Updated: 1st March 2023
Bluebell Railway Directors
Acting Company Chairman
I have worked at director level in the transport industry for nearly 20 years and have also owned my own businesses.
I have been a member and working member of the Bluebell Railway since 1989. I have previously been a Trustee and Operations Director from 2007 to 2010. I was Station Master at Sheffield Park as well as having qualified as a guard, signalman and shunter.
I am a journalist and broadcaster with 35 years’ experience working for local, regional, national and international news organisations spanning print, agency, broadcast, online, digital and social media. I am currently a freelance writer, blogger and lecturer having left my role as an editor at Sky News in 2019.
My involvement with the Bluebell goes back more than 20 years and I have been a visitor, member and volunteer. I am a museum steward and education guide.
I am also an award-winning magician and successfully passed the audition to become a member of the world-famous Magic Circle.
Steve has been a finance director for various companies covering different sectors including housebuilding, recruitment, oil and gas, and most recently mergers and acquisitions.
He led commercial strategy at group board level for an international services consultancy, and was responsible for finance, commercial and resources. He is now semi-retired.
Steve grew up around railways as his father was a rail enthusiast and he spent many hours at GWR’s Didcot centre.
He has also been a school governor and managed the financial reporting for a charity supporting an orphanage and school in India.
I am Chief Guards Inspector and a Shunter.
I joined the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society in 1990 and started as a volunteer on the day before my 14th birthday in 1991.
I was Commercial Manager for local bus operator Compass Travel with buses operating across Sussex and Surrey and two of its bus routes serve the Bluebell Railway.
I spent nearly 40 years in the airport business, with almost 20 years in BAA culminating at senior management level at Heathrow. I had many varied roles but for much of my time in BAA I concentrated on jet fuel infrastructure projects which included major contract negotiations and the development of new jet fuel related facilities at Heathrow Terminal 5.
In 2008 I set up my own airport consultancy business and worked at a number of high-profile airports in the Middle East, focusing on the development of jet fuel infrastructure.
Following partial retirement in 2019, I became a volunteer project manager, initially in the Carriage & Wagon department before moving to Infrastructure to oversee the power upgrade project at Horsted Keynes.
Now fully retired, I have the time to take on new challenges.
Outside the railway, I enjoy skiing and continental touring cycling.
I first visited the Bluebell Railway in 1975 on a primary school trip. I still remember the experience and it was a lasting influence on my interest in all things mechanical and engineering. After leaving school, I found myself in one of the last traditional electrical apprenticeships and had a lucky break to move into the technology sector.
I have worked across all aspects of the technology industry from IT infrastructure, application, modernisation and digital use cases for business and the consumer. While a technologist at heart I have had the opportunity to build programs which help people and organisations evolve their culture and simplify technology so it is not seen as a barrier to using it. My current role is with Amazon Web Services where I lead a team of technical architects helping customers adopt the latest Amazon technology and move their business to the cloud.
I really appreciate being involved in organisations which have a community presence. I was the Chairman and Councillor for Cuckfield Parish Council and over nine years was able to deliver on community-based projects for the environment, events, planning and highways. Something I still look back on was saving the local playgroup and village hall from closure.
It is this belief of communities which brings me to the Bluebell Railway as IT Director.
Director Of People Services
Chris comes from a railway family – his grandfather was a signalman on the East Coast Main Line and his father worked on the engineering side of signalling, so railways have always been a topic of interest for him.
Chris has had a varied working career serving in the Royal Air Force and the police in addition to holding various senior HR and Business Change and Transformation roles in both public and private sector organisations such as PwC, Serco, American Express and Mercedes Benz. Chris currently works in the defence industry and has travelled widely with work spending a lot of time on projects in the Far East, South Africa and the USA. He also has significant board level experience in the charity and heritage sectors.
When not working, Chris enjoys shooting, motor cycling and all things steam having for many years been involved in a hands-on role in the preservation of a Burrell Special Scenic Road locomotive.
Locomotive Engineering Director
Paul has worked for more than 30 years on the management of maintenance operations and major construction projects within the cement industry.
He has been volunteering for more than 40 years at the Bluebell Railway working through the grades to Locomotive Driver and has also worked on many locomotive restoration projects such as the North London Tank Adams, E4, Baxter and also the steam crane. He is also the Diesel Traction Engineering Co-ordinator for the Locomotive Department and part owner of the class 09 and class 33 diesel locomotives at the Railway.
Company Secretary and Board Director
Graham qualified as a chartered accountant in 1976 and has been in public practice for more than 40 years, mostly in East Grinstead.
He has held numerous offices on the Bluebell Railway starting with the old Extension Committee and Extension Company in 1982, through managing the conversion to a Plc in 1985 as company secretary and director and serving as chairman of Bluebell Railway Plc for 18 years up to 2013.
Graham wrote the original Bluebell Railway Charity Trust deed and served as a Trustee from formation to 2013.
He was chairman of the Northern Extension Project (NEP) leading to the completion of the project and the reconstruction and reopening of the line to East Grinstead in 2013. He now chairs the Western Extension Project (WEP).
Bluebell Railway Trust chairman and strategic adviser to board
I have been a member and regular visitor to the Bluebell Railway since 1965 when I started volunteering in the station buffet and polishing the carriages. I am a chartered accountant with a background in dealing with trusts and charities.
In 2014 I was appointed the administrator of the Trust which supports the railway and in 2019 I became chairman.
Chief Operating Officer – Lisa Boyle
C&W Works Manager – Rowan Millard
Customer Service & Sales Manager –
Finance Manager – Derek Koh
Infrastructure Manager – Matt Crawford
Loco Works Manager –
Marketing and Communications Manager – Ruth Rowatt
Operations Manager – Chris Knibbs
Catering & Retail Manager -Megan Laughlin & Mark Lill
Volunteer Coordinator – Graham Aitken
Locomotive Superintendent – Stuart Marks
Business Development Manager – Jon Beardmore
Data Protection Officer – Lance Allen
Bluebell Railway Preservation Society:
President – Gordon Pettitt OBE
Vice Presidents – Bill Brophy, Charles Hudson MBE,
David Quarmby CBE, Roy Watts MBE
Chairman – Paul Churchman
Acting Vice-Chairman – Roy Watts MBE
Secretary – Gavin Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Trustee – Don Brewer email@example.com
Finance Trustee – Ian Watson
- Laurie Anderson
- Richard Clark
- Mike Hopps
- Roger Kelly
- John Knight
- James Young
Other Society Officials –
Bluebell News Editor: Colin Tyson
Volunteer Recruitment: David Chappell
Chaplain: The Reverend David Murdoch
Heritage Railway Association Representative – Neil Glaskin
Bluebell Railway Trust – Society Governors: Paul Churchman (ex officio) and Colin Tyson (elected by the Society)
The Bluebell Railway Trust:
Trust Chairman – Vernon Blackburn