Board of Trustees

Meet our Board of Trustees

Our board of trustees is chaired by Peter Ainsworth and its dedicated members all give their time and contribute their varied expertise, knowledge and experience without payment. The board meets quarterly. 

The board's members come to the Trust with specific skill sets relevant to different areas of our work, ranging from legal and business management skills to knowledge and experience of working on architectural, conservation and regeneration projects as well as extensive experience in the heritage and volunteering sectors.

As well as the part they play in board meetings some trustees are involved in sub committees and working groups which focus on specific areas of our work.

Our Board of Trustees

  • Peter Ainsworth

    Chairman of Trustees

    Peter Ainsworth was appointed Chairman of The Churches Conservation Trust for a three year term in July 2016.

    Peter has been UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund since 2011 and is a Board member of the Environment Agency. He was previously Chairman of Plantlife International and the Elgar Foundation.

    Peter previously served as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture and Shadow Secretary of State of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He was Member of Parliament for East Surrey for 18 years until 2010. His involvement in the heritage sector dates back to 1995, when he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for National Heritage. He was a member of the DCMS Select Committee in 2009-10.

    A former investment banker, he is a founding partner of sustainability consultancy the Robertsbridge Group. He is also a Patron of the College of St Barnabas, a residential community of retired Anglican clergy in Lingfield, Surrey.

  • William Donaldson

    William Donaldson was appointed to the Board of Trustees in July 2017.  Born and raised in Western Canada, he moved to the UK to read Theology at the University of Wales. Following an early charity-sector career in property management with the Church of England, he became a founding shareholder, now Group Director and Co-Chairman of Mainstay Group, providing industry-leading services to the property sector. He has also led successful joint venture projects, notably with the Pemberstone Group in acquiring residential freeholds between 2006-2011.  A significant voice in residential asset management, he continues to work with some of the UK's largest pension funds.

    Will is delighted that his CCT trusteeship brings together his love for churches, architecture and entrepreneurship.

  • The Reverend Duncan Dormor


    Duncan Dormor was appointed a trustee in July 2013. Duncan is CEO of USPG and an Affiliated Lecturer teaching sociology and anthropology of religion.

    He has been a university representative on the General Synod since 2005 and is a member of the Church of England's Mission Theology Advisory Group and the English Anglican - Roman Catholic committee. Duncan was ordained into the Church of England in 1995. Following a curacy at St Peter's, Wolverhampton in the Diocese of Lichfield, he was appointed Chaplain of St John's College in 1998 and was Dean of the College from 2002 to 2017. He has degrees from Oxford University in Human Sciences and Theology and prior to ordination worked for the charity One plus One: Marriage and Partnership Research.

  • Lady Lucy French


    Lucy became a trustee in 2013. She has been responsible for marketing, PR and revenue generation at St James, the first new theatre built in London for three decades, and has been instrumental in its launch in 2012 and subsequent success. 

    Lucy began her career in PR, events and journalism in Liverpool and London and over the years has honed her skills and focused her energies on the third sector, theatre and fundraising for the arts. Her previous roles include Head of Development at the Open Air Theatre in The Regent’s Park and at Hampstead Theatre. 

    Lucy is founder of a First World War centenary charity, Never Such Innocence, founded to ensure the nation’s children had the opportunity to play their part in the centenary commemorations through poetry and art. Lucy also sits on the Board of the Victoria Business Improvement District and on the Development Board of Artichoke and is a patron of the Remember WW1 Campaign. She has a longstanding passion for the countryside and its churches.

  • Edward Harley OBE

    Edward Harley was educated at Cambridge and for many years he worked at Cazenove and Co where he was a partner. He is Chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel and the Mappa Mundi Trust. He is also involved in a wide range of charities including the Burghley House Preservation Trust, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the Goldsmiths’ Company and the advisory council of Tate Britain. He is a past president of the Historic Houses Association and a Lay Canon of Hereford Cathedral.

    In January 2018 Edward was awarded an OBE for services to heritage.

  • Sir Simon Jenkins FSA FRSL


    Journalist and writer Sir Simon Jenkins FSA FRSL was appointed to The Churches Conservation Trust’s board of trustees in January 2016.

    A broadcaster, journalist and former Chairman of the National Trust, Sir Simon has a keen interest and knowledge of historic churches and is the author of the popular Penguin books ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’, 'Country Churches' and 'England's Cathedrals'.

    Sir Simon writes columns for both The Guardian and London's Evening Standard and was previously a commentator and editor for The Times.

  • Beth McHattie


    Beth was appointed a trustee in 2014. She is a communications professional with experience spanning the charity, heritage and creative industries sectors. As communications lead for Allchurches Trust, one of the UK’s largest grant-making trusts, she works closely with churches and charities addressing homelessness, poverty and isolation and is involved in a pioneering new partnership in the education sector.  

    Beth began her career at Dulwich Picture Gallery before joining Sotheby’s where she become Head of Corporate Press and was instrumental in establishing Sotheby’s Asia. She moved to English Heritage in 1996, where she launched campaigns including Heritage at Risk and the Angel Awards and led a complex process of transition to the new Historic England brand.  

    Beth has recently been appointed a Leadership Fellow of St George’s House, Windsor and is an advisor to a leading crowdfunding company.

  • Liz Peace CBE


    A well-known figure in the property industry, Liz Peace served as Chief Executive of the British Property Federation for thirteen years until 2014. During that time, she changed the Government’s perception of the commercial property industry, established it as a key voice in policy debate, dissuaded the Government from legislating on commercial leases, won innumerable changes to planning and tax legislation and, working as part of a pan-industry alliance, persuaded the Government to introduce real estate investment trusts.

    Liz holds a range of non-executive, advisory and charity roles, including at Morgan Sindall plc, Redrow plc, Howarde de Walden Estates, Peabody, Turley, and the Architectural Heritage Fund. She is the chairman of LandAid, the property industry’s principal charity and is also chairing the shadow board for the Curzon Urban Regeneration Company in Birmingham. 

    Liz was awarded a CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours list for services to the property industry.

  • Carol Pyrah

    Trustee & chairman of Conservation Committee

    Carol was appointed a trustee in April 2018.

    Carol is currently Assistant Director of Planning at Historic England, formerly English Heritage, where she has spent over two decades in senior roles.  An archaeologist by training, she has had a longstanding interest and involvement in churches and their conservation, ranging from her previous role as founding editor of Church Archaeology (the journal of the Society for Church Archaeology) to being a current member of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.

  • Sue Wilkinson


    Sue was appointed to the Board of Trustees in July 2017.  She was an executive board director at the National Trust until the end of 2016 with responsibility for membership, fundraising, volunteering and participation.  During her career with the National Trust, she led several multi-million pound IT and digital investment projects.  She also led a successful brand review, developed the Trust’s approach to visitor experience and customer service and was the executive board lead on tourism.

    Sue is currently a trustee of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich and the Medical Research Foundation.  She is a board director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) and chair of the Canal & River Trust Living Waterways Awards.  In earlier years she served on the Visit England Board and as a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising.