Robert Townshend: Chairman

Robert is a chartered landscape architect. He founded the Townshend Landscape Architects practice in 1988 and has extensive experience in landscape architecture, urban design and environmental analysis from his work on a range of national and international commissions. Robert was brought up in East Suffolk and has lived in the county for the past 20 years.

Rachel Bunn

Rachel is the Assistant Principal for apprenticeships and employer engagement at East Coast College which is based across a number of locations including Lowestoft. She is a leading educationalist with impeccable working relationships within the local business community.  She has an unparalleled network of contacts across the secondary and further education sectors in the East of the county and will be instrumental in the Society’s aim to raise awareness and education about good and sustainable development that protects the special qualities of Suffolk for all.

Rachel is also a Suffolk Business Women board member and has extensive voluntary experience of fundraising for local charities, including as the Sotterley Estate church restoration project, and through planning, gaining sponsorship, team management and event management for country fairs, horse shows, clay shoots and social functions supporting other local charities.

Karl Debenham

Karl has lived on the Essex-Suffolk border all his life. He enjoyed a forty-year career as an investment analyst – the last twenty at Merrill Lynch, where, as a director, he had global responsibility for equity valuation. On his retirement, Karl took the opportunity to pursue a long-standing ambition and return to academia, taking a Batchelor’s and then a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Essex. He is currently preparing to continue his research at PhD level. Karl is involved with a range of local voluntary organisations, a passionate and energetic communicator, dedicated to both the preservation and the proper development of our wonderful county.

Lois Hunt

Lois moved to Heveningham Hall with her husband and four children over 20 years ago and has restored the nationally important grade I house, park and gardens and more recently a number of other highly graded listed buildings in Suffolk. Lois has extensive charitable experience and is a founder of the Heveningham Hall Country Fair which supports numerous local charities.

Nicholas Pearson

Nicholas is a former Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. He has specialised in developing professional and tailored services to charities for over 25 years. He set up the first ever Charity Specialist department where funds under management grew to £3.5 billion on behalf of 550 charities. He is President and former Chairman of the Charity Investor’s Group representing investing charities and fund manager. He was a Special Advisor to the Charity Commission and a Director of the Church of England Investment funds. Nicholas is a Trustee of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.

Sir Guy Quilter

Guy was born and raised in Suffolk to which he returned after careers in the Irish Guards and stockbroking. Together with his wife Jenny he restored the Sutton Hall estate over a period of 25 years before moving to Yoxford in 2018 to restore Grove Park, a Grade 2 listed Georgian house. He is also a Trustee of the Orwell Park foundation, which seeks to preserve this historic building. He rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2003, raising over £100,000 for charity

Thomas Seymour

Thomas is a highly experienced barrister with a broad range of practice areas which include extensive knowledge and experience of charities and charity law. He is a Bencher of the Inner Temple and a Member of the Chancery Bar Association; the Association of Pension Lawyers; the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners; and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.  A Member of the Council of Radley College from 1996-2021, he has served as a trustee of the Radley Foundation since 2000, and as chairman of trustees 2011-2020. In the 1990’s he served as a trustee of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability. Thomas moved to Suffolk in 1997 and lives at Gothic Farm, Heveningham, an unusual grade II listed house, dating from the mid-15th century.

Simon Sturgis AADip RIBA

Simon is an architect widely recognised as an expert on delivering a low carbon, resource efficient, built environment. He has produced industry guidance for the RICS, RIBA and others. In 2018 Simon founded Targeting Zero LLP which provides policy and strategic advice to companies and consultancies as well as advising project teams on reducing construction and lifecycle carbon emissions. He was the Sustainability Advisor to the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2017, is a member of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) Climate Change Expert Panel, and is a member of the British Council for Offices Sustainability Group. He is also the founder and Chair of the ‘Whole Life Carbon Network’ and in 2021 was appointed as Special Advisor to the Environmental Audit Select Committee, covering ‘Sustainability in the built environment’.

Jackie Ward
BA (Hons), Dip.TP, MBA, MRTPI

Jackie is a highly experienced planner, mostly in local government, in development management, major projects and planning policy as well as managing planning policy, heritage, landscape and economic development teams. Jackie moved to Suffolk in 1979 and worked for two Suffolk local authorities until 2004 when she formed her own consultancy. Since then she has worked with a local building designer in the private sector and for three more Suffolk district/borough councils (and one in Essex). She has been a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 1982 and was active in the RTPI East of England Region, becoming Chair of the Region in 2006 and subsequently Honorary Secretary (until 2016).