Deputy Lieutenants are appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant at his discretion, subject only to His Majesty The King not disapproving of the granting of the commission. They come from all walks of life. Appointment to the office of Deputy Lieutenant, which carries the post nominal ‘DL’ is in recognition of distinguished service to the community, predominantly in a voluntary capacity, or to the country or county. The Lord-Lieutenant leads this influential network of Deputy Lieutenants and provides the organisation for their individual networks to interlock for the benefit of Somerset’s varied communities.

Although military in origin, the post no longer has any military significance, but every DL undertakes to assist the Lord-Lieutenant in the performance of any duties that may be laid upon him or her. This can include representing the Lord-Lieutenant at formal functions, award ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies or attending Remembrance Day services.

Their local and specialist knowledge and experience is increasingly being used to positive effect in key sectors ranging from education to youth services, and from business to the rural economy. They are the eyes and ears of the Lord-Lieutenant in our local communities and liaise closely with the local authorities with whom we have much common cause.

They advise on events potentially warranting Royal visits, on how local people can put forward others suitable for National Honours or for invitations to Royal Garden Parties, and on Anniversaries warranting a message from HM The King. They also advise on how community organisations can gain recognition, for example, with The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. This award recognises the vital role played by the thousands of unsung heroes of the voluntary and community world which we in the Lieutenancy believe it is important to celebrate and encourage. See links also to The King’s Awards for Enterprise

The network of Deputy Lieutenants covers the ceremonial county of Somerset.  Short biographies for each of them are below.

‘Category’ Leads

The Lord-Lieutenant has assigned certain DLs to lead on areas of focus and interest that cover the breadth of social and community enterprise across the county. These are:

New Focus GroupSub groupsChair or Lead DL
ServiceArmed ForcesRichard Toomey
Law and OrderThomas Sheppard
Community and WellbeingBusinessAlex Priest
Charity and PhilanthropyLucy Nelson
HealthcareColin Drummond
Youth and CadetsPolly Marsh
SportGiles Clarke
Environment and ClimateRobbie Drewett
FaithJane Segdeman
Culture and HeritageEdward Bayntun-Coward

Ms Jennifer Achiro DL

Born in Uganda, young Jenn (Jennifer) arrived in the UK with her family fleeing political unrest in her birth country. Jenn was brought up in west London where she was also educated. She moved to Somerset in 2016 where she lives with her 8-year-old daughter.

With a keen interest in how human society is structured and functions, particularly the role Education plays in social mobility, Jennifer studied Sociology and Education at the University of Surrey, Roehampton. She graduated with an MSc Upper 2nd Degree.

After graduating, lured by the dazzling lights of corporate life, Jenn landed a role at IBM. She worked in various roles in Operations, Consulting, and Finance, finally settling in Sales after graduating from IBM Global Sales School. Jenn enjoyed 10 successful years at IBM before joining Microsoft in 2010 to Lead its Digital Transformation efforts in Local and Regional Government.

In 2015, Jenn took on an ambitious and exciting project to help leaders of Local Authorities tackle organisational challenges brought on by increasing demands on public services; here Jenn was introduced to Somerset County Council and the people of Somerset. Leaning on her degree qualification and +10 years industry experience, Jenn saw the opportunity for Microsoft to play a significant role in improving the social and economic outcomes of the region. Working with Council Leaders, Microsoft colleagues and Partners, Jenn created a ground-breaking Digital Skills and Training initiative for the region with an aim to improve the future employability of Children Looked After, Care Levers, the unemployed, ex-Military personnel, and those in employment looking to re skill. The success of the programme saw Jenn awarded the prestigious Microsoft Founders Award for outstanding achievement in 2018, recognising her significant impact and contribution inside and outside Microsoft.

Jenn, a former Barbados Non- Executive Director is passionate about improving the life chances of children and young people in Somerset. Today, she is a respected senior Leader at Microsoft, currently leading Microsoft’s relationship with Government.

Edward Bayntun-Coward Esq DL

Edward Bayntun-Coward was born at Dunkerton, near Bath, in 1966, and was educated at Monkton Combe Junior School, Marlborough College and University College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. From 1988 to 1994 he worked for Maggs Bros. Ltd in London. He then became a partner in George Bayntun, the antiquarian bookdealers and bookbinders established by his great-grandfather in Bath in 1894. He has been sole owner since 2000.

He was a volunteer and Leader at the Central London Branch of the Samaritans from 1988 until 1998. He was appointed a Trustee of the Bath Preservation Trust in 2004 and was Chairman from 2006 until 2016. He was also Chairman of No.1 Royal Crescent, the Museum of Bath Architecture, Beckford’s Tower and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. He was a Trustee of the Holburne Museum from 2006 until 2011, and returned as Chairman in 2017, a post he still holds. He is also Deputy Chairman of the American Museum and Gardens, a Trustee of Focus Counselling, the Paper Foundation and Wells Cathedral Preservation Trust, and Patron of BANES Carers’ Centre.

He served as High Sheriff of Somerset from March 2016 to March 2017 and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 2017. He is married to Laura with three grown children, Lily, Joshua and Beatrice, and lives at Midford, near Bath.

Brigadier Nigel Beacom QVRM TD VR DL

Nigel Beacom is a retired military officer who dedicated 36 years of service to the Territorial Army, now known as the Army Reserve. Throughout his career, Nigel held various leadership positions, including serving as the Commanding Officer of 40th Signal Regiment, Deputy Commander 2 Signal Brigade, and Assistant Commander of Theatre Troops as a Brigadier. He also gained valuable experience working in the Army HQ and MOD main building in different capacities.

In recognition of his contributions to the Reserves, Nigel became the first army recipient of the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves’ Medal (formerly known as the QVRM, now KVRM) in November 1999. He also had the honour of serving as an ADC (Aide-de-Camp) to the Queen from 2009 until his retirement in 2012.

In his civilian life, Nigel established and successfully ran a Market Research company with six offices across the UK. He later sold this business in 2012 and went on to set up another Market Research company in 2015, which now has offices in Bristol, Belfast, and Cardiff.

From 2016 to 2019, Nigel served as a member of the Independent Residents’ Panel of Avon and Somerset Police and is currently the Chair of the Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Somerset.

Nigel has been living in a village in Somerset since 1999 with his wife, Isobel, and their family dog. They have two adult sons, one residing and working in Bath, while the other is based in Bristol.

Denis Burn Esq MBE DL

Denis started his working life as an engineer making steel in Sheffield but moved back to Somerset in 1983 to live in the house in which he was born.  Shortly after this he joined a start-up consultancy business and remained with them for 20 years.  He has been active in the charity sector for many years including acting as Chair of the MusicSpace Trust, South Bristol Youth and the University of Bristol.  Until 2019 he was Vice-Chair of Bristol Old Vic and in 2018-19 he was High Sheriff of Somerset.  He is a Director of a wind energy business with wind turbines in India that is ultimately owned by a local charity, The Converging World.  In 2004-5 he was Master of the Merchant Venturers. He is married to Hilary and together they have four children and five grandchildren.  He lives in Cleeve, North Somerset where he attempts to look after a small-holding with a few cattle, sheep and pigs. He was appointed as a DL in Oct 2019.

Charles Giles Clarke Esq CBE DL

Charles Giles Clarke was born in Bristol, brought up in North Somerset  and educated at Rugby School. He graduated from Oriel College, University of Oxford with an MA in Persian with Arabic, spending a year (as the only Western student) at Damascus University and in Afghanistan. He has enjoyed a successful business career starting as an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston. In 1981 he bought  what was to become Majestic Wine and as Chairman built it into a UK national chain before selling it in 1989. In 1990 he founded Pet City and as CEO, built it into a chain of 94 stores. After taking the business public in 1995, he sold it in 1996. In 1998, he founded Safestore, building it into the UK’s third largest self storage company, before selling it in 2003. He is now Chairman and controlling shareholder of Westleigh Investments, with a portfolio of companies. From 2002-2007 he was a National Council member of the Learning and Skills Council( responsible for adult learning in England and Wales) and a member of the Adult Learning Committee, a statutory body set up by Parliament. He was also Deputy Chair of the EU Task Force on Skills and Mobility and presented its report to the Barcelona Summit in 2002. He was nominated an EU Top 500 Entrepreneur in 1999.

He was Chairman of Somerset CCC from 2002-2007 and a Director of the International Cricket Council from 2007-2018.  He  has been Chairman of the ICC’s Pakistan Task Team since 2009. He was elected to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2004 ,and was elected ECB Chairman in 2007. He completed 3 terms of office as Chairman, and was elected the first President in 2015, a role from which he retired in 2018.

He is a past Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers. The Giles and Judy Clarke Foundation focuses on supporting small local charities in the West of England,in particular focused upon deprived areas,education and enabling young people to start employment, as well as a perennial search for England fast bowlers!

He is also a Patron of Changing Faces and Future Hope. Married to Judy, they have one son, Jack who is Head of Strategy for LEGO, and two small grandsons.

Chris Davies Esq CBE DL

Chris was born and brought up in Swansea and came to Somerset to his first job as a social worker in 1972. He and his wife, Katy, have two children and four grandchildren and have enjoyed a lifetime of making music together.

Chris became Director of Social Services in Somerset in 1989. Whilst in that post, he also served in national roles, advising government and select committees, representing his peers as their President, leading task forces, and contributing to research programmes. He made several visits to Russia immediately after perestroika to advise on child protection and adoption.

He moved to Cardiff as Corporate Director of Social Care and Health in 2003 to lead their recovery from major service failures and reputational damage.

He retired from full-time work in 2005, and then worked across Wales, at Dartington and in the London Borough of Southwark, for twelve years, leading development projects and conducting enquiries, mainly focussed on safeguarding children. For seven years, he was non-executive chair of the Somerset Care Group, the largest not-for-profit care provider in the south of England.

Currently, he is President of the Red Cross in Somerset, and chairs two local charities, one of which supports offenders with small grants to support their rehabilitation, and the other encouraging state school pupils to enjoy and learn music. He sings in a chamber choir, leads his village choir, and plays his bass trombone in two amateur orchestras, one of which he chairs.

He swims in the sea throughout the year and still regrets that he can no longer play rugby!

Neil Dowdney Esq TD DL

Neil Dowdney was born in 1953, grew up at Queen Charlton and was educated at Kingswood School Bath. He trained as an Auctioneer and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor before joining a local firm of stockbrokers and becoming a member of the London Stock Exchange within Godfray Derby & Co. He spent most of his career in Bath retiring in 2015. He was for many years a Chartered Member of The Chartered Securities Institute.

He joined 6th Battalion The Light Infantry when they reformed in Bath in 1971 and subsequently served in The Wiltshire Yeomanry prior to commissioning into The Royal Artillery serving with The Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery (266 Bty) and Central Volunteer Artillery HQ until retirement at the end of 42 years’ service in the rank of Major.  For 9 years was an Independent Custody Visitor for Avon & Somerset Police and is now acting as a Lay Observer for The Ministry of Justice. He has served for some years on the Disciplinary Panel of The Chartered Securities Institute and more recently their Appeals Panel. He served as Chair of Marksbury Parish Council. His other interests include being a Friend of Iford Opera, member of The Royal Bath and West Society, Friend of The Royal Hospital Chelsea and of The Royal Academy. Sports include skiing, shooting and cycling. He lives at Marksbury with his wife Rosy and keeps donkeys as a pastime.

Robert Drewett Esq DL

Robert and his wife Celia live on the Mendips above the Chew Valley.  Having read law at New College, Oxford he trained in the City of London and remained there after qualifying as a solicitor.  In 1987 he joined Osborne Clarke in Bristol and stayed with the firm until 2014, when he and his team moved to Womble Bond Dickinson. He retired as a partner in 2021 but still acts as Senior Counsel on a part time basis.

Robert is the High Sheriff of Somerset for 2023/24.

Appointed a DL in 2005, Robert has been involved with a variety of charities within the county. His most active involvement has been with the Royal Bath & West of England Society, where he started stewarding in 1978. He joined its Council in 1984 and its board in 1995 and was chairman from 2013 until 2022.

He is also a trustee of the Langford Trust for Animal Health and Welfare and the Wells Cathedral Preservation Trust and previously was a trustee of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Trust, Sight Research UK and chairman of Folly Farm Limited, the trading company of Avon Wildlife Trust and a Church Warden.

On a wider stage he is a trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Innovation for Agriculture, the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth and the Grateful Society.

He and Celia have 3 children, all now working elsewhere in the country as an engineer, a land agent and an agronomist respectively.

Colin Drummond Esq OBE DL

Colin has lived in Somerset for the past thirty years. He has been Chairman of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and its predecessors since 2014 and was Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Governors of the University of Plymouth from 2016 to 2022.

From 1992 to 2014 Colin was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Viridor, which grew over this time from its Taunton base to become one of the UK’s leading recycling and renewable energy companies, and an Executive Director of Pennon Group PLC.  He was then Chairman of Viridor until the end of 2014. Prior to joining Pennon, Colin was Chief Executive of Coats Viyella Yarns Division, an Executive Director of Renold PLC, a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and an official at the Bank of England.  Between 2007 and 2015 Colin chaired various government committees relating to environmental change, and to innovation and trade in environmental goods and services. He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators for 2007/08 and 2022/23 and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Companies of Gardeners and Musicians.

Colin has an MA from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he held a Harkness Fellowship. He is a Licentiate of Trinity College of Music and was organist and choirmaster of St John the Baptist Wellington from 1993 to 2006. He was appointed OBE in 2012, for services to technology and innovation, and Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset in 2016. His main hobby is growing vegetables.

Miss Julia Elton DL

Julia is an engineering historian, a musician and a (semi-retired) antiquarian bookseller specialising in civil and structural engineering.  She was brought up partly in Clevedon and partly in London and still divides her time between them. She was educated at Badminton School in Bristol and then at Leeds University. In 2006 she played a major role in organising the Brunel Bicentenary conference, ‘Celebrating the Past, Inspiring the Future’, which was held in the Brunel train shed at Temple Meads. She sits on the Brunel Network committee and acts as an informal advisor to the Brunel Institute. She has served as a vice-president of the Victorian Society, spear-heading the successful campaign to save the Royal Pier Hotel in Clevedon. She is President of the Clevedon Civic Society and of Changing Lives (formerly Re:Mission). This last is a Clevedon charity which owns Andrew House providing a home and on-going support for up to eleven men who are recovering from the ill effects of substance abuse. She also runs and performs in small-scale musical events for charity. She is currently studying for a PhD in the history of lighthouse optics and rewriting the history of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Dr Ian Kelham DL

Ian was born in Newcastle and studied Medicine at Leeds University. He took on a failing, single-handed GP’s practice in Porlock in 1996. Over the next 20+ years, he developed the practice into a highly successful, multi-centred GP partnership which was rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. His medical interests included palliative care and he set up a charity to improve home care for terminally ill patients in West Somerset.

Ian has a long-standing interest in education. He became Associate Postgraduate Dean for the Severn Deanery with responsibility for recruitment. He established, and organised, the appraisal process for GPs in Somerset.

From 2013 to 2021 Ian was the Assistant Medical Director for NHS England South West.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ian joined the NHS Covid 111 helpline in April 2020 and the Coronavirus Vaccination Programme, both as a Clinical Lead and as a vaccinator, in early January 2021 and that role continues to the present day

Away from the medical arena, Ian is the Safeguarding Governor for Taunton School, as well as the Safeguarding Lead for the Porlock Benefice. He and his wife recently became directors of ‘Stacked Wonky’, a site-specific dance company based in West Somerset.

In his spare time, he enjoys walking with Penny on his beloved Exmoor, growing large quantities of vegetables, and working to restore his orchard. He is a proud father to his daughter, Charlotte, a vet working in Somerset, and his son, Oliver, a criminal barrister in London.

Clare Jordan DL

Clare Jordan was brought up in Hatch Beauchamp and follows in the footsteps of her grandfather Commander Hubert Gore Langton who was also privileged to be appointed a DL for Somerset.

After reading Latin at Exeter University Clare went into the City and has just retired after a forty year career in investment management with companies such as Lazards , Rathbones and most recently JM Finn.

Clare has served as a Trustee of her company’s pension fund and on various boards and committees over the years.

Clare is one of the original trustees and directors of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) which is now the leading professional body for securities and investment practitioners with an international membership. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2005.

Apart from chairing the CISI Educational Trust Clare has served as a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Investment Committee and as a trustee of The Calvert Trust Exmoor the charity which offers outdoor actives for people with disabilities and their families.

Pradeep Madhavan Esq DL

Pradeep was born in Madras (now Chennai) in India and was educated at Don Bosco’s School and Madras Medical College. He was a surgical trainee and medical officer in the Indian Railways with a public service commission before coming to the United Kingdom to pursue further surgical training and take the FRCS.

He was a registrar in Trauma and Orthopaedics on the Bristol rotation before doing a fellowship in spinal surgery at the John Radcliff Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford. He was co-author of the chapter on The Spine in Bailey and Love’s Short Practice of Surgery 25th edition.

He was appointed Consultant Spinal Orthopaedic Surgeon on the NHS at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton in 2000 and is in post. In addition, he is now the Clinical Director for T&O and Ophthalmology at Somerset Foundation Trust.

His wife Mala is a doctor in the Emergency Department at the same hospital. They have one daughter who is a trainee surgeon in New Zealand.

Pradeep’s hobbies include road cycling in the UK and abroad, trekking, ballroom dancing and music. He is guitarist and backing vocalist for a covers band called Ultrasound that was originally formed by staff at the hospital.

Mrs Polly Marsh DL

Captain Polly Marsh was born in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1970. She attended Aberconwy secondary school in North Wales and took an engineering foundation course at UMIST before reading Molecular Biology at Manchester University. She joined the Officer Training Corps in 1990, and first attended The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1992, commissioning as a reserve officer into general service. She joined 101 Royal Engineers (EOD) in 1994, and after returning to RMAS on a regular commission course she joined 16 Regt Royal Artillery. During her time in The Army she was responsible for the welfare and training of 30-60 soldiers.

After leaving The Army in 1998, she moved to New York and worked in luxury brand management, as well as being involved in wildlife conservation. After the birth of her first child in London, she founded Cuddledry Ltd with a friend and moved to Somerset, where she led the company to become an established brand in the global nursery market. She has a teaching Diploma and a Masters Degree in genetic health, among other professional business and education qualifications. Polly rejoined the Army reserves and recently spent four years at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, working with the Youth Engagement team, working with Education nationally, busting myths about the military for young people and their gatekeepers, as well as giving talks on self-awareness and values based leadership.

Polly has a passion for Youth Development, and over the years has worked as a freelance facilitator and expedition leader, specialising in teamwork and leadership, working with young people of secondary school age. She is a Governor of The Castle School in Taunton, specifically supporting senior leadership teams in curriculum and careers development. She is a Trustee of Somerset Army Cadet Force and was Operations Trustee for The Ulysses Trust before being given the role of Chief Executive Officer. The Ulysses Trust offers guidance, advise and financial support to cadets and reservists – enabling them to take part in adventure training and expeditions, prioritising those most in need, in order to develop courage and resilience in young people through challenge and adventure. Polly works with educators, politicians, charities, industry and youth organisations supporting personal development of character and values, physical and mental health and wellbeing, and bringing enormous social impact to those who may not have had many opportunities in life. She supports many other charities that support help young people globally.

Polly has a passion to help young people be the best they can be – to make sure every child is aware of their opportunities, and helps to develop their self-awareness and values, to have courage to take them on, and resilience to see the challenge through – to become confident, valuable members of society.

Tom Mayberry Esq MBE DL

Tom Mayberry has lived and worked in Somerset for most of his life. From 2004 he was responsible for Somerset County Council’s Heritage Services, including Museums, Archives and the Historic Environment, and led the projects for the creation of the Museum of Somerset and the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton as well as the redisplay of Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury. He was appointed Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust on its creation in 2014. He is a former chair of the Friends of Coleridge, and in that capacity led the partnership group for the redisplay of the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage. He is a trustee of Arts Taunton, an organisation committed to promoting the role and relevance of the arts in Taunton and its area. He is deeply committed to community-based heritage and has taken the message of Somerset history all over the South West.

Mrs Sarah Mead DL

Sarah Mead was brought up in London but educated in SW England. She spent 3 years at Dance School in London where she formed a dance troupe with Liz Hurley touring the capital and regularly getting pelted with food. Luckily she met Tim Mead, and moved to Somerset to become a farmer’s wife. In between raising 4 children, she opened Holt Farm Gardens under the National Gardens Scheme before taking the plunge 8 years ago to open as the Yeo Valley Organic Garden, part of Yeo Valley’s Venues in  Blagdon. She  now works full time alongside Tim for Yeo Valley and as part of their marketing strategy is responsible for creative input at Yeo Valley HQ and the Organic Gardens, as well as curating the many events run by Yeo Marketing in and around the Valley. Outside of Yeo.  She is part of the team that organises and run ‘Valley Fest’, a local Organic Food and Music Festival raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust and is a supporter of various other charities such as Valley Arts project and Key4life. She doesn’t get much time to spend gardening now, but when she does you will often find her in the herbaceous border with her pug Mabel or throwing some shapes at any festival for she can manage to get tickets.

Timothy Mead Esq DL

Tim joined the family business in the Yeo Valley in 1987 and piloted the company through rapid growth. He established an organic range of dairy products, under the Yeo Valley brand, using milk sourced from The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative.  Today, Yeo Valley has four manufacturing sites and two distribution centres in the South West and employs 1,400 people. In recognition of his contribution towards the development of the Dairy Industry, he was awarded The Dairy Industry Award for 2002.  The company  attained the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2001 and 2006; both times for sustainable development. Holt Farms consisting of 150 acres, next to Blagdon Lake was purchased in 1961 by his parents, Roger and Mary Mead. Today, they farm 1,250 acres of mainly dairy and arable land, split between the Yeo Valley and the Mendip Hills.  All of the land is certified organic and all the milk from their Lakemead herd of British Friesians is used is by Yeo Valley in their dairy products. Trained as an accountant with Edward Moore & Co (1983-87) after leaving Sherborne School (1976-81), Tim’s passion is for the land and his commitment to conservation is considerable.  He and his wife, Sarah, and their four children live at Holt Farm. One of his favourite expressions is “live for today but farm for tomorrow”.

David Medlock Esq DL

Born in 1955 in Bath, David was educated from 1962-72 at King Edwards School, Bath. He graduated from Salford University and completed his professional qualification as an Environmental Health Officer at Tameside Metropolitan Council. In 1979 he joined Hebron and Medlock, an  engineering design company started by his father in 1951. He is now Managing Director of the Group renamed Sitec which employs 600 staff, turns over £45m and consists of a technical recruitment arm and a design consultancy. Since leaving school, he has been always been involved in the voluntary sector ranging from work with Shelter and adult literacy in Manchester to the Centre for Voluntary Services and the Gateway Club in Bath. He is now Managing Trustee of the Medlock Charitable Trust set up in 1985 by his father, which has contributed over £35m to various causes throughout the country, including a Chair in Mathematics, a Chair in Engineering and Design and the Chair of Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Design at the University of Bath. David has been Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset since December 2008 and was Vice Lord Lieutenant from 2012-18. He was High Sheriff of Somerset from 2007-08. He has 3 children. His outside interests include rugby and masonry.

General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE DL
General Sir Gordon Messenger served as a Royal Marine from 1983 to 2019, latterly as the Vice Chief of Defence Staff.

His career was notable for two reasons: he was the first Royal Marine to be promoted to 4–star rank for 50 years, and the first member of the naval service since the Korean War to receive a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order.

His operational tours include Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, culminating in command of 3 Commando Brigade in Helmand from 2008 to 2009.  He spent many years in 40 Commando RM in Taunton, including as Commanding Officer from 2001-2003.

Since retiring in October 2019, he has established a portfolio career. Among other things, he is a Non-Executive Director of QinetiQ plc, a Board member of UK Health Security Agency and a Patron of several military charities. He supported the DHSC on the Community Testing and Managed Quarantine programmes as part of the pandemic response.  In Oct 2021, he was commissioned by the Government to lead a Review into leadership and management in the Health and Social Care sectors, which reported successfully in June 2022.

He was appointed Rear Admiral of the UK by the Sovereign in December 2021. He was installed as Constable of HM Tower of London in October 2022, a role which includes trusteeship of Royal Historic Palaces.

He and his wife Sarah live near Taunton with their English Pointer, Peggy.

Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff CBE DL

Ian lives in Exmoor National Park and became a DL in December 2014.  A former Chief Executive of the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) from 2011 – 2015, he was also UK National Hydrographer as a Rear Admiral from 2006.

Serving in the Royal Navy for 35 years, he accumulated over 20 years’ practical seagoing experience in 11 warships and the Royal Yacht HMY BRITANNIA. His senior roles included Joint Command as Commander British Forces South Atlantic and he commanded the ice-breaker HMS ENDURANCE and destroyer HMS NOTTINGHAM and was executive officer of the aircraft carrier, HMS INVINCIBLE. Appointed CBE in HM The Queen’s 2010 Birthday Honours List; he is now mostly retired. 

He was a Non-Executive Director on the Port of London Authority Board from 2015-2021 and on the Operational & Safety Advice Panel for British Antarctic Survey from 2016-2024. He has 2 other voluntary roles besides being a DL: as an Elder Brother and Member of the Court and The Corporate Board of Trinity House London and, since 2016, as a Governor of Taunton School. 

He is a Master Mariner and member of the Naval & Military and Antarctic Clubs. He is married to Marion and they have 2 sons: Andrew, an Army officer in the Royal Dragoon Guards and, James, a  Partner with Meridiem Investment Management London. They have 3 grandchildren. His pastimes are wildlife photography and river fly fishing.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Motum DL

Following education at Dean Close School Cheltenham and Sandhurst, Mike was commissioned in to The Gloucestershire Regiment. At unit level he held several posts including command of a Reserve Battalion. He also carried out Army and NATO staff appointments as well as a tour at The Royal School of Signals. Having left the Armed Forces in 2007, he served briefly with the South West Regional Assembly’s secretariat before commencing regimental secretary duties with The Rifles; responsibilities fall within Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Appointed a DL for Somerset in 2012, his other voluntary work includes being a founding trustee of the South West Heritage Trust. Mike and his wife Bente have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren.

Mrs Lucilla Nelson DL

Lucy founded Tommy’s, a national charity funding medical research into the reasons why babies are born too soon and too small, stillbirth, miscarriage, poor foetal growth and prematurity. It now raises around £4million each year. She was Tommy’s CEO for 10 years, a Director of Mark Birley Associates for 20 years and a Director of the Catholic Building Society. Lucy was also a Governor for 20 years and finally Chairman of Governors for Port Regis school in Dorset. Lucy was High Sheriff of Somerset 215-16. She is particularly interested in mental health and raised a fund for 4 mental health charities (Well Wessex) in Somerset during her year as High Sheriff. She is also a Trustee of Somerset Community Foundation. She has lived in Penselwood, Somerset for 20 years and runs a small stud, breeding horses for eventing and dressage.

Dr Alexander Priest DL

After finishing his undergraduate degree and PhD in Artificial Intelligence & Cancer Chemistry at Oxford University, Alex started his working life promoting youth training partnerships as Chief Executive of an educational charity in the City of London.

Later, he jumped from a successful career in Intellectual Property Law to become Chief Executive of Mind (the mental health charity) in his home county of Somerset, where he now farms with his young family.

Alex is a Non-Executive Director of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Chairman of Wessex Scouts, and holds various trusteeships and directorships in the mental health, education and third sectors.

The Hon Thomas Rees-Mogg DL

The Hon Thomas Rees-Mogg has served 12 years as a councillor for Bath and Northeast Somerset, 8 years as a parish councillor in Hinton Blewett, 30 years as a trustee of the Wells cathedral preservation trust, including 13 years as their chairman. He is also an honorary alderman of Bath and Northeast Somerset. Father to 2 girls and 2 boys, the main carer and sometime home educator, he is also husband to Modwenna, his youngest child attends The Wells Blue school.

Clinton Rogers Esq DL

Clinton has lived in Somerset virtually all is life. He and his wife Joanne now live in the village of Bradford on tone, near Taunton. They have three daughters and a son and six grandchildren.  After leaving Court Fields School in Wellington at the age of 16, he began his journalistic career on his local newspaper, the Wellington Weekly News. It was, he says, a career he instantly fell in love with. When he retired in 2020 it was after nearly 50 years in journalism, the last 40 with the BBC. He was instrumental in establishing the first local radio station in Somerset, BBC Somerset Sound, in 1988 and was its first presenter. When he left the BBC he was its senior television correspondent in Somerset. He has won three Royal Television Society Awards for investigative journalism and has reported from two war zones and one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters in Bangladesh.  He has for many years been a supporter of St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice and in retirement wrote an autobiography, entirely to raise money for the charity. He is also a patron of Somerset Day and an Ambassador for the charities Brainwave in Bridgwater and Reminiscence Learning in Wellington.

Justin Sargent Esq OBE DL

Justin has been CEO of Somerset Community Foundation since 2005, leading its growth and development as the leading vehicle for philanthropy in Somerset, and largest independent funder of local charities, community groups and social enterprises. Each year the Foundation, which is based at the Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallet, provides funding to hundreds of groups and organisations throughout the county. Justin was awarded an OBE in 2020 for services to the community of Somerset.

As a geographer Justin is particularly interested in place-based philanthropy, and how statistics and maps can often disguise the harsher reality of life in rural communities.

He moved to Somerset from Lesotho in Southern Africa, where he had spent two years supporting the work of local NGOs working on food security, environmental issues and the HIV pandemic. It was here he saw first-hand the power of community-led action to create positive and lasting change in people’s lives, but also the complex and multiple impacts of poverty. Prior to this Justin had worked on the early ‘agri-envrionmental’ schemes in Lancashire and Herefordshire, working mostly with family farms in marginal landscapes, and he retains a very keen interest in environmental issues and nature recovery.

Justin grew up in Kingsholm, Gloucester, and, having stood in ‘The Shed’ with his grandfather, father and brother from an early age, says he has Cherry and White in his veins. He is, however, a keen supporter of Somerset County Cricket Club! With his wife, Sally, he lives in the Mendips, raising their three children. He is also a trustee of The Nelson Trust, a charity with a strong presence in our county, supporting women overcome addiction and other complex needs.

Mrs Jane Sedgman JP DL

Jane was born in Taplow, Berkshire and educated at Maidenhead High School. In 1969 she joined the WRAF and held a Short Service Commission as an Admin Officer, holding posts as a Families’ Officer, OC WRAF (responsibilities for welfare and discipline) and a Flight commander at a training establishment.

Following this she held various positions in the South East using her admin background and married David, whose family come from Somerset, in 1976. They have 2 daughters and a son and four grandchildren to date. They farm in South Somerset and are first generation farmers (David’s father was a clergyman) so have had to be adaptable to weather the vagaries of the industry. They started milking cows, have had both beef and sheep enterprises, also a B&B, but since 1992 have had an entirely arable business which is now, in part, a co-operative venture with other like-minded farmers. David has an ongoing involvement with the Royal Bath and West Society.

Jane was appointed a magistrate in 1986 transferring to the then Yeovil Bench in 1990 when the family returned to David’s roots here in Somerset. She has been involved in many aspects of Bench life serving on most committees at some point, including 9 years on the Sub Advisory Committee, but her overriding interest was in Youth Justice, she sat on the Youth Panel for 19 years, stepping back after some years as Chairman and still misses it! She was also a Bench Deputy Chairman.

She has also had many years of church involvement, being licensed as an Anglican Reader (or Lay Minister) in 2009.

Her interests include gardening, her two labradors (working – sort of!), theatre, reading, music and most importantly, her family.

Thomas Sheppard Esq DL

Thomas is a solicitor in private practice who has held both professional and management roles in a top 100 law firm, including over ten years as the Managing Partner. He is now a consultant, and he has returned to a client facing role.

Alongside his professional life, Thomas has been actively involved with charities and not for profit organisations; this is usually as a trustee and often as the chair. These charities have followed his interests and include arts-based charities, such as Bath Festivals, Bath Theatre Trust, and the Arnolfini in Bristol; and health care organisations, such as Dorothy House Hospice Care, the Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, and the mental health charity RICE.

He was chair and trustee of the Bath Preservation Trust, a campaigning and heritage charity which also runs museums in the city. Thomas has held local roles such as President of the local Law Society, parish councillor and churchwarden. He spent over ten years on the Council of Management at the University of Bath and was a director of Bath Rugby in its first years as a professional rugby club.

He is currently the chair of Bath City Farm, and he chairs several grant making charities. He is a member of both the PCC of Bath Abbey and the Chapter of Wells Cathedral.

Thomas was the 960th High Sheriff of Somerset and sits on the national Council of the High Sheriffs’ Association of England and Wales. He lives in the Bath area with his wife Michelle.

Thomas was the 960th High Sheriff of Somerset and lives in the Bath area with his wife Michelle.

Martin Thatcher Esq DL

Martin Thatcher is a fourth-generation English cidermaker and has been Managing Director of Thatchers Cider Co Limited since 1992.  The family-run business maintains it’s mantra of a sustainable company for future generations.

Martin is an active member of the National Association of Cidermakers, the body that represents the interests of cider producers in the UK and helps raise the profile of the industry to the public.  In 2005 he was awarded the coveted Nuffield Farming Trust scholarship; and in 2016 he received the Trust’s Steven and Gill Bullock award for innovation.  Martin has been a Trustee of the Bath & West Society since 2015.

Encouraging skills development is a passion of Martin’s, and the Thatchers Young Talent apprenticeship programme that he has introduced into the company has attracted considerable interest not only from applicants keen to join the company, but from wider industry, gaining recognition including the national IGD award for Employability in 2018, and in 2019 the Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Apprenticeships in the FE Week AAC Awards.

With his family, Martin has established the Thatchers Foundation, a charitable trust which supports good causes in Somerset.  Martin is married to Anne, and has two children, Eleanor and Peter, who are currently working in the family business.  Martin is a keen sports fan, in particular Rugby Union.

Brigadier Richard Toomey CBE DL

Richard retired from the Army in 2016 after 37 years’ service in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and on the General Staff. On leaving the Army, he and his wife Liza moved to Taunton, where his parents have lived for many years.  Immediately after leaving the Army he studied for a MA in History at Exeter University. He now works part-time as a management consultant, and is chairman of Situationaly Ltd, a software startup business aiming to make crowds safer.

Richard does quite a lot of voluntary work. He is The Rifles’ Regimental Colonel for Somerset, the Honorary Colonel of Somerset Army Cadet Force, and a trustee of the body that owns the Somerset Light Infantry collection displayed in the County Museum in Taunton. Also, he is Chair of Trustees of the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester, and Chair of Action4Diabetes, a charity that provides medical support to poor children with Type 1 diabetes in South East Asia. His interests include history, current affairs, choral singing (with Amici chamber choir in Taunton), and the great outdoors.

General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE DL

Peter Wall retired from the British Army after a career spanning 40 years.  He joined the Royal Engineers from Sandhurst military academy in 1974 and read engineering at the University of Cambridge.  He finished his military career as the Army’s chief from 2010 to 2014.  He has served all over the world, including operational command tours in Rhodesia, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

He is now Director of Amicus, an advisory business which specializes in imparting military and commercial leadership expertise, with emphasis on strategic planning and execution, leadership development, and organisational health. Peter is also a director of General Dynamics, the US defence and aerospace corporation, and President of Combat Stress, the military veterans’ mental health charity.  Originally from Suffolk, he has lived with his family in the Mendips for 20 years.  He is a keen supporter of Blagdon Cricket Club and enjoys skiing and sailing.

Professor Ian White DL

Ian is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath. He joined the University of Bath from the University of Cambridge where he had been Master of Jesus College, van Eck Professor of Engineering, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of Photonics Research in the Department of Engineering. He gained his BA (1980) and PhD (1984) degrees from the University of Cambridge and was appointed a Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Cambridge before becoming Professor of Physics at the University of Bath in 1991. He moved to the University of Bristol as in 1996 as Professor of Optical Communications and became Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1998.  He returned to the University of Cambridge in October 2001 and, in 2005, became Head of the School of Technology and subsequently Chair.  He left there to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs in 2010.  His research interests are in photonics, including optical data communications and laser diode-based devices. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He was a Member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Photonics Society (2008-2012). He is an Editor-in-Chief of Electronics Letters and Nature Microsystems and Nanoengineering. He was appointed as a DL in Oct 2019.

Mrs Olivia Winterton DL

Born and brought up in Hampshire, Olivia moved to West Somerset in 1995 with her husband Michael, and their 3 children. She studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute, and then worked as a curator in the Print Room of the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. A very enjoyable part of this work involved accompanying Leonardo da Vinci and Holbein drawings around the world to loan exhibitions. She was later a researcher for the 1989 Arts Council Leonardo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.  When the family moved from London to the West Country she decided to pursue other interests, and worked voluntarily for the Witness service in Taunton Crown and Magistrates Courts and became interested in the work being of the Probation Service. Wishing to be more actively involved in the criminal justice system, she retrained and joined Avon and Somerset Probation in 2008 working between offices in Taunton, Bridgwater and Minehead. She is a newly (2019) trained volunteer adviser for the Citizens Advice, and also involved in a joint enterprise project with MIND and the Quantock AONB that gives people with poor mental health the opportunity  to do conservation work in the Quantock Hills. She loves living in the country and is keen on walking, preferably with her dogs, and amateur gardening. Along with reading, art remains one of her main hobbies providing good motivation to return to London to visit family and enjoy theatre. She was appointed as a DL in Oct 2019.

Peter Wyman Esq CBE DL

Peter is currently Chair of the NHS Blood and Transplant. He is also Chairman of Sir Richard Sutton Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Pay.UK. Previously he was Chairman of Somerset Community Foundation and of Yeovil District Hospital as well as Treasurer of Bath University. He was President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a Partner at PwC.

Mr Suresh Ariaratnam DL

Suresh Ariaratnam was born in Cornwall and grew up in Bath. He has worked in the book industry for over twenty-three years, primarily as a literary agent, focussing on representing authors from minoritised ethnicities. Based on his experience of helping to facilitate literary works by prize-winning writers, he developed an operating thesis of the relationship between access and excellence, which resulted in an intergenerational transfer of his client list to a colleague from an under-represented community as a collaborative response to shrinking the equity gap in publishing.

He remains involved in helping to ensure the equitable treatment of marginalised people, in the creative economy and more generally, through advocacy and activism. Relatedly, a current body of work involves raising awareness of the importance of board and c-suite culture in fulfilling responsible business practices and organisational values-based strategic objectives.

As a non-executive director for NHS Somerset and NHS Dorset HealthCare, he is especially interested in the broader socio-economic determinants of health and their relationship to inequalities, and in a holistic understanding of wellbeing which champions the interdependency between personal, societal, and planetary health.

Suresh also serves as co-chair of Literature Works, and as a trustee of the Theatre Royal Bath, and the Trussell Trust, as a well as a member of the British Library Advisory Council. In 2022, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Somerset in 2024.

Mrs Jennifer Duke DL

Having been brought up in the north of Scotland, Jennifer has lived on Exmoor for the past 26 years.  She is Managing Director of an IT consultancy which delivers solutions and services to financial markets and industry using advanced algorithm-based technology.

With an MA in English, Jennifer worked in Singapore for the British Council, then joined Longman as a Book Editor in Melbourne, Australia.  On returning to the UK she became a Commissioning Editor for Heinemann and for several years juggled a busy career with the demands of a growing family.

Since moving to Exmoor, Jennifer has held the position of Church Warden in Luxborough and has, in this capacity, been responsible for driving initiatives focussed on engaging with and supporting the community.  She has also been a Parish Councillor for many years with a special interest in planning applications.  Jennifer has been an active committee member and fund raiser for many charities.  She is an ambassador for The Nelson Trust which supports vulnerable people who have multiple and complex needs including addiction, trauma, and offending.

During 2022-2023, Jennifer was honoured to serve the county of Somerset as High Sheriff.  Her focus during the year was on food poverty, and the promotion of opportunities in education and training for children and young adults.

Ms Sheila Wheeler DL

Sheila was born and grew up in Ireland and following a degree in English and Theology she moved to China to teach in university.   She retrained as an accountant in London and spent much of her career in the public sector.  She spent time as Finance Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and has worked in local government as a Finance Director and Chief Executive across a number of local authorities (including the then Somerset County Council).

More recently she has worked in Debt Advice at the Money Advice Service and as an advisor and consultant to a range of not-for-profit organisations.  She is a Lay Trustee of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, a Trustee of British Gas Energy Trust (until June 2024) and a Governor of Taunton School.

Sheila moved to Somerset in 2010 having lived in Surrey and London.  She lives in a village in the Quantock Hills.  In her spare time she loves to read, walk locally in the Quantocks and on Exmoor, and travel, often for more walking.  Married to Martin, they have four adult children.