We now have a very dynamic group of Trustees who are all taking a really active role in looking at how we can grow our membership and continue supporting the TPT national office – as well as getting involved in their own local projects.
Meet our Board Members
Simon Geller – Chair
I became the Chair of the Friends of the TPT in November 2017.
I learnt to ride a bike when I was 10, so I came to it a little late. I’m hoping to make up for that now I’m a bit older. I got annoyed at being squeezed off the road by the increase in traffic in the 1980’s and 90’s, so I felt the urge to try and do something about it. I was inspired by the creation of the National Cycle Network and Trans Pennine Trail, providing places to walk, cycle and ride horses well away from the hubbub of the modern world, and have done my best to support these initiatives. As a youngster I spent my time doing newspaper rounds, riding my bike around, going swimming and trying to learn a little, and in my older years it seems that I’ve gone full circle!
I’m one of three Trustees in the Central area, a Volunteer Group Coordinator for Sheffield and Chair of the Cycle Rail Forum for the North. I’m also a key member of the Sheffield Cycle Forum and use all these roles to help promote the TPT and the NCN as much as possible. One of the recent projects I helped support with funding from the Friends of the TPT was the interpretation project at Beeley Woods which really provided a great place for the visitors to come and enjoy this great area. We still hope that this will become an official part of the Trail.
Two themes I’m really keen to see the Friends of the TPT support are accessibility for everyone and how we can protect the TPT against climate change. We need to take action now to help protect the Trail for our future generations to enjoy when, hopefully, sustainable transport will become the norm.
Pam Ashton – Deputy Chair
My involvement with the TPT goes back to its very early years as I was the first ever appointed Trans Pennine Trail Officer, securing the initial Millennium Commission funding to kick-start the project.
At a local level I keep my eye on everything Merseyside related and represent the Friends on the Mersey Group of the Trans Pennine Trail and also with Liverpool City Region. As Friends Trustees we are very mindful that the TPT office only consists of two members of staff and an apprentice so anything we can do in terms of representation is very important…and sometimes its really handy to have all the background knowledge from years gone by that can be crucial in such high level discussions.
Chris Lumb – Secretary
I’m Secretary of the Friends of the TPT and, along with Kathy, I also represent the Greater Manchester area. Having said that, I’ve also just taken over from Peter as Group Coordinator for the Pennines area, so I’m involved in two groups.
In terms of funding projects, I’ve been working with Peter and the TPT Office on the Longdendale Access Project and also the Apethorn Godley Turntable project. So please read our project section to give you a great insight into both these projects – along with others.
For our future I’d like to see how we can make the Friends of the TPT and the national TPT office sustainable and a support mechanism for local projects for many more years to come.
Les Webb – Membership Secretary
Les joined the Trustees in 2016 and took over responsibility for Friends Membership in 2018.He is a longstanding volunteer for Sustrans in Leeds, having had a hand in the establishment of the first Sustrans office in Leeds, in promoting Connect2 projects in Yorkshire, in establishing the Leeds Universities’ Velocampus bike hire scheme and in working with Northern Rail to create better bike parking provision at stations across the North. He has been an active member of the Leeds volunteer group since 2003 and Group Co-ordinator in 2014-17.
As Membership Secretary, Les is keen to attract particularly long-tern supporters either through CAFDonate or annual standing order payments. A solid core of regular supporters not only provides a reliable income for the Friends to use to promote and support the Trail but demonstrates real commitment to potential project funders. Les launched the “This Path Needs Friends” poster campaign in 2019 and welcomes offers from supporters to display posters across the Trail.
Word of mouth is the best way to find new Friends, however, and Les is always glad to talk to lovers of the Trail about becoming Friends. To get a callback, text “Friend” to 07494338536.
If Les could have three wishes, at least one of them would be for step-free access to Leeds along the TPT at Skelton Grange Road Bridge. This is a long standing obstacle to all but the most agile cyclists as well as to wheelchairs, pushchairs, elderly and infirm pedestrians and those with small children. It is a disgrace to the City of Leeds.
Les is married with two adult daughters, 4 grandchildren and 6 bicycles.
Kathy England – Treasurer
I have been a Trustee for several years and took on the role of Treasurer in May 2018. As a Trustee I represent the Greater Manchester area at the quarterly TPT partner meetings, and also at other local meetings, events and consultations as they arise.
I also support the TPT in various other ways – I’m the Volunteer Group Coordinator for the Stockport area, organising regular Task Sessions, and I’m currently the National Volunteer Representative on the Sustrans “Paths for Everyone UK Steering Group”, which was set up following the review of the NCN.
I’ve also coordinated several projects too, funded by grants received through the Friends of the TPT. We have installed six interpretation boards, which include information about the industrial heritage, and local fauna and flora. Our perching posts in the shape of hazelnuts and acorns, provide some unique resting spots for Trail users.
Peter Brocklehurst – Trustee
As Chris has already mentioned we’ve been working together on the Peak Park Legacy project which has been great to work on to see how small changes can make such a difference to users with accessibility issues.
The Apethorn Godley project has also been a great way to showcase some of the history of the old railway before it was lost to the elements.
As a Trustee I represent the Pennine area and attend the TPT Pennine meetings and make sure that we’re giving our support however we can.
David Bright – Trustee
Presently I’m the newest Trustee and still finding my feet as one of the representatives in the Central area. My interest in the “Friends” was sparked when I became a volunteer and intensified on becoming the Volunteer Group Co-ordinator for Rotherham. Attending the FOTPT meetings and receiving regular updates of its activities has highlighted the amount of work, largely unseen being carried out to improve the TPT.
I’m very interested in developing accessibility projects and looking at how we can improve the maintenance of the Trail, not only in my local patch. With this in mind we now have a well stacked cycle trailer / double wheeled barrow to transport tools and equipment to where ever they are required in South Yorkshire.
Hopefully you’ve found this introduction useful in terms of highlighting how important the role of the Friends is within the TPT partnership. Yes, sometimes it not always easy to keep upbeat when all the Local Authorities across the Trail are facing such dire budget cuts and green infrastructure is sadly often at the heart of this but by becoming a Friends of the TPT you can help make sure our voices are heard and that the Trans Pennine Trail is acknowledged in its own right and protected for us and our future generations to enjoy.
If any of you would also like to join the Board of the Friends, please get in touch with any one of us. We’d be more than happy to help provide guidance about the role and discuss how you can help support the TPT. In particular, we’re looking for an Eastern Trustee. The Eastern group covers North Doncaster, Selby, North Yorkshire, York, East Riding and Hull – at the moment we don’t have a presence in this area so please do get in touch if you think you can help.
Simon Geller – Chair of the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail