"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

Mother Teresa

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor (Chair of Trustees)

Mark has been instrumental in the turnaround of Hadlow College and the formation of the wider Hadlow Group.  He has undertaken substantial voluntary work for a hospice organisation that supports terminally ill children and their families, as well as – through the development of Betteshanger Parks – contributed to the regeneration of the former mining towns in East Kent.

Originally from the north of England, Mark is committed to the economic and social progress of the county he has adopted. He has recently visited the school in Yirgaalem and saw first-hand the difference it has made to the lives of the young children who learn there.

Glyn Charlton

Glyn spent the early years of his life in practical agriculture until he was fortunate enough to be engaged by Unilever in their subsidiary BOCM Silcock as a cattle specialist. In 1994, he started his own buying cooperative called the SKS Dairy Group which included a large percentage of dairy farmers in Kent and Surrey. Since retiring early in 2002, Glyn has been a Parish Councillor in both Tovil and East Farleigh and is currently Chair of them both.

Glyn’s voluntary commitments are plentiful – he has been a Parish Councillor in both Tovil and East Farleigh, and is currently Chair of them both, he is a trustee of Hayle Place Country Park, East Farleigh Allotment Association, East Farleigh Recreation Field and has served on the Kent County Agricultural Society’s Board as their Finance Director.

Timothy Evans

Tim has worked as an Architect for over 25 years, 20 of them as Owner and Creative Director at Sheppard Robson Architects, where he helped to build one of the UK’s largest and most successful architectural practices. Having achieved a number of his goals (from the RIBA competition and award-winning HQ project for Toyota to the award-winning Social Housing project in Carabanchel, Spain) he decided to relinquish his control and interest in the company.  This enabled him to establish Studio Evans Lane with Elizabeth Lane.

Tim is committed to making a positive contribution to society in the broadest sense through working selectively with communities and charities. Tim first worked as a volunteer in Managua, Nicaragua whilst still a student in the early 1990s. Today Tim is a trustee of the Children of Yirgaalem providing professional advice on the development of the school project.

Dereje Retta Geleta

Dereje grew up in Yirgaalem, studying and working locally before leaving for Europe aged 28. Most of his working life has been supporting and helping unaccompanied minors and mainstream young people, as a social worker and manager.

Upon travelling back to Ethiopia in 2004, Dereje – in memory of his late mother – donated educational materials to 30 disadvantaged students from his old schools. This was the start of the Children of Yirgaalem charity. Since that day, Dereje has been instrumental in the work the charity has undertaken, with the expansion of two schools and support for various projects locally.

Neil Lakeland

For majority of his career, Neil has worked in the not-for-profit sector, mainly for organisations involved in education or the welfare of young people. Prior to re-joining Hadlow College as their Group Head of Marketing & Communications, Neil worked for a regional charity as their Director of Marketing & Communications.

Outside of work, Neil has served on the South-East regional board of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, including three years as the Chair of the Kent Branch, runs a website for a local public speaking club and donates his time to improving road safety as a IAM RoadSmart National Observer and Training Officer.

Gail West

Gail has been involved in farming for much of her live, training at Plumpton College and winning the dairy prize.  She had, up until 12 years ago, a dairy herd but now has a beef suckler herd with calves. She is a member of the Kent County Agricultural Society (KCAS) and, in her spare time, sings with several choirs.

Gail became involved with the Children of Yirgaalem soon after it was formed; being one of the early donors who helped to build two classrooms at Dongora – a remote village south of Yirgaalem.  She has visited Ethiopia on several occasions and, through these visits has gained an understanding of what can be achieved by providing facilities for education, and witnessed the enthusiasm and willingness for Ethiopian children to learn.