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- Trout in the Town
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Shaun Leonard, Director
Shaun is an unashamed fish bloke, inspired by Jacques Cousteau after a wander around his research vessel Calypso in Mombasa harbour in 1966 and a childhood in and on the Indian Ocean and in the trout streams of southern Ireland. After degrees in marine biology and then pollution, Shaun has had a professional life in fishery management, both game and coarse. He was Head of Fishery Studies at Sparsholt College near Winchester until 2009, when he was gifted a fish bloke’s dream – the post of Director of the Wild Trout Trust. Shaun brings to the Trust a lengthy and ongoing scientific background and continuing involvement with the fisheries and fish farming sectors. He is an avid fisher though continuously disappointed that 45 years of practice appears only to make him worse at the sport with each outing
Andy Thomas, Conservation Officer (South)
Andy started his long career in fisheries back in 1980 and is passionate about all fish and the rivers and lakes they live in. He joined the Wild Trout Trust in a sucessful bid to get back to practical advice and habitat improvement. A passionate angler, he enjoys blanking for anything that swims as long as it is in season, Heroes include Bernard Venables and his Dad, who still punches out a tidy fly at 92. When not inserting large woody debris into river channels, Andy enjoys re-building old cars.
Gareth Pedley, Conservation Officer (North – part time and based at the Eden Rivers Trust)
Following a degree in Fishery Management, Gareth started his career with a season river keeping on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire. This helped fund a year out, including 6 months fishing in New Zealand. Gareth then took a post river keeping on the Haddon Estate in Derbyshire, where he contributed to the development of the Estate’s flag-ship wild catch-and-release fishery for trout and grayling.
After Haddon, Gareth worked for five years as a Fisheries Technical Officer for the Environment Agency, managing projects and providing advice in the North East. Though he enjoyed the work, Gareth has now returned to his roots in wild trout conservation; his post is one output in an exciting partnership with Eden Rivers Trust whereby 50% of his time is as a WTT Conservation Officer for the North-West and North-East and 50% as Programme Manager for the River Eden Restoration Strategy.
Gareth’s personal goal is to offer support and advice to fishery managers and clubs wanting to reduce stocking and promote wild fisheries, through conservation of wild fish stocks.
Dr Paul Gaskell, Trout in the Town Programme Manager
An angler from the age of 7, Paul’s career in freshwater ecology has always been fuelled by a passion for angling. A degree in Pure and Applied Ecology at the University of Sheffield was followed by three years working as an experimental officer performing aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation studies in invertebrates and fish. Returning to Sheffield University to carry out a Ph.D that established how water-insoluble chemical pollutants can enter aquatic food chains led to a post-doctoral research post. Paul managed a five year project to establish the ecological risk posed by motorway drainage storm runoff. The findings are incorporated into the updated “Design Manual For Roads and Bridges”. Moving in to the direct habitat conservation world has allowed Paul to use his skills to inform the WTT’s pro-active interventions to protect and improve biodiversity in the UK’s rivers. His academic ecological background also comes in handy when developing cheap aquaria for rearing invertebrates (Mayfly in the Classroom) as well as interrogating the evidence base that guides WTT actions and policy (stocking position statement and habitat interventions). Paul is a very keen fisherman and takes part in volunteer invertebrate monitoring on his local rivers. His son, Thomas, was born in January 2011 and together with Jo (an academic at Sheffield Hallam University), the family live in Sheffield.
Dr Tim Jacklin, Conservation Officer (Midlands)
Tim’s early interest in the aquatic environment was encouraged by his grandfather and the purchase of a Woolworths fishing kit, which led to many school holidays pursuing the fish of Lincolnshire’s rivers and ponds. This interest led to Nottingham University where Tim completed a degree in zoology followed by a PhD on the dynamics of juvenile coarse fish populations in the River Trent. A career in the fisheries section of the National Rivers Authority / Environment Agency followed and his experience includes running a programme of fisheries surveys, abstraction issues relating to hydropower and thermal power stations, habitat restoration projects, the restoration of salmon to the Trent and the construction of fish passes. Tim joined the WTT as a conservation officer in 2008.
Mike Blackmore, Conservation Officer (South and West)
Stepping into the River Chew in Somerset for a school Geography project changed Mike’s life forever. The experience led to an Environmental Science BSc undertaking fieldwork from Dartmoor to the Malaysian rainforest, voluntary work with endangered White-clawed crayfish and a career managing large-scale river restoration projects with Cain Bio-Engineering Ltd.
Mike is a big believer in ‘wild rivers for wild fish’. He is passionate about re-wilding the UK's long over industrialised rivers. Mike was appointed by the WTT in response the high demand for the Trust's fieldwork and aims to make river restoration part of the everyday language of fisheries management.
Ben Tyser, Research & Engagement Officer
Originally from Zimbabwe, some of Ben's earliest memories are of trout fishing trips to the Eastern highlands of that country. Inspired to pursue a career in fisheries, a rigorous MSc in Applied Ecology at UEA was followed by jobs with the Forth District Salmon Fisheries Board & then Rivers Trust. An opportunity to work with the UK's leading fish conservation charity was seized on and Ben joined the WTT in 2012. Ben is responsible for developing the Trusts eduation & conservation programmes, coordinating the advisory visit programme and conducting research into the science that guides the WTTs work. When not fishing he is a keen tennis player and outdoorsman.
Christina Bryant, Trust Admistrator (4 days per week).
Christina is the longest serving member of the WTT staff having joined in 2000, and has been a key contributor to the Trust's growth, turning her hand to every possible job short of installing large woody debris! Her background in the Navy and in journalism have given her a broad set of skills. Her talents include IT and graphic design as well as terrific organisational skills. As the only member of the team that doesn't fish, she has nonetheless acquired a good understanding of fishing tackle and fishermen.
Denise Ashton, Communications and Fundraising (part time)
Denise started as a volunteer with the Wild Trout Trust and served on the Executive Committee before managing her escape from a long career in the IT industry and joining as a part time member of staff. She studied Geography at University College London and, much later, Environmental Science with the Open Unviversity. A late comer to both fishing and fish habitat, she is an expert in neither but has an endless curiosity and enthusiasm for work of the Trust.
Edward Twiddy, Chairman
Edward studied as an undergraduate at Durham University (comfortably close to the River Wear) and undertook post graduate studies in life sciences and international law. He has worked for the UN in Iraq and on a number of international boundary disputes in Arabia and Asia. In 2003 he joined the Treasury and is currently on secondment as Chief Executive for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. He manages to combine his challenging role as a Public Servant with a young family and occasional fishing trips for sea trout and brown trout. Edward’s involvement with the WTT started with a project on the River Witham, and with the experience from that project he took on the then voluntary role of WTT Projects Coordinator, now managed by Tim Jacklin. He became a Trustee and WTT Chairman in 2006.
Dr Gary Mantle MBE
Gary is long term friend and supporter of the Wild Trout Trust and is now a Trustee. He has a degree in ecology and his doctorate involved fish farming. He was awarded an MBE in 2000 for his services to conservation. Gary has been Director of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust since 1990 and founded the Sensory Trust which champions equal environmental opportunities for people with a disability. Gary brings to the Board of Trustees a broad understanding of, and influence in, the world of conservation and sustainability. He is also a fisherman, and is as happy fishing for barbel as he is for trout.
Neil has held a number of leadership positions in business services and retail and is currently Chief Operating Officer of ISS UK. He brings financial, commercial and legal experience to the Board of Trustees and has experience as a Trustee of other charities but has long-term commitment to the Trust having been a Trustee since the very earliest days. Neil’s objectives for the Trust are to see the scope of activities continue to grow providing an ever increasing amount of sustainable wild trout habitat.
Neil is a very keen fisherman, with a passion for the Dorset streams, the River Allen in particular. His wife hails from the Pacific Northwest and so he spends an indecent amount of time pursuing steelhead and Pacific salmon.
Chris Watson is Partner and European Head of Telecommunications at CMS Cameron McKenna, a City law firm. He uses his legal skills to good effect as a Trustee, and when not working hard as a lawyer, he endeavours to grow the best wines in Chablis and Irancy and squeeze in some fishing in the UK and around the world.
Dr Graham Coley
A retired Company Executive, who originally worked as a research scientist, with a wide
experience of the management of Science, Engineering and Technology businesses in both the Public and the Private sectors. A dedicated flyfisher passionately concerned about ensuring a future for the wild brown trout, grayling and the Atlantic Salmon. A member of the Piscatorial Society, and the Flyfisher's Club, and involved with the Upper Oykel in Sutherland. A Trustee for the past ten years or so with the focus on advising about strategy, operational management and compliance to help the organisation to grow effectively and succeed in its mission whilst keeping its overhead costs to an absolutely essential minimum.
Dr David Fraser
David Fraser is Principal Aquatic Ecologist with fisheries and aquatic science consultants APEM Ltd, based in Oxford. David’s ecological roots lie in salmonid ecology gained in particular via his Ph.D. This focussed on the ecologically distinct co-occurring races of Arctic charr present in Lochs Rannoch Ericht and Tay in Scotland, and also explored the interactions of charr and trout in these waters. David then relocated to the flatlands of East Anglia, to take up the role of National Freshwater Fisheries adviser with English Nature dealing with a range of fisheries and conservation issues on designated sites.David is a keen, although, due to the commitments of a young family, currently infrequent angler of both rivers and lakes, with a penchant for waters where the choice of fly is less important than possession of a compass, map and walking boots.
David Marriott, Financial Advice and Accounts
A partner in a Sheffield accountancy practice, David has been our Finance Officer since 2004. He is a life-long fly fisher and a passionate advocate of the Wild Trout Trust. Currently he is President of Cressbrook & Litton Flyfishers’ Club, custodians of eleven miles of the Derbyshire Wye in the heart of the Peak District.
Kris Kent, Social media
Kris joined the Executive Committee in 2010 with special responsibilities for new media. He looks after the Trust's Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter sites and provides advice and support on communication. He is a regular volunteer at Trust events and hosts the Trust's annual Grayling Weekend in Derbyshire. Kris is a life member joining the Wild Trout Trust in 2007. He is a training and development consultant having previously worked in food manufacturing and retailing. When not helping out the Trust he is a keen flyfisherman and can be found most weekends by a river somewhere in the UK
Patrick Lloyd, Monnow Project and auction
Patrick was a founder member of the Wild Trout Society and has been on the Executive/Volunteer committee ever since. He played a major role, representing the WTT, in the £1.5m River Monnow Project. He is currently Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Monnow Rivers Association and a trustee of the Wye & Usk Foundation. A keen (dry fly) trout fisherman during the summer, he spends the winter months wildfowling in Orkney.
Sean Flanagan, Auction
Sean studied at Yale University and then Harvard Law school, spending time in Afghanistan before moving to the UK initially as a lawyer but latterly working in the Banking sector in London. He has served on the Executive Committee since 2002 and is responsible for instigating the highly successful auction run by the WTT on eBay each year. He has a young family but squeezes in occasional fishing trips in the UK and when he returns home to the USA.
Nigel Ash, Events
Nigel Ash is a lawyer turned journalist. He has served on the WTT executive since 1998. Now living in Devon, he represents the interests of brown trout and those who fish for them on the committee of the Dart Angling Association. A keen long-distance walker, he is a call-out member of his local Mountain Rescue Team. Co-founder of a local internet service provider, he spent ten years helping the technically terrified start to find their way around the internet. Since moving back from Fleet Street he has wrestled with the horrible problem of having his busy office so close to some of the most beautiful fishing water in England. Unfortunately, all too often the office wins.
Dr Allan Frake, Conservation Awards
Allan has served as a trustee for 8 years and worked in the water industry for over 40 years, surviving the River Authority, Wessex Water, NRA and the Environment Agency. Although primarily working in the field of fisheries and conservation, occasional forays were made into projects involving water quality, sewage treatment and water supply processes. A veteran of being involved in over 100 river restoration projects, his passion was and still is associated with chalk stream ecology and management, and he continues to be actively involved with various river and wildlife trusts, and a number of consultancy groups. A self confessed ‘non-discriminatory’ angler - equally at home enjoying bass fishing along the Purbecks, wreck fishing in the English Channel, pike fishing on the Stour and occasionally tempting the odd trout from Dorset chalk streams. Allan is the lead judge in the annual Orvis Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards.
Peter Hayes, Research
Peter Hayes is President of the Wilton FFC, and a member of the Cressbrook and Litton Flyfishers Club as well as of the London Flyfishers Club. He has recently retired from various committees for the S&TA, the Game and Wildlife Conservancy, the Wessex Chalk Streams and Rivers Trust,the Riverfly Partnership and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust so as to be able to write more.He is still active as a pension Trustee for the WPP Group and as the Secretary of the major industry body of market research agencies. The author of numerous magazine articles on fly fishing and fly tying, he also gives talks to fishing clubs. As a wet-boot river mender with many miles of (mainly) improved streams behind him, he presents on how best to manage rivers for fly. He has campaigned for 20 years against excessive aquifer abstraction. Peter's interests lie in imitative fly dressing and fly fishing for wild trout, and he is fascinated by trying to understand the behaviour of fish and of flies so as to become a better angler.
Dr Richard Handley, Graphic Design
Dr Andy Walker, Scotland / Research
Neil Auchterlonie, CEFAS
Dr Alan Butterworth, Angling Trust
Professor Adrian Collins, ADAS
Professor Andy Ferguson, Queens University
Dr Paul Kemp, Southampton University
Vaughan Lewis, Windrush AEC Consulting
Dr Guy Mawle, Angling Trust
Dr Mike Pawson, CEFAS (retired)
Professor David Sear, Southampton University
Dr Katie Sumner, Environment Agency
Dr John Webb, Marine Scotland Freshwater Laboratory
Dr Chris Williams
President: Charles Rangeley-Wilson
Professor David Bellamy
Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh
Rt Hon Lord (David) Steel of Aikwood
The following organisations support us with significant funding:
The Environment Agency
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
The Fishmongers Company
In addition, we receive substantial support from private donors and our members and through support to our annual auction.