TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS
The Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust is run by a board of Trustees, all of whom have a personal and professional interest in the rivers and surrounding land across the two counties.
Archie Ruggles-Brise - Chair
With a 1st Class Honours degree from Newcastle University in Applied Biology Archie has worked in water and the environment since 2003. As a Graduate in the Technical Support department of Northumbrian Water he gained experience of water and wastewater supply, treatment and regulation, as well as hands-on project management experience and international working. In 2005 Archie become the first employee at the newly established Tyne Rivers Trust, producing their initial catchment action plan and subsequently being involved in a major fundraising campaign and initiating a suite of community engagement, fishing and habitat improvement projects. Returning to Essex in 2008 he worked for the Association of Rivers Trusts (now The Rivers Trust) as Regional Director (South & East) and was involved in Policy support, Trust Development and Project Delivery. Since 2008 Archie has also been running his family business and farming estate in North Essex.
Jane Burch - Vice Chair
Jane is a farmer’s daughter with a deep love of the countryside and environment. She has lived and worked in Suffolk for nearly forty years. Jane has recently retired from her role as Suffolk County Council’s Flood and Coastal Policy Manager with responsibility for working in partnership with many organisations and communities to deliver a range of innovative coastal, environmental and flood management projects; formulating the Council’s flood management policies and representing the Council at a national level in matters of coast and water management. Previously she was employed as environment/coastal advisor for the County Land and Business Association, has been a political agent and run an agricultural training group. Since retiring she has been appointed as a Trustee of the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust and a member of the Regional Flood & Coastal Committee, which ensures she continues to be involved in local and national water management policy and projects.
Sarah Morton - Treasurer
Sarah is a Chartered Management Accountant with over 30 years financial management experience in local government. She is experienced in working with both financial and non-financial colleagues to act as a conduit for information between the operational business and the strategic decision makers. Sarah is now focusing on her interest in sustainability and environment and is working for ProVeg as a programme analyst as well as a voluntary role in schools for Animal Aid.
Andrew Davies – Trustee
Andrew is a third generation Essex farmer. With an MA in Applied Biology from St. Johns College, Cambridge, Andrew spent a year at the University of Minnesota and has been running the family farm at Thaxted and Waltham Abbey since 1977. He has previously been a director of several farming cooperatives and is particularly interested in all issues affecting agriculture and water.
Anna Martin-Edwards - Trustee
BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, PIEMA.
Anna is Operations and Development Director for Groundwork East heading up the Campaigns and Awareness, Sustainable Business Services and Landscape Architecture themes of work across the region. She is an experienced environmental scientist and operations director with circa. 17 years’ experience. She has extensive experience of designing, developing and providing services to communities, schools and businesses – including many water related initiatives. Anna is an IEMA member at Practitioner level, Suffolk Inward Investment Ambassador, and board member for both Wild Anglia, and the Suffolk Sustainability Institute.
Will Robinson - Trustee
BSc (Hons), MSc, CEnv, MIEMA.
Will and his family live in east Suffolk and he has a great appreciation of the environmental and landscape value that our local rivers and farmed catchments provide. He joined Essex & Suffolk Water in 1998 after completing a degree in Environmental Science and an MSc in Environmental Impact Assessment and is now their Water Resources Planning Manager. As a farmer’s son and a manager of a team of scientists and catchment advisors, he believes in the Catchment Based Approach and Holistic Water Management. As a trustee of the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust, Will hopes to use his experience of catchment and water management to help the Trust to deliver environmental benefits for all.
Hannah Tickle - Associate Board Member, Young Trustee
Hannah has a BA degree in Modern History and Politics from the University of Essex and is currently studying for an MA in History. Hannah has a strong interest in environmental affairs. She has held a number of voluntary roles. She was selected for participation in the Christian Aid Prophetic Activist Scheme, a nine-month programme equipping young adults in activism and campaigning for climate justice. As part of this Hannah was responsible for the creation of ‘Project Climate Finance’, a campaign that called on world leaders during COP26 to follow up on financial promises made during previous conference. She represented this campaign online and in person at COP26.
Dr Alan Woods - Secretary
BSc (Hons) Rural Environment Studies, PhD Integrated Land-use Monitoring
Following an initial career in land and water policy with the RSPB and CLA, Alan now works with trade associations to enforce industry Codes. His wider experience embraces strategy, governance and stakeholder engagement. He chaired the Environment Agency Anglian Region Environment Protection Advisory Committee from 2004-12, chaired the Welland Valley Partnership’s Resource Protection Group from 2011-14, and was Secretary of the Cam Valley Forum from 2020-22. He has just joined Anglian Water’s ‘Get River Positive’ Expert Advisory Panel.
Chris McArthur – Trustee
Chris has worked in river and estuarine quality management across Essex Suffolk and Norfolk for over forty years, principally with River Authorities and the Environment Agency. He has a particular interest in issues within the Chelmer, Stour and Deben catchments, majoring on agricultural and land management specialisms. His first degree is in Biology followed by an M.Phil in Agriculture and Dip. Man. He is also a Fellow of CIWEM, C.Env., C Sci., and is on the board of CIWEM and other local organisations. Currently he lives in the Deben catchment and runs a small organic farm, together with some environmental consultancy work.
Adrian Wood - Trustee
Adrian is an aquatic biologist by training and has worked in the Environment Agency since 2006. He lives with his family on the Tendring peninsula and loves the wild, untidy corners of East Anglia.
Henry Wilkes - Trustee
Henry Wilkes is a Chartered Surveyor with 30 years’ experience of advising on international agribusiness and real estate projects at a senior level. He is the founder of InvestAg LLP, an advisory firm for international agricultural and real estate investors, which provides consultancy, M&A and asset management services. Prior to this he was Director at Savills (L&P) Ltd. Henry is also a partner in his family’s farm in Essex, which is part of the Countryside Stewardship
Tara Arnold - Trustee
BA (Hons) Geography, MSc Cities and Culture.
Tara is a charity leader with expertise in governance, fundraising and grant making. Her work is centred on creating collaborative partnerships that ensure philanthropic goals make the biggest impact. Tara has held a wide range of fundraising and charity leadership roles, most recently as Interim Director for the Sweaty Betty Foundation. She is now a freelance grant making and fundraising consultant. She is also a non-executive Director for the charity Birthrights.
Former Trustees and Vice Presidents
Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust is also supported by Former Trustees Paul Roberts and Dave Dignum
Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust employs a small team of staff including our Director, Natural Rivers Manager, Project Support Officer and Administration and Communications Officer.
Dr Helen Dangerfield - Director
Helen joined the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust as their Director in September 2022. Helen has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental field, working in academic, commercial and charity sectors. Most recently Helen was Assistant Director of Consultancy at the National Trust, leading conservation work across the East of England in natural and built heritage for 10 years. This included directing a large-scale river catchment project and working on the board of the National Trust’s Riverlands programme. Previously Helen worked with a wide range of clients in her role as Director for London and South East Environment Group at RHDHV. In her early career she worked as one of the first geomorphologists in an engineering consulting firm promoting working with nature in river and coastal management. Throughout her academic and working life Helen has been focused on the restoration of wildlife and habitats. After being so inspired by early experiences in our rivers and on our seashores, Helen is also passionate about ensuring people and communities have access to nature.
Andy Went - Natural Rivers Manager
Andy has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental and ecological sectors. He started his career with the Environment Agency working at both technical and managerial levels. He spent a further 13 years in private consultancy. Andy’s focus at the Environment Agency was on Fisheries and Biodiversity where he held Officer, Project Officer and Team Leader positions. Prior to joining ESRT he was an Associate Director with AECOM (leading on aquatic ecology), and prior to that he was the Fisheries and Ecology Manager for a medium-sized consultancy. Andy has, in the past, been a regional council member for the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) and is currently a full Registered Member of the IFM.
Jess Duckenfield - Admin & Communications Officer
Jess has a BSc (Hons) in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the University of East Anglia and an MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health from the University of Edinburgh. Jess has over 10 years experience in administration, business support and improvement. She lives on the Essex-Suffolk border in 'Constable Country' and enjoys photographing wildlife in the local area. Jess joined ESRT for the opportunity to help protect and improve our rivers for both people and wildlife.
Luke Farnish - Project Support Officer
Luke joined the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust in 2024 to work on Catchment Improvement projects for the Rivers Blackwater and Pant, as well as to help develop the Essex Rivers Hub catchment partnership. He has a BSc in Ecology from the University of East Anglia completed in 2018 and returned there for an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation completed during the 2020 lockdowns. Luke grew up in Kent and spent time in Scotland but has recently moved to south Suffolk where he has historical and present family connections to the area.