Louise started as our Chief Executive Officer in April 2018. She is commercially driven and passionate about sport and brings along a wealth of experience in the private, third and public sectors. Louise has spent much of her career working in sport marketing and sponsorship agencies delivering strategic partnerships, activation plans and consulting on sponsorship portfolios for global brands, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Lloyds Bank, MasterCard, NTL and many others. She then went on to become Strategic Lead for Business Partnerships at Sport England working with National Governing Bodies, CSPs and CASCs, consulting on their commercial strategies, and successfully building public/private partnerships with the London 2012 Sponsors. She joined the third sector as Director of Fundraising and Communications for the Mayor’s Fund for London working with the then current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to support disadvantaged young people in London. Since then has worked for two other charities, Greenhouse Sports & the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust leading the fundraising, events, marketing and communication functions and sitting on the Senior Leadership Teams.
She has spent her whole life involved in sport: participating in many sports including playing for England Hockey and County swimming, tennis and netball (while at school and university); is an avid sports spectator and proud Spurs supporter; and has worked in sport through her 20 years+ career. With two young children, she doesn’t get the time to do as much sport as previously, but puts herself to use as assistant coach for her son’s football team and tennis coach at the children’s school. Occasionally you might find her on a tennis court or in a swimming pool, and if it was possible, she would spend the whole winter season skiing.
She utterly believes in the power of sport, and is excited and privileged to be working with the 49 RAF Sports Associations to help them to continue to flourish and grow, and to lead the RAF Sports Federation into its next phase of development.
Bridgette is our Head of Finance and with her team of Debbie, George and Paola, they oversee the finances for 45 RAF charities. Bridgette undertakes the internal review of accounts, and governance documents, before production and distribution for independent examination. An important part of Bridgette’s role is evaluating efficient ways to support the Associations be that systems, policies or technology, reducing risk for the trustee body. Bridgette is a member of the finance committee and she also attends the Board of Trustees meetings in her financial capacity.
A CIMA qualified accountant, Bridgette has over 25 years accounting experience in the charitable, practice, and industrial sectors. Prior to taking up the position at the RAF Sports Federation, Bridgette worked at the Army Sports Control Board Charitable Fund where she conducted a complete review of their financial position including the Team Army Sponsorship model.
Bridgette is a trustee of The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust and she was formerly a volunteer at the charity “Care for Casualties” to support them in completing gift aid returns. She has played Badminton at the county junior and senior level winning county junior badminton champion in singles and doubles. These days she continues to compete at county veteran level and is also a keen mountain and road biker, along with competing 2 half marathons in recent years. She holds Level 1 & Level 2 Coaching Certificates for Badminton and is a member of the South Berkshire Hockey Club. In her junior days, Bridgette was a county hockey player and then went on to captain the College Basketball, Volleyball, Hockey and Netball teams winning the South-west college championships in three out of the four sports and earning her the award of College sportswomen of the year in 1987.
As if Bridgette isn’t busy enough, she is currently studying for her Company Secretary qualification with the ICSA.
Jason is our Head of Operational Delivery where he looks after charitable governance, policy, group structures and communications. He spent the major part of his 31 year RAF Career as an Air Traffic Control Officer but also diversified into HR, operations support, training, procurement and lessons identified. In that time he amassed significant knowledge, qualifications and experience of safety management and was instrumental in helping to design the RAF Sport Safety Management System. Latterly he worked as the Deputy Director RAF Sport and brings a significant amount of knowledge regarding how RAF Sport is managed at the National, UKAF, RAF and association levels.
Jason served as a committee member and trustee of the RAF Canoe Association for 24 years and Chairman of the RAF Canoe Association Board of Trustees for 4 years. Earlier in his RAF career Jason represented his unit at squash, windsurfing and downhill skiing before focussing on canoeing and kayaking as his main sports. He has sailed around Cape Horn and is a keen cyclist, telemark skier and hillwalker.
Jason has represented Wales at Canoe Slalom and has been Inter Services Champion in several disciplines. He has held a number of coaching qualifications that included: Level 3 Kayak Coach, Level 1 Canoe Coach, RYA Yacht Master (Coastal), Trail Cycle Leader and Joint Services Alpine Ski Instructor. Jason continues to be a member of Banbury Canoe Club, Welsh Canoeing, RYA and British Cycling.
Jason holds a CMI Level 8 Strategic Direction and Leadership qualification and an ICSA level 4 Charity Law and Governance qualification.
Debbie’s main role is to support the numerous treasurers in the day to day running of their charitable activity as well as managing all the financial transactions generated by the associations. She supports Bridgette in the production of association annual accounts and helps to arrange independent examination of all association accounts. Debbie also takes the lead on any IT technical issues and routinely provides support for the executive team.
Debbie originally started her career as an Office Manager which included managing government funding for an Apprenticeship Scheme and she also training and qualified as an IT Trainer & NVQ assessor. She then undertook an AAT course and went on to pursue a career in accounts which she has now been doing for 20 years. Debbie has worked for large international companies through to managing accounts for a number of small business. She is currently the Chair of a local Voluntary Run Social Club and was also Treasurer for Local independently run pre-school which she helped integrate into a government run school.
Debbie enjoys walking and running and has completed three 5km Race for Life runs. She is currently studying for her level 4 AAT professional diploma.
Paola was born and raised in north London. She was introduced to sport at an early age…was a ‘Junior Gunner’ and represented Middlesex county track athletics while at primary school. She was also keen on horse riding (ie horse mad teenage girl!) during her secondary years.
Paola has spent her working life in the private sector including 17 years with a FTSE 100 retailer starting as Office Manager then 13 years as an Internal Auditor which included reviewing and reporting on compliance, mitigating risk and corrective coaching, etc. across all areas of the business. Paola studied for her Certificate in Accounting with the Open University during this time.
Paola has spent the last 4 years working in a finance role for a global management services company supporting the gas & oil industry.
Living on the doorstep of Wendover Woods has inspired her to run again. Paola enjoys keeping fit, baking and cooking. She is also an active member of her daughters’ school PTA.
George is one of our finance administrators and assists with the day to day processing of financial transactions and assisting the treasurers with reconciling the Sports Associations Bank Accounts. George served for 19 years in the RAF through both Regular and FTRS service where her experience as a Personnel Support Officer was varied with roles in HR, accounts, manpower planning and performance management. She has experienced in change management, risk management, continuous improvement and project management as well as accounting for and auditing of both public and Service Funds. Having left FTRS Service in late 2015, she has returned to her pre-RAF career of accounts.
George has been a treasurer for RAF Netball in the past and was Deputy Director of Sponsorship for the RAF Football Association and so understands the pressures and commitment of being an RAF volunteer in sport. She volunteers as a Referee’s Assistant at the RAF Tennis Championships on an annual basis. George has represented the Royal Air Force at tennis, badminton and cricket over the years and enjoys participating in most sports given the opportunity. Avid fan of F1, and keen follower of the English football leagues.
George is studying for an AAT Advanced Diploma Level (Level 3).
Board of Trustees
The RAF Sports Federation has a balanced Board of Trustees, recruited for their individual skills from military and civilian backgrounds. The Board manages it’s responsibilities through quarterly meetings and 5 additional sub committees, headed by a trustee and bringing in specialist expertise where appropriate. If you are interested in becoming a trustee please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris is the Chairwoman of the RAF Sports Federation and has been with us since our inception. An Air Traffic Controller by profession, her current day job in the RAF is Chief of Staff Personnel. She has a long standing love of sport and was formerly the Chairwoman of the RAF Netball Team. Chris is married to James and they have 2 children. She enjoys photography, running, dog walking and squeezing in her passion for skiing, motorbikes and cooking around a busy family life.
Geraldine brings a wealth of corporate experience into the RAF Sports Federation and chairs the Governance and Compliance Committee. As the Managing Director of a licenced corporate service provider, Worldwide Corporate Solutions Limited (IOM), Geraldine maintains up to date knowledge of regulatory guidelines and legislative changes and keeps the other trustees abreast of relevant changes in the governance landscape. She is a Qualified trustee holding full membership of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and is a director for the WCSL Company and Trust Management Limited (IRE), as well as having had extensive experience of holding various trustee positions for private trusts. Geraldine is a seasoned board member who has acted on behalf of high net worth individuals and professional sports persons for over 20 years.
Geraldine has competed in a number of equestrian sports and prior to the retirement of her current horse, she was a member of a number of equestrian societies both in the Isle of Man and UK. Her horse won numerous championships and supreme championships as a show hunter and veteran horse.
Richard has extensive experience across the not-for-profit sector and specifically within the UK sports industry. He has worked in strategic communications and public affairs roles at the Football Foundation (the Country’s largest sports charity), UK Anti-Doping (the UK’s national anti-doping organisation) and currently the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which utilizes world class athletes to mentor young people facing disadvantage. Outside of sport, Richard has managed global business-to-business (B2B) public relations campaigns for organisations within the automotive and technology sectors, holding the position of Global PR Manager for Autodata (the world’s leading supplier of technical information to the automotive aftermarket). Richard is the natural choice to chair our communications and PR committee.
Richard is a keen cricketer and he is the Captain at Camberley Cricket Club. He regularly plays golf and is a member of Bracknell Golf Club. He holds coaching qualifications from both the English Cricket Board and Football Association.
Air Vice Marshal James, better known as ‘Bunny’, joined the Royal Air Force from a sixth-form scholarship in 1985. A helicopter pilot and instructor in his early service, he has operated all over the world. He is presently the Air Officer Commanding Number 22 Training Group which covers a multitude of activity including the military Head of RAF Sport. He holds a senior HR and training portfolio that covers International Defence Training (IDT), policy and assurance oversight for all initial and intermediate common and specialist training, delivery of specialist joint training in areas such as parachuting and combat resilience, RAF apprenticeships, the exercise training facility at RAF St Mawgan and the School for Physical Training at RAF Cosford. His previous experience as Head of TESRR (Training, Education, Skills Resettlement and Recruiting) and the links with the Defence Safety Authority assist with the Board’s reach into MOD policy relating to sport and sport safety.
Bunny has previously served on a Shropshire business and welfare board, as an executive member of the national Apprentice Ambassador Network board and as an executive member of the Skills For Justice Board (Skills Sector Council). He was part of the original advisory panel for the start-up of the Careers Enterprise Company and has worked with a wide variety of military and education charities for work transition and fund-raising. He is a life member of the RAF Association and the National Trust. He has undertaken trustee training by the The Civil Society and presently holds positions on the Talent Committee for the National Centre for University and Business and also sits on the Advisory Group Board of a new People Director Partnership for HR Directors.
A lifelong supporter of RAF Sport, Bunny is President of the Royal Air Force Basketball Association where he has been a former player coach, secretary, manager and chair for the RAF Basketball Association throughout his career in the RAF.
Air Commodore Alan Opie joined the Royal Air Force as a University Cadet in 1980. He has served as a Personnel Support Officer throughout his career with extensive experience on station administration, HR policy, infrastructure management and Information Services. Currently, he is Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel Delivery at Headquarters Air Command with responsibility for Community Support, Personnel at Risk, Welfare, Accommodation, RAF Reserves Employer Engagement and RAF Reserves Adjudication.
Alan was a founding Trustee for both the RAF Sports Charity in 2014 and the RAF Sports Federation in 2016. He currently serves as a Trustee for the RAF Association (member of the Welfare Committee) and previously served as a Trustee for the RAF Benevolent Fund, RAF Central Fund (chairing the Trading Company and the Grants Committee) and the Roman Catholic Bishopric for HM Forces. He is also presently the Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council and Property Member for St John Fisher RC Church in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, and oversaw a major project to reorder the church in 2016. Alan chairs the Finance and Audit Committee, member of the Grants Committee and the Remuneration Committee.
Alan is President of the RAF Table Tennis Association and was formerly their Chairman as well as being a keen and active Table Tennis Player who has represented the RAF at Inter-Service level. He is also an active runner and has previously competed at station level in cross-country events. He competed at station and club level in cricket and in 1989 he was a member of the winning team at the Command Championships for RAF Wildenrath in Cross-Country, Table Tennis and Cricket.