West Midlands Regional Advisory Board

The main purpose of our regional advisory board is to connect people and communities with the local canals and rivers here in the West Midlands region.

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Upcoming meetings

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Our boards give local people:

  • a voice in developing and improving their waterways
  • a chance to connect with their waterside communities
  • an opportunity to help guide our decisions and strategies
  • the ability to support and champion the waterways in this region

Find out about opportunities to join the West Midlands advisory board

Meet our regional advisory board members

Chair - John Hudson OBE DL

John was an apprentice with BSA Motorcycles in Birmingham, obtaining a Masters degree in production engineering and moved to Morphy Richards Ltd in Doncaster becoming its MD.

After qualifying as a chartered engineer he joined the Delta group and eventually became MD of their Fluid Controls division in West Bromwich. He moved to Telford to become CEO of Wagon Group plc for 10 years and since then has been CEO/Chair of private equity-backed businesses and served for 10 years each on the boards of two listed PLCs as a non-executive director.

He served as president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, chair of the West Midlands Industrial Development Board and was chair of Birmingham Airport for 20 years. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 and is a deputy lieutenant for the West Midlands, was High Sheriff of the West Midlands 2017/8 and holds an honorary doctorate.

John McNicholas

John has been a member of the Council for Lower Stoke since 1986, prior to which he was a shop steward at Jaguar Cars. He has held many responsible positions for the City Council including Chair of P&A, Environment and more recently Transportation. John’s appointment will fill a much-needed gap in Coventry as they run up to the City of Culture in 2021.

Helen Paterson

Helen is Chief Executive at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. After initially teaching in Yorkshire she successfully led three Primary schools in Hampshire. From 2003 she was a Director in Solihull and Executive Director of Children’s Services in Sunderland 2005-10. From 2010, in Sunderland, as Strategic Director for Transformation, she led the Council’s business transformation, efficiency and improvement work. She joined Walsall in 2017 after being Chief Executive at Wrexham County Borough Council from 2011-17.  Helen is currently Secretary of the Association of Black Country Authorities and Black Country Executive Joint Committee. Helen is also Chairman of West Midlands Metropolitan Chief Executives Group. Helen is a JP; Visiting Professor; keen daily swimmer and small scale keeper of chickens.

Waseem Zaffar MBE

Cllr Zaffar is Cabinet Member, Transport & Environment, at Birmingham City Council, and Labour Councillor for Lozells, the area in which he was born and brought up. He was for many years a local magistrate, as well as the CEO of a local not-for-profit organisation and has had his community work recognised by a number of awards, including an MBE for services to the voluntary sector. Waseem is also a non-Executive Director at the Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust, which includes City Hospital, and he chairs the Charity Funds Committee. He developed the successful Birmingham Heritage Week now in its third year, promoting the Birmingham story – learning, achievements and contributions of the communities. Waseem is also a Governor of the school he attended and a member of Unite.

Prubhjyot Singh

Prubhjyot was born in Kenya but spent his childhood living in Punjab before moving to England at the age of 10. Having been the first person in the family to attend university, he studied BEng in Avionics Technology before going on to work on European Space Agency projects such as ExoMars and BepiColombo. He is currently working as a Quality Manager within the technical ceramics industry supplying parts to industries such as automotive, medical, nuclear and space. Prubhjyot is also a founding director of EcoSikhUK Community Interest Company, a non-profit organisation which is part of a wider global climate action programme by Eco-Sikh – the Sikh community’s contribution to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) / Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) Plans for Generational Change Project.

Nick Giess

Nick is a serving Police Officer in the West Midlands. He has been in the police for 29 years and he is currently the Constituency Inspector for the Selly Oak area of Birmingham. Outside of policing, Nick has a background in volunteering with youth organisations, having previously run an Air Cadet Unit and currently being an assistant leader at an Explorer Scout Group. He was part of the 2019 Hereford & Worcestershire Scout Contingent, who spent a month in Kenya and Tanzania building water reclamation and storage facilities.

Last date edited: 8 April 2022