Lincolnshire Rural Support Network

Helpline 0800 138 1710

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Who's Who

Patrons

Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Mr Toby Dennis

The High Sheriff of Lincolnshire, Mr Andrew Clark Esq DL

Chairman of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, Ms Jane Hiles

Rt Revd Christopher Lowson

Bishop of Lincoln

Rev Bruce Thompson

Methodist Chairman, Lincoln & Grimsby District

Lord John Taylor of Holbeach CBE / ARAgs

Mr Tony Worth FRAgS

Mr Francis Dymoke, Queen's Champion

Directors

Meryl Ward, MBE, FRAgs - Chairman

My day job is running the family farm in North Lincolnshire with husband, Steve.

From graduating from London University, my specific responsibility has been the livestock enterprise of 2,000 breeding sows and we also have an arable enterprise, farm contracting business and farm shop.  Our three children are now independent, having all left university.  I have been involved in various national organisations, particularly the British Pig Executive and the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and now more recently I have taken on the Chair of AHDB Pork. Pigs have had their own particular problems over the years and I was a founder member of the British Pig Industry Support Group which campaigned to help the industry and pig farmers through difficult times, so it was a natural progression to work for LRSN.  I was very proud to be asked to take on the Chairmanship of an organisation doing such worthwhile work with such a great team of staff and supporters.

Rev David Creasey - Vice Chairman

I am the third generation to farm the family farm at Hanthorpe, near Bourne. Having studied at Shuttleworth College in the mid-60's I went on to read Agricultural Economics at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. After graduating I returned to Shuttleworth as a lecturer in farm management for a few years before returning to the farm . At a later date I acted as external examiner for the HND students at Shuttleworth for 12 years.

I have had a long involvement with the NFU, being Bourne chairman, Holland County Chairman and Lincs/Notts Livestock Chairman at various times.

I am married to Fiona, an ex-nurse and for the past few years have been slowly downsizing our farming business. In 2007, after years of being a Church Warden, I was ordained as a non-stipendiary priest in the Lincoln Diocese and I am currently assisting in 6 parishes in the south of the county.

I have been part of LRSN since its inception, being a board member and a case worker.

Charles Holt- Treasurer

I am delighted to have joined the Board of Trustees, having spent the last three decades as an agricultural consultant, based near Lincoln. My consultancy specialisms include dealing with difficult financial and legal cases, and agricultural planning matters.

In the past I have dealt with a lot of milk quota trades, and was instrumental in setting up Lincs and Notts Dairy Farmers, at the time the MMB was being legislated away.

I have had some experience as a director of another local charity, having been on the board for approximately 28 years, so long that I cannot remember exactly how many… and I have told LRSN that I have  no intention of being on the LRSN board for anything like that length of time, which I hope they were listening to?!

I am married to Sarah and have four grown-up children.

 

Rev Canon Alan Robson MSc FRAgS – Agricultural Chaplain

Alan is a Methodist Minister ( Wragby-Mid Lincolnshire Methodist Circuit) and Ecumenical Canon of Honour Lincoln Cathedral.

Married to Denise “D” and has a grown daughter Faye who works in London

He has been the Lincolnshire Agricultural Chaplain for 14 years but has many ties to other projects and Boards not least Lincolnshire Rural Support Network/Lincolnshire Chaplaincy Services  –Chair of De Aston Academy Market Rasen and the Methodist Workplace Chaplains national Board. Member of the Hill Holt Wood social enterprise Board and the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society Educational Committee +

He enjoys films and books loves his border terrier Jenny and rescue cat Itsy Bitsy above all delicious food in the many outstanding Lincolnshire eateries!

Della Armstrong

I am married to David and we farm 950 acres in partnership – he deals with the ‘outside’ jobs and I deal with the majority of ‘inside’ jobs!  We have 3 children, Kate 25, who also works in the industry; Oliver 22 who is a dancer; and Ross, 12, who is the farm foreman!  I run a Farm Secretarial Agency employing 1 person and we cover a 50 mile radius of home. 

I have been a School Governor for the local Primary School, on the PFA committee and I am currently the treasurer for the village football teams.

I felt very honoured to be asked to be part of LRSN back in June 2013, firstly as a member of the PIPS Committee (Publicity; Ideas; Promotion) and then 4 months later as a Trustee to the Board (this is the fastest promotion I have ever had!.) 

There really is a fantastic group of people involved with both running & supporting LRSN, who all care passionately about agriculture and the people who live and work within this community.  I have made many friends through becoming involved and am proud that we all, together, make a huge difference to many peoples’ lives.

Richard Alderson

Richard Alderson is married with two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives in Nettleton where he is churchwarden, as well as working within the Methodist Church. He has been involved in agriculture in Lincolnshire since the late1970s originally farming in the Isle of Axholme while carrying on with “the day job” in the textiles industry which involved regular travel abroad to Europe and the Middle East. In 1989, Richard took a post as an NFU Group Secretary in Epworth, and in 1990 added the North Lindsey post in Brigg. This was the beginning of a love/love relationship with Lincolnshire farming, which continues today. Richard retired from the NFU in 2007, and after a month’s holiday, took up a consultancy with Brown and Co in Brigg, a post he enjoys today. He has been involved with Bishop Burton College since 1989, and was a governor of the college from 2002 to 2014.

Lisa Boileau

I was born and bred in Yorkshire, moving to Lincolnshire in 1992 to train as a solicitor with Wilkin Chapman LLP.  I have remained in the county ever since, living and working happily.  I am married to Paul, a University lecturer, and for the past 16 years we have lived in the village of Sudbrooke near Lincoln.

In our spare time we are both quite 'out doorsy' people. Paul is a mountain marathon runner and orienteer and together we both share a love of hill walking and bird watching. We both have a keen interest in farming and rural issues, me from the perspective of both my job and love of the countryside, him from his interest in pigs and love of our native woodlands. (He has already managed to merge these two interests on a 'managing pigs in woodland' course. It is therefore only a matter of time before our family expands to include some pigs I suspect!).

I qualified as a solicitor in 1994 specialising in family law. In 2000 I became a Partner at Wilkin Chapman and am now Head of the Family Law Department. With a passion for family law and helping families, I trained to become one of the UK’s first Family Law Arbitrators and I am also a qualified Mediator. Our firm has strong links with the farming community whom we are proud to represent. Over the years I have had the privilege of assisting many farming families in connection with divorce and other family law issues. Over that time my knowledge of farming and rural issues has grown, as has my admiration and respect for the work our farmers and rural communities undertake.

I first became involved with LRSN approximately 8-10 years ago, assisting Alison Twiddy and Rev Alan Robson with some of their case work. Over the years my relationship with the Charity has grown and I have developed a strong affinity with the ethos and values the Charity has and the fantastic work it undertakes. I therefore didn't have to think twice when I was invited to join the Board. I very much look forward to getting to know more of the team and to contributing as much as I can to such a worthwhile and well managed cause.

Jane Chard

I was born and educated in Lincoln and have lived all my life within a twenty mile radius of the city and therefore have an empathy with our the county's cultural and agricultural heritage. After leaving school I joined Natwest Bank where I worked for 22 years, resigning in 1995 as the Small Business Manager at Lincoln, Smiths Bank. I was then appointed Director of Resources for the Diocese of Lincoln working with parishes throughout the Diocese to improve their income streams and maximise regular giving. I remain a Trustee for the Diocesan Staff Pension Fund and until two years ago I was a member of the Board of Trustees of Community Lincs where I served for seven years - six of which as Chairman of the Governance Committee. I have two married children and three small grand-daughters who take up much of my time and am in the final year of study for a degree in Art History, which is great fun. I was surprised and delighted to be invited to join the Board of LRSN and hope my knowledge of working within charitable sector and financial experience can be of use in creating the basis of a sound and regular income that will secure LRSN's work for many years to come.

Stephen Francis ARAgS

My day job is the planning, production, growing and harvesting of peas for freezing and canning. We operate from south of Lincoln all the way down to the borders of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire. I have over 80 farmer growers who grow for me. Being in regular contact with my growers I am well aware of the pressures and issues they face in the quest to produce high quality food for the UK consumer. When I was approached to become a trustee of LRSN I had little knowledge of the operation. LRSN has an excellent track record of providing assistance through its case work and health screening at local markets. I quickly realised that such an organisation and its staff need supporting to ensure that it continues to deliver the support required for the rural community of Lincolnshire, in what can often be a turbulent industry.

Jim Godfrey OBE, FRAgS

Jim Godfrey met his wife Janet whilst studying agriculture at Reading University.  He and his two sons are arable and pig farmers in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.  He is chairman of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Commercial Farmers Group and Innovate UK Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform.  He is a director of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and a member of the Government’s Agri-Food Technology Council.

Tony Molyneux Bsc Msc M Phil

The son of an Agricultural Merchant in Lancashire I studied Animal Production before joining the National Agricultural Advisory Service (Became ADAS) and worked initially in North and South Wales. In 1973 I moved to Reading University to undertake research into the application of Computers in Agricultural Management following which I specialised as a Farm Management Advisor in East Anglia. After 11 years with ADAS I joined Midland Bank later to become HSBC and spent 25 years in Agricultural Banking and for the last 10 years before retirement led a Team of Agriculturalists and Bankers latterly covering the whole of the Midlands and East Anglia. Throughout my whole career with the bank I was closely involved with many farming and horticultural businesses in Lincolnshire. I have been very pleased to have been for the last 10 years closely involved in the development of LRSN from its modest beginnings to the provision of today’s valuable support to farmers and the rural community.

Volunteers

Visits Team (Caseworkers)

We currently have 12 volunteer caseworkers.

PIPS

We currently have 8 volunteer PIPS members.

Helpliners

We currently have 4 volunteer Helpliners.

Staff

Alison Twiddy - Project Manager

After a long career of more than 30 years in public service I gained much experience, managing local and central service teams with all the associated HR and budgets, as well as project management and managing major government policy changes. However I found myself working long hours away from home and spending a lot of time in railway stations, airports and motorway service stations and city hotels and decided to find work closer to my Lincolnshire home and family, but never for one minute imagined that I would find myself becoming the Project Manager for LRSN about 8 years ago.

I consider this the most rewarding work I have ever done. The ability to really help local people and businesses with the crises that can befall any one of us is both challenging and humbling. The LRSN team are a great bunch of people, with a real passion for all the services which we offer, including our one to one support, our drop-in  and health screening service at horticultural and livestock markets and our helpline. I am proud of the work we do and to be associated with such a worth- while and professional organisation.

Lea Schofield - Caseworker South of the County

After becoming head nurse in a neurological veterinary practice I spent the next 20 years working in local government. Those years gave me invaluable experience in dealing with adversity and problem solving despite what often seemed to an unsolvable problem, lateral thinking was a much used technique!

I worked long hours and found that as a single parent I was meeting myself coming back. During my time in local government I referred a number of farmers and their families to LRSN and was aware of the amazing and often unsung work that they do. Three years ago I made a lifechoice to do something I enjoy and applied to work for LRSN.

Some may say that I came over from ‘the dark side’…. And what a brilliant move that was; I love my job and am thrilled to be part of LRSN; the wonderful team that make such a difference to the farming families of Lincolnshire.

Heather Dawes & Sandi Duffy - Health Screening Nurses

Heather:

I have been in the nursing profession for over 30 years now, training in Sheffield and Nottingham and then working in Mansfield and Derbyshire once qualified.  I have worked in the hospital setting but most of my career has been as a district nurse caring for people in their own homes.

My husband and I moved to Lincolnshire in 2008 after we fell for its charms following several fishing holidays.  I joined LRSN in January 2009 and helped Alison to set up the health screening side of LRSN at Louth market.  Since then the service has steadily expanded and we now run clinics in 3 separate markets for the farming community in Louth , Newark and Spalding.

I still work in the NHS at times but not so many hours now as LRSN keeps me busy enough!  Recently my husband and I have discovered a shared love of Britain’s canals and rivers and now we have our own narrow boat and enjoy as much time as possible pottering about on the water.

Sandi:

I qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1969 and following initial experience in general hospitals started work in the community in 1984, gaining my District Nursing qualification at Hull University in 1986. During my District Nursing experience of some 24 years in Louth and surrounding areas, I have gained insight into some of the health and social challenges facing rural communities, and have had the privilege of building relationships with a range of people in their times of both sadness and celebration. I count myself fortunate to work with LRSN, a compassionate, effective organisation offering an accessible, non judgemental service.

Sophie Dunn - Administration, PR and Events Manager

Following idyllic family holidays in the Yorkshire Dales as a child I have grown up with a love and appreciation for rural life together with the real challenges working in the agricultural sector can bring. My agricultural career started at Nottingham University where I studied Agricultural Science and following my marriage to a Lincolnshire farmer I have been involved with agriculture ever since.

Over the years I also developed an interest in event design and management which has equipped me well to tackle the work here at LRSN where I am responsible for keeping the charity “connected and informed” as well as supporting the work of the Project Manager and running our fundraising and PR events and activities. I feel privileged to work with LRSN, a charity dedicated to helping those in the rural community finding it tough to go on for whatever reason and I am pleased that I can contribute to helping Lincolnshire’s farmers and rural businesses by being a part of such a dedicated and committed team.

Justine Lyons - Administration Support

After a varied career, as a civil servant working for the Department of Work and Pensions on Benefits, Advising and Regional and National projects and with the general public, I left to concentrate on bringing up my children, returning to the job market later to work with small businesses part time before taking up a role within the offices at Uncle Henry's, Grayingham .

I have a general understanding of farming through friends and found it intriguing to learn more of some of the issues facing farmers today.   I have always had an interest in self development work from working with clients at the Job Centre and have been lucky enough to pursue this through gaining a coaching qualification and working as a Life Coach.

With my role in the charity as Administration Support, I can see how LRSN's work within the farming community in Lincolnshire makes a real difference and I'm looking forward to learning more and meeting the people who make the charity work.

"Here at LRSN we have a shared love and belief in Lincolnshire’s agricultural industry and we hope that this, together with our professional approach and dedication to our work at LRSN and everyone we work with, encourages people in need to come forward and ask for help because we want to help"

Sophie Dunn - Administration, PR and Events Manager

Talk to us on our helpline:

0800 138 1710