Jane Barrie OBE DL, Chairman
Jane has lived in Somerset for most of her life and is the Chair of Health Education South West. She has had several Non-Executive roles within the NHS during the last 29 years, including Chair of NHS Somerset and Chair of Dorset and Somerset Strategic Health Authority. She was a stockbroker by profession and formerly Regional Director of NatWest Stockbrokers. With a keen interest in education, she is Chairman of Trustees of the Bishop Fox’s Education Foundation, a former Chairman of Governors at Taunton School, and the former Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council for Somerset. She is a past President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, the global women's organization whose members work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. She is a Patron of St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice.
She was awarded the OBE for services to the NHS in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List and is a Deputy Lieutenant for Somerset.
Martin Kitchen OBE, Vice Chairman
Martin is a retired local government Chief Officer and chaired a national committee reviewing service levels in the fire service. He also has experience at board level in Education, the National Health Service and Police. Martin has a particular interest in the structure and governance of public and charitable bodies, mentoring and adult learning.
Michelle Ferris, Treasurer
Michelle is the Director of Charities and Not-for-Profit at Albert Goodman LLP, a large regional accountancy firm based in Taunton. She was brought up in Somerset, and after spending some time away she returned to the county where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Albert Goodman, specialising in charities for the last 8 years. Michelle is also currently a trustee at Refugee Aid from Taunton, and in her spare time - outside spending time with her two young children - she is an international basketball official.
Chris is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant and a former Business Services Director of Wessex Water plc. The majority of his career has been spent in the UK but he has worked in North, Central and South America and been the Chief Financial Officer of the global technology company Achillies Group. He is a former Chairman of Somerset College of Art and Technology and board member and trustee of BIBIC the Somerset based brain injury charity. He is currently advising Pixieme.org a community marketplace for independent businesses and is a trustee of a number of local charities.
Richard is Chairman of Tauntfield and Summerfield Developments, property companies based in Taunton who have built up an endowment fund with Somerset Community Foundation.
Richard qualified as a Chartered Surveyor with Savills in London before moving back to the West Country in 1987. He has been instrumental in Summerfield’s growth to become one of the major regional developers in the South West. He has excellent contacts at senior level within the business community and is a school governor at King’s College and King’s Hall, Taunton, and was High Sheriff of Somerset in 2014/15.
John Lyon CB
John has spent most of his professional life in central government, where he served on the executive boards of the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. On leaving the civil service, he was appointed by the House of Commons as its Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He is currently the Director of Strategy and Implementation and Company Secretary at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge and is a senior member of St Edmund’s College. John sits as a lay member of barristers’ disciplinary panels. He is an elected member of the National Trust Council and chairs its Nominations Committee for appointments to the Trust’s Board of Trustees. He is a volunteer at the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey.
Bruce has over 40 years experience in the investment industry; he worked as an institutional (pension fund) manager at Mercury Asset Management before moving to Perpetual, the retail fund group, where he was a director of the operating company. Following a family move back to the West Country, Bruce became chairman of an Exeter-based wealth management firm and he joined JM Finn following the sale of that business. Bruce has an MA in Modern Languages (Cambridge). Bruce and his wife Sophy have four children and home is a working farm on Exmoor, which consumes pretty much all the family's free time.
Lucy Nelson DL
Lucy founded Tommy’s, a national charity funding medical research into the reasons why babies are born too soon and too small, stillbirth, miscarriage, poor foetal growth and prematurity. They raise around £4million each year. She was Tommy's CEO for 10 years, a Director of Mark Birley Associates for 20 years and a Director of the Catholic Building Society. Lucy was also a Governor for 20 years and finally Chairman of Governors for Port Regis school in Dorset. Lucy was High Sheriff of Somerset 2015-16 and is now a Deputy Lieutenant. She is particularly interested in mental health and raised a fund for four mental health charities in Somerset during her year as High Sheriff. She has lived in Penselwood, Somerset for 20 years and runs a small stud, breeding horses for eventing and dressage.
Karen grew up in Somerset before spending most of her adult life in the South East following a career in the hotel, hospitality and music industries and supporting her husband in the horseracing industry.
Karen became involved, alongside her sister, in planning key fundraising events for large charities such as Mencap and Cancer Research UK. Her contacts in the world of opera enabled her to connect charities with major opera singers, such as Jose Carreras, Dame Kiri Te Kawana, Alfie Boe and Brun Tyfe, to perform at their events.
Upon the death of their father, Karen oversaw a memorial fund with SCF set up by her sister, who lived in Switzerland.
Jan Ross MBE
Jan has worked in Somerset in education, both for children and adults, and in Community Development. She currently works for Engage West Somerset, supporting voluntary groups. As a volunteer, she is involved in many different charities and groups in Somerset. Jan brings to the Foundation a good network of contacts across local authority, community and voluntary sectors.
David worked in Local Government for almost forty years. He qualified as a Social Worker in 1979 and has worked in all aspects of children’s and adults services. He was Director of Children’s services in Somerset until 2010 and then Director of Peoples Services in Shropshire until 2013. David is a Governor at a local school and also Bridgwater and Taunton College. He works as a freelance trainer and teaches English as a foreign language.
Sarah is a solicitor, a consultant and in May 2020 retired as partner at Ashfords LLP in the Real Estate team. She was brought up in Surrey and worked in London before moving to Somerset in 1991. She has worked in private practice for many years but has also worked at the BBC legal department and at the Government Property Lawyers (part of the Treasury Solicitors Department). She has an interest in voluntary work and community based activities and was a volunteer and on the management team at Brixton Advice Centre for 10 years whilst working in London. Locally she has been a Parish Councillor in Pitminster for many years (including a term as Chair for 6 years) and is also involved in community activities through her parish church.
Tim is a partner and chairman of Clarke Willmott LLP specialising in property development work. He has lived in Somerset for 37 years. His work brings him into contact with Somerset businesses and landowners and he has also carried out legal work for a number of charities during his career.
He is Chair of trustees of the Albemarle charity and a member and former church secretary of Taunton Baptist Church.