Our Senior Management Team

Any organisation, large or small, can only be as good as the people in it. Abbeyfield's well-earned reputation for providing excellent care services and facilities is mainly thanks to the exceptional people - management, staff and volunteers - who have joined our cause.

David McCullough, Chief Executive Officer 

David Mccullough CEO at The Abbeyfield Society

David has taken over the role as Chief Executive at The Abbeyfield Society after six years as CEO of Royal Voluntary Service, formerly the WRVS.

Prior to that, David spent six years as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam GB. His appointment to Oxfam came after a career as Director and MD in banking, IT and High Street retail working for well-known companies such as Next and Miss Selfridge.

David also chairs the Board of Trustees at Twin Trading - Development through Trade and is a Trustee of People's Postcode Lottery Global and African Trusts.

Anna Boyes, Marketing Director 

Anna Boyes Director of Marketing at The Abbeyfield Society

Anna Joined Abbeyfield in February 2014. Anna has a background in consumer facing marketing roles within the private sector.

Anna brings varied experience across multiple sectors including FMGC, pharmaceuticals, food and lifestage marketing. Anna has a BA honours degree in Business Studies from The University of Hertfordshire and a Diploma in Marketing from The Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

Richard Virr, Director of Development

Richard Virr Development Director at The Abbeyfield Society

Richard joined Abbeyfield in April 2012 and has over 20 years experience in property and construction. Prior to joining Abbeyfield, Richard worked for Buro Four, the largest specialist Project Management consultancy in the UK.

Richard holds a degree in Building Surveying and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Association for Project Management.

Jonathan Sweet, Director of Legal and Compliance & Company Secretary

Jonathan Sweet Director of Legal at the Abbeyfield Society

Jonathan joined Abbeyfield in December 2014, having been the in-house Counsel for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Prior to that, Jonathan was a Solicitor with an international law firm in London. In private practice, Jonathan was a litigator having gained experience of regulatory investigations brought by multiple agencies across several jurisdictions.

Jonathan is a qualified Solicitor with a BA Hons in Philosophy from the University of Hull. He is married to Kathryn, a corporate fundraiser for an international development charity and is a passionate mountain biker.

Alastair Mulvie, Director of Fundraising 

alastair mulvie director of fundraising at the abbeyfield society

Alastair joined Abbeyfield in 2015 as its first Director of Fundraising. He has held leadership roles in a number of charities and came to Abbeyfield from St John Ambulance, where he was the Fundraising Director. 

Alastair has a degree in Theology from Durham University. 

Douglas Webb, Director of Retirement Living

douglas webb director of retirement living at the abbeyfield society

Douglas qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1988 and had a clinical career mostly in trauma operating theatres before starting his general management career with BUPA.

In 2000 Douglas began working in the elderly care sector including executive and non executive roles in a variety of national and regional organisations.

Nigel Hopkins, Director of Finance & IT

Nigel hopkins director of finance and IT at the abbeyfield society 

Nigel is Finance Director at Abbeyfield with responsiblity for People, Finance and Technology.

Previously, he has operated as Resource Director for the CBI, and a variety of Finance and Strategic roles, with experience in large blue chip multinationals in the Automotive (Fiat), Manufacturing (United Technologies) and Chemical (Laporte / Burmah Castrol) sectors. He has also worked in the Welfare to Work sector (Remploy) working for the UK's largest provider of jobs for people with disabilities.

Nigel is married with a dog, Brodie. They live in St. Albans and love to travel and ski. Wine and food feature too!

Heather Mohammed, Regional Director (West)



Julie Robinson, Regional Director (North)

 julie robinson is the abbeyfield regional director for the north

Julie has extensive experience working in senior operational and customer focused delivery roles across a variety of sectors in her career. Whilst working for the Institute of Leadership and Management she led the organisation through a period of review and transformation as their Interim Executive Director, following two years as the Director of Customer Services and Operations. At A4e Ltd, a large welfare to work organisation, Julie, as the Customer Service Director, was responsible for the design and implementation of a central customer service facility providing critical services to more than 150,000 customers and stakeholders. More recently Julie has also enjoyed a busy volunteer role for the City of Hull following their announcement as UK City of Culture, where she is an ambassador, supporting the city in its large and varied programme of cultural events and activities.

Kirstan Sparshott, Regional Director (East)


Our Trustees 

Our Board of Trustees is made up of volunteer members and the Abbeyfield CEO, each selected for their expertise and experience in sectors including housing, care and finance.

They are reponsible for setting our corporate strategy, approving policies, annual budgets and accounts, as well as long term planning and assessing and managing risk.

Ian Plaistowe, Chairman

Ian Plaistowe Chairman at The Abbeyfield Society

Ian became chairman of Abbeyfield on the 23rd of July 2015.

Ian is a Chartered Accountant and had a long career with Arthur Andersen where he was Managing Practice Director for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. He was former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, vice-chairman of the Takeover Panel and the Financial Reporting Council.

Currently, he is Chairman, vice chairman or trustee of various charities including the University of Buckingham and The Family Planning Association. He has been a member of the Abbeyfield Audit Committee since 2006.

Jenny Lawrence

Jenny Lawrence, Abbeyfield Society Board Member

Jenny became involved with Abbeyfield in 2011 in the voluntary role of regional strategy head for the north east of England.

Jenny is a chartered management accountant with over 20 years experience working in a range of public and private sector roles. She has specialised in change management projects with a focus on finance systems, and is an experienced interim manager and trained coach.

In previous voluntary roles Jenny has been a school governor, Princes Trust mentor, Young Enterprise volunteer and also volunteered as a Gamesmaker at London 2012.

Amanda Houlihan

 Amanda Houlihan Board Member at The Abbeyfield Society

Amanda is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, and has worked in the field of Human Resources for over twenty five years, culminating in senior strategic board roles. She has operated in a number of very different business sectors, and has extensive experience in all aspects of Human Resources, but a particular interest in organisational and cultural change. She is a trained coach and mentor, and often worked to establish Human Resources as a function in organisations where none previously existed.

She has been involved in the Abbeyfield organisation since 2005, when she came a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee for the Leonard Pulham Nursing Home (The Abbeyfield Buckinghamshire Society) where she is currently Vice Chair, following five years as Chair of the home.

She is also a Trustee and Vice Chair of RSAS which is developing the RSAS National Resource Centre for Carers of People with Dementia. The Centre will be a major innovation in the way in which family and friends who care for persons with dementia can get the support they need to enhance their caring skills, access information and receive social therapeutic interventions.

Jeff Medlock

Jeff Medlock Board Member at The Abbeyfield Society

Jeff Medlock qualified as an actuary with Equity & Law Life Insurance after graduating from London School of Economics, and spent his career in the financial services industry. He was an executive director of Royal Life Insurance until 1991 when he moved to the Netherlands to establish the european insurance network, Eureko. Thereafter he moved to the executive board of Achmea BV, the leading Dutch insurer as Finance Director. He has extensive international insurance experience in America, Canada, Australia and across Europe. He retired in 2004 but remained a director of F&C Asset Management plc. until 2013.

He became a trustee of Abbeyfield Beaconsfield Society in 2009 and has been Chairman since 2012. He was previously a trustee of the national childrens' charity Life Education Centres from 2005 until 2012, which merged with Coram to become Coram Life Education in 2009. He was also a trustee of the Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust for eight years until 2013, since 2009 as Chairman.

The Right Reverend Dr Stephen Venner, DL

Stephen Venner, board member at The Abbeyfield Society

Stephen was for 30 years a parish priest in London, Wiltshire and Dorset, followed by five years as Bishop in Greater Manchester, responsible for Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside. For ten years he was the Bishop in Canterbury & Bishop of Dover, leading the Diocese of Canterbury on behalf of the Archbishop. In retirement, Stephen served as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and Bishop for the Falkland Islands until June 2014.

He has been involved in education as teacher and governor locally and nationally. Vice-Chairman of the CofE Education Board and, for 2 years, Acting Chairman. He was the first Pro-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, who awarded him their first ever honorary doctorate. He was on the Council of St John Kent, a senior member of Kent’s Strategic Partnership and chairman of Kent’s Children’s Trust. He has been a Schools Adjudicator for England.

Stephen is married to Judy, a retired Senior Education Adviser for Kent. They live in St Albans in a development for the over 55s. They have three grown up children nearby and four grandchildren. He remains an honorary Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, and is an honorary Assistant Bishop in the dioceses of St Albans and Europe.

Chris Smith

 Chris Smith board member at The Abbeyfield Society

Chris retired in 2013 after 10 years as Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He now pursues a portfolio of interests, mainly in the voluntary sector, as well as looking after grandchildren when required.

Prior to working for the Archbishop, he was General Manager of C Hoare & Co (Bankers) from 1999 to 2003, General Secretary of the London Diocese from 1993 to 1999, and for 23 years was with Price Waterhouse, mainly in training, operations management and HR.

He has been a Deputy Chair of Governors of a major South London girls’ school, as well as Southwark College of Further Education, and spent 17 years as Treasurer of Holy Trinity Church Brompton.

Chris was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2014 New Year’s Honours.


Norman Greville

Norman Greville, board member at The Abbeyfield Society

Norman is a Chartered Surveyor, having qualified in 1980, and has worked in the private sector for over 35 years. He has been involved in the construction, technical appraisal and maintenance of commercial properties including the management of national programmes of construction work for the public sector.

Over the years, he has also advised clients on the management of construction risks associated with development projects. Norman currently works for Telereal Trillium, a large property and development company.

Norman also sits on the Conservation Committee at Historic England advising on programmes of work across its historic estate.

Andre Decraene

 andre decraene abbeyfield society

André has a vast experience as General Counsel EMEA of international enterprises of U.S., Canadian and French parenthood, active in manufacturing, selling and marketing of Quality Consumer Products, Rail Transportation Systems and ICT.

In 2000 he joined the Belgian Car and Truck Importers Association as secretary general. He is a Vice-President of Abbeyfield Belgium since 2014, in charge of international relations. He is also involved in several projects for new houses in Belgium, notably by conducting the negotiations with the City of Brussels Housing Administration for a new Abbeyfield House in the Brussels area.

So André has a passion for learning about and understanding the aims and concerns of the people with whom to deal. André is also a trustee of other charities dealing with housing and welfare of people with a mental illness.

Andrew Larpent OBE

 Andrew Larpent board member at The Abbeyfield Society

Andrew spent 30 years as an infantry officer in the British Army 1971–2002 (last rank Lt Col). This included commanding his regiment and an armoured battlegroup in the first Gulf War in 1990-1991. On leaving the regular Army in 1994 he continued to serve in the TA and initially worked as a company director in an international manufacturing company – REHAU Ltd. He was then appointed as CEO of CLIC – Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood, a national UK charity 1997-2001. His next appointment was as CEO of Somerset Care Group 2001-11. He was a founding director of the UK National Care Forum and Chairman 2006-11, and a director of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing 2005-12. In 2010-11 he undertook a Winston Churchill Fellowship studying international approaches to dementia care. This led to his most recent appointment as CEO Southern Cross Care (South Australia & Northern Territory) 2011-16, one of the largest not-for-profit care and retirement organisations in Australia. He was also the first Chairman of Dignity in Care Australia 2014-16. He ‘retired’ back to the UK in 2016.

He is currently Founder/Chairman of the Commonwealth Association for the Ageing – CommonAge.

 Professor Brian Williams CBE

 Brian Williams, board member at The Abbeyfield Society  

A Glaswegian and Glasgow University medical graduate, he trained in general and geriatric medicine and retired from clinical practice as a full-time NHS consultant geriatrician in 2010. As a clinical researcher he co-wrote a list of original papers and textbooks on aspects of medicine in older patients. He served as honorary medical officer to the Abbeyfield Societies of Giffnock and Mearnskirk for 25 years until 2007. He served as President of the British Geriatrics Society, inaugural President of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society and President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Currently Chairman of the Abbeyfield Societies in Scotland since 2013 and a member of the Members’ Committee of The Abbeyfield Society he serves as a Medical Member of the Ministry of Justice Medical Tribunals Service. He was awarded the CBE for services to medicine in 2011.

 Sara Beamand 

 Sara Beamand board member at The Abbeyfield Society

Sara has over 25 years’ experience within the care and supported housing environment, prior to this having worked in general needs housing.

Sara is a director of a consultancy company working with organisations who deliver care and support services in the public, private and voluntary sector, having previously been the executive director of care and support for a large midlands housing association delivering care and support services to a wide range of customer groups, prior to this having spent 12 years as head of older peoples services delivering retirement and extra care housing, care and support services to older people.

Sara has a real passion for the delivery of high quality person centred care and support services which deliver excellent outcomes to all individuals receiving services.

Ken Staveley MBE

abbeyfield members of the board

Ken’s Abbeyfield pedigree stretches back to 1973 when he joined the Ulverston Society and became Chairman. This saw his first venture into development - doubling the size of the house. He formed the Furness Extra Care Society and project managed the original £1.6 million building development of the 31 bed care home. It opened in 1996 under his Chairmanship and was named after him. A further 6 rooms were added in 2008 before he handed over the Chairmanship.

The Society made him Honorary Life President at that time in recognition of his previous involvement. Handing over the Chairmanship in 2009 enabled him to take on some new national roles - Facilitator for Improving Occupancy, Standards Assessor, Chair Northern Care Forum, Chair House Keepers Forum, Regional Chair North West, Regional Strategy Head – North and finally Divisional Chair - North. He was a member of the Lancashire and Cumbria Regional Council. He is also active in his local community, especially to do with Church matters.

Ken has also promoted Abbeyfield internationally addressing committees and councils whilst on holiday in New Zealand. He was awarded the Abbeyfield Royal Patron’s Award in 2004 and the MBE in 2011.

Cedric Meiring 

 Cedric member of the Abbeyfield board

Cedric was nominated to the Board of Abbeyfield South Africa, November 2016. In September 2017 he was appointed as Chairman of the Board Abbeyfield SA.

He's a qualified Telecommunications Engineer and has had a long Career with Telkom SA where he headed up various divisions within the company, mostly with the implementation sector as the company transformed from a Telecommunication to an IT based company.

He has been quite involved as a volunteer for the past 44 years, especially with St John Ambulance where he started as an ordinary volunteer and has since held various positions, including Commissioner, Regional Commissioner, and Centre Chairman at the St John Cape Town Centre.

Presently he is Chairman of the Honours and Awards Committee, Cape Town Centre and a Member of The National Honours and Awards Committee for The Priory of South Africa. He was appointed as a Knight of Grace(Kstj) Order of St John Ambulance in 2004. He is also presently chairman of Holy Cross Child and Youth Care Centre Management Board.

Our patrons

We are lucky to have the support of many patrons, who give their time and expertise to support our work. Our Royal patron HRH the Prince of Wales and the Carr-Gomm family are invaluable in underpinning our values.

We thank all our patrons for their continued support.

Royal Patron
HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM

John Robinson, CBE


  • The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Baron Williams of Oystermouth
  • The Duchess of Northumberland
  • Lord John Prescott
  • Harriet Carr-Gomm
  • David Carr-Gomm
  • Adam Carr-Gomm
  • Elizabeth Parker (Carr-Gomm)
  • Anna Newton (Carr-Gomm)
  • Dame Vera Lynn DBE, LLD,M.Mus
  • Ron Kenyon, OBE
  • Michael Brooks
  • The Rt Hon Baroness Virginia Bottomley of Nettlestone, JP
  • Dame Gillian Wagner, DBE, OBE
  • Dame Judi Dench, DBE
  • The Lord Elis-Thomas
  • The Rt Hon Lord Howard of Lympne QC
  • Alun E Michael, JP
  • Dame Patricia Routledge, OBE
  • Martin Shreeve, OBE MBA DSW BSc (Econ)
  • Professor Alan Walker, DLitt FRSA
  • Aled Jones