Patrons & Trustees
PATRON – LORD (Alastair) ABERDARE
Was elected as an independent (Crossbench) hereditary member of the House of Lords in 2009. His principal interests include education and employment, the arts (especially classical music), Welsh affairs and corporate responsibility issues. Alastair is a Director of WALTZ Programmes Limited, a small social enterprise working to help disadvantaged, mostly young, Londoners to gain skills and employment. Previously he worked as a consultant in corporate public affairs and reputation management, following 21 years with IBM, including postings in the United States and Belgium. Alastair is a Deputy Lieutenant of Dyfed in Wales, where he has a home. He is a Trustee of St John Cymru–Wales and of the National Library of Wales, Patron of ChallengeAid (a charity helping disadvantaged children in Africa) and of RhinoArk (supporting conservation in Kenya), and an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University. He was born in 1947 and educated at Eton and Oxford. He is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren.
CHAIR OF TRUSTEES – PAUL BREWER
Left University in 1979 and began a career in finance that culminated in a thirteen-year tenure at Salomon Brothers, a leading Wall Street firm. In 1992 Mr. Brewer was appointed a Managing Director and subsequently co-headed a global business for the firm. In 1999 Mr. Brewer left the firm to create a new business in asset management and co-founded Rubicon Asset Management Limited with four partners. Based in London, the firm specialises in alternative investments and has a largely institutional client base with assets of approximately USD $2.8 billion. The partners of Rubicon have collectively funded a number of charitable enterprises through the partnership in addition to pursuing individual interests in this sector. Mr. Brewer has focussed on charitable organisations that work to improve the prospects for orphaned or disadvantaged children and young people in a global context. He has also pursued opportunities to contribute to environmental issues and awareness. Such organisations include Ark, The Princes Trust, Naomi House Children’s Hospice and AMREF. Born on the eighth of November 1956, Mr. Brewer was educated at Chatham House Grammar School and University of London where he received a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Physiology. Mr Brewer is married with three children and lives in Dorset. His interests include most country sports, music, Yoga.
TRUSTEE – RUSSELL BYWATER
A partner at Dawson Cornwell, one of the UK’s leading specialist family law practices. He has specialised exclusively in family law since qualifying as a solicitor in 1985. He is named as one of the leading family lawyers in both Chambers and The Legal 500 and is listed in London’s Super Lawyers 2013. Although covering all areas of family law he specialises particularly in financial cases with an international element, relocation of children and non-marital disputes. He has acted in a number of reported international cases including, recently, C v S (Divorce Jurisdiction)  EWHC 2676 Fam and Hope v Krejci and others  EWHC 1780 (Fam).Russell is the author of the matrimonial costs section of “Atkins Court Forms” published by Butterworths. He is married with 3 children and his interests include his membership with Yorkshire County Cricket Club, he is a Patron of Llandovery RFC, supporter of Barnsley FC and season ticket with Wakefield Trinity, and trips to the theatre.
TRUSTEE – GRAHAM BIRKETT
Born: 1954 Educated: Lime House Cumbria, Thames Valley GS, Kingston University – Business Studies Represented: Harlequins Middlesex ( 2 County Champs finals) and Scotland vs NZ 1975. After completing a course of study at Kingston he joined RP Martin in 1976 as a trainee money broker rising to the main board director of the foreign exchange division in 1990. This included 6 years in South Africa setting up as managing director of BMI Brokers. Whilst in SA he was invited by the Reserve Bank, President De Koch to represent the FX brokers at strategic consultancy meetings held at the Reserve Bank in Pretoria. This was as a result of his efforts to restart the South African foreign exchange after its years in isolation. In 1991 he became managing director of Harlequin Events hospitality and is an events coordinator. He is married to Alex Birkett with son Harry and daughter Charlotte.
TRUSTEE – JULIAN COX
Born in 1960 Julian has been working in the banking industry since starting with Morgan Grenfell in 1979. He recently joined Japanese bank SMBC where he is working on the asset finance team. Away from work he has had an active role in rugby all his life and currently coaches at his local rugby club in Suffolk. Julian is married with two children and two step children.
TRUSTEE – IAN HUNT
Has recently taken up the post of Chair of the Board of Governors and CEO at Haileybury, Kazakhstan after leaving his post of Managing Director of Gabbitas Education, one of the world’s leading education consultancy firms. He started in the world of banking with Goldman Sachs before moving into education as a teacher. A former Millfield Housemaster, Deputy Head of Wellingborough School and Headmaster (Warden) of Llandovery College, he moved back into the commercial world in 2012 advising individuals and institutions on all aspects of independent education. He has written extensively in the past 12 months in the national and international press with articles in The Times, The Financial Times, The Telegraph and The International Herald Tribune. He has one daughter and he is serving a lifelong sentence as a supporter of anything Leicester – Tigers RFU, Foxes FC and CC. He is still active and tries to maintain a link with the arts. He is a serving school governor in both the U.K. And Dubai, and patron of a children’s cancer charity.
TRUSTEE – MARK ELLIS
Is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur. Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs. In consequence, Mark has always been fascinated by World War II and, in particular, the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. He divides his time between homes in London and Oxford.
FOUNDER – IESTYN THOMAS
Is CEO of ChallengeAid which was launched nationally in 2005 as Schoolchildren for Children but re-branded as ChallengeAid in 2012. He was educated at Llandovery College and Loughborough University before teaching in Brixton and then moving into the Foreign Exchange in the city of London for six years. He returned to Wales in 1987 and soon took up the role of Director of Sport at Llandovery College and then Head of PE at Tregaron where he founded the Charity. He also worked as an Independent Schools Inspector for several years. He has always been actively involved with rugby having played for and coached both London Welsh and Harlequins, Llandovery in the Welsh Premiership and Llandovery College 1st XV for 18 years. He is now Chair of the Old Llandoverians Society and is married with three children.
TRUSTEE – VERONICA JONES-MATHIAS
Veronica has been involved in education in one way or another for most of her life. Having been involved as a House Parent, Marketing, Admissions and Sport at Llandovery College in West Wales. Veronica also worked as a Project Manager for Prime Cymru - founded by HRH Prince of Wales which is a charity that provides free support to individuals to set up self employment businesses or find employment, support or training opportunities for people aged 50 plus. She then moved to the Middle East to set up Cranleigh School in Abu Dhabi. She was involved right from the initial stage of concept design seeing the project all the way through to the building & facilities to recruitment of staff & admissions to when it first opened its doors combining the very best of a British International education with the culture and expectations of a school situated in the UAE. Veronica has been involved as a supporter and patron of ChallengeAid for a number of years especially with the sponsorship and setting up of the “Mr. Mike Library” School of Hope in Nairobi in memory of her late husband. She has now recently joined the ChallengeAid Board of Trustees. She currently resides in Cowbridge, Wales, has a daughter Natalie and a son Jack and also spends some of her time in the Cayman Islands where her family resides..
TRUSTEE – Gwen
With over 10 years commercial property experience, Gwen is currently working at CBRE managing Lloyds Banking Group’s retail branch disposal programme throughout the UK and Ireland. Prior to that she was an Associate Investment Director at auction house Acuitus selling nationwide multi sector investment properties. Gwen is an avid reader and theatre goer and has been a member of various choirs including Cor Llunsain, London's only female voice Welsh choir. Gwen has over the years organised events for ChallengeAid including a London to Paris cycle, the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge and the National Three Peaks Challenge.