About us

Meet our Trustees

Essex Wildlife Trust has a Board of Trustees that consists of 13 members, all of whom are unpaid volunteers. The Board meets around six times a year and is responsible for the overall governance and direction of the Trust, whereas operational management of the Trust is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Managers of the Trust. Three main committees report to the Board: Finance and Audit Committee, HR Committee and Health & Safety Committee.

Keeley Hazelhurst - Acting Chair

Keeley Hazelhurst - Trustee

It has been my honour to have been with the Trust since 2016 as Honorary Treasurer and trustee.

I currently run my own consultancy and accounting business from North Essex, working on a very hands-on basis with smaller businesses and local charities. I am a qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience in the private and charity sectors. I have been fortunate to work as a trustee, volunteer, school governor and founding member of a variety of charities and community groups, and have recently been appointed as a magistrate too.

I worry greatly about the impact we have on our environment, the future for our children and the disregard that our ‘leaders’ have for the planet we live on. I am a strong believer in holding people to account and standing up for what you believe in. I believe that EWT is a great advocate for our environment, that it takes action where necessary and protects our wildlife for the future. I am very proud to be a small part of this inspirational team.

Charles Joynson

Charles Joynson - Trustee

Since spending much of my childhood and teenage years working in conservation projects and exploring our natural world, I have gained degrees in geology and business, and spent most of my professional life working in the life sciences industry. In 2000 I set up my own 10 person data and informatics consultancy, a long term corporate member of EWT, and have polished my skills in sales, marketing, IT and business research. My reason for seeking election to EWT is that I am extremely concerned at the rate at which our wildlife is vanishing and am determined to do something about it. In my spare time I write about extinction, and like to discuss some of the reasons we should fight to save our natural world before it’s too late.

David Holt

David Holt - Trustee

I have been a qualified solicitor for thirty-five years this year, working in both private practice and for public bodies, and specialise in environment-related and public law. I work full-time as a senior lawyer and manager for a major public body in Suffolk, but have lived in Essex for over twenty years.

I have been a trustee in both co-opted and elected roles, and enjoy adding what value I can from my legal background to the considerable work already done by staff, volunteers, the local groups and our members. Essex Wildlife Trust is, I believe, a successful organisation which works at many levels, but that success brings its own set of challenges.

Also, despite that success, the pressures on our local and national environment are probably greater than ever and I would like to make a difference in seeing the next generations enthused and active in solving those problems, taking further what is currently being accomplished.

Geoff Duffield

Geoff Duffield - Trustee

I'm a relative newcomer to both Essex, and Essex Wildlife Trust, having moved to the county from London in 2015, and then joining the board of trustees in January 2017. I feel enormously privileged and proud to be given the opportunity to serve the trust, and to help protect the unique habitat and wildlife of my adopted county. After a lifelong passion for the environment, I am now also a fledgling coastal warden for the trust, with my patch being a stretch of the West Mersea shoreline. 

My professional background and expertise is in brand, media, marketing and social media, in the book publishing industry. In 2018, I set-up my own business, a brand agency specialising in working with authors. Previously I was Creative Director for the publisher Pan Macmillan (and board member for 16 years) leading their global author-brand strategy. Authors that I currently work with include Jeffrey Archer, Peter James, and Elton John.

I love the Essex landscape, and particularly our beautiful maritime environment, and as a passionate photographer I look forward to visiting all of our reserves, and meeting our wardens who do such brilliant work.

Malcolm Hardy

Malcolm Hardy - Trustee

Following a successful, 30-year career in the police service, I currently work as a qualified teacher of biology in post-16 education, with recent experience in all key stages from primary to postgraduate level.

With a lifelong passionate interest and concern for wildlife and the natural environment, I have been involved over the past forty years with conservation projects in the UK and abroad, as a participant, organiser and leader. Such projects have included tree-planting and nest-box building, beach clean-ups, wetland and reedbed restoration, seabed mapping of benthic habitats, Amazonian turtle and West-Indian Manatee protection and giving talks and leading activities as a volunteer for Essex Wildlife Trust.

In 2014 I completed a PhD in Environmental Science at the University of Essex, for which I conducted research in the Colne estuary on the ecology and prospects for regeneration of the native European oyster, Ostrea edulis. I presented a conference paper on native oysters to the Estuarine and Coastal Science Association (ECSA) symposium in 2009. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in marine biology and Master’s degree in Freshwater and coastal science from UCL, for which I co-authored a published paper on succession of saltmarshes at Abbotts Hall Farm.

I have an active network of environmental and academic contacts within universities and environmental professions.

As family members of EWT for several years, my wife, children and I are regular visitors to our local reserves, especially in the north of the county.

Will Akast

Will Akast - Trustee

I have worked in conservation management for 19 years, first in various roles for a local authority and since 2004 for the Environment Agency where I worked as a Technical Officer in the Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology team working in Essex, as the Agency’s Regional Biodiversity Officer and since 2012 as Catchment Delivery Manager in Suffolk. In this role I work with partner organisations and land owners and managers to deliver improvements in river habitats and water quality. I’m a Chartered Environmentalist and passionate about the natural world. In my spare time I enjoy long distance walking and cycling and I aim to walk all of the National Trails in Britain.

Bob Holmes

Bob Holmes

I am a chartered accountant with many years’ experience as finance director for a range of organisations including Stena Line (UK) Ltd and Prism Rail PLC. Since 2003, I have had a portfolio of business interests. As a Non-Executive Member of the Dover Harbour Board between 2005 and 2013, I continue to Chair their Board of Pension Fund Trustees. From 2006 to 2015 I was a Non-Executive Director of Basildon Hospital, and was Acting Chairman for the last 6 months of the term. I also work with owner-managed businesses in a variety of industries, providing them with strategic and financial advice.

I have lived in Peldon, near Colchester since 2001, and spend an increasing amount of my time on community affairs. I am treasurer of Peldon Village Hall’s management committee and the driving force behind a £450,000 project to rebuild the hall. I was elected to Winstred Hundred Parish Council in 2014 and became its Vice Chairman in 2016.

I am married and have three children and three grandchildren. I enjoy travelling to warm parts of the world, watching sport, and keeping my garden looking good as the seasons change

Michelle Wall

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How to become a Trustee

Any member of Essex Wildlife Trust may apply to become a Trustee, provided they are eligible to stand for election under both company law and charity law. No fixed qualifications are needed, but a wide range of skills and experience are required in order for our Board of Trustees to be effective. Trustees may only serve for a maximum of three terms of three years (9 total).

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, contact Fiona Hearn, Office Manager by phoning 01621 862960 or email. Trustees are elected at our Annual General Meeting, held each September.