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This week, 1–5 November, is Trustees’ Week, an annual event to celebrate the vital work of trustees do with charities across the UK and encourage some fresh faces to step up to the board table.
Trustees commit their time and energies to attending board meetings through the year and take on the responsibility for running a charity. There are legal responsibilities and important implications to their decisions, but it can also be a hugely rewarding experience. Being a trustee is a great way to benefit society and to make a real difference.
Here at Mayfair, we have eight trustees, who each bring something different to the board table, from a chartered accountant with experience of trekking in the Himalayas to a former headteacher who’s committed to fighting climate change. What they share of course is a combined love for our local community in the Strettons and surrounding areas.
Meredith Vivian is the Chair of our Trustees. Before joining Mayfair, he worked for a Fleet Street publisher, ran advocacy projects supporting people to access their rights and was a policy director at the Department of Health. He is a member of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body.
Moving to Church Stretton in 2013, Meredith wanted to make a meaningful contribution in the place where he lives. He became a Mayfair trustee in 2019 and Chair in 2020.
Of Mayfair, he says ‘Being a trustee gives me the opportunity to put some effort and time into the success of Mayfair in a way that suits me and what I can offer – just as so many others do. All of us together make it what it is – a cornerstone of our community. It’s a means by which we can care for our place, neighbours, friends and relatives. We can offer and receive support in whatever measure feels right at any given point in our lives. I am proud to be part of Mayfair.’
A trustee since 2008, and former chair of the trustees, Richard Elliot has lived in Church Stretton for the last 20 years. After a successful industrial career in engineering and manufacturing management and appointments as Visiting Fellow to both Cambridge and Cranfield Universities, Richard now helps us to get things done here at Mayfair. He enjoys the challenges it brings, making new interesting, friends, and being able to give something back to the community.
‘Mayfair plays an important role in the gap between health and social care. It improves the lives of local people and is a valuable part of the Church Stretton community.’
Richard enjoys travel, gardening and spending time with his family. He is also an able musician, playing principal clarinet with Telford Orchestra and the Meole Brace Chamber Orchestra.
Claire Riley-Walshe is a Trustee and our Company Secretary. She was born and brought up in Shropshire. ‘I didn’t go to university but learnt shorthand and typing at the local technical college in Shrewsbury. After 10 years of working in an office, I decided to train as a solicitor. I studied by correspondence course and then attended Chester College of Law to complete my finals. I qualified as a solicitor in the early 1980s and worked all over Shropshire.’
Claire moved to live in the Church Stretton area in 2004 and lived here for 16 years, until recently moving to Ludlow. After taking early retirement in 2009, she got involved with Mayfair, volunteering in several roles before finding an enjoyable niche in the kitchen.
Claire became a trustee in 2016 and took over the role of Company Secretary the following year. While keeping us on track in the boardroom, she still finds time to volunteer in the kitchen, helping with Fish and Chip Fridays and taking new kitchen volunteers through their food hygiene training.
David Howard started his career as a teacher of German and French, working up to becoming Headteacher of a large comprehensive school and later a consultant on children’s behaviour.
After retiring to live in Church Stretton in 2007, he joined Mayfair as a Ring & Ride driver. He spent 10 years driving with the service before joining the board as a trustee. He says: ‘I believe strongly in the value of Mayfair to the community and am pleased to be able to make a small contribution.’
Elsewhere in the community David serves as Chair of Stretton Climate Care, Treasurer of the Church Stretton Amnesty Group and Chair of the Community-Led Plan Steering Group. In any free time he manages to squeeze in around the edges, he enjoys gardening, reading, cycling and walking.
Originally from Priorslee before it became a suburb of Telford, Alan Fox worked in the construction industry, commuting to his job in Church Stretton before building his first house here in 1974. His children attended Church Stretton School, where he later became a school governor.
In 1982 Alan started his own design, planning and building consultancy, and was responsible for housing projects in Church Stretton and beyond. He retired in 2011 and is now busy putting his skills to use in charitable work. He helped organise the Church Stretton Community Games and promotes Church Stretton School theatre. Alan’s sporting love is badminton – he started Church Stretton Junior Badminton club and has been coaching now for 45 years. Through his role with the Badminton club, he led the campaign for indoor sports facilities in Church Stretton.
Alan has been a Mayfair trustee since 2011. He hopes to see Mayfair continue to grow and develop, serving as an exemplar of good practice and cooperation within the community.
Before joining Mayfair as a trustee in 2000, Helen Vaughan worked for several local authority and housing association social housing providers. She was a communities manager for Shropshire Housing Group (now Connexus) and originally got to know us as the association’s representative on the Mayfair board for four years. She now works part time with community charity Hands Together Ludlow.
As a trustee with Mayfair, Helen enjoys working with like-minded people to do something that is valued by the community. ‘I have seen Mayfair go from strength to strength, developing from a niche centre, predominantly used by older people, to being a community hub and wellbeing centre for people of all backgrounds and age groups.’
Ben Hilliard is a Trustee and our Treasurer. chartered accountant with wide-ranging audit and administration experience. After time spent in industry, he joined Dublin City University and The DCU Education Trust before branching out on his own as a freelance accountant.
Ben and his wife moved to Church Stretton in 2010, becoming involved in several community groups, including Church Stretton U3A, Church Stretton Library Support Group and Stretton Pool Action Group. Further afield, he has also leant his expertise to Telford & District MS Society, Herefordshire MS Therapy Centre and the Birmingham Settlement. He became a Mayfair Trustee in 2017.
Ben is a keen walker. He has walked extensively in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, including the Cotswolds Way and Mizen to Malin Head in Ireland. Trekking in the Himalayas was a much-valued experience, which gave him an insight to the lives of mountain communities.
Having settled in Church Stretton in July 2015, Paul Richmond approached Mayfair to ask about volunteering, and was pointed in the direction of Ring & Ride and the bi-annual Book Sale. Three years later and he still really enjoys meeting new people and helping to deliver a valued service. ‘What we do can often mean a lot more to the individual than just giving them a lift. It furthered my understanding and appreciation of what community really means. The activities undertaken by so many people showcase the generous spirit of this town, the giving and receiving to support the good of all.’
Paul was invited to join the trustees in 2020. ‘I was very pleased to have been asked. Becoming a trustee of Mayfair has broadened this experience, I wish to help maintain the valuable resource we have at the centre of the community, bringing transferable skills from my professional life and interests.’
Our Trustees make sure we’re working towards our goals as a charity, and that we’re saying, doing and spending the right things in order to support people in the Strettons and surrounding areas. Like other Mayfair volunteers, they give them time to us for free, but get to support a community they love, working with likeminded people, sharing their ideas and experience and gaining new skills in the process.
In the new year, Mayfair will be particularly looking to recruit trustees with experience of IT, publicity and marketing, or health and social care, but if you’ve got different skills to bring to the board table, do still get in touch. Applications will be welcomed from individuals of all ages and backgrounds. If you’d like to express an interest or find out more get in touch, contact Claire Riley-Walsh, our Company Secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org