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.
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.
Matthew Bradbury – Senior 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.
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.
Paul Drew – Independent Director (2019-2022)
Paul has been climbing for over 30 years, starting through his University mountaineering club. He has climbed and skied extensively throughout the world but North Wales has always been his favourite location conveniently close to his home near Chester.
With rock climbing he switches between trad and sports depending upon the location and season, equally at home on the sea cliffs in the Outer Hebrides, new routing in the Anti-Atlas in Morocco or sport climbing in Spain, France, Greece or Italy. However many places he visits though, he finds it hard to beat the excitement of climbing on Main Cliff at Gogarth with the waves crashing beneath his feet.
He also has a lot of experience in mountaineering, in the Alps and further back in the Himalayas and Andes. More recently he has focused on longer rock routes in the Alps & Spain, being fortunate to have a place in the Ecrins with both granite and limestone crags in close vicinity (Tete d’Aval being a particular favourite), but also trips to the Dolomites, Picos de Europa, Chamonix, Bregalia, Uri etc. In the last 12 years he has ventured more into ski mountaineering, a more enjoyable way to ascend high mountains in the Alps than snow plodding in the summer, typically managing 2 or 3 weeks each winter.
In his professional career he spent 25 years working in the IT/Telecoms sector for a company called Metaswitch holding a variety of senior management positions. Since retiring from this he has focused on supporting start-ups in the IT sector mostly in and around Manchester, acting as a mentor to Ignite (as start-up incubator), an advisor and a non-exec director at 4 companies. He is also involved as a non-exec director at his local climbing wall, Boulder Hut in Ellesmere Port where has has learnt a lot about the indoor climbing industry.
Fiona Sanders – National Council Representative & Director (2019-2022)
As a former president, vice president and secretary of the Climbers' Club (2005-2013), the largest BMC-affiliated club, Fiona dealt with a range of governance issues and brought a strategic direction to the club. In 2009 Fiona took the initiative in work that lead to the formation of the BMC Clubs’ Committee. After its inception, she helped set up and organise a training programme for club members and pushing for a FT club officer. As chair (2013-18), she inspired volunteers and staff alike, to co-ordinate their efforts on behalf of clubs.
Recently she became involved with the Lakes area as a National Council Representative where she has helped to introduce more effective communication and developing a co-ordinated approach to access and conservation. Alongside this Fiona has been integral to the Organisational Review and the Organisational Development Groups.
Fiona combines a passion for the outdoors with directly relevant knowledge & experience gained during a professional career in leadership development, performance management and executive coaching which also included being a Company Director and senior manager.
Fiona is still a regular climber in the mountains as well as at sports venues. She is a stalwart champion of all the different types of BMC members, striving to ensure that they are central to the BMC and that they are dealt with equitably within the BMC framework.
Chris Stone – National Council Representative & Director (2020-2023)
Chris began volunteering for the BMC in 2016 as Hill walking Rep for the London & South East Area. Over three years he increased the prominence of the hill walking in the area and led numerous walks for members in the local area. In 2018 he was elected Chair of the area and National Council rep. As chair, and now as a director, he has a particular interest in increasing member engagement across the organisation and championing the members’ voice.
Chris has a degree in Stage Management and has worked for over 8 years for a Multi Academy Trust in East London as Technical Manager for their two purpose-built theatres. His work for the trust has included involvement with two building projects, procurement of equipment and services, production and technical management of a range of events and overseeing commercial hires at the venues. Similarly to the outdoors, he is passionate about the arts, the impact it has on young people and increasing diversity within the sector.
Chris is currently training to be a mountain leader and escapes to the hills as often as possible enjoying scrambling and long-distance walks. A recent highlight was visiting Yosemite and hiking up some of the most iconic mountains in the world. To keep active whilst in London he has started indoor climbing and bouldering.
Jon Punshon – National Council Representative & Director (2020-2023)
Jon is a keen climber, skier and fell runner. He first developed an interest in the outdoors when a friend at University persuaded him to go backpacking in the Lake District. That trip was most memorable for the blistered Achilles heel, which took 6 months to fully heal; a consequence of borrowing old leather mountaineering boots from another friend which didn’t really fit and ground away about 3mm of flesh! Since then Jon has developed his critical faculties, is much more careful about his choice of equipment, and gone on to, despite the wobbly start, develop a great love of the outdoors. His principle interest is in alpinism and general mountaineering although more recently he has purchased a fingerboard in a vain effort to halt the ageing process.
A teacher originally working in secondary schools he ended his career in 2016 as a deputy head teacher in a large NE secondary school. Alongside his teaching career, Jon grew a freelance instructing and consultancy business having passed the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (recently re-named The Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor) in the 1990s. This is now Jon’s full time employment since 2016 and he has trained and assessed many NE based climbing instructors for MT qualifications such as the CWI and RCI. Jon works as a consultant and Technical Advisor to many climbing walls, scout groups and outdoor centres, he is very interested in promoting safe practice in our climbing activities.
Between 2012 and 2017 Jon was chair of the BMC North East area and joined the National Council in 2018.
Jonathan White – Nominated Director (2019-2022)
Growing up beside Dartmoor, hills and mountains have been a big part of Jonathan’s life since school days: starting with Ten Tors and DofE. Long walks became the objective in themselves, then university brought frequent weekend club trips around the UK, an introduction to playing in the snow and ice, and the first in a succession of Alps trips. Expeditions followed, with adventures in Argentina, Greenland, Norway, Svalbard, Morocco and Iran. This was alongside mountain walking and climbing in the UK, plus parallel interests in mountain biking, skiing and ski-mountaineering.
Professionally he is a Chartered Civil Engineer working as a director of construction and services businesses. He brings a combined operational and commercial focus and extensive line management and risk experience, including from challenging corporate governance roles. He has worked in various aspects of infrastructure in the UK and abroad, specialising in business transformation in mobilisation, delivery and recovery.
Jonathan has been on the committees of four clubs, including a large university club, a small start-up club, and more recently the Alpine Club, so brings a breadth and depth to the clubs’ perspective, and much of what’s involved with running them. A BMC club member since 1991 and individual member since 1996, he’s been active with three Areas, a member of the Management Committee that pre-dated the Board, Chair of Training, and was a member of two organisational reviews. Recently he has supported the governance workstream of the current BMC review.
Jonny Dry – Nominated Director (2019-2022)
A hooked climber ever since his Dad took him and his brother up Flying Buttress, Jonny is also a longstanding competitive fell, cross-country and track athlete. Through his role as Membership Secretary for Kendal Athletics Club, voluntary Mountain Leader work, and his involvement with the BMC he is passionate about the culture of both mountaineering and running, and working to engage young and under-represent individuals in its history, environment and community.
Alongside his outdoor background, Jonny has a particular passion for arts and culture more broadly; be it literature, film or music. To this end he has directed and produced fictional films since 2012, with his latest project screening at UK film festivals, and further upcoming short films portraying remote communities and rural environments on screen. He also works as an assistant director on both short and feature length work, advising and running production logistics on-set and managing diverse teams of cast and crew.
Alongside this he has studied mountain and environmental literature at Lancaster University, and also worked as a freelance marketer and writer for a range of organisations; including the Mountain Heritage Trust, Mount Everest Foundation and Alpine Club.
Huw Jones – Nominated Director (2019-2022)
Having been brought up on the edge of ‘Waterfall Country’ in the Brecon Beacons, it was fairly inevitable that Huw developed a love of the outdoors. A few years at Loughborough University studying Data Processing saw him return home where he’s enjoyed the welsh hills and mountains for more years than he’s willing to count.
A desire to show his young daughter what the outdoors has to offer saw Huw go through Mountain Leader training and subsequently join both Gwent Mountaineering Club and Brecon Beacons Climbing and Mountaineering Club, both of which have helped him further his experience and re – enforced his view of the benefits of a club environment. He remains a member of both and now also chairs Cloudbase Mountain Adventures – a mountaineering club that he formed with his partner Emma and which he has successfully taken through the BMC affiliation process.
Huw confesses that whilst he is quite comfortable walking the hills, he is still learning to climb. Outside of the world of mountaineering, Huw enjoys Scuba diving, cooking and various racket sports. He’s better at climbing than he is at golf.
Huw’s ‘day job’ began when he entered the world of accountancy with Coopers and Lybrand straight from University, moving into industry some eight years later where he has held senior and executive roles in the construction & engineering, food, education and aerospace sectors. For the last ten years he has run his own consultancy company providing executive and non – executive financial directorship to small and medium sized enterprises, including the management of HR and IT systems, ad – hoc management consultancy and business mentoring. He brings with him significant commercial and management experience.
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.