Meet our board of Governors
The Board of Governors at the College is a highly committed and hard working group who give their time freely to support the leadership team in delivery of the key initiatives outlined in the College’s strategic vision. We still have on the Board a number of the founding governors and parents who took on the task of setting up the College 40 years ago, and continue to support it to this day.
Governors who have served not less than 25 years may be offered the position of Foundation Governors. They are entitled to attend, but not vote at, Governor’s meetings and do not have the legal responsibilities of Governors.
All correspondence for the Chairman of Governors should be sent to the following address:
Abbey Gate College
Tel: 01244 617 352
Fax: 01244 335 510
Chair of Governors & Chair of Estates Committee
Andrew attended Arnold School, Blackpool from 1959-1972 and went on to read Civil Engineering at the University of Liverpool. A career then followed in the water industry and, continuing his academic career, he gained an MBA with distinction from the University of Westminster in 1989.
Following a successful MBO he has now retired from Westwood, a firm he founded in 1988 to specifically help developers address the water management and wider environmental issues that were increasingly threatening project viability. Locally, he has been heavily involved in the delivery of both the Saighton Camp residential development and the Airfields development at Deeside. Outside of Weetwood, Andrew has held a number of governance positions: President of the Old Arnoldians’ Association in Blackpool, a trustee of Arnold School Development Fund and Governor of Arnold School, Blackpool.
As a previous chair of Chester & District Housing Trust, he is now a Governor of Abbey Gate College where his daughter was a pupil. On a professional basis Andrew helps to foster future potential, acting as a professional reviewer of candidates seeking corporate membership of the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management.
For leisure, since the squash racquet was hung up, he focuses on hill walking and motorcycling.
Deputy Chair of Governors & Chair of Education Committee
Paul has held a number of senior posts within the education public and private sectors. He was CEO and Executive Principal of The Manchester Multi-Academy Trust and before this he was a Director within the Department for Education. Prior to this he worked in the private sector as MD of the HBS/Mouchel Education Group, and as a Director within Place Group, a highly respected national education consultancy, leading on the establishment of the new Academies Programme across the UK.
Paul has had experience as a director of education in two local authorities and as a Strategic Director responsible for Enterprise and Partnerships: In the early part of his career he was Principal of the RAF Central Education and Training College with the Ministry of Defence.
Paul was a Governor at Abbey Gate College for twelve years and has an M.A. in Education Leadership.
Chair of Finance Committee
Emma is a former pupil of Abbey Gate College and she graduated from York University with a Master’s degree in Music. After University she was appointed Assistant Director of Music at Llandaff Cathedral School and later Head of Music at Upton House, Windsor. At the age of 29, Emma pursued a career in finance, and after qualifying as an accountant in practice, she joined Tetrapak, then Marks and Spencer where she spent over 10 years working in the U.K. and Europe. She followed her interest in technology in business and became the founding Finance Director of a web comparison site growing the business from start-up to acquisition. She has been involved in start-ups ever since and is. currently CFO of Enso Impact which provides educational opportunities in Africa.
Emma has been a Business Mentor with the Prince’s Trust since 2009 supporting young adults in business through their Enterprise program. She joined the Board and Finance Committee in 2016 She has a passion for music and the impact this can have on young people and is a keen musician herself. Emma also enjoys sailing and open water swimming.
Chair of Promotions Committee
Ed commissioned from Sandhurst and spent six years in the army half of which was serving with Commando forces operating worldwide. He left to get married to Kate and they lived in New Zealand. He retrained and became an investment manager working for ABN AMRO. Ed and Kate returned in 2010 with their two boys both of whom attend Abbey Gate College.
Ed is now the Rural Asset Manager running Barnston Estate comprising 1,800 acres with multiple farms, forestry operations, renewable energy interests, a business park, residential lets and land development. The Estate provides housing and employment for 200 people.
In addition, Ed sits on the national council for the Country Landowners and Business Association to try and shape DEFRA Policy to promote business in the rural economy, is Vice-Chairman of Cheshire CLA and has been appointed to the Cheshire West Rural Growth Board, he is a governor of the Oldfield Educational Trust overseeing six Cheshire farms, is a 2019 Nuffield Farming Scholar, and now chairs the fundraising board for bursaries at Abbey Gate College.
Chair of Safeguarding, Education Commitee & CAREERS Governor
Sean Gardner is one of the UK’s foremost experts in online teaching, having pioneered an international online teaching business – Tute – and delivered over 30,000 online lessons to schools, culminating in a BETT Award for teaching and learning in 2017.
Sean has founded 9 businesses across the telecoms, finance and education sectors, the most recent being GLUU which focuses on EdTech solutions to support blended learning and wider school improvement. Part of this work includes the development of a national online school.
He founded a national trauma charity, Trauma Response Network, specialising in supporting people with PTSD. Sean is currently the Chair of Governors for Eaton Primary School (a digital transformation case study school for the DfE) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Brian was born and raised in Hong Kong until he came to board at St. Joseph’s College, Blackpool in 1965. He went on to attend Prior Park College in Bath, Liverpool University and the College of Law in Christleton, Chester. He qualified as a solicitor in the City of London with a Magic Circle firm and now works in Chester as a consultant solicitor specialising in minerals, environment, renewable energy and telecomms.
Brian’s two children both attended Abbey Gate College, following which his daughter went on to read Law, and his son Ancient History and Archaeology, both at Liverpool University. Brian has also just been appointed Company Secretary of Deeside House Educational Trust.
Outside of work and his Abbey Gate College commitments, Brian enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, watching rugby league, fly fishing and walking his black Labrador Jack.
Deputy Chair of Estates
Richard joined the Board in 2016 and has been a member of the Trust since 1999. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer who has been working in the engineering & planning sector since 1990. More recently, Richard has become a director of an engineering management consultancy that provides advice to senior management of public sector organisations.
After gaining a Master’s Degree at Salford University, he became a Chartered Civil Engineer, Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and later a Chartered Environmentalist. Richard is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and helps to develop future potential by acting as a mentor to young engineers helping to enable them to gain professional qualifications.
He is a former pupil of Abbey Gate College and lives in Chester with his wife Sara, who is a teacher, and their son George.
Prevent Governor & Safeguarding Committee
Jeremy was appointed to the Board on 11th November 2015 and continues the much valued link with Chester Cathedral. His appointment as Canon Precentor at the Cathedral in September 2014 was a natural step to fulfil his vocation in serving God with his musical, pastoral and liturgical gifts.
Finance Committee, Promotions Committee & PHSEE Governor
Tim is a local dentist brought up just over the border in North Wales. He attended Mold Alun Grammar School before departing for London and Guy’s Hospital Dental school where he obtained his degree together with additional qualifications from the Royal College of Surgeons.
Tim`s son Oliver attended Abbey Gate College and after many happy years was appointed Head Boy in 2005. The association with Abbey Gate continued after his departure to University as Tim was appointed a member of the Trust in 2006. Tim is a keen sportsman, currently heavily involved in many country pursuits. He has in the past played representative rugby and retains a keen interest in athletics and sailing.
He is currently a member of several institutions within the City of Chester. He was appointed by the Board on 30th November 2016 and sits on the Finance Committee and Promotions Committee.
Finance Commitee, Safeguarding Commitee & GDPR Governor
Brian’s daughter is a former pupil of Abbey Gate College. He joined the Board of Governors in 2013 and sits on the Finance Committee and Safeguarding Committee. He is a Deputy District Judge and a mediator and was the former Senior Partner, Director and Chairman of Walker Smith Way Solicitors before the firm was amalgamated with the Australian law firm Slater and Gordon in May 2015.
He was also former president of the Chester and North Wales Law Society. Brian hopes to use the skills he has learned in his various roles to assist the Board and with the governance of the school. In his spare time, Brian enjoys skiing and hiking in the Alps with his family, as well as being a keen sailor.
Foundation Governor & Finance Committee
Derek is a founding Director of Abbey Gate College. His twin girls Emma and Katie started at Saighton Grange with 60 other pupils on the very first day we opened on 8th September 1977.
Derek is a Chartered Accountant who, after qualifying with Price Waterhouse in Newcastle upon Tyne, did his National Service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery serving in Hong Kong. He then worked in the Food Industry for two major groups, Cerebos Ltd for 12 years and spent the following 30 years with Edward Billington & Son Ltd of Liverpool as Managing Director and later Chairman of their subsidiary food and packaging companies. During his last seven years he was their Group Finance Director before retiring in 1997.
Derek looked after the College’s finances and administration for 25 years, and was voted Chair of Governors in 1992, serving for 11 years. He is currently a Foundation Governor and is looking forward to continued, but reduced, involvement on the Main Board. Derek’s granddaughters attend the school.
Foundation Governor & Estates Committee
Noel is a founding member of Deeside House Educational Trust Limited. His son Ian was one of the pupils at Abbey Gate College on opening day in 1977 and his daughter, Sarah, completed her Sixth Form at the College. He became a Governor and the Company Secretary in 1985.
Noel was educated at Chester City Grammar School before spending five years in London studying and working in commercial photography. Before retiring, Noel was a partner in a small independent retail business. He has served both as a member and Chairman of his Parish Council and through that appointment is a trustee of a small educational charity. He has also served a four-year term as a primary school Governor. Noel sits on the Estates Committee.
Foundation Governor & Estates Committee
Trevor was the first chair of Deeside House Educational Trust Limited, holding the first formation meeting in 1974, having set up the charity and negotiated the lease for the College. All three of his children were educated at Abbey Gate, enrolling on the first day.
Trevor practised as a solicitor and was a Partner in Walker Smith and Way (as it then was) in Chester, Wrexham and Ellesmere Port, retiring in 1998. He serves on the Estates Committee and is a Foundation Governor.
Foundation Governor & Estates Committee
Jane was educated at Gloddaeth Hall, Llandudno and is married with three children. Her son, Phillip attended Abbey Gate College between 1978 and 1984. A Founder Trustee and Governor she is now a Foundation Governor of the College. Jane was a member of the Social Committee for 30 years and currently sits as a member of the Estates Committee.
She was also a founder member of the Chester Deva Rotary Club and Company Director of a family business and is an active member of Chester Golf Club. Jane sits on the Estates Committee.