Meryl Ward, MBE, FRAgs - Chairman
My day job is running the family farm in North Lincolnshire with husband, Steve.
From graduating from London University, my specific responsibility has been the livestock enterprise of 2,000 breeding sows and we also have an arable enterprise, farm contracting business and farm shop. Our three children are now independent, having all left university. I have been involved in various national organisations, particularly the British Pig Executive and the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and recently stepped from the position of Chair of AHDB Pork. Pigs have had their own particular problems over the years and I was a founder member of the British Pig Industry Support Group which campaigned to help the industry and pig farmers through difficult times, so it was a natural progression to work for LRSN. I was very proud to be asked to take on the Chairmanship of an organisation doing such worthwhile work with such a great team of staff and supporters.
Matt Phillips - Vice Chairman
Matt was born and grew up in North Lincolnshire, attending school at Brigg, then in Leicestershire. He spent time with his farm manager grandfather near Lincoln, then later worked on farms in the school holidays. Matt attended Shuttleworth Agricultural College before joining Sharpes International Seeds in Sleaford in the early 90s as a trainee combinable crops trader, gaining experience in the UK wholesale seed trade.
In 2003 he and his wife set up Phillips Seeds at Ingham, near Lincoln, and with the help of friends and local farmers, developed a retail seed business. Through a merger in 2010 between Phillips Seeds and Gibson & Faulding mobile seed business, GFP Agriculture Ltd was created and today processes and sells seed throughout the county and beyond.
Matt is married to Katherine, a land agent and they have two teenage children. They enjoy time with their family, socialising with friends, shooting, tennis, walking and generally being outside in the countryside. Watching sport and cricket in particular, including visiting Trent Bridge, are favourite passtimes.
Matt adds: “The Lincolnshire network and agricultural community have been very good to me through my working life and given me a lot of opportunities. I would like to give back some time and hopefully some of my skills into this community. I feel that LRSN would be a great way to do this and it has become very close to me due to a recent bereavement and the work they have done and are undertaking is invaluable in this day and age and I can’t wait to try and help in whatever ways I can.”
Charles Holt- Treasurer
I am delighted to have joined the Board of Trustees, having spent the last three decades as an agricultural consultant, based near Lincoln. My consultancy specialisms include dealing with difficult financial and legal cases, and agricultural planning matters.
In the past I have dealt with a lot of milk quota trades, and was instrumental in setting up Lincs and Notts Dairy Farmers, at the time the MMB was being legislated away.
I have had some experience as a director of another local charity, having been on the board for approximately 28 years, so long that I cannot remember exactly how many… and I have told LRSN that I have no intention of being on the LRSN board for anything like that length of time, which I hope they were listening to?!
I am married to Sarah and have four grown-up children.
Rev Canon Alan Robson MSc FRAgS FRAS – Agricultural Chaplain
Alan is a Methodist Minister (Lincoln Circuit) and Ecumenical Canon of Honour Lincoln Cathedral.
Married to “D”, Denise, they have a wonderful daughter Faye, who lives in London with her husband John and new grandson Ivor.
Alan has served as Agricultural Chaplain for 20 years with ties to other Boards and projects, not least, the gardening for health project in Lincoln City called Green Synergy (Charity), which is developing a ‘city farm’ next to the Lincoln Hospital on Abbey Ward. He has also initiated various projects through the Lincoln Agricultural Society Educational Committee and in 2018 was involved in the first “Town Meets Country” event at the ‘Arboretum’ Monks Road Lincoln, which helped promote cohesion and understanding through food and farming. Green Synergy was one of the lead partners in this.
Alan is also an executive governor at Robert Pattinson Academy, maintaining his desire for young folk to strive and thrive.
He enjoys films and books, loves his border terrier Jenny and rescue cat Itsy Bitsy, above all delicious food in the many outstanding Lincolnshire eateries!
I am married to David and we farm 950 acres in partnership – he deals with the ‘outside’ jobs and I deal with the majority of ‘inside’ jobs! We have 3 children, Kate 25, who also works in the industry; Oliver 22 who is a dancer; and Ross, 12, who is the farm foreman! I run a Farm Secretarial Agency employing 1 person and we cover a 50 mile radius of home.
I have been a School Governor for the local Primary School, on the PFA committee and I am currently the treasurer for the village football teams.
I felt very honoured to be asked to be part of LRSN back in June 2013, firstly as a member of the PIPS Committee (Publicity; Ideas; Promotion) and then 4 months later as a Trustee to the Board (this is the fastest promotion I have ever had!.)
There really is a fantastic group of people involved with both running & supporting LRSN, who all care passionately about agriculture and the people who live and work within this community. I have made many friends through becoming involved and am proud that we all, together, make a huge difference to many peoples’ lives.
Richard Alderson is married with two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives in Nettleton where he is churchwarden, as well as working within the Methodist Church. He has been involved in agriculture in Lincolnshire since the late1970s originally farming in the Isle of Axholme while carrying on with “the day job” in the textiles industry which involved regular travel abroad to Europe and the Middle East. In 1989, Richard took a post as an NFU Group Secretary in Epworth, and in 1990 added the North Lindsey post in Brigg. This was the beginning of a love/love relationship with Lincolnshire farming, which continues today. Richard retired from the NFU in 2007, and after a month’s holiday, took up a consultancy with Brown and Co in Brigg, a post he enjoys today. He has been involved with Bishop Burton College since 1989, and was a governor of the college from 2002 to 2014.
I was born and bred in Yorkshire, moving to Lincolnshire in 1992 to train as a solicitor with Wilkin Chapman LLP. I have remained in the county ever since, living and working happily. I am married to Paul, a University lecturer, and for the past 16 years we have lived in the village of Sudbrooke near Lincoln.
In our spare time we are both quite 'out doorsy' people. Paul is a mountain marathon runner and orienteer and together we both share a love of hill walking and bird watching. We both have a keen interest in farming and rural issues, me from the perspective of both my job and love of the countryside, him from his interest in pigs and love of our native woodlands. (He has already managed to merge these two interests on a 'managing pigs in woodland' course. It is therefore only a matter of time before our family expands to include some pigs I suspect!).
I qualified as a solicitor in 1994 specialising in family law. In 2000 I became a Partner at Wilkin Chapman and am now Head of the Family Law Department. With a passion for family law and helping families, I trained to become one of the UK’s first Family Law Arbitrators and I am also a qualified Mediator. Our firm has strong links with the farming community whom we are proud to represent. Over the years I have had the privilege of assisting many farming families in connection with divorce and other family law issues. Over that time my knowledge of farming and rural issues has grown, as has my admiration and respect for the work our farmers and rural communities undertake.
I first became involved with LRSN approximately 8-10 years ago, assisting Alison Twiddy and Rev Alan Robson with some of their case work. Over the years my relationship with the Charity has grown and I have developed a strong affinity with the ethos and values the Charity has and the fantastic work it undertakes. I therefore didn't have to think twice when I was invited to join the Board. I very much look forward to getting to know more of the team and to contributing as much as I can to such a worthwhile and well managed cause.
I was born and educated in Lincoln and have lived all my life within a twenty mile radius of the city and therefore have an empathy with our the county's cultural and agricultural heritage. After leaving school I joined Natwest Bank where I worked for 22 years, resigning in 1995 as the Small Business Manager at Lincoln, Smiths Bank. I was then appointed Director of Resources for the Diocese of Lincoln working with parishes throughout the Diocese to improve their income streams and maximise regular giving. I remain a Trustee for the Diocesan Staff Pension Fund and until 2012 I was a member of the Board of Trustees of Community Lincs where I served for seven years - six of which as Chairman of the Governance Committee. I have two married children and three small grand-daughters who take up much of my time, but still manage to find some time for post graduate study in Art History with the Open University, which is both challenging and fun. I was surprised and delighted to be invited to join the Board of LRSN and hope my knowledge of working within the charitable sector and financial experience can be of use in creating the basis of a sound and regular income that will secure LRSN's work for many years to come.
Revd Canon Andy Hawes SSC
Andrew (Andy) is a Grimberian by birth and early schooling. His father and mother were publicans in Grasby, Caistor and Chapel St Leonards giving him a genuine Lincolnshire upbringing. He was a boarder at De Aston School Market Rasen where he met his wife Sian! After reading History at Sheffield University he trained as an Anglican Priest at Westcott House and Emmanuel Colege Cambridge.
He returned to Lincolnshire to be ordained in 1980 and served as curate at Grimsby Parish Church, Vicar of Lutton and Gedney Drove End from 1984 until 1989, and as Vicar of Edenham, Witham on the Hill and Swinstead from 89 until 2018. He also established and was Warden of Edenham Regional House - a small retreat house and conference centre.
Andy has a lifelong interest in agriculture and rural community life and a broad pastoral experience in the farming community. The opportunity to put to use his life experience to support the work of LRSN is one he relishes, and he looks forward to the opportunity to serve wherever he can.
Sian and Andy have five grown-up children, fourteen grandchildren (and counting)! He is a keen gardener, a novice beekeeper, a Grimsby Town Supporter, a published poet and librettist and flies the Lincolnshire Flag at his gate in Little Bytham.
I was brought up in Lincolnshire but followed that well-beaten path out of the county to begin my career, training as an accountant and working in practice and in the property industry in London and in Sydney, Australia. In 2008 I moved back to Lincolnshire and joined the family business, producing pigs, milling feed and growing potatoes, sugar beet, combinable crops, and vining peas, and now I wouldn’t want to be living anywhere else.
Outside the business, I have held various roles with the NFU, including chairing the national Potato Forum since 2015, and outside work, I enjoy singing in two choirs, both based in Scunthorpe. It’s really important to me to try and put something back into the rural community, and since moving back to Lincolnshire I’ve been really impressed by the work done by LRSN and the skill and enthusiasm of its volunteer. My father, Jim, was a trustee until last year, and it’s a privilege to be getting involved now to help with the next phase of LRSN’s work.
Following idyllic family holidays in the Yorkshire Dales as a child, I have grown up with a love and appreciation for rural life together with the real challenges working in the agricultural sector can bring. My agricultural career started at Nottingham University where I studied Agricultural Science and following my marriage to a Lincolnshire farmer, I have been involved with agriculture ever since.
As my two sons were growing up, I developed an interest in event design and management which I was able to bring to my work at LRSN when I joined the charity in 2010, as Administration, PR and Events Manager. After 10 amazing years, helping LRSN to develop its services and raise its profile in the county, I retired from the role at the October AGM, 2020 and was very grateful to be asked to become a trustee of LRSN and subsequently joined the board on the same night!
I look forward to being able to contribute to securing the future of the charity in the hearts and minds of the farming and rural folk of Lincolnshire, so LRSN becomes a household name as THE charity dedicated to helping those facing the toughest of times. I feel very privileged to be a part of such a dedicated and committed team, or as we like to say, family.
I have lived in Elsham with my husband Phil for the last 32 years and love it! Our sons now live in London; I’m not sure quite where we went wrong with them, as they are happy city dwellers, though they do love to come “home” every now and then to appreciate the space, trees and green fields and the tranquillity of country life.
"LRSN isn’t just a workplace or an employer to me. It is a family of like-minded people, all wanting to offer our own individual skills and experiences to help support those in the Lincolnshire agricultural industry. The pure passion, professionalism and care delivered by everyone makes me so very proud to be part of LRSN "
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