

Rachel has extensive experience in the Education sector, including in teaching, student support and outreach work. In her current role she leads on developing effective partnerships to deliver doctoral programmes and research training and skills development.

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Rachel is a rowing coach and is passionate about helping young people to enjoy the benefits of sport and the outdoors. She is currently training to row 3000 miles unsupported across the Atlantic and is using this project as a platform to inspire girls and women to take on their own challenges. She is not very good at sitting still and enjoys fell running, bouldering and freediving when not messing around in boats.

Rupert Eastwood - Board Advisor

Rupert is a chartered accountant, financial entrepreneur, internet investor and ex-TA soldier who has spent most of his career in Asia, living in Hong Kong and Japan. He understands the positive impact of exploration on young people having been on his first, two month, expedition to Aldabra Atoll as a 16 year old.

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A love of adventure has taken him climbing in the Himalaya, Japan Alps and Antarctica, skippering a yacht across the Atlantic to Cuba, crossing the Sahara on local trucks and paddling up the Congo in a dugout canoe. The Eastwood family provides the Alexander Eastwood Award to encourage the participation on expedition of former YEs and members of University Officer Training Corps.

Meet members of our wider team

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