Our trustees

Meet the people who make decisions about our strategic direction

Dame Hannahs is a governed by its Board of Trustees, which is ultimately responsible for the management and conduct of the charity. It sets the strategic direction to enable us to work towards achieving our vision and goals.


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    Professor David Coslett

    Chair of Trustees

    David is an experienced higher education leader with a distinguished profile and career spanning over 30 years in the education sector. He was interim Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Plymouth University from 2014 to 2016, having previously served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Arts. He had oversight responsibility for External Relations including relationships with the media and international partners. He has considerable experience of working with a broad range of people, institutions and organisations and building an integrated and collaborative approach to leadership. He is a graduate of the Leadership Foundation’s Top Management Programme. David is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Board of The Box, Plymouth and has Board experience of a number of charities including Plymouth Culture, the South West Film & Television Archive and the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth. He is a former Secretary of the UK Council of Deans of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and former board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of the University.

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    Christine Erwood

    Chris Erwood CTA ATT TEP has worked within the field of taxation for 40 years and has a solid base of practical experience at senior level within the field of estate and trust taxation reflecting a balanced mix of HMRC, Big 4 Accountancy, Stockbroking/Asset Management and FTSE100 Industry background. Chris is the tax director of Erwood & Associates Ltd which provides a specialist capital taxes consultancy service to the professional forum. She continues to be a popular circuit lecturer, regular contributor to technical journals and widely published technical author in her specialist field. Chris is a qualified member of: the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and, having recently stepped down from her exam involvement with the latter, she remains directly involved with the CIOT exam process. Chris is a long established trustee of the Edward Gostling Foundation where she is Chair of the Audit & Compliance committee.

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    Paul Boys

    Paul has spent the whole of his working career in construction and housing development. He worked on major projects for John Laing Construction moving on to Laing Homes and finally Taylor Wimpey as a regional MD. His interest in learning disabilities began 33 years ago when his youngest son Alex was born with Down’s Syndrome. Since then, he has held several Trustee roles in charities that support people with a learning disability including 20 years at Robert Owen Communities, a Devon based support provider which has recently merged with United Response. He is currently a Trustee of two other Charities; a grant making Trust and a small housing provider for people with a learning disability.

    “Hannahs is a great charity and I am delighted to be able to use the skills that I have gained both through my working career and from working with other charities with a similar ethos to hopefully make a useful contribution to the ongoing success of the organisation”

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    Simon Morris

    Simon is a lawyer of over 20 years experience. He started his legal career in Devon with the then Bond Pearce LLP, moving to Bristol for over 10 years and working for Osborne Clarke LLP and DAC Beachcroft LLP. Simon’s experience is in commercial and corporate contracts and project financing. He has recently worked on high value NHS commissioning contracts and financings. Simon also has industry experience having worked as an in house counsel for Wincanton plc and the then Lloyds TSB Bank plc.

    “Dame Hannahs is a wonderful charity and I am pleased and proud to be a member of the board of Trustees. I am hoping that my previous experience can positively contribute to the direction and growth of the charity, to allow it to continue to provide the excellent services which it currently provides.”

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    Ian Cowley

    With an MBA from the University of Bradford Management Centre, a Post Graduate Marketing Diploma and an Accounting qualification, Ian is a retired Business Executive and Non Executive Director with extensive experience of working with companies and not for profit organisations to improve their performance.

    Prior to retiring, Ian led the Strategy Consultancy for one of the large accountancy firms and concentrated on supporting challenged and failing organisations in both the public and private sector.

    A lifelong supporter of disabled and disadvantaged individuals, Ian is committed to helping Dame Hannahs maintain its excellent standards of care and support, during the next stage of its development.