I was a trustee for 30 years (1982-2012), and have twice been Ramblers Chairman. I am General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society, Trustee of the Campaign for National Parks and Patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns Network. As President of the Ramblers, I want to champion our volunteers’ work and give a boost to our local campaigns.
Des Garrahan, Chair
Most of what I know of Britain I learnt through my feet – its heritage and culture, its dynamic urbanscapes and majestic countryside. I need little reminding that I can walk the many miles of this country’s footpaths and roam across acres of land in no small part because of the hard-won successes by the Ramblers. I don’t really have a favourite walk – to me one of the great joys of walking is discovering new places. To find out more about me read my walking class hero blog or follow me on Twitter @walkngclasshero.
Alex Mannings, Honorary Treasurer
The Ramblers is vital to the protection of walking and I am proud to help them as a trustee. In a professional capacity I have worked in the public and private sectors in finance. In a volunteer capacity I have been Chair of the Metropolitan Walkers and am currently Chair of the Inner London Area and the London Strollers. With walking still the most popular hobby in the UK, I want to ensure that the Ramblers is the organisation that all walkers want to join. You can follow what I am doing with the Ramblers on Twitter @LondonRamblers.
I joined the Ramblers in 2000 and shortly after became Countryside Secretary for my local group North Kirklees. In 2004 I was elected Area Countryside Secretary for West Riding Ramblers, for which I am now also Area Chairman. Alongside my work in finance for a multinational home shopping group, I also organise Ramblers promotional stands at agricultural shows in North and West Yorkshire and am a Trustee of CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) West Yorkshire Branch.
I grew up with a love of Scotland's wild places and have been a Ramblers member for five years and am now chair of Capital Walkers, a vibrant and growing local Ramblers group in London. I'm also Director of Policy for a national carers charity and have over ten years' experience in the voluntary sector, including experience in campaigning and influencing at the highest levels as well as communications and fundraising. As a trustee, I hope to bring these two passions together and use my experience to help the Ramblers grow and achieve the most impact we can.
I have been a member of Ramblers for about ten years and have served at Group and Area level within East Yorkshire and Derwent Ramblers for most of that time.
Prior to my retirement I was a European Sales Manager for IBM.
A focus of my work will be to ensure that any decisions about governance are made based on a balanced proposal followed by detailed consultation. Above all else I am a very strong proponent of open and transparent democracy within our organisation.I will work hard for members and I will be a strong communicator with Areas and Groups and through them hopefully to all members.I believe that the most important part of Ramblers is our membership. We need to ensure that any changes are properly discussed and debated, primarily through our delegate, Area and Group structure.
I have enjoyed walking for most of my life, from Sunday walks with my father, as a child, to regularly walking in the Lakes and Peak District, which led me to Sheffield 40s Ramblers, and an understanding of how much Ramblers has done to give us a fabulous walking environment.
I love making things work better, whether a system, a product or a process and have spent over 25 years in the software industry and product development. I look forward to using those skills on behalf of Ramblers and our mission to get more people walking and improve our walking environment even further.
Convener – Ramblers Scotland
I joined the Ramblers in 1995, the year the charity celebrated its 60th anniversary. In addition to being a Trustee I am the Vice Convener for Ramblers Scotland and Area Footpath and Countryside Co-ordinator for North Strathclyde Ramblers. I also lead walks for Strathkelvin Ramblers, my local Group, and am actively involved in the preparation of Walking Hubs for the Ramblers Scotland Medal Routes project. I am also very interested in environmental issues, especially wild land and its wildlife.
I have been a member of the Ramblers for about nine years. After attending my first General Council in 2006 I was inspired to create Norfolk’s 20s and 30s walking group which now has an active programme of walks and a lively social programme. When not walking, I run a small IT consultancy. This has taught me just how critical the efficient use of IT is, to any business or organisation. I also spend some of my time engaged in web and application development, which I believe is further useful experience to bring with me.
As a member and volunteer in the Ramblers for over 10 years, I am passionate about growing membership and raising the Ramblers’ profile in order to attract a more diverse audience.I was instrumental in creating Capital Walkers, London’s fastest growing Ramblers group. I have also been active at an area level as area secretary in Inner London and at a national level at Ramblers head office helping organise General Council and supporting local groups.At a professional level I have 25 years’ financial experience in a multinational organisation. This will bring financial experience to the organisation and help with partnership development with corporate organisations.I feel my skills and passion will help the Ramblers to develop and modernise in the future
Chair, Ramblers Cymru
Alan joined Ramblers about 10 years ago after moving to Snowdonia National Park, with a view to getting some exercise, finding his way around and meeting like minded people. He very happily achieved all these. He started leading walks, then joined the committee, and subsequently volunteered to be Group Chairman. Nowadays, he enjoys the walking, the environment and the company of other Ramblers even more, but feeling that we could do better in various ways, agreed to be nominated for WCEC in 2014, and was then elected Chair in April 2015.
His main interest is in people enjoying walking (and related social activities), enjoying the natural and built environment, enjoying the company of others, and, if possible, gaining satisfaction from “giving something back”.
I lead on policy and research work for Chwarae Teg (Fair Play), which focuses on the representation of women in the workplace in Wales. I am an experienced lobbyist and have built strong relationships with many key decision makers in Wales. I have a personal interest in sustainable transport. Until recently, I was a Trustee and Director for the Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales. I have used my experience to support local Ramblers groups since I joined in 2012 and am Publicity Officer for the Tiger Bay Ramblers. I have used social media to increase the group’s presence online and engage with Welsh politicians and other prominent figures.
Shortly after joining my local group (Chilterns 20-30s Walking) I led my first walk and within the year joined the committee and have served as Chair for four years. I am passionate about spreading the wider work of the Ramblers via our led walks. My experience of the organisation includes attending General Council since 2010, being a member of the volunteer sounding board for the Ramblers website and serving as Chair of my area for the last two years. I have a degree in Business Information Systems and have worked for large IT, business process, consultancy and outsourcing companies. I believe almost all projects and changes will include an ICT impact in the future.
I joined the Ramblers in 2005 and became Membership Secretary of my local group based in Cardiff, Tiger Bay Ramblers, for four years from 2007 and then acted as its Chair in 2011-12. I believe my experience in seeking to attract, welcome and retain new members and my experience of supporting and encouraging existing members to volunteer and become involved in the activities of the Ramblers would make a useful contribution to the organisation, and to the work of the Board of Trustees.
Benedict was appointed Chief Executive of the Ramblers in December 2011. He was previously Director of the World Development Movement and has held senior management positions in Amnesty International and Greenpeace International. Benedict has more than 20 years’ experience in the charity sector, and has worked as a consultant on strategic programmes with high profile charities including ActionAid, Friends of the Earth, and UNICEF UK. Benedict was raised in Lancashire but now lives on the Surrey-Kent border. His favourite walks are on the High Weald and the Ribble Valley.
Director of Delivery & Development
Simon joined the senior management team in 2010. He oversees the Ramblers work to help more people go walking more often. This includes responsibility for Ramblers volunteers who lead walks, who develop and check walking routes and who make practical improvements to the path network. Simon has strategic responsibility for Walking for Health in England and for volunteering across the Ramblers - ensuring that all volunteers have a quality experience and enjoy their volunteering. Before starting at the Ramblers Simon worked for Living Streets and prior to that was a local scheme coordinator for Walking for Health. Favourite places to walk include Dartmoor near where he grew up, the Chilterns where he now calls home and the Lake District where he also fell races.
Director of Services
Christine joined the Ramblers in August 2013. Following training as a Chartered Accountant, she has worked in finance and operational roles for almost 30 years. Her sector experience has been achieved within the accountancy profession, membership organisations, property, and education. Prior to joining Ramblers, she has worked at senior level in a number of trade unions, most recently at the Public and Commercial Services Union.
Director of Advocacy & Engagement
Nicky joined the Ramblers in September 2011. For the previous 12 years she worked at the NSPCC leading the campaigns team. She has also held campaign and policy positions at Age Concern, RNID, Scope and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). Nicky is committed to working with staff and volunteers to develop campaigns which preserve and increase access for walking. Nicky grew up in Somerset and her favourite walks are in the South West as near to water as possible as she likes to incorporate walking with a swim when she can.
Director of Scotland
Jess joins Ramblers Scotland following 8 years with Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), working in various roles to support local groups, engage supporters and developing engagement strategies for national campaigns. She also worked for RSPB in Scotland, managing a multi-million pound partnership project involving local authorities, statutory bodies and third sector organisations. Jess in a firm believer in the power of walking in green spaces to increase wellbeing and support better mental health. Favourite walks include the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the Great Glen Way and she will always have a soft spot for beautiful Arthur’s Seat in the heart of Edinburgh.
Angela joined Ramblers Cymru in 2008, coming from her previous role as Chief Officer with a Council for Voluntary Services. She has over 20 years experience in the voluntary sector, working across Wales, Shropshire and Gloucestershire. She has experience in community engagement in both the rural and urban environment context. Her previous roles cover environmental education, fundraising, project development and management, countryside management and walk leading. Angela is from South Wales and has a real passion to see the people of Wales have every opportunity to flourish in a sustainable way whilst meeting the needs of the people and the environment.