Staff & Trustees

Staff

There are seven members of staff who work from our office in Henley-on-Thames.

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Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary
Kate, a campaigner, became general secretary of the society in 1984. A former member of the Countryside Agency board, she is chair and a vice-president of the Ramblers, a trustee of the Campaign for National Parks and the Dartmoor Preservation Association and a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management. She is a member of Natural England’s stakeholder group on public rights of way, and is patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns Network. Kate had a personal victory when she successfully took East Sussex County Council to court for failure to reopen the infamous Hoogstraten footpath at Framfield. Her hobbies are walking, bird-watching and finding illegally blocked paths.
Nicola

Nicola Hodgson

Case Officer
Our case officer is Nicola Hodgson, who helps members with queries and problems on common land, town and village greens and open spaces. Formerly a solicitor in private practice, Nicola was instructed by Sunningwell Parish Council in Oxfordshire, whose application for a village green application went all the way to the House of Lords with a ground-breaking judgment in favour of the applicants. Nicola is committed to ensuring that people’s rights to enjoy the countryside are upheld, and is an active member of the Youth Hostels Association and National Trust. She enjoys walking and cycling and spending time with friends and family.
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Hugh Craddock

Case Officer
Hugh is our case officer assisting members of the society on technical, legal and practical issues regarding commons, greens, open spaces and public paths. Hugh formerly worked for Defra to deliver access under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000, commons legislation through the Commons Act 2006, as well as the recent reforms to greens under the Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013. Hugh lives in Epsom, Surrey and says he is ‘married with two horses’. He and his wife enjoy riding in the Surrey countryside, as well as walking further afield while on holiday, and is a volunteer for the British Horse Society.
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Ellen Froggatt

Office Manager
Our office manager is Ellen Froggatt who lives in Watlington, Oxfordshire, with her husband. Ellen has had a long and varied career in office administration, including eight years as operations manager for a multinational music company before joining OSS. She enjoys singing with a local choral society and is also an active member of St Mary’s, Chalgrove, where she sings in the choir. Ellen and her husband are keen walkers and have taken walking holidays in the UK, Europe, South Africa and America. They also enjoy their memberships of the National Trust, RSPB and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
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Christine Hunter

Office Assistant
Our office assistant is Christine Hunter. She has had a variety of administration roles which include working for BBC Radio 3 and 4, software and pharmaceutical companies. She enjoys attending country shows, usually in her role as an exhibitor. In her spare time Christine enjoys gardening as well as breeding and showing dwarf and mini lop rabbits.
Frances Kerner

Frances Kerner

Commons Re-registration Officer
Our commons re-registration officer, Dr Frances Kerner, is researching lost commons which are eligible for registration as common land under part 1 of the Commons Act 2006. She has enjoyed careers in the private and public sector working in health, telecommunications and education and achieved her PhD on Enclosure and Survival: Common Land in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns c.1600 – c.1900. Frances lives in Booker near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. When she is not researching in the archives, she enjoys gardening, walking and spending time with her family. She is chair of Booker and District Local History Group, an informal group that researches local history and delivers an annual talk to residents.
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Lucie Henwood

Accounts & Membership
Our financial administrator is Lucie Henwood. Lucie and her husband Colin ran their successful, traditional wooden-boatbuilding business in Henley for 34 years before selling it to two members of their team. Lucie now brings her many years of corporate experience to managing the finances and membership of the OSS. She is a Trustee of the Acorn Music Theatre Company and the Henley Youth Festival and enjoys performing with ‘The Average Wife Band’ and ‘Sam Brown’s Fabulous Ukulele Club’. Lucie is never happier than when sharing time with her family, especially when that includes boating, walking, cycling and exploring the beautiful British countryside.
Nichola finan

Nichola Finan

Digital Marketing & Content Manager
Looking after our website and social media profiles, Nichola has a marketing agency background where she used to buy 'space and time' for all manner of charity and commercial client campaigns. With digital media so much a part of all our lives, she is keen to adopt ways of promoting the Society, its work and appeals via these channels. With a particular interest in the health and well-being benefits of spending time outdoors, Nichola does voluntary work with children and families at her local NHS hospital and is a keen runner and club tennis player in Cheltenham.

Vice-Presidents And Trustees

The Open Spaces Society has its headquarters in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. It has some 2,000 members throughout England and Wales.

It has a volunteer network, with members called ‘local correspondents’.

Vice-presidents

David (Lord) Clark, Len Clark, Mike Clarke, Paul Clayden, Roger de Freitas, Tony (Lord) Greaves, Richard Mabey, Edgar Powell and Ronald Smith.

Trustees

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Chris Beney

Chairman
Chris has served OSS both as a trustee and as a local correspondent for many years. Trained as a Chartered Electrical Engineer, he was project manager for a small part of Concorde and later ran, with a colleague, a successful computer business for about ten years. He represented the OSS on the Rights of Way Review Committee’s working party which led to Defra’s guidance on the Equality Act’s impact on path structures. He has chaired a British Standards working party for two editions of BS5709, the national standard for path structures. He has worked on access related issues with Local Authorities for some 25 years. Chris has been a trustee of several other charities, currently just two, both involved in countryside access.
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Jean Macdonald

Vice-chairman
Jean’s professional career included teaching in secondary schools and further education; providing advice to schools and colleges on the use of technology; project management and consultancy. She has worked with people with disabilities to support them to become more independent, most recently as part of the Guide Dogs for the Blind “My Guide” programme. She has also been a parish councillor and school governor. She is a member of a Ramblers’ working party which carries out footpath maintenance. She is an enthusiastic walker and gardener.
John Hall

John Hall

Trustee
John is Coventry born and bred and has served as OSS Local Correspondent for Coventry since 2013. He joined the Ramblers’ Association (RA) in 1978, was a founder member of Coventry RA in 1983, Group Footpath Secretary 1983-96 and 2013-2017 and a professional Rights of Way officer 1996-2013 with 4 local authorities, and for the RA and British Horse Society (BHS) headquarters. John has been a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way (IPROW) since 1996. He is a past member of the Rights of Way Review Committee and involved in the Countryside & Rights of Way Bill procedure for BHS. He has attended over 200 training courses including Rights of Way Law Review and IPROW and 47 public inquiries.
John-Lavery

John Lavery

Trustee
John is a retired Defra lawyer with expertise in countryside law. Between 2004-2007 he was principal legal adviser on common land and greens. He was involved with implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and worked on the Bill team for the Commons Act 2006. He was also principal adviser on Rights of Way. Since retiring he has assisted the OSS with legal issues, including the Growth and Infrastructure Act, which overhauled procedures relating to the registration of greens.
Chris Meewezen

Chris Meewezen

Trustee
Chris was photographed at age 3 climbing up Jacob’s Ladder, in the Peak District and, by his teens, he was aware of unresolved definitive map issues and disputes with landowners on even such major routes as the Pennine Way. By 2013, he represented the Ramblers when, with Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, they won the inquiry which prevented Cheshire East stopping up Sandbach FP29. He later initiated a user group comparison of Cheshire Definitive Maps with the 1910 OS map which suggested some 509 potential claims to be made by 2026. Chris is currently the OSS Local Correspondent for Cheshire East where, in addition to the normal workload, he is co-ordinating local user groups’ efforts to have lost ways claimed by the cut-off date.
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Tara-Jane Sutcliffe

Trustee
Passionate about access to the natural and historic environments, Tara joins the Board of the OSS with a background in landscape archaeology and cultural heritage. She has strong advocacy skills with experience of contributing to cross-party working groups, parliamentary inquiries and government consultations with both UK and Welsh Government. Tara is executive Director of the Cardiff-based international volunteering charity, UNA Exchange, responsible for risk, performance and financial management.
Steve-Warr

Steve Warr

Trustee
Steve is a Chartered Accountant who spent his career in the banking industry. He brings considerable experience of operating at Board level to the role of Treasurer. He lives in north Oxfordshire and has had an interest in village greens for many years.