YMCA Fairthorne Group is governed by a Board of voluntary Trustees selected for their extensive experience and skills. Each Trustee brings unique qualities and experience to the board and many have or continue to hold senior positions within a broad range of businesses, charities and other organisations. As a group they oversee the long term strategy and day to day compliance of the charity with contemporary legislation and best practice.







Sheila Clark

Fairthorne2012-004Sheila lives in Hampshire and joined the YMCA Fairthorne Group board of Trustees in 2009. She has spent most of her professional life working in public services in the UK, initially as a teacher, then as a psychologist and most recently as a CEO in the NHS.

Sheila shares the YMCA Fairthorne Group vision for developing local communities so that children, young people and their families have the opportunities they need to thrive . She is regarded as a person of energy, vision and achievement and gets actively involved in all aspects of the YMCA’s work.


Fairthorne2012-016Ian Creek

Ian enjoyed a career in the automotive business, before taking early retirement. His working life began with an apprenticeship at the Austin Motor Company and continued with a Management Trainee position at a Plymouth dealership. Ian developed his role in a HR and training capacity and worked up to the position of HR Director. Ian finished his career as HR Director for Inchcape UK, Europe, Middle East, Hong Kong and South America. Ian is a committed Christian, serving in a large Baptist Church in Locks Heath, Fareham.

Mike CranstonFairthorne2012-010

Mike began his career in finance at the age of 17 and worked his way up in accounting positions in various organisations. In 2005 Mike finished his 30 year financial career as Finance Director of Ageas Insurance. Mike gained a Christian faith in his teenage years and has been very actively involved in the church ever since. Mike became a licensed Lay Minister at the age of 25 and was part of Christian music group The Gospel Folk, who appeared on BBC radio in the 1960s. Mike met his wife through the church and together they enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.



Chris CarnegyFairthorne2012-033

Chris is a broadcaster who has appeared on-air for the BBC World Service, TVS television and Isle of Wight Radio as well as many other broadcasting organisations in the south of England. Chris is also a manager who has launched and owned radio stations and now works for the BBC as its link with the UK’s emerging local TV sector. Chris got involved with the YMCA Fairthorne Group by running the on-site radio station at the Young Carers’ Festival. He says “the sheer joy of that event is enough to alert anyone to the special ethos of this charity. I’m proud to be part of it”.

Alan WellsFairthorne2012-001

Alan has been part of the YMCA since 2003 when YMCA Fairthorne Group expanded its activities to the Isle of Wight. He was invited to join a group of local people to set up a committee and shortly afterwards joined the Board of Trustees and for five years was Chairman. Alan’s background is in business, running a successful international manufacturing company on the Isle of Wight for 22 years. For four years Alan served on the Isle of Wight Council and had the Lead Member role for Children and Young People, initiating a number of youth projects.



Alex SmithFairthorne2012-069

Alex has a very long and happy history with YMCA Fairthorne Group. Her journey began as a child on a school trip to Fairthorne Manor and from there she became a volunteer, a summer Daycamp leader, an Outdoor Activity Apprentice and then a member of the Central Support Team; the magic of Fairthorne always managed to pull her back!

Although her career has taken her on to pastures new, she is extremely pleased and proud to return as a Trustee, and is looking forward to putting her new life experiences and knowledge of YMCA Fairthorne Group to good use on the Board.

Alex hopes that her contributions will support the incredible work that YMCA Fairthorne Group does and looks forward to being part of its very bright and exciting future.

Chris Laws Fairthorne2012-031

Chris retired from the University of Chichester in 2010 where he was Head of The School of Physical Education, Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences. He remains research active and is an emeritus professor at the University.  He is a former President of the Physical Education Association of the United Kingdom and honorary life vice-president of European Union of Physical Education. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts and Royal Society of Medicine. Chris has written and researched on children’s exercise and health and has been working with an interdisciplinary team on the health benefits of physical activity for young people particularly in relation to obesity, health and nutrition. Chris has served on a number of consultative groups for government organisations, including the Department for Culture & Media & Sport,  the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, Office for Standards in Education, the Department for Education and National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence.

Chris is also a trustee of a Vocational Training Charitable Trust concerned with vocational training and development of young people.

Wendy Couchman


Wendy’s career began in social work and progressed to the professional education of social workers and nurses at universities in Dorset and London.  After retirement Wendy studied for a fine art degree and has combined her two interests through researching and writing about the use of the arts in professional education. Wendy moved to Winchester from the New Forest in 2013, with husband David, to be closer to their children and grandchildren.



Sue Littlemore


Sue is an education journalist and was a familiar face and voice on national TV and radio as one of the BBC`s Education and Social Policy Correspondents. Sue has written for the Guardian and chairs Guardian Roundtable discussions on education and other education conferences. Sue is also Chief Executive of a brand new charity, the Education Media Centre, a charity driven by former Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, which launched in December 2013. The centre`s mantra is “making evidence make news” and is described as “For people who want more than just opinion.” It helps the media and the public reach and understand academic research and evidence on education topics hitting the news.