Governance

About us

Governance

© Alan Price

How we're run

Our Trustees are a group of volunteers who hold the financial and legal responsibility for everything the Trust does.

Our Trustees bring a wide range of knowledge, expertise and experience to the charity and are responsible for approving our strategic plans, annual budget and Annual Report & Accounts. 

Trustees are appointed from our membership base at the Annual General Meeting of the Trust each November.

Our mission

Our Trustees

Chris Wilkinson (Chairman)

Chris is a retired solicitor and former partner at an international law firm. During a 35 year career he gained extensive corporate and commercial experience, with an emphasis on corporate governance developments for listed companies and other organisations. Chris is a keen walker with an avid interest in the countryside. He has lived in Surrey for over 20 years and is a long-standing member of SWT as well as a number of other national and regional environmental charities.

Gerry Bacon (Treasurer)

Gerry retired from a successful career in corporate finance in 2010, during which time he was CFO and Group Treasurer in the energy and telecommunication industries respectively. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of The Association of Corporate Treasurers for whom he was also President.  

Since retiring he has been a part-time corporate finance lecturer, a non-executive director of an autism trust and an insurance group and he recently completed a part-time degree in history and history of art. A life-long lover of nature, Gerry is also Chairman of a cricket club, a keen sportsman and is passionate about education.

Nick Baxter

Nick has had a long career in countryside management, spanning over 30 years. Nick came to Surrey in 1983 to run the Lower Mole Countryside Management Project, the first area-based countryside management project in Surrey and south London. Following this, he worked for Surrey County Council, eventually as Head of Countryside Management. He also oversaw the start of the contract between SWT and Surrey County Council to manage SCC’s countryside estate. Nick has a particular interest in development and retention of volunteers, common land issues and lowland heathland. 

Andrew Beattie

Andrew is an experienced environmental professional with proven ability in leading multidisciplinary teams to deliver environmental management, assessment and consenting on high-profile projects. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and holds full membership with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. Andrew has been a member of SWT for over six years and is a  RiverSearch volunteer. In his spare time he is a cyclist and a trail runner.

Christine Howard

Christine Howard is in her final year as Chairman of the Surrey Hills Society – the charity she helped set up nine years ago to support Surrey’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. She is also Chairman of Visit Surrey, Surrey’s official Tourism Board and Vice President of the Surrey Association of Local Councils. She has served as both a parish and borough councillor, as well as working as an officer in local government for both Waverley and Guildford boroughs.  

Having grown up on a farm in Australia, she is passionate about rural issues and the environment. She writes a rural column for Surrey Life magazine and is a judge on the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards, which champions local producers. In her spare time she leads walks in the countryside and sings Gilbert and Sullivan operas with Godalming Operatic Society.

Peter Smith

Peter was born and lives in Surrey and has an enduring interest in wildlife. Peter’s background is in marketing strategy - after a degree in biology Peter joined the pharmaceutical industry, where he has held a variety of marketing leadership roles. More recently he became a strategy consultant and has been providing support to the Trust in this capacity.

Matthew Stanton

Matthew is a solicitor with WWF and has extensive knowledge of property and environmental law. He is a former associate at an international law firm where he focused on litigation, specialising in property and planning. In his current role, he is heavily involved in Greener UK, an alliance including The Wildlife Trusts, seeking to ensure the environment is protected in the years to come. He advises colleagues on a range of environmental law matters, from the illegal wildlife trade to carbon emissions. Matthew is a keen wildlife gardener and enjoys seeing what creatures he can attract to his own green space.

Gordon Vincent

Gordon was born in Surrey and grew up on his father’s farm at Sunbury-on-Thames. His career has spanned three major estates. He managed Firle in East Sussex, which consisted of 2,500 acres together with 1,200 head of cattle. He was the Farms Director of Milton Estate in Cambridgeshire, consisting of 21,000 acres, 1,700 breeding sheep and a herd of Longhorn cattle. Gordon also managed the Daylesford Estate in Gloucestershire which is an Organic Estate, producing and marketing its own livestock and cheese. For the past ten years until retirement he was the Chief Executive of Wimbledon and Putney Commons, a 1,200 acre estate in SW London.

Pam Whyman

Pam has been a volunteer and advisor with our education team for many years, sharing her wealth of knowledge gained over 40 years of teaching biology. She has a passion for the benefits of outdoor learning and now that the dream of a new super classroom complex in the magical Nower Wood has become a reality, she is even more excited to be involved in the endless opportunities that SWT can deliver. Pam still teaches at Esher College and will continue to provide an educational training and advisory role for the Trust, working closely with staff in all sections of the education department.

Meryl Wingfield

Meryl spent over 10 years in the energy industry and currently works as a senior leader in research and development for fuels and lubricants, focused on improving fuel economy in vehicles. She brings expertise in strategy, managing large organisations and pragmatically managing operational risk. She’s passionate about moving to a low-carbon future and chairs the sustainability group for the site she’s based on. She also runs a small arts charity, plays violin in Farnborough Symphony Orchestra and enjoys walking and running in the Surrey countryside

Ian Smith

Ian heads the Financial Planning and Performance team at WWF and brings commercial experience from the private and charity sector. In previous roles he worked with sales teams assessing investment opportunities and now works to ensure value for money is achieved with limited charity resources. He is an ACCA qualified accountant and has just completed a part-time degree in Natural Sciences with the Open University.

Ian is a keen hiker, loves being out in nature around Surrey or further afield. He is passionate about conservation and is happy to be able to combine a local focus at SWT with an International focus at WWF.

How to become a Trustee

Any member of Surrey Wildlife Trust may apply to become a Trustee, provided they are eligible to stand for election under both company law and charity law. No fixed qualifications are needed, but a wide range of skills and experience are required in order for our Board of Trustees to be effective. Trustees may only serve for a maximum of three terms of three years (9 total).

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please check our vacancies page. Trustees are elected at our Annual General Meeting, held each November.