I joined the Ramblers over 30 years ago when a group was formed in my home city of Aberdeen and I have been supporting the Ramblers ever since. I have undertaken roles in the Aberdeen group and Grampian area committees. I’m a walk leader and have a good knowledge of the local countryside including access issues. My knowledge of the organisation has grown having served on the Scottish Council Executive Committee (SCEC) as a committee member, vice convener and convener. I am now serving as convener of RSSC. From 2000-2010 I served as a Ramblers GB trustee and also had two spells on the Board of Trustees ex officio as Scottish Council convener. I also head up a team of volunteers organising the annual Scottish Ramblers Gathering. From 2009-2017, I was treasurer of the European Ramblers Association, with this role on its Presidium I gained a broad knowledge of walking in many countries across Europe. My working life was spent in BT, WRVS and the NHS in Scotland in personnel, training and financial management roles and most recently in volunteer support and management.
I became chair of Glasgow Young Walkers in January 2019, with the group facing the prospect of becoming a Sub-Group of Glasgow Ramblers if we were unable to secure a new committee. Since then, we’ve doubled our group membership, have a booming walk programme and are welcoming new people to walks every single weekend. I’m particularly passionate about making sure that anyone and everyone can get out walking and anyone of any ability can enjoy the outdoors. Scotland is the most magnificent playground and one of the privileges and responsibilities of the Ramblers is to protect that space and keep it available for everyone to enjoy. The campaigns the Ramblers have run recently have been successful in raising the profile of the Ramblers and particularly the young walkers and there’s only more we can do!
I have a background in housing, environmental issues and conservation and I am interested in land reform, access, devolution and good policy development. I live in Edinburgh with my family and have three children.
I have been a member of the Kirkcaldy Group of Ramblers Scotland since 2013 but have only really been walking regularly with our Group since 2016 when I retired from work. Since 2018, I have been Chair of the Group as well as Web Editor. My background is in Human Resources and Employment Law in the public sector and I have worked in Health, Local Government and Education, as well as in a Scottish Government Education Policy Division. I have extensive experience of working on strategic management and leadership and in policy development, as well as chairing committees in the sectors in which I have worked. This has involved working with people of all backgrounds and with trades unions and politicians and I believe that I am good at forming effective relationships and getting the best out of the people I deal with.
I joined Ramblers in 2015 when Aberdeen Young Walkers was founded, and I was persuaded to become a walk leader. I first joined SCEC as a co-optee in 2017 and subsequently stood for election. I have learned a lot from my time on the committee and I hope that I can continue to support the organisation by standing again. As a member of a Young Walkers group, I feel very strongly about the importance of ‘future proofing’ Ramblers to ensure that we bring in new members of all ages, whilst also retaining our appeal to existing members. I do think it’s important not to lose sight of where we as an organisation have come from but Ramblers also needs to be supported by younger generations in order to thrive. This is why I think it is so essential to have members of all ages on the committee.
I have followed the Ramblers for several years now and have seen the progress and change it has, and continues, to go through. With an extensive background in commissioning, developing and delivering health services, I am all too aware of the valuable health and wellbeing benefits that being outdoors can bring, especially now during this current pandemic crisis when walking is so important to physical and mental health. My passion for walking and the environment has enabled me to have some great adventures not only here in the UK, but also in New Zealand and Antarctica.
I'm a keen Rambler, having previously served as a committee member for Edinburgh Young Walkers for nine years and help provide Walk Leader training for the Ramblers. I work in IT and have delivered large change projects within multinationals and local charities, created the successful Edinburgh Young Walkers website which acts like a social network, allowing members to post walks, sign up to events and communicate easily. It’s an exciting time for the Ramblers with their new IT developments and I feel I can bring a lot of knowledge and experience relating to this to RSSC. I’m also keen to make the outdoors more accessible to everyone and would love to get more involved delivering this vision.
I very much enjoyed my membership of the Ramblers. It has brought opportunities to discover hidden paths whilst getting out into the countryside in a safe and companionable way. My skills lie more in technology than map reading, so in exchange for being guided round the countryside, and therefore not getting lost, I help my group by keeping on top of membership numbers and welcoming newcomers. Prior to this, I spent many years of my life volunteering in my sport as a club secretary or treasurer, at area level as a treasurer or chair, as well as being a performer. In 2010, I was privileged to be elected as a board director at UK level and served for eight years during a time of transition of the board, from being purely volunteer led to including independent directors and skills based appointments. This improvement was essential to enable government body funding to continue. During what was a transition period, I served on the Nominations Committee and then also under the new Independent Chair. This has given me a very broad overview of how organisations work within good governance frameworks, work with third parties, and form and implement strategy and empower and value volunteers. I would hope that this knowledge will form a good basis for working within Ramblers Scotland.
Dr Sue Thomas
This is a thrilling time for the environment, its current and future inhabitants. Because of the lessons learnt from Covid regarding our interdependence with the environment and the privilege it brings to us and other species, we can really move forward. Professionally and via volunteering, I have worked with students 18-25 for many years. I share their commitment to action for a better future, environmental justice, and an expectation of diversity and inclusion. Scotland, mainland and islands, is a unique treasure and a privilege we can share more broadly and diversely. I have lived in the Borders for six years and walk with Eildon Ramblers, recently serving as their publicity officer. Previously, I taught design full time, researching and advocating for ethics and sustainability both here and in Australasia. From academia I bring committee experience; having served in the Senate at Heriot-Watt University and been a representative on four university human research ethics committees. Previously in Australia, and now in Scotland, I volunteer in the justice system, working for human rights.