We are governed by a Board of Trustees composed of 7 Members including our Chairman, Steve Bell
Steve Bell, Chair of Trustees
Steve Bell joined the Country Trust as Trustee in 2018, became Vice Chair in 2019 and Chairman in February 2021. Steve has extensive commercial experience, practising with one of the largest accountancy firms (EY) for 33 years. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1990 and became a Partner in 1999. Steve retired from EY in 2020 and was delighted to take on the role as Chairman of the Country Trust in 2021.
Steve joined Action For Children as a Trustee in late 2020, and from February 2021 became Chair of their Audit and Risk Committee. Steve has personal fundraising experience including running the London Marathon and trekking in the Sahara.
Steve’s is a keen walker and is regularly found on the footpaths of Essex. Alongside his family commitments, Steve plays golf and is a keen cricket supporter.
A former primary school teacher in the Yorkshire Dales, and Wye College agriculture graduate, Joanna until recently lectured in agriculture at Sparsholt College near Winchester. She ran the educational activities for Hampshire Country Learning, (now Country Trust Hampshire) for 10 years providing curriculum linked experiences on working farms for thousands of school children. Joanna lives on her family farm in Hampshire with husband Chris and loves involving their two young boys in activities with pigs, sheep, calves and game rearing.
Tango was brought up partly in London and also on a hill farm in Co Wicklow, Ireland. At Wye College she studied rural environment studies and then spent several years in Tanzania working with the local agricultural extension workers, as a volunteer for Concern, an Irish NGO. FWAG in Suffolk, was her next appointment whereby after about four years she became Northern Regional Manager for The Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), covering counties from Northumberland to Hereford. Tango has an arable farm in Yorkshire which she manages on a day to day basis, using contractors.
Following their first Stewardship Scheme in 1997, she has been carrying out school farm visits ever since and was lucky enough to secure a grant towards a school building which was completed in 2011. Tango is also on the Yorkshire Agricultural Society - Grants and Education Committee, and Chairman of the Parish Council. Tango is married with three children.
Hallam has nearly 30 business years within the energy industry as a marketing consultant, and is now a farmer with many outside interests His abiding passion is now to convert his Friesian-Holstein dairy herd to a grass-based New Zealand model, with improved health from cross-bred cows and high milk constituents, leading to sustainably profitable farming with increased soil quality. He has just completed a complex Better Boundaries project in partnership with the National Park and Natural England. Past projects include an extensive breeding wader-bird scheme, new hedges, nectar strips, field corners and small new plantations. Hallam is married with three children, two dogs and one horse.
Partheeban, or Theeb, as he is known by many, is a farm animal veterinary surgeon and a Dairy Technical Specialist for a global animal health company, with a passion for helping marginalised children gain experience and inspiration in food, farming and agriculture.
Having begun his career in farm animal clinical practice, Theeb went on to work for a global pharmaceutical company as Farm Animal Technical Manager for the UK and Ireland before his appointment as Senior Lecturer in Livestock Production at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
Theeb co-founded the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS). He is an Oxford Farming Conference Emerging Leader 2020 and has recently been awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, for which he is researching ways to promote and support ethnic minorities in the agricultural, farming and veterinary sector. Farming is a huge passion for Theeb, and he is particularly dedicated to helping the farming sector attract people from non-traditional backgrounds. Theeb joined the Country Trust Board of Trustees in September 2020.
After university Andrew spent over 32 years working in the Diplomatic Service, serving in Europe (East and West) and Africa in a variety of political, consular and media relations roles. This was followed by a spell as an independent consultant advising and training foreign diplomatic services and UK companies in various aspects of international relations. Then in 2010 his career took a completely different path when he was lucky enough to be appointed CEO of the Dulverton Trust, a grant-making charity which donates over three million pounds a year to a variety of charities, including the Country Trust. While the scope of Dulverton grants is wide, priority has always been given to helping disadvantaged young people and, in particular, to getting those from deprived inner-city areas out into the countryside to show them a different world, give them some fresh air and healthy exercise and, most importantly, inspire their ambitions while giving them the hope to achieve them. Following Andrew's retirement from Dulverton it was an easy decision for him to accept an invitation to join the Board of Country Trust given the close alignment of aims. He became a Trustee in December 2018. Andrew is married with three grown up children.
Rachael has her own small arable farm in Bedfordshire and has grown up in the Countryside and is passionate about the benefits that we can all gain from being outside and learning more about where our food comes from. Rachael has worked in the Education Sector for more than 14 years and specialises in working with young people who exhibit challenging behaviour due to SEMH issues ( Social, Emotional and Mental Health) using horses and nature to help them to overcome their barriers to learning. Rachael believes that the opportunity to be outside and engage with nature and the wider world helps to build confidence, resilience and creates links with the world around us.
Rachael became a Trustee in September 2019 and hopes to bring her experience and knowledge of education, farming and the most vulnerable children in our communities to support the further development of The Country Trust in the future. She has 2 grown up sons and splits her time between Bedfordshire and the North Norfolk Coast where she enjoys walking on the beach and exploring the coastline with her partner David and their 3 dogs.