William Penny Brookes - Founder of the first Olympian Games, held in 1850 in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England

Trustees and Patrons

May 2016

The Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve McWalters as a new Trustee.  The Foundation would also wish to record the retirement of Louise Parker as Trustee and thank her for all her hard work over the last year.

The Foundation is supported by a number of local and National Trustees. We thank them for their continued hard work and inspiration.

Our existing trustees are

Our Local Trustees

Aidan Walker is an architect and has been a resident of Much Wenlock for nearly 20 years. He runs a Bed and Breakfast business with his wife in the town and has been an active volunteer in many of the town’s community events such as the Olympian Games and Much Wenlock Festival. He is also Vice Chair of the Much Wenlock PCC.

Anna Dugdale-Wiklund is an international lawyer come mother, who runs a local Care Farm. She has coached football, cross-country skiing and athletics and has volunteered in many capacities (e.g. Shropshire Council) and worked on behalf of both NGOs (e.g. National Council for Civil Liberties) and commercial organisations (e.g. KPMG). Anna is also a former Town Councillor and plays an active role in the local community.

Cathie Sabin is also a very active member of the local community having been a founder member of the Wenlock Festival and a Governor of the Primary School. She was a PE teacher and has spent her life in the sport of tennis taking on many different roles for the National Governing Body and locally. These days she is Deputy President elect of the LTA, a member of the Tennis Foundation Board, Chair of the National Schools Advisory Committee and President of Tennis Shropshire.

Mike Grace is a Town Councillor and former Mayor of Much Wenlock. An active member of the community, he is Vice Chairman of Much Wenlock Cricket Club and formerly a Governor of the William Brookes School. He continues to play cricket and participates in the annual Wenlock Olympian Games Triathlon. Mike was previously Head of Planning Services in Carlisle City Council and Regional Director for the Countryside Agency in the West Midlands and now works for Natural England.

Chris Cannon is a former head teacher and long time resident of Much Wenlock.  He has been the chairman of the Wenlock Olympian Society and as the current archivist, has represented the society and promoted the William Brookes legacy at events all over the world.  He has a long term commitment to promoting the life of William Penny Brookes and the continuation of the Wenlock Olympian Society, of which he remains an enthusiastic member.

Simon MacVicker is managing director of a large Shropshire based manufacturing company.  He is also a director of the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise as well as sitting on the Shropshire Business Board.  He is currently president of the Aluminium Federation, the UK trade association for the aluminium industry.  He is a former chairman of the Wenlock Olympian Society and remains a keen member, closely involved with the organisation of the annual games each July.

Robin Bennett lives in Much Wenlock and is an enthusiastic supporter of community life, involved with a number of local and national charities and community groups.  He is an experienced company director and has served as a trustee and non-exec advisor for many organisations. Despite having "minimal talent" (his words!) he relishes physical challenges. He is most proud of his Lands End to John o'Groats cycle ride and helping a friend to swim the channel.

Steve McWalters  is recently retired after 35 years as a senior manager in local government and before that a science teacher. A past Chair of the Wenlock Olympian Society and Manager of Cound tennis club he maintains an active involvement in both. He is also a volunteer with the Compassionate Communities(COCO) initiative supporting old people and vulnerable people in the local community.


Our National Trustees

Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering was an outstanding member of the British swimming squad from 1986 to 2005 and has a collection of winning medals that include 8 World Championship medals (four gold), 14 European Championship medals, 38 National Championship titles, and a Commonwealth Games medal haul of 13 including four Gold.

Her career has been an eventful one. As well as an amazing medal haul she has twice held a World Record, she competed at four consecutive Olympic Games, which few athletes in any sport have done and in 1994 she was awarded an MBE for services to swimming.

What makes Karen’s achievements all the more remarkable, is that many of her successes were gained despite the fact that in 1996 Karen broke her back in a car accident. The three years following the accident saw her fight to get back to world level competition and ultimately succeed in her goal.

Since her retirement from international swimming in 2005, Karen has become a regular member of the BBC Radio 5 Live commentary team and has taken on a number of roles. She is now Chair of the British Athletes Commission and is also on the executive boards of the English Institute of Sport, the British Olympic Association Athlete Commission and LOCOG’s (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) Athlete Commission..






Our Patrons and Ambassadors

Suzanne Dando

Suzanne Dando made her name through the sport of Gymnastics. She achieved the highest accolade by representing her country in the Moscow Olympic Games, former Olympic Gymnast and British Gymnastic Champion, Suzanne has gone on to a successful career in television, theatre and the media.

In a career spanning eight years the most notable of her titles were:

  • British Junior Champion
  • British Team Champions
  • British Beam Champion
  • British Vault Champion
  • British Floor Champion
  • Winner of the Champion of Champions Cup Royal Albert Hall 1980
  • Captain of the Great Britain team World Championships 1979
  • Overall British Champion 1980
  • Captain of the British Gymnastics Team Moscow Olympics 1980

Her broadcasting career started with the BBC presenting the children’s programme ‘Stopwatch’ alongside Peter Purves, Daley Thompson and Janice Long. Over the years, Suzanne has presented a variety of television programmes ranging from art, animal, health, light entertainment and sports.

Suzanne is extremely passionate about her chosen charities and as such is:

  • Ambassador for The Prince's Trust
  • Vice President of The Children’s Trust
  • Patron for Against Breast Cancer
  • An active supporter of several charities including:
  • Royal British legion and Help for Heroes
  • The Dogs Trust and World Horse Welfare

In September 2010, she co-ordinated and led a charity expedition across the Pyrenees, following the famous escape route, Le Chemin De Le Libertie in aid of the Royal British Legion and injured servicemen.

Suzanne lists completing her second marathon in 2008 for The Children's Trust Charity as one of her most challenging experiences to date and parachuting 12,000 ft from the back of an RAF Hercules as one of the most frightening but exhilarating ones.

She currently co-presents the Live Equestrian coverage for Sky Sports.