The FCLI Board members

A vital part of the Fordhall model is of course its fantastic board members. Each and every one of them brings something different to Fordhall and ensures that the project is moving forward in the right direction. They are elected annually from the membership and carry out their duties completely voluntarily.

Chairperson, Christine Tate

MBA, Social Citizenship Consultant, Director of Partnerships for Good

“I work with commercial and not-for-profit organisations creating partnerships across sectors to design and deliver community
benefit programmes. I have been a Board Member at FCLI since 2012. I was drawn into FCLI for its heritage and community-ownership model, and I soon became a very proud and passionate advocate.”

Vice-Chair, Sarah Knowles

CEO, Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen

“I first volunteered at Fordhall just after the campaign was successful in 2006. I am currently Vice Chair and am keen to support the implementation of a fantastic strategy which will see more people engaging with the farm, learning about sustainable food and living in a more climate friendly way. I am Chief Officer of Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen and have close links with the National Academy for Social Prescribing, which could be a fantastic opportunity for the Initiative.”

Vice-Chair and Head of Governance, David Holton

Retired Finance Director, NHS

“My professional background is as a senior NHS Accountant/Manager in Shropshire and Staffordshire. I have been a Board Member at Fordhall since 2014. I have a particular interest in heritage and education (13+ years as a primary school governor). My wife and I are regular Fordhall visitors.”

Lesley McNeil

Retired Minister of Religion

“I believe that the only viable future for this planet depends on humans respecting nature and working with it rather than against it. I want to be part of the future development of Fordhall, taking it to the next step. Because I have mobility problems I can’t walk around the farm, but I can bring ideas about how Fordhall can involve disabled people.”

John Hughes

Retired Development Manager (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)

“Shropshire Wildlife Trust holds a number of reserves in the county and does a huge amount of work in education and promoting the value of green space. It is particularly interested in creating examples of farming in partnership with wildlife and biodiversity.”

Jack Tavernor

Estate Manager, Powis Castle Estate

“I am a rural practice Chartered Surveyor, grew up near to Fordhall and worked on many of the local farms. Previously, I had 15 years progressing to Partner with property consultants Strutt & Parker. I am Chairman of the FCLI Estates Management subgroup, and have been a Board Member since 2006.”

Kathryn Rhodes

Retired Headteacher

“I have been the Headteacher of two primary schools in London, a Local Authority Schools’ Advisor, Principal Consultant and have completed a PhD. I am committed to the vision and aims of FCLI, especially the educational and environmental emphasis.”


Department for Education

A Past President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Mike is a Fellow of the CIOB and the Chartered Management Institute.  He has an MBA from the Open University and a Financial Times Non-Executive Directors Diploma. He was awarded the OBE for ‘Services to Education’ in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.
Mike has over 40 years experience in the construction industry mainly Client side. He was Chief Officer of 3 different departments with a large Local Authority before becoming its Assistant Chief Executive.
Prior to his recent retirement Mike has fulfilled a number of roles within the Department for Education responsible for a multi-disciplinary team responsible for the development and delivery of schools in the West Midlands and North West of England

Tim Reeves

Small Holder / Land-based Education

“I began my career in agriculture, progressing into a variety of teaching roles. During my first ten years of teaching at Reaseheath Agricultural College, I taught dairy husbandry and business management. I have always had an interest in sustainable farming, and I believe that Fordhall Farm is an excellent showcase to demonstrate how we can live in parallel with nature and demonstrate a sustainable farming system.”

Lucy Dowley 

Head of Land Strategy

“With a First Class MSc (Hons) in Countryside Management, I am currently the Head of Land Strategy. I have worked in strategy and innovation for the last decade within the environmental regulatory landscape, building partnerships in the private and third sector. Sourcing quality local food is a must in our household so when my wife and I moved to Shropshire in 2017 we quickly found Fordhall Farm and immediately fell in love with it.”

Dominic Pinto 

Skipper and Inland Waterways Instructor

“My first visit to Fordhall may have been an accident, years ago, but I must have been hooked by the Fordhall experience as I have never looked back as an active volunteer ever since. I also have a track record in business, SMEs, charities, fundraising, community engagement and development of the outdoors (through my work with the Pirate Castle on the inland waterways, and on the Canal and River Trust London & SE Regional Advisory Board).”

Paul Austin 

Retired – Lloyds Bank Regional Manager

“With a Master’s Degree in Business Management and HND in Hospitality, I worked for Lloyds Banking Group for 25 years. I now have two organic allotments in Market Drayton and am Secretary of the local Allotment Association. I have previously supported Fordhall via Market Drayton Round Table, also as a customer and regular visitor.”

Benjamin Hollins

Farmer and Tenant

“Having grown up at Fordhall, I now manage the organic land and livestock at Fordhall Farm, and am keen to promote the business as sustainable and educational. I love working on the farm and assisting the FCLI with its future development.”

Are you a shareholder and fancy being on our board? We are always looking for people to put themselves forward as board members for the next AGM (must submit by January for the AGM in April). Please contact Charlotte on 01630 638696 for more details or email

Thank you.