The Beaconsfield Society and Beaconsfield Old Town Residents Association (BOTRA) merged formally at the AGM of The Beaconsfield Society in November 2016, after the BOTRA AGM and a Special General Meeting of The Beaconsfield Society gave unanimous approval for the merger. A new Constitution was created based on the original Beaconsfield Society Constitution, updated to reflect current practice and to incorporate certain elements of that from BOTRA.
A new Executive Committee was formed from members from both previous committees and is responsible for the management and administration of the Society. It consists of the Officers and the chairs of Subcommittees responsible for the different activities of the Society plus one other elected member, all of whom are subject to annual election. The Officers consist of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer who are eligible for re-election at the Annual General Meeting for a maximum period of five years.
The Committee is delighted to welcome Dominic Grieve QC MP, Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield as our Patron and it also has the benefit of advice from two former Chairmen, Les Davies our President and Sandy Saunders, our Vice-President.
The current Committee consists of the following members:
Chairman, Mike Elliot
I have lived in Beaconsfield for the last 26 years with my wife Jenny. Our two grown-up children attended and flourished in our excellent local schools, Butlers Court, Beaconsfield High and the RGS. I was an active member of Round Table for many years and served as Chairman and President, before moving on to the local “41 club” where I have also been Chairman.
I retired from my role as CEO of the Clare Foundation, a local charity that helps other charities be a little more effective and efficient, four years ago and since then have served as a Trustee. I recently was elected Co-Chair. I have a portfolio of other interests including Chairmanship of the national charity Coeliac UK, I am on the loans committee of the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation, the Heart of Bucks, on the committee of the Chilterns branch of the rugby charity, Wooden Spoon and continue to find time to do some pro bono coaching, mentoring and facilitation work with other local Charity sector organisation. I have more than 30 years’ experience working in large UK and US multi-national companies, specialising in Business Process Management, Property and Facilities Management, Systems and IT. This involved a lot of International travel and one point I had accumulated more than 1 million air miles!
During my time as CEO of the Clare Foundation at Saunderton, it was a great pleasure to forge many links within the county’s local Government, charity and business communities.
Secretary, Laurence Smaje
After qualifying in medicine, I spent 25 years in medical research in the University of London. I then spent my remaining working life in the largest medical research charity in the world, the Wellcome Trust. Whilst there, I developed a new programme in informing and engaging the public on issues arising from medicine and its advances. This is now known as the Wellcome Collection.
On retirement in 2001, I returned to Beaconsfield where I had lived when my children were young and attended Holtspur School. I became closely reintegrated into the local community and first became a member of Beaconsfield Concerts committee and then the Beaconsfield Independent Electors Association. I joined the Beaconsfield Society shortly after coming here and became its Secretary after the Parish Appraisal and Big Society meetings in the town when it became clear that our community lacked a common community spirit. With my colleagues in the Society we are keen to find ways of remedying this.
My wife has recently retired as Chairman of Governors at Holtspur School from which it is obvious that we are both deeply committed to the local community and wish to see it flourish.
Treasurer, Graeme Richards
I trained as a Civil Engineer and spent some 35 years in the construction industry, primarily as an engineering manager in project management. Apart from the different engineering challenges, I found myself working in areas varying from utilities companies and the retail sector to pharmaceutical companies and the Health Service.
Retiring with the expectation of a quieter less stressful life, I found myself involved in a campaign to introduce parking restrictions by residents where I live in Beaconsfield. It was a struggle to convince the Bucks County Highway authority of the need for such restrictions but safety concerns seem to have won the day.
Other Committee members
I have lived in Beaconsfield for 13 years now along with my Husband and daughter having previously lived either abroad in various countries or in Hampshire. As well as being a full time working mum, I was also on the Friends of Beaconsfield High School committee with my main role being the organizing of the Christmas Fair to raise substantial funds for the school. I have worked in the environmental sector for over 25 years predominantly for a multinational company and am now self-employed as a consultant providing communications and engagement strategies and facilitating them for a variety of businesses in the environmental sector. I am an author having published my first book in 2016 titled ‘Save Pounds and the Planet’ and say with some pride that my book is also for sale by the world famous Eden Project, Cornwall. In November 2016 I also sat on the panel of experts at the High Wycombe Climate change conference ‘Can Women Cool it?’ and I constantly strive for less impact on the environment in my work and at home.
I have been a Master Composter since 2007 and am an Energy Champion, volunteering in Buckinghamshire to spread the word on how to reduce your waste, save energy, and compost your food and garden waste.
In Buckinghamshire I have worked as a Buckinghamshire Master Composter Co-ordinator and Waste Reduction Officer on contract and worked on various projects which aims to reduce household waste being disposed of, working with the third sector and other stakeholders and managing 120 volunteers.
For Beaconsfield I want to preserve our natural environment and improve our urban environment to reflect this rural market town setting and enhance it where appropriate. I chair the Environment working group and would like to encourage local people to join in and help make Beaconsfield have the best environment to live in that it can, be it bulb planting, community litter picking to objecting to greenbelt release and much more.
After I left my home town of Durham City, I was appointed as a graduate trainee with Bucks County Council and worked in many of the branch libraries in the south of the County. Subsequently I worked at Beaconsfield Library for nearly 20 years as Branch and then Area Librarian, followed by 5 years as Area Librarian at High Wycombe.
I have lived in Beaconsfield since 1984 and I have been very happy here. Since my retirement I have tried to give back to the town and the community in my voluntary work. At the present time I am cooking once a month for the Beaconsfield Community Association’s Lunch Club for our Senior Citizens and on Wednesdays helping with the Beaconsfield Archive project.
Then with the help and support of my fellow committee members I have enjoyed arranging events and talks to celebrate the past and raise awareness of our famous residents. These include 2012 Robert Frost Centenary, 2013 Enid Blyton Week, 2014 WW1 Commemoration Behind The Lines Poetry and Prose, April 2015 WW2 Secret History of Wilton Park and Nov 2015 WW2 Bugging the Nazis. Then in September 2016 as I was involved in the acquisition of Enid Blyton’s sundial the Society was invited to the unveiling party at Bekonscot Model Village. This was another most enjoyable event.
My plan for 2017 is to promote awareness of another famous resident, the children’s writer Alison Uttley, creator of The Little Grey Rabbit stories.
My background is Norwegian and I return to Norway as often as I can to visit family and friends.
I’m a relative newcomer to Beaconsfield, having lived and worked in London for nearly 20 years before moving out here a couple of years ago with my husband and two young daughters. We were drawn to Beaconsfield’s history, beautiful countryside and sense of community, and after getting involved in the Vision for Beaconsfield project I joined the Beaconsfield Society committee to continue to support and preserve the things I love about living here. I am a strong advocate of volunteering and community engagement, both personally and through my career in HR and business management, and am keen to help in promoting these through the Society.
I have lived in Beaconsfield over 20 years with my husband and three daughters. My husband and I enjoy playing bridge, reading, sailing and walking our dog in the beautiful local countryside
I am a trained doctor and worked in General Practice for over ten years. I now run parenting classes locally and in London. I am a strong believer in family and community. Presently, I am a lollipop lady in Ledborough Lane and on Thursdays help lead Simply Walk, encouraging healthy exercise and friendship. I was a school Governor for six years. I have been involved in the Knotty Green project to renovate the recreation area and pond now enjoyed by many. Helping to lead the Beaconsfield Archive Project involves training volunteers to preserve documents and photos important to this historic town and to make them available to all. Planning and development is blighting our beautiful town and is proving difficult to control, even our local 300-year-old pub is under threat. There are more challenges ahead and hence I am a member of the Beaconsfield Society helping to challenge planning applications where needed. I also help run the annual Beaconsfield Now event that showcases the inspiring not for profit organizations that help make Beaconsfield the enjoyable place it is today. Much has to be done to embrace change but also to preserve what is important to us all.
After reading law at King’s College London, I practised as a solicitor in the City of London for many years before moving to Beaconsfield where I have lived for the past 20 years. I have more recently worked in Maidenhead as a solicitor specialising in all aspects of property work, both residential and commercial.
I have actively opposed planning applications affecting Beaconsfield on the policy grounds set out in the current Local Plan and am a member of the Local Plan Watch which has been established to monitor the progress of the emerging Local Plan. The proposed Local Plan will affect the town for many years to come and it is important for residents to be informed about it, express opinions and play a part in the process of bringing the new Local Plan into being.
I have 2 sons and I am currently carer for my elderly father. In my spare time I am a keen rugby supporter and cinema goer and enjoy exploring our beautiful countryside.
President, Les Davies
We have lived in Beaconsfield since 1983 when my employment with a blue-chip multi-national healthcare company brought me to the area. My children were educated in Holtspur and my support for the school’s parent association drew me into service in the local community. My wife is a retired teacher, my son is serving with the Army and my daughter lives and teaches locally.
I served on Beaconsfield Town Council for 20 years and was Mayor in 1998-99. I have seen many changes in the town and like to think that I have contributed to improvements such as replacing roadside trees, upgrading children’s playgrounds, installing CCTV and providing finger posts in the town. Conservation of the built and natural environment is important to me and I am a keen allotment gardener. I have been involved with the impressive Holtspur Bank Local Nature Reserve since it was designated in 1995 and I am an active Friend of Holtspur Bank.
My willingness to get involved with the local community and an interest in healthcare has led to an understanding of the challenges faced by community groups, the voluntary sector and local government in delivering high quality value added services. I have been Chairman of Holtspur Scouts, was a governor of HoltspurSchool for 10 years and was a member of the Buckinghamshire Primary Care Patient and Public Involvement Forum for four years. I have been a member of the Beaconsfield Society since 1998 and was its Chairman 1999-2004. I have also served as its Vice-President before being appointed President in 2008. I am also Chairman of Carers Bucks, a Buckinghamshire charity which provides support to family carers, and a member of the Woodlands District Scout Executive Committee.
Vice President, Sandy Saunders
Educated at Highgate School in London, Sandy was conscripted into the Forces and trained as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. He then spent 10 years in industry, before joining the management consultancy practice, McKinsey. He went on to be appointed Chairman of some 20 UK industrial holding companies, overseeing the provision of equity capital. At this time, he also served as a Lieutenant Commander with the Royal Navy Reserve, specialising on mine countermeasures, for which he was awarded the Reserve Decoration. He has served as a Council member of the CBI, as an Industrial advisor to international banks, the former Industrial Unit of the Bank of England, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Sandy’s work across the voluntary sector has been equally diverse: serving as the founding President of Brain Tumour Research, and as Master of the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers, He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1985, elected a Town Councillor in 2011 and appointed Mayor of Beaconsfield in 2013/4, after which he formed the Association of Mayors of Buckinghamshire.
In 2015 he was invited to become Chairman of the Beaconsfield Old Town Residents Association (now merged with the Beaconsfield Society, of which he has also been a Chairman) and in 2016 was elected Chairman of the Beaconsfield Community Association.