Meet our Board of Trustees

The Edmund Trust is a registered charity which is led by its board of trustees. The board meets bimonthly.

The Edmund Trust’s board of trustees are:

Derek Ford – Chair

Derek Ford

What is your background?

For the last 15 years or so I have been an embedded researcher in the Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge.  Before joining the IfM I had spent over 25 years in manufacturing management in senior operational roles in multinationals as well as SMEs.  I have a particular interest in business strategy and manufacturing planning and control, and as part of my work I have developed a diagnostic tool that is widely used to assess the performance of manufacturing businesses. I have a BA (Hons) in Modern History, an MA in Contemporary European History, an MSt in Manufacturing a PhD in Manufacturing Systems and a PG Cert in Adult Education.

How did you come to The Edmund Trust?

My daughter Annie was born in 1980 with Down’s Syndrome and have I been on the Board in one capacity or another ever since that time.  During this period the organisation has significantly changed from providing residential care in a group home with house parents, through core and cluster, to respite services, domiciliary care in the local community and recently, services to support people with challenging needs.  This has meant that we have had to professionalise the entire organisation, make significant capital investments in property while still being person centred. I am fortunate to have been a small part of that story.

 What is your role?

My role as the Chairman of the Board is to manage and provide leadership to the Board of Directors of the Trust.  I am accountable to the Board and I am the interface between the Board and the Chief Executive of the Trust.  The Chief Executive (John) is responsible for the operational and day to day running of the business. John and I work closely together to ensure that the Trust is moving in the right direction.  The redevelopment of the Milton site is evidence of this relationship. I think it is worth noting that my role is unpaid and I claim no expenses for carrying out my duties.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am still working part-time at the University and apart from my Board responsibilities, I enjoy reading, walking, gardening, camping and caravanning and my family.  I am also a practising Quaker.


Greer Harbinson – Vice-Chair

Greer Harbinson

What is your background?

I spent practically my whole career in telecommunications.  Not the fixed line communications like BT or Virgin Media but mobile radio communications, as used by the emergency services, Police, Fire and Ambulance and I also dealt with the armed forces Army, Navy and Air Force and supplied each of these with their two way radios and control rooms.  This was exciting work as our technology was leading edge and we were constantly designing and building equipment to meet the latest requirements of each of these services.

I was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland where I qualified as a Chartered Engineer in Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering and after two years working for the aircraft company of Short Brothers and Harland I moved to England where I worked for Marconi, GEC, STC, Pye, Philips and NTL which involved several moves round the country, finally ending up working in Cambridge as Regional Sales Manager first for Philips and then for NTL and living in the village of Kirtling, just outside Newmarket.

How did you come to the Edmund Trust?

I retired when I was 60 years old in 2005 and at that time I went to the same church as Derek Ford.  Derek said to me, “Now that you’ve retired you won’t have anything to do so how about coming to work for the Edmund Trust (then Cambridgeshire Mencap)”.  This seemed like a worthwhile opportunity to put something back into society and so I joined the board and I have been a board member ever since.  We have had some interesting experiences over the years including finance and growth issues and I have always been particularly interested in the buildings and property aspects of the trust so it is very rewarding to see the current re-development of the Milton site and the expansion of the trust to The Poplars in Histon, where we hope shortly to be able to convert the garage into useful accommodation for service users.

What is your role?

My role as Vice-Chairman of the Board is to work closely with the board members, Chief Executive and other members of the Edmund Trust senior management team to ensure that the day to day running of the trust is carried out efficiently and that the financial future of the trust is assured.  This includes ensuring that we have the correct buildings for service users to live in and office accommodation for staff.  As is the case with all of the board members my role is unpaid and although I could claim expenses I do not do so as I am just happy to be able to contribute my time and experience to such a good cause.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have always been an active person and so I enjoy, walking, swimming and travel.  I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to USA, Canada, most of Europe, India, China, Vietnam, Burma. Cambodia, Thailand, and North Africa.

I currently attend All Saints Church in Newmarket where I am an active member, being on the Parochial Church Council and chairing the ‘Cornerstone Project’, which is an extensive re-development project for the church.  This involves working with architects, the Church of England hierarchy and the congregation.

I renovated an old Georgian house with 20 acres of land and lived there with my first wife and young family.  Unfortunately, my first wife and I divorced, however I remarried and have since renovated seven other houses, which I either sold or rent out.  I designed and project managed my present home in a three acre field about twenty five years ago, where I now live with my wife Barbara.

I also keep bees and belong to both the Cambridge and Suffolk Bee Keeping Associations.  I have fourteen hives in my garden as well as other hives in friends’ gardens in Newmarket.  I spend many hours checking my hives and extracting honey, which I either give to friends or sell through a number of outlets including the National Trust.


Nick Tiley

Nick Tiley

What is your background?

I grew up in Girton, just north of Cambridge with my brother and sister.  When my parents went overseas to work, they took us with them, so I was lucky enough to go to school in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  I went away to boarding school in my teenage years, then returned to Cambridge University, where I studied Production Engineering.  After working as an Engineer, I joined a local accountancy firm and re-trained as a Chartered Accountant.  I worked for several companies (including Philips, where Greer Harbinson had worked) and ended up running factories making aerospace electronics and scientific instruments.  Four years ago I set up my own specialist accountancy firm which provides expert advice to smaller businesses around Cambridge.  I have now worked in more than 30 different businesses.

How did you come to the Edmund Trust?

I had met Derek Ford while working at the scientific instruments company.  One day he rang me and asked for some help with the Edmund Trust, and after meeting with John Ellis and Susan Whittaker I was asked to join the Board of the Trust.

What is your role?

As a Chartered Accountant, my expertise is in Finance.  This means understanding the business of the Trust, how its administrative systems can be reliable and efficient, how much it can afford to invest in new projects, how it needs to be funded, and how to comply with lots of regulations (in accounting and also being a charity).

Working on the Board mainly entails attending Board meetings and helping the senior managers by email and over the phone, although I also sometimes come to the offices if needed.

I do not have a background in the provision of services, so I can draw on experience gained in many different areas to look at problems from a different perspective.  Sometimes it is the simplest questions that can unlock problems.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I live in Cambridge with my wife and two sons, aged 16 and 12.   I enjoy gardening and DIY, and also like to cook.  I love cars and was a racing driver for 5 years, but have now stopped and instead taken up archery as a hobby.  My younger son plays for a local football team, so I am usually the linesman at Saturday morning matches.


David Barker – To Follow

Lyn Jenkins – To Follow

Brian Chandler – To Follow

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