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 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 1991, 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.

Ian Maginnis - Chairman

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.

Jane Park-Weir - Trustee

Jane Park-Weir is a solicitor who works in London and lives in Hampshire with her husband and very young family. She is a Member of British Exploring, having completed her first expedition in 1995 (Alaska) and taken part in various other mountainous and arctic trips since. Jane has maintained contact with the Society over the past 20 years, briefly working as an intern a few years ago and most recently providing assistance in relation to legal issues.

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She is keen to ensure that other young people can benefit from the same opportunities that she had for personal development on a British Exploring Society expedition.

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.

Patrick Van Daele - Trustee

Patrick held a range of technical and executive positions in Shell, starting as a junior exploration geologist in Bangladesh. His assignments took him to diverse and exciting locations including Tanzania, the Sultanate of Oman, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine and most recently the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he held the position of Country Chairman.

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.

David Bartles-Smith - Trustee

David is based on the edge of the North Pennines in County Durham and has developed a diverse career supporting young people and families and exploring the value of learning outdoors. He is a qualified Social Worker and Youth Worker with over 25 years experience in Local Authority and voluntary sector settings, empowering young people and their families to overcome challenges and to believe in their ability to achieve beyond their expectations.

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Much of this work has been set within disadvantaged and marginalised communities and his experiences have underpinned David’s outlook on using the outdoor environment in enabling young people to seek, discover and pursue life opportunities beyond the horizons they may have become resigned to. David has worked in a range of outdoor learning settings, tutored mountain skills training and led many overseas expeditions across SE Asia, Africa, Europe and Central America. David though has a real attachment to his backyard hills in the North Pennines and has over the past 24 years contributed much to Mountain Rescue, leading his local team for several years.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Meet members of our wider team

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