Our Chief Executive Officer

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Paul Tennant

Paul is a senior housing professional and has worked as a Chief Executive for over 20 years. He has led a number of large and community based housing organisations. He has been a Board member and Chair of several organisations and charities inside and outside of the housing sector. He is a Fellow of the CIH and was President in 2013/14, and received an OBE for services to housing in 2016. Most recently he was the CEO of the Law Society for England & Wales leading a major transformation programme. He has always taken an innovative commercial approach and is an experienced transformational leader, providing vision, ambition and direction with a track record of achieving culture change, inspiring and engaging people. 

Paul Tennant Image

Our Senior Management Team

Jonathan Sweet, Director of Legal and Compliance & Company Secretary Image

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.

Julie Freear, Customer Operations Director Image

Julie Freear, Customer Operations 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 Image

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 Image

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.

Jacqui McCann, Director of Care Operations Image

Jacqui McCann, Director of Care Operations

Jacqui joined Abbeyfield as Regional Care Operations Manager in January 2021 overseeing care homes in the North of England. Prior to this she worked in Care for 20 years, in both Elderly Care and Learning Disabilities. Her career in care has allowed her to gain valuable experience in the turnaround of homes, thus improving their CQC ratings. She has also worked in Quality and Compliance in the Care Industry overseeing homes nationally. 

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.

Mike Turner, Chair

Mike became Chair of the Board in September 2023, having been a Trustee since September 2021.


Mike has held senior leadership roles within the infrastructure, commercial, social housing and retirement living sectors. He has particular specialisms in strategic planning, asset management, procurement and operational delivery within regulated markets. He is an Executive Director of Cardo Group, one of the UK’s largest property services companies.


Mike is also an Executive Director of the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) and a Board Member of Orbit Housing Association. He is a member of a number of industry bodies including the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) group, the Association of Residential Managing Agents and the Chartered Institute of Housing. He was also an author of The Housing Forum’s ‘An Independent Future in Retirement Living’ report. Mike is a graduate of Cardiff University, a Chartered Engineer and has an MBA from the University of Bath School of Management.

Mike Turner, Chair Image
Mike Turner, Chair Image

Sara Beamand Image

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 Customer Committee. She also sits on the People Committee.

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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 and Investment Committee.

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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 is the chair of the Finance and Investment Committee.

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Marc Marrero

Marc is a data privacy and governance specialist with an MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance from the London School of Economics (LSE), and a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from Tufts University.


He is currently a Senior Data Protection Consultant at Securys, and previously a Director of Data Privacy for Standard Chartered Bank. With diverse exposure and experience across investment banking, crisis communications, utilities and impact investing, he helps advise firms as they grow in evolving regulatory environments.


Marc joined the Audit Committee in the Autumn of 2021 and became a Board member in September 2022.

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David Carr

A Cambridge graduate and qualified chartered accountant, David was Group Chief Accountant at Kingfisher plc and subsequently led the AOL UK broadband business as it expanded from 5000 customers to 1.5m.  He has established and run several businesses and was a founder and CFO / COO of Accelerated Digital Ventures, a venture firm investing in early stage companies and funds. He now acts as an advisor and part time CFO to various small companies and venture funds.


He has been involved with care of older people since 1988 through various homes in Sheffield and also owns two mobility stores.


David was elected as a member of the Board in September 2023 and is a member of the Audit Committee.

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Martin Cox

Martin has over 30 years Information Technology experience having held executive level roles in large businesses operating across healthcare, logistics, facilities management, industrial and pharma sectors. While predominantly based in the UK, he has held roles with international responsibilities across Europe, Asia and the USA having also lived, for a time, in Washington DC.


Martin retired from full time employment at the end of 2021 having been the Chief Information Officer at Alliance Healthcare UK.


Martin has a passion for optimising business effectiveness and efficiency, with the twin aims of providing customers with the best possible outcomes and enabling employees to do their best work, whilst remaining true to the core mission of the business.


Martin joined the Abbeyfield Board in September 2023 and is a member of the Customer Committee.

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Terri Pettifer-Eagles

Terri is a coach, facilitator, and HR consultant with over 20 years’ experience in senior HR roles, organisational and leadership development.


As Head of HR she has experience of leading demanding change projects in professional services, utilities, and various UK and global/commercial businesses including:  significant business restructuring; developing and embedding effective performance management cultures; driving inclusion, diversity and equality of opportunity.


Learning and development experience has seen her lecturing at post-grad level in business strategy and HR. She has delivered training to executive boards in multinational and global businesses.


Her HR and L&D experience enables Terri to focus on collaborating with colleagues, customers, and a network of associates to initiate and embed people focused business change. Putting people at the heart of business change, creating psychologically safe environments where people thrive.


CIPD qualified, a member of the British Psychological Society with an MSc & BSc in Occupational Psychology and an ILM Level 7 Executive Coach.


Terri joined the Board of Trustees in September 2023 and is Chair of the People Committee.

Our Patrons

We are lucky to have the support of many patrons, who give their time and expertise to support our work. We thank all our patrons for their continued support.

The former Prince of Wales supported The Abbeyfield Society as a patron for many years and during his time as patron, said of the charity, "It's an enormous pleasure to be your patron. Abbeyfield's work is one of the great examples of how elderly people can be cared for and thank goodness you're there to do exactly that. I hope there will be many, many more years of even greater success in looking after elderly people. Having reached the age I have, I begin to understand exactly what it's all about."


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 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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Our financial and annual reports

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About us

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

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