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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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.

Philip Bateman MBE

Currently, Phil is a Labour Party Councillor for Wednesfield North in the City of Wolverhampton. His term of office ends in 2020. Phil is a former Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton and was awarded an MBE for services to the region's transport in 2004. Previously, Phil was the Director of Public Affairs at Travel West Midlands, leaving the National Express Group in 2008. He's now retired after running his own Consultancy business and working with Public Transport Companies UK wide, as well as public transport companies including the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Campbell Boyle

Campbell lives with his wife in Gnosall by the Shropshire Union Canal, where they moor their narrow boat.  After service in the Royal Engineers, he worked as a Civil Engineer, becoming a Director in the UK and subsequently a Director of major projects in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Algeria, where he managed over two thousand employees.  In the UK, Campbell worked with the Government and the Promoters of PFI projects, then became Chair of a Health Sector Public/Private company for seven years.  In the Voluntary Sector, Campbell is a Trustee and former Chair of a re-cycling charity, and a former Board Member of a European Social Fund initiative.

Ewan Hamnett

Now a retired GP, Ewan previously worked as a partner at Lordswood Practice, Harborne from 1988-2014. Ewan's current role as Champion for Physical Activity in Birmingham arose after a meeting with a then cabinet member for sport and activity and he has spent the last year and a half meeting anyone involved with activity across the city. A summary of Ewan's role is trying to create synergy between the many organisations across Birmingham. Ewan was previously on the board of national organisation UK Active, from 2016-2019.

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.

Imran Mirza

Imran is a Police Officer who works within a partnerships team having responsibility for several portfolios such as crime and anti-social behaviour, licensing, Restorative Justice and Designing out crime. He successfully launched Canal Watch across the West Midlands in collaboration with the Canal & River Trust Partnership team and a range of other partners.

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.

John Yates

John Yates was born in 1946 and has had a lifetime’s involvement in the historic environment, and industrial heritage in particular. He is now retired, after a career that included 27 years as an English Heritage/Historic England Inspector. He is a former Chair of The Institute of Historic Building Conservation, who nominated him for our council. He has also served on the trust's Heritage Advisory Group, North Wales and Borders Partnership, Montgomery Canal Partnership and Historic Boat Advisory Panel. He and his wife Sue have been boaters since the 1970s, and own historic narrow boat ‘Buckden’.

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.

Last date edited: 9 December 2019