Find out who sits on the BMC's Board of Directors, and a little bit about their professional backgrounds and outdoor interests.
Gareth Pierce – Chair
With a family background in the hill farming communities of north Wales, Gareth’s first experiences of the summits, in his early teenage years, were of Snowdon and Arenig Fawr. Following exploits such as Snowdonia’s ‘14 peaks’ during student days, basic rock climbing and snow-and-ice training at Plas y Brenin proved useful, including for visits to the Lake District, Scotland and the Alps.
Gareth volunteered with the outdoor activities of the youth organisation, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, before co-ordinating the South Wales programme of Clwb Mynydda Cymru during its early years and later being a member of what was then the Wales Mountain Leadership Training Board. A busy working life, skiing trips, and moderately competitive squash, vied with mountain activities for many years, but there has more recently been an opportunity to enjoy the challenges of the peaks and ridges of Torridon for the first time as well as long (always sunny!) days in the hills of south Wales.
Statistics and education have provided the underlying themes for Gareth’s salaried work, including spells as a statistician in health and housing sectors, teaching mathematics in a south Wales comprehensive school, lecturing in a business school, and tutoring for the Open University. During the most recent 20 years, Gareth was a senior manager and chief executive for limited companies in the education sector and has fulfilled a number of governance roles within the higher education and school sectors.
Graham Richmond – Honorary Treasurer & Director (2017-2022)
Graham started climbing in 1967, joined the Bowline Climbing Club in Leicester and has been a member ever since. He began by climbing, mainly in the Peak District and Wales, broadening out his interests into walking, skiing and fell running, and travelling further afield around the UK and in the Alps. He has been Chair of the Bowline on a number of occasions totalling around 20 years and joined the Climbers’ Club in the late 1990s. Volunteer activity with the Bowline led to BMC involvement at local level in the Midlands, especially with an interest in developing climbing in the local quarries. Graham has chaired the BMC Midlands Area and was also a National Council representative on the Executive; prior to becoming Honorary Treasurer, he was Chair of the BMC Finance Committee. Professionally Graham has a family business which his son now manages on a day to day basis, leaving him with time to do BMC work and get out climbing.
Emma Flaherty – Vice President & Director (2016-2019)
I am the Partnership Development Manager for a team of PE teachers who deliver high quality PE and training to primary schools. We have a team of 10 staff who work with just short of 60 schools across Sheffield (including 6 secondaries and 10 special schools in the city). We run lots of school competitions (including the Sheffield schools bouldering competition) and deliver training for teachers to make primary PE lessons more high quality and engaging for children. I manage the team as well as the team of 30 casual coaches who deliver our after school clubs and curriculum PE lessons. We organise events across the city such as dance events for over 500 pupils and PE conferences for teachers. At this years’ conference we had over 140 teachers from 118 schools and 27 industry partners showcasing their products and services.
My second job is the PE and School Sport Manager for the Local Authority in Sheffield. This is a city wide role and I support the existing structures in the city to ensure we are providing quality opportunities for staff and pupils. I work with school swimming and outdoor education (Thornbridge Outdoor centre and educational visits) in this role.
In both jobs I work closely with many partners such as the county sports partnership (SYSport), NGB's across all sports, public health, head teacher groups, and many local clubs to ensure a joined up approach across the city.
In addition to this I am one of the directors of the Women's Climbing Symposium which I do in my spare time, but I love it.
In terms of climbing I currently live in Sheffield so climb a lot in the peak area, but I try to travel as much as possible to different areas in the UK and abroad. I got into climbing whilst working in an outdoor centre in Wales, after my A Levels. I loved going out and having adventures with my friends in the mountains and on sea cliffs and have been hooked ever since. Whilst living in Wales and subsequently the North East I mainly climbed trad (up to E4) and alpine (climbing in Chamonix, Ecrin, Gran Paradiso, Valais, Bernese Oberland, Lofoten, Southern Alps and new routing in Borneo), but since moving to Sheffield I have focused more on bouldering, while my body is not too broken, and have climbed up to font 8a.
I am looking forward to combining my skills and experience from across my work and climbing backgrounds to do my best to contribute to the great work that the BMC does, at a time when it seems to me increasingly important that climbers and hill walkers have a strong and respected body behind their interests.
Lynn Robinson – President & Director (2018-2021)
I’ve been a member of the BMC for about 30 years and an individual member for about 20. I’ve always loved hill walking and then I moved into scrambling. When I did harder and harder scrambles I thought it was about time I learnt how to use a rope, so I joined the local university mountaineering club, first as an under-graduate and then during my post-graduate studies when I became the first female president of the club.
My first ever climbs were on gritstone in the late 1980s. Since then I’ve rock climbed around the world, including Europe and America, and new routing and exploration in Egypt – mainly ‘trad’ rock climbing, but also bouldering and sport climbing. Even though I describe myself as a lower-grade climber, I do occasionally stray into onsights in the E-numbers! I enjoy climbing indoors and when at home visit my local walls in and around Nottingham. I’ve even taken part in numerous local bouldering competitions over the years. I have also mountaineered around the world, including trekking peaks in Nepal, volcanoes in Ecuador, Mount Elbrus and the European Alps, including Mont Blanc, and extensive winter climbing in the UK.
My real passion is in guidebook work, which I started in about 2000. I’ve been involved in all the new series BMC guidebooks, in one capacity or another, from Burbage, Millstone and Beyond to the current volumes, including being co-editor of Froggatt to Black Rocks. I currently sit on the BMC guidebook committee, and I have significantly helped other definitive guidebook producers, especially the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club.
I have been a regular attender and contributor at the BMC Peak Area meetings for 25 years and from 2010 to 2015 I was the area secretary. I am the co-chair of the Women’s Development Group which explores and supports initiatives to further encourage and support women’s involvement in climbing and hill walking and the work of the BMC. In 2017 I received the BMC George Band Award for Outstanding Voluntary Contribution to Mountaineering, something which I am incredibly proud of.
In my professional career I’ve had a wide range of experience starting as a trained nurse, then social work, public health and most recently NHS management. I’ve volunteered extensively outside of climbing, including a year in India helping public health initiatives in the Bangalore slums.
John Roberts – Vice President & Director (2018-2021)
Having spent the last year on the Organisational Review Group (ORG) I understand the complex issues and change the BMC currently faces, and the need to be the champion of all members, build bridges and enhance partnerships across climbing, hill walking and mountaineering. I have previously chaired the ABC Training Trust, the charity which administers the NICAS and NIBAS schemes.
Having started a career in the Royal Marines, I have previously worked in the climbing wall industry, taught as assistant head in an inner city secondary school and now run an edu-legal services company and a small strategy and technology consultancy. I am a climber of over 20 years, and have participated in all aspects of the sport from bouldering and lead competitions to skiing in the greater ranges.
Matthew Bradbury – Independent Director (2017-2020)
Matthew has been enjoying the outdoors since learning to climb, hill walk and ski when at school and has never looked back!
He has made a career out of caring for the countryside and ‘wild places’ in particular. For over 20 years, he ran a national consultancy business advising landowners on environmental management, access and sustainability. Since then, Matthew has been privileged to work in senior positions for one of the largest Wildlife Trusts, The Land Trust and now he enjoys running one of the largest independent Parks Trusts in the UK. Matthew’s current role, amongst many other things, involves the development and management (and use!) of Outdoor Activity Centres, which include climbing and bouldering in the broad range of activities on offer.
Having had many years working with, or for, well established charities and membership organisations, he has gained a great deal of experience in fundraising and in developing and valuing sustainable and complimentary activities, outcomes and benefits. He is also experienced in developing and implementing organisational strategies and ‘change’.
Outside of the ‘day job’, Matthew holds a number of voluntary positions including Chairmanship of The Parks Alliance and as a Member of a National Park Authority. When not working in the flatlands of East Anglia, he spends his time hill walking in the Peak District and as often as possible, and helping out the Knoydart Foundation in Scotland.
Simon McCalla – Senior Independent Director (2017-2020)
Simon learnt to climb on the sea cliffs of Devon and Cornwall in the late eighties, discovering some of the esoteric delights of the Culm coast and the joys of dodging the tides to get to routes. Moving on to gritstone, Scotland and the Alps, Simon then decided to use his climbing to help kids gain confidence through exploring the outdoors. More recently, he has focused on Winter climbing exploring Norway, Italy and Scotland in a quest to find some ice that doesn’t terrify him.
Professionally, Simon has a background in technology and has worked in a wide range of industries to help businesses achieve commercial growth. Of relevance to the BMC, he is currently running the technology behind the .UK domain name system for a membership organisation that is undergoing change, representing the interests of UK internet users, businesses and stakeholders internationally.
Simon is married with two girls, with the whole family being enthusiastic climbers and members.
Amanda Parshall – Independent Director (2018-2021)
Amanda has loved the outdoors since childhood, despite frequently being instructed “don’t move” by an avid bird-watching father when out with the family. Amanda is not a climber, nor a mountaineer, but she has a long-standing passion for the mountains and for long distance walks, particularly in the Pyrenees. Living in Australia for many years she has also spent a lot of time avoiding snakes and spiders in the NSW national parks, and in the mud of South West Tasmania.
A solicitor by profession, Amanda has extensive experience as a senior executive for large and complex organisations and has had a varied career working in legal and risk management around the world.
Roger Fanner – National Council Representative & Director (2017-2020)
Roger has been climbing and enjoying the mountains for over 50 years, and has represented the Midlands Area on National Council since 2015.
Roger does not claim to be a great climber. Nowadays, in his mid 60s, he is very content on VSs. He has climbed in most areas of the UK. Over the years, Roger has done mountaineering in the Alps and the High Atlas , via ferrata in the Dolomites and hill walking all over the UK. He also enjoys skiing.
Before retirement in 2012, he spent 40 years working in Magistrates' Courts as legal adviser to the court and managing the rest of the legal team. Within HM Courts Service, Roger was a senior manager and, as well as being a barrister before retirement, holds various qualifications in management, training and personnel practices.
Not content with a quiet retirement, nowadays Roger works as a climbing instructor, mostly at Midlands climbing walls, and mountain leader.
Will Kilner – National Council Representative & Director (2017 - 2020)
Will has been an active hill walker, climber and mountaineer for almost 20 years, and first joined the BMC in 2003.
As a member, he has been involved as a volunteer on many different levels across a range of BMC committees and events, and is currently chair of the Cymru South Wales Area.
Will believes it is important to have a voice for Wales to help address some of the issues associated with representing a country where many of the issues that affect walkers, climbers and mountaineers are devolved to the Welsh Assembly.
Rik Payne – National Council Representative & Director (2017 - 2019)
Rik is the deputy manager of an outdoor centre, where he line manages all of the teaching staff, and has responsibility for ensuring regulatory health & safety obligations as an outdoor activity provider.
He has also spent 10 years running his own business, gaining experience of dealing with the finances and the difficult choices involved with limited financial resources.
Rik has also been on the Board of Governors of two schools, sitting on Personnel, Health & Safety and Finance committees, and is currently chair of the London & South East Area.
Dave Turnbull – CEO and Company Secretary
Dave has had overall responsibility for all aspects of the BMC since 2002. He was a BMC Access & Conservation Officer from 1997-2001 and worked in environmental consultancy prior to that. He's a chartered surveyor, with an MSc in Marine Science. He's originally from Northumberland but began climbing on Dartmoor and the south west sea cliffs while a student at Plymouth Polytechnic.