People

David Maddock 

Chairman

David is a practicing solicitor at Clarke Willmott LLP and holds an MA in Modern History from the University of Oxford.

He has been involved with the Charity from its inception and has a keen interest in the developing world, having previously travelled in southern Africa.

He is also the Charity Chairman.

Michael Amherst 

Chief Executive

Michael Amherst is the author of Go the Way Your Blood Beats, a meditation on truth and desire, for which he received an award from Arts Council England and won the 2019 Stonewall Israel Fishman Award for Nonfiction (sponsored by the American Library Association). His essay, ‘Does a Silhouette Have a Shadow?’, examines the relationship between mind and body through the lens of chronic illness, and is published in anthology On Bodies.

His short fiction has appeared in publications including The White Review and Contrappasso and been longlisted for BBC Opening Lines and Bath Short Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His essays and reviews have appeared in the GuardianNew StatesmanAttitude, the Spectator and The London Magazine, among others. He is currently working on a novel and a book examining the relationship between chronic illness and creativity, for which he received an Arthur Welton Award from the Society of Authors.

Previously, he was UK Programme Director at JUST DETENTION INTERNATIONAL, an organisation campaigning against sexual violence in prisons across the globe. He served on the charity’s Board of Directors 2012-14, and rejoined in 2015. In addition, from 2012-15 he served as a Commissioner on the HOWARD LEAGUE‘s Independent Commission on Sex in Prisons.

He founded the charity Avonbrook Projects Abroad in 2007 and became the Charity’s CEO in 2009.

www.michaelamherst.com

Peter Diamond 

Trustee

Peter is a writer, lecturer and stage director who, since deciding to work less hard in 2002, has travelled and researched widely, especially in the developing world where he has spent time teaching both adults and children everything from English, music and dance to making mud huts.

Rosemary Diamond

Trustee

Rosemary was a teacher of English for twenty years; she has taught both in this country and B.Ed students in Hong Kong. More recently, she took on voluntary work in Mocambique and Madagascar. She has travelled widely, particularly in the developing world and when she is not doing that works at home as a counsellor with particular interest in eating disorders.

Simon Kirby 

Trustee

After a decade in the I. T. industry, Simon embarked on a ‘six month career break’ as Project Development Manager at Akany Avoko Children’s Home, in Madagascar. This initial ‘six months’ became six years, offering the opportunity of a lifetime to develop hands-on experience of project management, sustainable development, income generation and social care in the developing world. Now living back in the UK, Simon works as a Development Consultant offering advice and support to charities in the use of technology to improve profile, efficiency and revenue.

Simon became a Trustee of Avonbrook Projects Abroad in 2011.

Sarah Teacher 

Trustee

Sarah joined Lendlease as Social Impact Investment Manager in 2018. From 2013-17 she was a Consultant at Sancroft working on the social, environmental and ethical risks faced by major businesses in their supply chains, operations, and consumer base. At Sancroft she provided consulting and insight on sustainability for senior leadership of major UK / international businesses helping businesses: identify material issues; develop responsibility strategy; respond to the obesity agenda; create philanthropy strategies; and engage external stakeholders across business, government and civil society. 

Prior to Sancroft, Sarah completed On Purpose, a one-year programme for early-career professionals identified as future leaders in social enterprise. Prior to On Purpose, Sarah was Director for Next Generation Philanthropy at the Institute for Philanthropy, leading workshops in the UK, US, Rwanda, China and Turkey for philanthropists interested in increasing the impact of their giving. 

She graduated from Lady Margaret Hall College, Oxford, in 2005 with a first-class degree in Modern History, and obtained her MPhil in Development Studies from Clare College, Cambridge in 2011. 

She co-founded the African Innovation Prize, an organisation that worked to stimulate Rwandese student entrepreneurship (2011-2013: in 2014 the organisation merged into the African Entrepreneur Collective and closed in 2017); and sits as a board director at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the world’s leading philanthropy advisory service. Sarah joined Avonbrook as a trustee in 2009.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester 

Patron

Celia Thomas was born (in 1945) and brought up in Winchester where she worked, among other places, at the Cathedral’s Choir School, and raising money for the Cathedral.

She was a founding member of the Winchester Liberal Party in the 1960s, and was an election agent there in October 1974, and in 1987 and 1992 in Brecon and Radnor.

She worked in the Commons for the Liberal Party Leader, Jeremy Thorpe from 1975-76, and from 1977 to 2005 she was head of the Liberal, then Liberal Democrat Whips’ Office in the House of Lords and is a recognised expert on Lords’ procedure. She was made a Life Peer in April 2006.

For three years she was a member of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee (voted Committee of the Year 2007), and Liaison Committee.  She is now (June 2010) Chairman of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and a member of the Procedure Committee.  She retains an interest in her former spokesmanship of Work and Pensions, having helped gain concessions in in the most recent Welfare Reform Act. She actively campaigns on disability issues.

She is Honorary President of the Winchester Liberal Democrats; Vice-President of the Lloyd George Society, a Vice President and Trustee of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and Patron of Avonbrook Projects Abroad.

Celia is also a Patron of the Winchester Churches Nightshelter, and of Thrive (a charity helping disabled people to discover gardening).

In 2015 she was made Liberal Democrat Disability Spokesperson.

Her interests range from music to butterfly conservation, but sadly increasing disability due to muscular dystrophy means that she can no longer participate in choirs or in dashing about the countryside as she used to.