Board of Trustees

The Trustees


The Board of Trustees have responsibility under the trust’s articles of association for controlling its management and administration. They have responsibility for directing its affairs, and for ensuring that it is solvent, well-run and delivering the trust’s charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public.

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Claire Wood - Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 6/7/20 - 7/7/24
Area of special interest: Governance and Executive Management
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 15/10/19)

In Claire's 37 year career in the NHS, she has held positions in clinical nursing and executive management and leadership. Before retiring in 2008, Claire held the post of Chief Executive for the former East Riding of Yorkshire Primary Care Trust for 2 ½ years. During her professional career, she became adept at developing, interpreting and implementing strategy; able at meeting deadlines and targets and competing priorities; and flexible and resilient to the ever- changing policy agenda.

Over the years, Claire has held voluntary positions in the community as a youth leader in 2 local churches, a member of an Independent Monitoring Board for a local prison, a Trustee for a national Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Charity, a Magistrate and a Parish Councillor. This varied experience has exposed her to different organisational systems and cultures, given her new networks, knowledge and confidence, and allowed Claire to transfer her skills to support and challenge leaders in different fields.

Her interest in education began in 2009 when she coordinated a team of 12 mentors supporting GCSE maths students at Sydney Smith School. This prompted her to become a school governor, which she did first at Sydney Smith and then at Kelvin Hall. Claire was elected Chair of Governors at Kelvin Hall in 2014. Claire feels that it has been a real privilege to be a governor in an outstanding school and to support the co-operative values of the schools who have become partners in the Thrive Trust. Whatever new changes are ahead for education, Claire is keen to work with local leaders to develop the best possible environment for students and staff to be successful.

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Steve Jones - Vice Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 6/7/20 - 7/7/24
Area of special interest: Finance/Governance
Business Interests: HCUK Director, Pathway Plus CIC Director, Quibell & Son Holdings Director (Declaration received 15/10/19)

I am a qualified Chartered Accountant and Barnardo’s foster carer. I have been a school governor for 16 years and have been Chair of Governors in 3 schools including St George’s Primary. I passionately believe that every child should be given the same opportunities to achieve their maximum potential. I aim to ensure this happens by providing financial experience to the Trust and through challenge of the management and senior leadership teams within the Trust.

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Andy Smith - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 15/10/19)

I was born in Leicester and am an English Graduate of the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. My 35 years in corporate life were predominantly as an HR Director at Britvic Soft Drinks, Bass Brewers and Wedgwood.

Since retiring from the private sector and moving to North Ferriby, I spent 10 years as a Magistrate in Hull and 6 years on the Police Authority where I chaired the HR Committee.

I am currently a member of the Governance Audit and Scrutiny Committee of the Fire Authority and the Joint Independent Audit Committee of the PCC/Police. I am also a Board Member of the Alcohol and Drugs Service in Hull.

Until recently, I have been a Governor at Newland School for Girls and will be able to use that experience at the Trust.

Having a background of high level experiences in both the public and private sectors, I am able to work constructively in developing strategy, analysing data, challenging performance and driving change.

I am an avid sports fan especially rugby union and cricket, as well as following the political and commercial fortunes of the country closely.

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Paul Britton - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: Principal at Wyke (Declaration received 15/10/19)

I am an experienced leader in education having worked at five large colleges offering academic provision, four of which are currently graded outstanding by Ofsted. I studied PPE at Oxford University and started my career as an A level Philosophy teacher at Exeter College, which is a particularly privileged role to have had! Since that time, I have worked in a range of leadership roles, most recently as Vice Principal: Sixth Form at Nelson and Colne College in Lancashire. I have been Principal at Wyke Sixth Form College since September and I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to contribute to fantastic education in Hull. This is the key reason for my wanting to be a trustee with Thrive, by working together we can have a great impact in terms of transforming life chances for young people in the local area. Also, Wyke and Kelvin Hall have a long history of close working which I am very keen to continue. I believe that I will bring experience of outstanding education provision, a vision of educational leadership and energy and passion to the role of Trustee.

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Helen Cooper – Trustee

Term of Office: 06/07/21 – 06/07/25
Area of Special Interest: HR
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 24/06/21)

Following an early career as a teacher Helen moved into Local Government HR eventually becoming the Director of HR - Children’s Services, for a local authority. She then ran a successful HR consultancy business specialising in Education HR for 21 years (HC Associates Ltd). During this time, she worked as an Interim HR Director in various Local Authorities and an HR Consultant to schools and academies across the UK. Her business expanded and her team worked with academies and academy trusts as well as special schools. She brings a wealth of HR experience specialising in employment law in the Education sector and HR.
In 2016 Helen was honoured to be asked to become a trustee of NASEN (National Association of Special Educational Needs) and when, in 2019, HC Associates was bought by North Yorkshire Council this set Helen free to enjoy retirement and take on voluntary roles. Becoming a trustee of Thrive in 2021 is fulfilling an ambition Helen has held for a while but which was difficult during her working life due to frequent long distance travel.

Mike Wood.jpg

Michael Wood - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 21/10/19)

I am 56 years old, separated with a teenage daughter. I was born on Merseyside but finished my education in West Wales and Surrey before moving to Teesside to work in the high-hazard chemical industry. I moved to Humberside in 2011 and have run my own Health and Safety Consultancy since 2013. I have operated within the Boardroom as a UK Company Director and have been a member of several Global Business Leadership Teams in multinational chemical and power sector companies. I have also been a pension scheme trustee.

My work life is focused on legal and corporate compliance, closely followed by driving improvement in performance and developing a positive culture in the workplace so everyone goes home safe at the end of the day. I am experienced in delivering successful change management.

I believe good education is a key area for a successful society and the role of Trustee is something which I can make a contribution to – supporting an environment which allows kids to succeed will be very satisfying! I probably have a totally different skill set from most Trustees and I may offer a different perspective and ideas in some areas.

Outside work I have a teenage daughter experiencing the strains of growing up in the 21st Century.  My relaxation comes from watching sport, particularly football, rugby and cricket. I also collect military medals.

Peter Thundercliffe.jpg

Peter Thundercliffe - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 15/10/19)

I was educated at Riley High School in Hull and began my working career in the National Health service, primarily working in the operating theatre of the Hull Royal infirmary.​

Following this I moved in to the commercial world and through my career have had numerous roles, including Business unit manager, National sale manager, Global sales manager, European sales and marketing manager, eventually becoming a divisional Vice President for Europe the Mideast and Africa with a multi-national orthopaedic company. I now act as a Business Consultant and also work with a not for profit community interest company.

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Sara De Tute - Trustee

Term of Office: 18/12/18 - 18/12/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 25/10/19)

I am married to Paul with grown up children and a yellow Labrador. I was born, and grew up, in Leeds but worked in the centre of Hull for 9 years and have lived in or around Hull for the last 14 years. I started my working life in a hospital laboratory but later went to Leeds University as a mature student where I graduated with a law degree. I qualified as a solicitor in a commercial law firm, but later moved in-house to financial services where I sat as a board director with responsibility for legal, risk and regulatory compliance in the UK and Europe. I have now retired from full time employment but sit on a small number of boards as a non-Executive director.
I volunteered to be a trustee of the Trust as I believe that all young people deserve a great education and that each should be given the opportunity, through appropriate education and support, to reach their own individual potential. I have mentored a number of people throughout my working life, and have always encouraged those who have worked with, and for, me to expand and develop their skills and knowledge.
I am passionate about achieving high standards and having the appropriate governance and believe that as a trustee I can use my skills and business experience to support the Trust in achieving its aims.

Catherine Douglas.jpg

Ms Catherine Douglas - Trustee

Term of Office: 09/07/19 - 14/09/23
Area of special interest: Legal/Employment Law
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 15/10/19)

I bring 20 plus years of business experience to Thrive, having held Exec leadership roles in retail, retail banking, business banking and estate agency. I have a master’s in Leadership and Change management.

I am currently responsible for business banking in TSB, where I lead the team to deliver key objectives whilst streamlining systems and processes to improve efficiencies and enhance our proposition. Working, closely with Field Relationship Managers, our branch network and core business areas to make banking better for people, businesses and their communities.

I am also the Executive Sponsor for Gender in TSB, which involves working with the HR team and Gender Affinity group to achieve our Gender Balance goals and support female career progression.

I became a trustee as I believe that young people deserve a great education and I am passionate about young people being able to maximise their potential. I believe that I can use my skills and experience to support the Trust in achieving its goals.

I am married and have 3 children (and a little dog called Betty). I love keeping fit, holidays and spending time with my family.

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Mr Ron Leary - Trustee

Term of Office: 07/07/20 - 06/07/24
Area of special interest: Business and Finance
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 30/06/20)

I am 52 years old, married with two  children. I worked for Jacksons Bakery for 36 years,joining from school I worked my way up to  a number of Senior Leadership roles in Operations and Project management.

In my previous roles I have always needed to work with stakeholders and I look forward to engaging with all levels to help  the Trust meet its objectives.

I volunteered to become a Trust Board member as I’m keen that everyone no matter what their background should receive the best education possible and I aim to use my experience and commitment to help the team deliver this.

My hobbies include trail running,cycling and I enjoy watching most sports.


Zoe Green - Trustee

Term of Office: 06/07/21 – 06/07/25
Area of special interest: Business
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 28/9/21)

I was born in Beverley and have lived in the local area most of my life. I have worked in the food service sector since the age of 13 and most recently as a Commercial Director for a national business. I recently retired from this position at the age of 53 after the business was sold and I no longer wanted to travel the motorways of Great Britain. I have taken up the role as a Trust Director as I want to assist The Board in making a difference to the children in the surrounding area with the various skills I have learnt over the years in marketing, finance, training and business strategy.

I enjoy entertaining, road cycling, walking and jogging.


Bill Maxwell - Trustee - Resigned (08/11/21)

Chris Shepherdson - Trustee - Resigned (11/01/21)

Humphrey Forrest - Trustee - Resigned (01/05/20)

Sarah Smythe - Trustee - Resigned (12/12/17)

Michelle Dewland - Trustee - Resigned (12/12/17)

Jay Trivedy - Trustee - Resigned (31/8/18)

Sarah Shaw - Trustee - Resigned (24/9/18)

James McIntosh - Trustee - Resigned (1/3/19)