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The charity making life better by water

Yorkshire and North East 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 Yorkshire and North East region.

Woman smiles at camera in front of a canal lined with moored boats and buildings

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 Yorkshire and North East advisory board.

Meet our regional advisory board members

Chair - Helen Grantham

Helen Grantham

Helen is a lawyer by profession and has worked for many years on the Executive of large, listed companies and complex organisations across a range of industries and during times of significant organisational change. She has many years of board level experience as well as of multi-stakeholder environments. She is currently Group Secretary and General Counsel at the Co-op Group with responsibilities covering legal, governance, risk, audit and public affairs and campaigns.

She is passionate about ensuring everyone can meet their full potential and ensuring diverse and inclusive environments. She also has a keen interest in education and learning and is a Council member at University of Leeds where she was an undergraduate. She is also part of the Leeds Law School mentoring programme.

She is a keen walker (often accompanied by her dog, Walter) as well as having an interest in our heritage and countryside.

She has a strong connection to Yorkshire and the North East having been born, educated and living in the region for much of her life.

Adrian Curtis

Having trained as a public sector accountant and worked for two innovative local authorities, Adrian took the opportunity to join Groundwork - the national environmental and social regeneration charity - in 1996. Adrian has worked with many hundreds of committed and passionate colleagues, organisations and partners in the public and private sector. Groundwork has always worked in areas of greatest deprivation in the country.

He has lived and worked in West Yorkshire for most of his life and lives within walking distance of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. He has witnessed how part of his local route has been transformed over the past few years for waterway users and local communities and is keen to contribute to the future of the region and the nations waterways.

Caroline Thorogood

Following childhood holidays exploring the British countryside, Caroline developed a passion for our wildlife and wild places. She brings two decades of experience in species and habitat management and in engaging a broad range of people with green and blue spaces. Caroline worked previously for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, most recently as Operations Director and Interim Chief Executive. She is now at National Trust as a National Specialist in Nature Conservation supporting teams across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to make a difference for nature, climate and people.

Caroline thrives on working in partnership with others and is passionate about the difference a connection to nature can make for people's health and wellbeing. She lives just outside of York, and enjoys its rivers and waterways for dog walking and wildlife watching in her spare time.

Nick Garthwaite

Nick started working life as an Apprentice Engineer at David Brown Gear Industries in Huddersfield in the 1970's. He moved into Sales and ended up as a Managing Director of a German subsidiary, Flender. Nick's last role was as Managing Director of chemical company Christeyns based in Bradford. A very strong advocate of “Process thinking” and what might be described as an “Empowered Culture”. Nick is currently retired and loves to spend his spare time walking in the Dales and Lakes, as well as being a volunteer lock keeper at Bank Newton.

Jon Ingham

Jon is currently a volunteer lock keeper on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Jon's experience covers a wide range on charity roles, which have resulted in the the development of a new Day Care Centre at Wheatfields Hospice and opening of new NSPCC Child Care Centres in Barnsley & Doncaster as well as the purchase of Flying Scotsman Locomotive at the National Railway Museum. Jon has also organised the RailFest 2004 to celebrate 200 years of rail locomotion and has been involved in the safe passage of boats through Newlay and Forge locks.

Gillian Allan

Gillian works as a Business Development Manager for Kier Infrastructure who are a major contracting partner to the Canal and River Trust maintaining their canals, locks, and towpaths. Gillian's career within Civil Engineering and experience in the infrastructure sector brings an excellent network of contacts within local authorities, contractors and consultants.

Gillian developed a love for exploring the outdoors from a young age and enjoys cycling along York's' river paths, taking in the beauty of the natural world and staying active.

Dr Christina Edgar

Christina brings more than fifteen years of experience working with diverse, vibrant communities of students and partners within the Higher Education Sector. Christina champions the positive wellbeing effects of connecting with nature, with communities and with learning, and is inspired by collaboration and co-creation.

Christina and her family have been enjoying the canals and rivers of the UK since she was little. Now, her husband also shares her love of the waterways, keeping an element of the rich canal heritage alive as a professional decorative painter in the Roses & Castles style. Together, they have been narrowboat owners for many years.

Last Edited: 20 May 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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