Who we are

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

Our Chief Executive Officer

Our Senior Management Team

Anna Boyes, Director of Brand Marketing

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

Jonathan Sweet, Director of Legal and Compliance & Company Secretary

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.

Richard Virr, Director of Property & Development

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.

John Clark, Director of Finance

John joined Abbeyfield in November 2019,after working at the Royal Voluntary Service, and prior to that spent many years as a Finance Director in Retail companies such as HMV, Pret a Manger and Play.com.

Julie Robinson, Experience Programme Director

Julie has held a variety of leadership roles during her career, with significant experience of leading and implementing change and transformation, always with a focus on delivering the best results for the customer.
Julie joined Abbeyfield in January 2018 as the Regional Director for the North having worked in a variety of different organisations across public, private and charitable sectors. She became the Experience Programme Director in 2020 following her success on a number of projects within the experience programme.

Gail Manley, HR Director

Gail joined Abbeyfield as HR Director in October 2018. Her career in HR has incorporated leadership roles in a variety of sectors including welfare to work, heath and utilities. Gail ran her own HR consultancy business prior to joining Abbeyfield. She is passionate about ensuring Abbeyfield is a great place to work.

Theresa Wilson, Director of Housing

Theresa joined Abbeyfield in 2012 and recently became the Director of Housing. She spent several years as a Business Manager, effectively leading a number of schemes including care, leasehold and rental across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. Theresa has had a successful career in customer service and is passionate about care and social housing, empowering people to deliver a high quality service. She was delighted to be nominated by her peers in the Making Time Awards where she was the proud winner of the Hero award for outstanding contribution.

Our Trustees

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

Click to view our Committees of the Board table.

Amanda Houlihan

Amanda has been a Board member since 2014 and is currently Chair of the Remuneration & Nominations Committee.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, Amanda has worked in Human Resources for over 25 years, culminating in senior board roles. She has operated in a number of sectors, and has a particular interest in structural and cultural change. She is a trained coach and mentor.

She has been involved with Abbeyfield since 2005, when she became a Trustee for the Buckinghamshire Society and was Chair for 8 years until May 2020.

Jeff Medlock

Jeff qualified as an actuary after graduating from London School of Economics, and spent his career in the financial services industry, including a number of executive director roles. He has extensive international insurance experience. He retired in 2004 but remained a non-exec director of F&C Asset Management plc. until 2013.

He became a trustee of Abbeyfield Beaconsfield Society in 2009, was Chair for 5 years until 2017 and is currently vice-Chair. He has also served on the Boards of 2 other charities.

Jeff has been a board member since 2014 and currently chairs the Finance Committee.

The Right Reverend Dr Stephen Venner, DL

Stephen was for 30 years a parish priest, followed by 5 years as a Bishop in Greater Manchester, and for 10 years, the Bishop in Canterbury & Bishop of Dover. In retirement, Stephen served as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and Bishop for the Falkland Islands until 2014. He is an honorary Assistant Bishop in the dioceses of St Albans and Europe.

He has been involved in education locally and nationally, and was the first Pro-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University.

He became a Board member in 2015, and currently sits on the Quality and Remuneration & Nominations Committees.

Professor Brian Williams CBE

Brian trained in general and geriatric medicine and retired as an NHS consultant geriatrician in 2010. He has co-written works on medicine in older patients. He served as President of the British Geriatrics Society, inaugural President of the EU Geriatric Medicine Society and President of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow.

Brian was Chair of Abbeyfield Societies in Scotland 2013-17 and has been the Chair of the Abbeyfield Research Foundation since 2019. He joined the Board in 2017 and sits on the Remunerations & Nominations Committee and the Transitional Members’ Council.

Sara Beamand

Sara has over 25 years’ experience within the care and sheltered housing environment, prior to this having worked in general needs housing. Sara is currently a director of a consultancy company working with organisations who deliver care and support services in the public, private and voluntary sector.

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.

She joined the Board of The Abbeyfield Society in November 2017 and currently chairs the Quality Committee.

Chris Smith

Chris retired in 2013 after 10 years as Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Previously, 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.

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 became a Board member in 2015 and is currently Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee. He also sits on the Quality Committee.

André Decraene

André who is based in Belgium, worked as General Counsel for a number of multi-national businesses in different sectors.

He has been Vice-President of Abbeyfield Belgium, in charge of international relations since 2014, and President in the period 2017- 2019. He was involved in several projects to develop new houses in Belgium.

André has a passion for multicultural relations and for understanding the aims and concerns of the people Abbeyfield serves. He joined the Board in 2016 and sits on the Audit Committee and the Transitional Members’ Council.

Cedric Meiring

Cedric joined the Board of Abbeyfield South Africa in 2016 and in 2017 became Chair.

He is a qualified telecoms engineer and has had a long career with Telkom SA where he headed up various divisions, mostly in implementation as the company moved from telecoms to IT.

He has been a volunteer for the past 44 years, especially with St John Ambulance where he has held various positions, including Commissioner and Chair at the Cape Town Centre. He was appointed as a Knight of Grace Order of St John Ambulance in 2004.

He became a Board member in 2018 and sits on the Transitional Members’ Council.

George Ashworth

George is an Economics graduate of Aberystwyth University, and holds a postgraduate degree in Business Administration from Middlesex University. A member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, he acquired his professional qualifications in 1979-1980. For more than half of a 40 year career in the financial services sector, he has worked at board level. Until recently, he was the senior independent member of the Board of Aberystwyth University.

George is the Chair of Abbeyfield St Albans Society and joined the Board of The Abbeyfield Society in September 2021. He sits on the Finance Committee.

Mike Turner

Mike was elected as a member of the Board in September 2021.

Mike is a Chartered Engineer with an MBA from the University of Bath. He has significant experience of asset management within the public sector as well as developing framework solutions within the private sector.

He is an Executive Director of Ian Williams Limited, one of the UK's largest property services companies, and an Executive Director of the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF).

Roger Lees

Roger is a chartered accountant, with over 30 years’ experience in the real estate and financial services sectors.

Roger began at Price Waterhouse and then spent over 20 years as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the real estate investment management divisions of Schroders, Aviva Investors and Principal Financial Group. He retired in 2021 to manage his consultancy business. Roger has broad experience of managing risk and governance in a regulated setting and has been an FCA approved director since 2001.

Roger joined the Board in 2021 and sits on the Finance Committee.

Our Patron

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.

Ian Plaistowe OBE


  • 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)
  • Ron Kenyon, OBE
  • Michael Brooks  
  • John Robinson CBE
  • The Rt Hon Baroness Virginia Bottomley of Nettlestone, JP
  • Dame Gillian Wagner, DBE, OBE
  • Dame Judi Dench, DBE
  • The Lord Elis-Thomas
  • Michael Staff MBE
  • Alun E Michael, JP
  • Dame Patricia Routledge, OBE
  • Martin Shreeve, OBE MBA DSW BSc (Econ)
  • Professor Alan Walker, DLitt FRSA
  • Aled Jones

Find out more about Abbeyfield

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About us

Find out more about what we do and what makes us different.

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