The Earl of IveaghPresident
Edward Iveagh has been President of the Friends since 1998. He became interested in St Helena after he took his hereditary seat in the House of Lords some ten years ago and after he had visited the Island.
He has been a keen supporter of the airport even investing some of his own money in the project. He lives at Elveden Hall in Suffolk and is chairman of Elveden Farms Ltd a 22,500-acre estate. He has a range of other commercial and non-commercial interests including being on the Strategy Committee of the East of England Development Authority.
He has generously hosted the Friends AGM at Elveden Hall where he was a most welcoming host.
Ian MathiesonChairman; Editor - St Helena Connection
Ian worked for St Helena’s Agriculture and Forestry Department from 1988-1990 on a range of tasks related to the use and management of water. His work gave him a very detailed knowledge of the landscape and he published St Helena: A Walker’s Guide in 1992 with Laurence Carter.
Finding it hard to sell the book, while at the same time frequently coming across people who could find nothing out about the place, in those pre-internet days, he put together a list of the books available about the Island and circulated it to members of the Friends. There was a strong response and Miles Apart, selling books on the South Atlantic Islands, was born.
Ian has maintained close links with the Island in both a personal and professional capacity and has visited several times since 1990. He is semi-retired and lives in Ramsbottom in Greater Manchester.
Contact: Ian Mathieson
David joined the committee in 1989. He was born in St Helena in 1953 and received his schooling there before obtaining a B.Ed in 1977 at St Paul’s College, Cheltenham, part of the “Cheltenham Link” of education with St Helena. He obtained a MA from London University writing his dissertation on the globalisation of English and disappearing dialects.
He returned to St Helena in 2002 to undertake field work for this purpose since his dissertation was clearly written with St Helena in mind. He is currently researching slavery on St Helena at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
David is a teacher in London and is a pastoral head and tutor of English literature. His passionate interest in St Helena lies in Napoleonica and despite the seemingly never ending new publications on the “Little General’s” exile he never tires of reading new material about, after all, what put St Helena on the map.
Colin's interest in St Helena came through his maternal grandmother Annie (Dolly) Bennett who was great granddaughter of Captain James Bennett of the East Indian Company. She recounted stories about the family particularly one about the mahogany table being used for Napoleon's coffin. This sparked further research and led to the publication of his book "˜The Bennett Letters" in 2006. He and his wife visited the island in 2011 and were bowled over by the experience.
Colin was born in Birmingham in 1944 and now lives in Oxfordshire. He was employed as a scientist at Esso Research Centre, Abingdon for 30 years and travelled extensively to many parts of the world. Later he worked as a Quality Engineer for Abbott Diabetes Care. He retired in 2009.
In addition to his interest in St Helena, he is also closely involved with the Mary Rose Trust. Initially involved as a volunteer scuba diver he now supports the project as a member of the Information Group. He lives with his wife Debby, who worked as an archaeological illustrator for the Trust. She recently retired from working as a Teaching Assistant.
Contact: Colin Fox
Vicky BealCommittee Secretary
In the 1950s Vicky's parents left St. Helena to take up domestic service in Middle Barton, Oxfordshire. Vicky was born there shortly after their arrival. She still lives in the Oxford area and works for the NHS administering doctors and dentist training. She and her husband have two children Emma and Michael and four grandchildren. She visited St. Helena with her husband for the first time in 2003 which was an experience which further confirmed to her that she should be taking an active interest in St Helena's future hence her involvement with the Friends. She enjoys meeting the broad array of members and attending the meetings.
Contact: Vicky Beal
Margaret DysonMembership Secretary
Since the age of ten, Margaret’s hobby has been family history and this eventually lead to her interest in St Helena. After many frustrating hours searching census returns, using various spellings of his name, Margaret was so surprised to learn that her gt.gt.grandfather was born on the Island (“St Helena British Subject”). Inevitably, this finding caused her to take many journeys to the British Library, subsequently discovering that his father and grandfather were soldiers in the East India Company. Searching the web concerning St Helena, Margaret discovered, and then joined, .
Margaret was born in West London and attended local schools where her favourite subject was French. On leaving school she worked as a secretary for various companies in London. After marrying she moved to Hertfordshire, and now lives in Derbyshire with husband Roger, a retired Communications Consultant. Margaret has also now retired after spending several years as a School Governor and before as a Parish Councillor.
Since becoming Membership Secretary, Margaret has corresponded with many interesting people and this has enhanced her interest and knowledge of the St Helena community.
Contact: Margaret Dyson
Andrew PearsonEditor - Wirebird
Andrew Pearson is an archaeologist and historian, whose work spans both academia and the commercial sector. He has a PhD in Roman archaeology, but became involved with St Helena in 2007 when he was appointed to be the heritage consultant for the airport project. In 2008, he directed the archaeological excavations of the 'liberated African' graveyards in Rupert's Valley - the subsequent research for which is still continuing to the present. He has since been involved in numerous heritage projects on the island, most recently with the British Library-funded EAP initiative, which is digitising St Helena's historic records from the East India Company period. When not on St Helena, Andrew lives in Cardiff with his wife and son and works for the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust.
Contact: Andrew Pearson
Ian BruceActing Website Manager
Ian is no longer a Committee member but is acting as Website Manager until a replacement can be found. He was first introduced to the subject of St Helena in the early 1950s when visiting the South London home of his elderly grandfather, TR Bruce (island Postmaster for 30 years), who would regale the family with his many stories about the island. The seeds of a long interest about the island were therefore planted at an early age.
Ian's family left St Helena in the 1920s-30s, his father and grandfather hoping above most other things to return one day. Circumstances got in the way of that ever being fulfilled.
He has undertaken extensive research into the history of the island. Initially, this was genealogical but latterly investigations have been broader, largely motivated by the realisation that a significant part of St Helena’s published history is wrong. He first joined the Executive Committee in 2009 and served as Membership Secretary and Website Manager but was forced to resign in 2013. He returned to the Committee in 2018 to set up the new website. Having achieved this, he left again in February 2020.
Contact: Ian Bruce
Edward Baldwin, MBECommittee Member
A life-long St Helena watcher, Edward has studied and researched many aspects of the Island’s history and built heritage. Apart from his role with FOSH, he is Chairman of the St Helena Heritage Society. He was awarded the MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours “for services to the community and services in St Helena”.
He was a member of the core steering group for the St Helena Quincentenary project supported by FOSH to set up St Helena’s new Museum and helped with design, content, fundraising and logistics. He worked with Dave Marr to create the replica uniform of the St Helena Regiment soldier in the Museum, cleaned and stabilised the bronze cannon from the Witte Leeuw and has worked on many other cannon restoration projects on St Helena. He continues to help develop and expand the Museum of St Helena and its collections.
In the real world, after a fifty-year career with AH Baldwin & Sons Ltd, leading coin dealers and auctioneers in London, he is now a consultant to the firm and is a specialist in European, British Colonial and Oriental coins.
David HallCommittee Member
David first went to St Helena in 1963 as one of the two first VSO volunteers, teaching in the Selective Secondary School on Ladder Hill. After university, he worked as an Economic Adviser at the FCO for ten years. He was ordained into the Church of England and spent twelve years in North Hertfordshire where he met Brian Frederick. He then moved to South Warwickshire where he now lives in retirement. In 2015 he and his wife Jane visited the island after a gap of over fifty years. As a result of that visit, he spent three months on Ascension Island over the New Year of 2015/16 as a locum vicar. His path crossed with Patsy Young, whom he had taught, and she told him about FoSH.
Nick BraddockCommittee Member
Nick lived on St Helena for a year and a day from 1965-6 in Napoleon St, Jamestown.
He went to school in the Secondary Selective School on Ladder Hill.
Trained as a Naval Architect and Shipbuilder he spent his working life as a systems engineer supporting the Royal Navy employed by a major defence company and its successors.
Now retired Nick researches the Union Castle Line and with his wife Margaret looks into their family history.
Matthew WoodthorpeCommittee Member
Patricia YoungCommittee Member
Patsy was born on St Helena in 1950 and left the island in 1970 to work for the landed gentry in London and Suffolk.
After two years in 1972, Patsy started her nursing training and only left following the birth of her only child Anne-Marie in 1982. Patsy returned to nursing in 1987 where she remained until her retirement in 2013.
Patsy has enjoyed extensive travel to Europe, USA and South Africa and of course to St Helena. She joined the Friends of St. Helena because she admired the interesting goals they set out to achieve for St Helena with quiet determination.
Robin WoodruffCommittee Member
Robin has had a long career in the Printing Industry, following his Apprenticeship as a Bookbinder in 1958 through to becoming Director of International Sales until March 2018 when he retired. His career has taken him to 105 different countries providing Revenue Documents and general printed items to the Airline Industry.
On a personal note Robin has a very big interest in the Prisoners of the Boer War and the items of Handicraft they made whilst “Banished” to overseas locations in Ceylon, India, Bermuda, as well as St Helena.
Two years ago, he was the “Co-author” of “Prisoners of the Boer War in Ceylon and the Dutch East Indies” and is currently writing “Prisoners of the Boer War on St Helena & Freemasonry”. He has visited St Helena on two occasions for research purposes and his trips on the RMS St Helena were very memorable.
He has yet to travel to the island by Air but is looking forward to that, “God Willing”, in the not too distant future.