top of page

Board of Directors

Under our constitution, St Francis Fields Community Interest Company has eight directors who run the company from day-to-day and are answerable to the members at general meetings of the company. All are volunteers and have in common their aspiration to make St Francis Fields a community asset that the whole village is proud of.

Again under our constitution, at our first AGM in November 2022 all of the directors were obliged to stand down but were re-elected by a vote of the members present. At all subsequent AGMs the longest serving one-third of the directors are required to stand down, but again can offer themselves for re-election. At each AGM other candidates for election can be proposed by the members.

At our second AGM in November 2023 the three directors who stood down under the ‘one-third’ rule were Greg Collett, Sarah Giles and Judith O’Connor.  Unfortunately, none of them felt able to offer themselves for re-election due to changed personal circumstances. We thank all three for their contributions.  All are remaining as members of the company and will continue to support the St Francis Fields project in whatever way they can.

In their place members elected Geri Cottingham, Bill Maynard and Pete Murphy as new directors and re-elected Jill Bishop who had been co-opted to the board in June following the resignation of Pete Sargent on his election as a Parish Councillor (again, our constitution requires co-opted directors to stand down at the next AGM although they may also offer themselves for re-election).

Pen-pictures of all eight current directors appear after the photograph below.

(from left to right, top row to bottom): Pete Murphy, David Green, David Cooper, Bill Maynard, Jill Bishop, Jonathan Strong, Geri Cottingham, Jacky Broad.

Jill Bishop

My husband and I moved to Northiam in August 2008, when we bought our current home and spent the first six months carrying out renovations. I have been retired for the past twelve years, but my working career was as PA to CEOs at various charitable organisations, the last one being Kent Association for the Blind.

Whilst living in Headcorn in the 1980’s I served as a Parish Councillor for a four-year term and was Chair on the Village Hall Committee. After moving to Northiam I helped my husband run Northiam 75 Football Club for over ten years and now help him with the secretarial work in his capacity as Treasurer of the Northiam Village Club. I am an active member of Northiam Bonfire Society and with the help of my daughter organise the popular annual Dog Show at the Midsummer Festival.

When the Blue Cross occupied the St Francis Fields site, I was a very keen and active volunteer for the charity, therefore I have a profound interest in how the land is managed now that it has been purchased as an asset for the village. As you can see, both my husband and I have always tried to become involved with local organisations and events and I am pleased that I can contribute and assist in managing the St Francis Fields site for the good of the whole village.

Jacky Broad

I have lived in my cottage in Dixter Lane since 1969. When working I carried out various aspects of accounts and administration work including working for a national charity. I was associated with 1st Northiam Scout Group for over 40 years, mainly as a uniformed leader and fundraiser. I was on the original fundraising committee for the building of Northiam Village Hall. I am a member of Northiam Bonfire Society, help with their fundraising events and play Pétanque when I can.

As a committed resident of Northiam, my aspiration for St Francis Fields is that given time, the St Francis Fields Community Interest Company will be able to provide the community asset which the village voted for.

David Cooper

We moved to the village in 1978 when I began working at Dungeness B where I eventually headed the group responsible for radiological protection and environmental discharges. I took voluntary severance from Dungeness in 2002 and spent five years running my own consultancy business. Having said ‘that sounds interesting’ once too often, I then got involved with the group working to set up a Hastings branch of the homelessness charity Emmaus and have been its chair of trustees since 2010. That project involved raising an initial capital cost of about £1.2m and now houses 23 people, with operating costs primarily funded through its social enterprise business that now has a turnover of £300k pa. Between 2012 and 2021 I was a member of the board of Emmaus UK, the umbrella body for Emmaus communities in the UK, including three years as vice-chair.

When our children were younger, I was a governor at Northiam Primary School and then at Rye College and during the early Covid lockdowns I managed the volunteer database for Northiam Together. I’m a founder member of the St Francis Fields Community Interest Company board and determined that St Francis Fields becomes an amenity the village can be proud of.

Geri Cottingham

I have lived in Northiam since 2018. With its amenities, beautiful landscape, walks and variety of activities, it seemed the perfect place to downsize to for a complete change of work/life balance.

My working life has been very varied; the early years spent living in France in the late 70s/80s, followed by 10 years in the hospitality industry before entering the legal minefield of employment law and people management. Prior to moving to Northiam, I had my own business, an employment law consultancy with clients in the UK and abroad. I travelled extensively as an Advocate at Employment Tribunals nationwide.

In 2020 I took early retirement from work to focus on my real passion – painting. I am completely self-taught but have enjoyed some success with my exhibitions through ‘open studio days’. All my skills be they artistic, linguistic, or business, have been gained entirely through self-education, work ethic, application and experience. If I put my mind to something I can do it.

I volunteer with the A team for St Francis Fields and have really enjoyed this activity and meeting the other volunteers. I believe St Francis Fields and all that this offers the village can be of great benefit to all Northiam residents. My aim as a Director of the St Francis Fields Community Interest Company is be to be an active and useful member working towards achieving that aim for the village and feel that my skills and knowledge would be helpful in this endeavour.

David Green

I’ve lived in the village since 2017. I spent 39 years working in the John Lewis Partnership in a wide variety of middle and senior management positions across HR, Finance, Distribution, Project Leadership as well as retail where I managed branches. My final role in the Partnership, before accepting voluntary redundancy, was as Senior Independent Advisor to the HR Director. I am currently heading up delivery of training to more than 11,500 Post Offices as part of their IT transformation programme.

In the past I have twice served as a Parish Councillor when living in The Chilterns, and then more recently, when we lived in Wittersham. In both areas I led successful local initiatives ranging from village litter picks to carols on the village green as well as the more regular PC focuses. I joined St Francis Fields Community Interest Company in 2021 and am particularly keen to look at raising finance to develop the buildings, known affectionately as The Hub, to create a valuable amenity for all Northiam villagers.

Bill Maynard

I was brought up in Rother, in a farming family in Ticehurst on the other side of the A21. I moved to Northiam in 1998 but work took me to South East Asia in 2001, returning to Northiam in 2023. I have worked in sustainable forest management for 35 years, working with communities, big concessions and governments.

There are a number of parallels between the St Francis Fields initiative, my previous work and my long-term knowledge and understanding of the environment of the High Weald. My priority is to support the Community Interest Company and Parish Council to develop a vision for St Francis Fields that the community supports.

Issues concerning sustainability and the climate crisis are areas where I have experience. I see these as global issues that need to be addressed at the grass roots local level and that Northiam’s acquisition of St Francis Fields provides a platform for identifying ways for the community to take practical action.

I hope my experience in natural resource management, agriculture and forestry, will be helpful in supporting the work of St Francis Fields Community Interest Company.

Pete Murphy

I have lived in the village for most of my life and I currently work as part of the in-house legal team for a global foodservice company, providing support in all areas of commercial law, data privacy and other regulatory matters. I also have previous experience working for an enterprise agency, providing business and financial support to local businesses, working in accountancy and in the legal department for local government.

I was involved for a long time with Northiam Scout Group, and served as Chairman for over 15 years, helping with fundraising and providing support to ensure the Group could run on a day-to-day basis.

I hope my experience may be useful to the Community Interest Company in providing support to meet the various needs and obligations of the organisation in order that it can achieve the important aims and purposes of supporting the Parish Council to benefit the wider village.

Jonathan Strong

I’ve lived in Northiam since October 2010 and am a retired Chartered Surveyor (general practice) having held a number of senior management and Board positions in various public and private real estate organisations during my career. My experience covers all aspects of commercial, industrial, agricultural and in part residential property. I was from December 2017 until June 2022 a Trustee of The Benenden Village Trust – a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – which owns community properties in that Parish and financial investments.

St Francis Fields is an amazing asset for the village with potential for the Parish to create mixed-use facilities to benefit the whole community. I would like to contribute to achieving that ambition as a Director of the St Francis Fields Community Interest Company, using my professional, business and property knowledge and experience.

bottom of page