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.

  • 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

    Trustee

    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

    Trustee

    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

    Trustee

    Liz was Chief Executive of the British Property Federation for thirteen years until her retirement in 2014. She was awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to the property industry.


    Liz now has a portfolio career with a range of non-executive, advisory and charity roles, at Howard de Walden Estates, RPS Group, RDI REIT, Holtby Turner, and the Churches Conservation Trust. She is Chairman of the Architectural Heritage Fund and Centre for London and President of the Property Litigation Association. She is a member of the Mayor of London’s Homes for Londoners Board and chairs the Government Property Agency. In 2017 Liz was appointed Chairman of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) and in 2018 she was appointed Chairman of the shadow Sponsor Board for the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme.

     

  • Carol Pyrah

    Trustee & chairman of Conservation Committee

    Carol was appointed a trustee in April 2018.

    Carol is currently Chief Executive of the Historic Coventry Trust. She was previously Assitant Director of Planning at Historic England, formerly English Heritage, where she 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

    Trustee

    Sue was appointed to the Board of Trustees in July 2017 and is Deputy Chair.  She is a Commissioner at Historic England, a trustee at the Canal & River Trust, chair of the Living Waterways Awards and a board director at the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).  She is also a trustee at the Medical Research Foundation. Sue was a board director at the National Trust until the end of 2016 with responsibility for membership, fundraising, volunteering/participation and tourism.  At the Trust she led several multi-million pound IT and digital projects, a successful brand review and developed the Trust’s approach to visitor experience and customer service. Until 2018 she was a trustee at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich and in earlier years she served on the Visit England Board and as a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising.