Meet Our Team

Photos of the team with pop up captions

Staff Team

Community Engagement Manager
Simon Watts

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Simon is our Community Engagement Manager. Simon leads the project after a career working for environmental organsations ranging from Groundwork to The Royal Forestry Society. As an ex teacher, he has a particular interest in our school visits. Simon enjoys sharing his love of the natural world and traditional crafts with others. 

"There are so many fascinating stories of our river’s history and wildlife to share. DNAire is a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved with our river. It's a fantastic green and blue space running through our communities that can enrich so many people’s lives."
Community Engagement Officer
Nick Milsom

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Nick is our Community Engagement Officer. Nick leads our river stewardship programme and could be said to be happiest when he has wet feet. Nick has extensive practical conservation experience and enjoys actives like hedge laying and tree planting. 

"I believe we are at a watershed moment for the environment. We all have a role to help protect and conserve the environment. I hope bringing new people to enjoy our river will help them understand how special it is."

Community Engagement Assistant
Hannah Gordon

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Hannah is our Community Engagement Assistant. She joins us as part of her Physical Geography degree, on a placement at the Aire Rivers Trust. Hannah leads our school sessions. She hopes to inspire children to follow her into a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

"As part of the work I am doing with the charity I would like to show people what the Aire does for them, including how they can get something out of it. For me, it is simply the pleasure of being outdoors.
In the far future I can see myself educating others about ecology and river ecosystems. But in the short term, I really want to see some salmon!"

Project Administrator
Sharon Redmond

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Sharon is our Project Administrator. She won't admit it but she's possibly the most important member of the team. Sharon is always happy to help and is the person to talk to for volunteer expenses or booking on training courses.

"I am always happy to help, so please do not hesitaate to get in touch. I love my job and it's great to be part of an organisation that helps the environment. My ambition is to catch sight of an otter on the river."
Pollution Hunter
Robert Hellawell

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Robert's passion for Bradford Beck is hard to match. When he is not fishing he loves walking along it and his keen eye is often one of the first to spot pollution. A former volunteer, Robert is now working on our Pollution Hunter project with Friends of Bradford's Becks identifying pollution in tributories to the River Aire.
Catchment Officer
Billy Coburn

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Billy Coburn joined us having previously worked for Thames21, London’s Rivers Trust. Billy worked at Thames21 for 9 years, most recently as Development Officer and Team Leader. Previously he volunteered at Groundwork. His environmental interests include connecting communities to their local waterways, empowering them by demonstrating how a healthy river should function, Natural Flood Management, and Surface Runoff.

Billy’s role as Catchment Officer includes, actively building and supporting current membership to the Aire Catchment Network, constructing a detailed catchment plan of projects from known strategic priorities, developing and seeking funding for projects, and project managing those projects to conclusion.

I am overjoyed to be part of the Aire Rivers Trust and Aire Catchment Network, listening and appreciating all the challenges around the catchment, working with the network to improve our local waterways".
In his free time, Billy can be found by a river kayaking, hiking or playing guitar.

Trustees

Chair of Trustees
Geoff Roberts

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Geoff is our Chair of Trustees. Geoff has spent almost the whole of his career, and ‘retirement’, working to improve the environment. Starting as a Pollution Prevention Officer on the River Aire, he worked for Yorkshire Water for 26 years. After he left, he couldn't stay away from the river and became a trustee in 2013.

Geoff is a passionate ‘connector’, bringing people together from across the Aire catchment and Yorkshire. He leads for the Trust on The Aire Catchment Network and is an Independent Member of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. He currently chairs the ‘Yorkshire Hub’, which brings together Catchment Hosts and Rivers Trusts from around Yorkshire.

Treasurer and Secretary
Jerry Whaley

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Jerry is our Treasurer and Secretary. He was one of the founding members of the Trust in 2011. Jerry is an accountant who has worked primarily in/with Local Authorities, in the social housing sector with Housing Associations and as a consultant.
He is currently Chair of Mind the Gap – a theatre company for people with a learning disability.
Trustee
Wendy Robinson

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Wendy is Chair of Bradford and Bingley Canoe Club and a founder trustee of The Aire Rivers Trust.

She began canoeing on the Aire in 1974 and remembers signs along the river warning people of dangerously polluted water.

“The quality of our local water courses is a signal of how we value and care for our environment and the improving quality of the Aire is a success story to be proud of.
Recreational use of the river enables local people to value it and engage with its care. This means reducing pollution, managing the spread of invasive non-native species and restoring the river towards a natural state. In the past the Aire has been exploited at great cost to plant and animal life. Restoration of the river and its catchment is a win-win for people and nature.”
Trustee
Kevin Sunderland

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One of our founding members and the Trust's Chairman for the first four years of its existence, Kevin is a keen advocate for the river. There are few people connected with it who haven't met Kevin. His passion and persistence over many years has been instrumental in transforming the river.

Following the major improvements to water quality, Kevin has continually highlighted the possibilities for the return of migratory fish to the Aire and has successfully prepared the way for this to happen.
Trustee
Barney Lerner

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Barney has been a Trustee since the start of ART (2011). He brings his research experience in his role as Emeritus Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Sheffield. A major theme of his research is about groundwater and contaminated land; more recently he has been working on a range of projects on urban rivers and their pollution. These have included: the risks of pollution from industrial estates, the effects of misconnections in sewer systems on river ecology, and the barriers to salmon passage on the river Don.

With his student Dave Chandler, he developed a cheap and effective way to monitor for misconnected drainage which was widely publicised, for example in the Guardian and on Buzzfeed, and is now being used in the beck.

Barney leads the Friends of Bradford’s Becks work. As well as regular litter picks in the spring when the vegetation is still short, there is an invasive species group. The group is currently working on renaturalising sections of the beck.

Trustee
Jane Rogers

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Jane is a former lecturer from Craven College and one of our newer Trustees. Jane is enthusiastic about sharing her love for the Aire with others and been invaluable in thinking up new ways to bring people to the river.
Trustee
Jill Campbell

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Jill has had a career working across the solid waste management industry in pollution control, R&D and delivery of new infrastructure and recycling services.

A few years ago, she switched her focus to ecological activities and now, within the Aire Rivers Trust, is contributing to improving habitats throughout the catchment.
Trustee
David Brazendale

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David is a long standing Trustee with the Trust. As a local resident and member of Friends of Robert's Park he is keen to see the river on his doorstep thrive.
Trustee
Mark Penny

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Mark has been a Trustee since the start of ART in 2011. He brings to the trust a background in water and environmental management, almost 40 years experience in the water industry, over 30 of those at Yorkshire Water where he was an Operational Director in both water and wastewater business areas. For 6 years (2012-2018) Mark was also the Chair of the North East Waterways Partnership of the Canal and River Trust and a shadow board member involved in establishing the Yorkshire West Local Nature Partnership.

Originally from Leeds, then Keighley now in Skipton, the River Aire and its tributaries have been a constant part of his life, be that occasional pleasure fishing, walking and spending time with nature, environmental improvement or getting involved with litter picks.

"I am proud to be associated with the Aire Rivers Trust and look forward to the day, in the not too distant future, when salmon can be seen once again around Skipton."

Finally, meet Rachel

She does not work FOR us, but she spends so much time working WITH us, that we felt she deserved a mention.
EA CATCHMENT COORDINATOR FOR THE AIRE AND CALDER
Rachel Kipling

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Rachel studied Environment Management at Lancaster University, and has a love of nature and wild places, stemming from a childhood in the Dales and family in conservation management.

Living and working in the catchment since 2003, she has worked in pollution prevention and waste regulation for the Environment Agency, seen a shift in focus towards engagement and investment, and a valuing of the Leeds Waterfront through management of the Aire Action Leeds project, in addition to supporting MP and Defra communications for the EA following the floods in 2015 and 2020.

As Catchment Coordinator, Rachel helps to administer and support the Aire Catchment Network with Aire Rivers Trust, and drives connections and offers support to the range of partner organisations in the catchment. Linking people together to develop multi benefit projects, and enabling successful partnership working to get the best for our rivers, becks and surrounding environment.

© Copyright Aire Rivers Trust 2020
The Aire Rivers Trust is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 07464227 and a Registered Charity No: 1145609
Registered Office at: 38 Morton Lane, East Morton, Keighley BD20 5RS
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