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Our Trustees

Our board of Trustees work together to set Tree Aid's strategic direction. They ensure we are true to our mission and values and check our progress against our strategy.

"Tree Aid has successfully worked in sub-Saharan Africa for three decades now, earning the respect of local people and aid agencies alike. As a professional forester, I know that if forests are protected, water and soils needed for agriculture will also thrive, helping communities become self-sufficient. Using trees to combat poverty seems such an obvious win-win to me."
Shireen Chambers MBE, Chair of Trustees

Shireen Chambers, Chair

Shireen studied forestry and soil science at Bangor University working with the government of the Bahamas to set up a new forestry department in the 1980s. She then worked with the Central Scotland Forest and continued as a practitioner in community and urban forestry throughout the UK. Shireen has been in her current role as Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters since 2006. Her non-executive board appointments have included Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Forest Research, Forestry Commission’s Regional Advisory Committee for Mid-Scotland (Chair) and Edinburgh Green Belt Trust. Shireen was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2019 for her service to forestry. She has been the Tree Aid Chair since 2017.

Judith Coates

Judith is a Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in finance having held senior roles in both the commercial sector at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Laporte plc and in the charitable sector as Chief Financial Officer of Impetus — The Private Equity Foundation and Chief Operating Officer of StreetDoctors. Judith is currently Head of Finance and Risk at Synchronicity Earth. She has an MSc from London University in Environmental Management and is firmly committed to protecting the environment and the third sector. Judith served as Tree Aid's Treasurer from 2017 to 2021.

Alex Rees

Alex Rees has 20 years of leadership in the international development field, inspiring and influencing change in policy and programmes. His current role, as Strategy and Portfolio Lead at Wasafiri Consulting, is deepening his experience of steering multi-stakeholder partnerships seeking to overcome complex problems in agriculture and food security in Africa. He has a broad and vibrant network, and has substantial experience of raising institutional funds. He is delighted to be a Trustee for Tree Aid after a MA in Environment and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1998 established a long-term interest in how natural resource management interplays with human development. Alex has been a Tree Aid trustee since 2016. 

Trevor Reaney

Trevor retired from his post as Clerk and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the end of June 2016. During a career spanning both the private and public sectors, he served as CEO of three public sector bodies in Northern Ireland for 20 years. These roles have provided extensive experience in strategic leadership and corporate governance. Trevor currently holds positions as Non-Executive Director of two public bodies, is a Trustee of the CS Lewis Institute (Belfast) and undertakes international parliamentary development consultancy projects. Trevor has been a Tree Aid trustee since 2016.

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth is an experienced senior leader in the public sector, with a particular interest in good governance, workforce and organisational design. As an HR practitioner, she has had roles in international development with both the UK government’s Department for International Development and the United Nations. Elizabeth was part of the senior team in Wales that brought together the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and Countryside Council. She loves trees, grows them and is keen to promote Tree Aid’s vision, mission and values. Elizabeth has been a Tree Aid trustee since 2018. 

Nick Pride

Nick is Director of Individual Giving and Loyalty at Marie Curie, which he joined in December 2019. He brings to the board a wide range of skills and experience of fundraising and direct marketing, which helps to challenge, benchmark and strengthen Tree Aid’s public fundraising. Nick has been a Tree Aid trustee since 2018. 

Hilary Allison

Hilary’s experience is in advocacy for forests and for nature both in the UK and internationally. As Director of Policy for the Woodland Trust she established the Trust’s approach to campaigning and lobbying for UK woodland from 1998 onwards. More recently she worked for UNEP-WCMC as Head of Ecosystem Assessment and Policy Support, focusing on the power of data, information, evidence and knowledge to underpin better biodiversity-related decision-making. She now work as a government appointed Forestry Commissioner for England and freelance  environmental consultant.  She became a Tree Aid Trustee in 2021.

Philip Songhurst-Thonet

Having grown up in Africa, Philip was struck by the value of trees to communities for energy, protection, construction and food. As a Management Consultant with Ernst & Young and more recently Director for Control Risks, Philip has worked with high profile organisations to improve risk and security management, financial measures, system controls and procedures. Philip is also a coach and mentor for UnLtd, a support network for social entrepreneurs, and he has advised start up charities on best practice management techniques. Philip has been a Tree Aid trustee since 2018. 

Alex Simuyandi

Alex has experience leading the operations of organisations in inclusive finance. He was Head of Operations at The Private Infrastructure Development Group, an infrastructure development and finance organisation that delivers pioneering infrastructure in the poorest and most fragile countries. Prior to that he was Group Operations Director at AgDevCo, an impact investor that focusses on inclusive African agriculture. He has worked for the UN, advancing inclusive agri-SME and smallholder finance, as well as in the private sector with global agricultural value chains. He is passionate about protecting and enhancing livelihoods whilst mitigating the effects of climate change. He became a Tree Aid Trustee in 2021.

Tristram Hilborn

Tristram is a Chartered Forester and is an environmentalist with more than 20 years’ experience in the land management sector. Tristram is the Chief Operating Officer for Forestry England, the largest landowner in England, with responsibility for the organisations operations. Tristram is also a Non-Executive Director for the Broads National Park. Tristram has an Masters of Business Administration from Bayes Business school and is committed to sustainable land management to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits. Tristram has served as a Trustee for Tree Aid since 2021.