Meet Team Cheshire

Team Cheshire is made up of Team Leaders, Subject Matter Specialists, Advisers and Team Members, including 9 District Lead Volunteers who lead Scouting across the County. To see our Trustees Board Click Here. If you’d like to request a visit from any of Team Cheshire, you can do so here.

Senior Leadership Team

Dave Hopley
County Lead Volunteer

Dave has been a member of The Scouts since the age of six. He started his adult leadership journey as Assistant Scout Leader at 1st Over St Johns in Winsford, shortly after gaining his Queen’s Scout Award. He was appointed as Assistant County Commissioner (Scouts) in 2007, having volunteered on the National Scout section support team since 2004. In 2011 he became Deputy County Commissioner, before being appointed as County Commissioner (Lead Volunteer) in 2021. Dave has been instrumental in driving youth engagement in Cheshire and was a Cheshire Unit Leader to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan.

Professionally, Dave is Assistant Principal Student Experience for Stoke on Trent College. Outside of work and Scouts, you can find Dave running, walking, spending time with his family and friends, as well as skiing and travelling.

Dan Skinner
County Youth Lead

Dan is an Economics Student at the University of Bath, but home will always be Chester. He started his scouting experience 13 years ago and has enjoyed every opportunity scouting has offered him, including two World Scout Jamborees, multiple Gang Shows and many Cheshire Hikes. Dan has been a Beaver Leader, a Young Leader at Cubs and was Deputy District Youth Commissioner for Chester & District. He wants all young people in Cheshire Scouts to be able to say they shaped their own adventure!

Outside of studying and scouting, Dan loves to play badminton, works as a waiter, and has a real passion for winter sports. It’s rare you don’t hear about his time as a chalet host in the French alps.

Charly O'Brien
County Programme Team Leader

Charly’s Scouting journey began at a young age, driven by her family’s involvement. She officially joined as an Explorer and gradually transitioned into adult leadership, starting as a Group Skills Instructor and later becoming the Youth Commissioner for Alderley District. During this time, she earned the Queen’s Scout Award.  In 2021, she was appointed the role of Assistant County Commissioner (Scouts) and joined the UK Contingent management team for Roverway 2024 in 2022.

Professionally, Charly is a Programme Designer for The Scouts. Outside of Scouting, Charly can be found outside, either in the hills, on the water, with friends or training the dog!

Val Thomason
County Volunteering Development Team Leader

Val is now retired, but previously worked in adult training at a local college. Having started her Scouting life as an ACSL with 1st Moore, she has held various roles until becoming Deputy County Commissioner in 2007. Outside of Scouting, Val enjoys walking, gardening and is the Chair of a local flower club.

Andrew Little
County Support Team Leader

Andrew works with the Youth Federation as part of the Pledge team inspiring the next generation of young people offering quality experiences with employers across Cheshire. He joined Scouting as a Cub and has held roles as a Cub leader, ADC Cubs and District Commissioner as well as being involved in large scale events since turning 18. With his wife Denise they enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.

County Leadership Team

Will Burnham
District Lead Volunteer, Alderley and Knutsford

Will is a Chartered Engineer working as a Project Engineering Manager delivering and supporting large complex UK infrastructure projects, he is also a member of the Chartered Management Institute and UK Chapter of the International Council for Systems Engineers.

Will’s Scouting journey started as a Cub, Scout, then Venture Scout. His first leadership role was as a Venture Scout Leader and over the years has been an Explorer Scout Leader and Assistant Group Scout Leader. He has held various Executive roles at both a Group and District Level including District Chairman. Will has also held a Deputy and most recently a District Commissioner role.

Outside of Scouting, Will enjoys time in the shed honing his wood work skills, with the aim one day to be good enough to build his own Canadian canoe.

Alan Wilding
District Lead Volunteer, Chester and District

Richie Thornley
District Lead Volunteer, Ellesmere Port and Neston

Richie works as an IT Helpdesk Technician for an educational consultancy company, where he is part of a team responsible for technical support for Schools across the North West of England.

Richie’s Scouting journey started as a Beaver Scout in 1992. He was appointed as Assistant Cub Scout Leader in 2004 in Willaston. In 2009, he moved to West Wirral where he served as Scout Leader then Group Scout Leader, and returned to Willaston in 2016 where he was appointed as Cub Scout Leader and District Communications Manager for Ellesmere Port and Neston Scout District in 2018. Richie has attended two World Scout Jamborees as IST, in the UK 2007 and Japan 2015.

Outside of Scouting, Richie enjoys Geocaching and Bike Riding.

Mike Brown
District Lead Volunteer, Macclesfield and Congleton

Mike works as a Director of Digital Operations at General Electric; responsible for daily IT systems operations and IT programmes across the global corporate business.

Mike began in Scouting as a Cub Scout, and joined adult volunteering in 1993 as an Assistant Scout Leader in Hinckley, Leicestershire. He moved to Macclesfield in 2001 and has subsequently served as a Scout Leader and Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts), Group Scout Leader at 6th Macclesfield, and more recently Local Training Manager for the Macclesfield and Congleton District.

Outside of Scouting, Mike enjoys his spare time with his wife and two children. His hobbies include archery and church bell-ringing.

Oli Chambers
District Lead Volunteer, Mersey Weaver

I’m currently the District Commissioner (Lead Volunteer) for Mersey Weaver – a role that I’ve held since 2018. Although I was Beaver, Cub, Scout and Explorer in my youth; my journey as an adult volunteer with The Scouts only startedin 2014 when I somehow was convinced to take on the Scout Section Leader role for 4th Frodsham after moving back to the area and being invited to a group BBQ!

Scouting very quickly (once again) became an very important aspect of my life as I saw the the impact first hand we can all have on shaping young people’s lives. I’ve also reflected on how it has given me strong set of values and taught me empathy, equipped me with the courage to step out into the unknown, take calculated risks, a penchant to try new things as well as my love for the outdoors.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have had so many amazing experiences through Scouts and in the short time I have been involved as an adult volunteer, have had all sort of adventures both in the UK as well as abroad, meeting some amazing people (both young and old) along the way.

I believe in offering every young person, no matter their background or circumstances all that Scouts have to offer and I am so proud to Scout in Cheshire where there is a such a rich heritage of high quality programming for us all to build on.

Stuart Young
District Lead Volunteer, Mid Cheshire

Stuart is an Automotive Parts Specialist for Arnold Clark where he works with a team providing parts information to support one of the busiest Vauxhall Dealerships in the UK. Stuart has also worked for other major manufacturers in senior positions running national level sales teams for BMW. Stuart also spent many years working in the Telecommunications Industry supplying technology to companies such as 02, British Telecom, AT&T and many others.

Stuart’s Scouting journey started as a Cub in 1982 with 5th Cheadle Hulme progressing through Cubs, Scouts and Venture Scouts with them. He was a young leader with 4th Cheadle Hulme before taking a short break from Scouting whilst working in the IT industry travelling extensively. Stuart became an ACSL in 2007 in Ladybrook Valley with 1st Hazel Grove and eventually joined 1st Lostock Gralam as the Scout Section leader in 2015 from there Stuart has become the GSL of 1st Moulton, restarting the group after the pandemic. Stuart also holds the role of LTM and is a member of the Firepower and County Archery teams.

Outside of Scouting, Stuart is a keen angler and can be found sat on the banks of the various waters enjoying a quiet day’s fishing. Stuart is also a keen archer and has been involved in the sport for over 20 years shooting both for fun and competitively over the years.

Ian Potts
District Lead Volunteer, South West Cheshire

Mike Timmins
District Lead Volunteer, Warrington East

Professionally Mike is a Senior Service Manager for Department of Work and Pensions Mobile Device Team overseeing the Live Service Support Desk and the deployment of the mobile devices used throughout the Department.

Mike’s Scouting journey started as a Assistant Scout Leader 1982 becoming Scout Leader a few years later at 2nd Dunham Massey Scouts.  In 1986 the group moved Headquarters into Cheshire becoming 5th Warrington 1st Oughtrington.  Mike has also been District Scout Leader and in September 2013 he was appointed ADC Scouts.  He also serves on the Appointment Board for the District.  In 1987 Mike was selected to help lead the Cheshire contingent to the 16th World Scout Jamboree to Australia.

Outside of Scouting Mike is the Chief Marshal for Knutsford and District Motor Club supporting their events by leading a team of marshals.  As both a licensed MSUK Stage Commander for Forest Stage Rallies and a Safety Car Official he can often be found in a forest in Wales supporting events.

Adam Potts
District Lead Volunteer, Warrington West

Adam is a Civil Engineer and Site Supervisor working for AECOM where he leads a team on site overseeing the construction of major highway infrastructure schemes including the M6 J21a-26 Smart Motorway Upgrade.

Adam’s Scouting journey started as a Beaver Scout in 2006. He was appointed as Assistant Cub Scout Leader in 2018 at his group in Hood Manor. In 2020 he was appointed the role of District Youth Commissioner, ensuring that Scouting was Youth Led across the District and restarted the District Youth Forums before stepping up as a Deputy District Commissioner in 2021.

Outside of Scouting, Adam can often be found in the Lake District and Wales as an outdoor enthusiast enjoying Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Climbing and Hillwalking

Programme Team

Mel Black
County Programme Team Member (Squirrel Scouts)
Ruth Clemson
County Programme Team Member (Beaver Scouts)

Ruth coordinates groups for adults with a learning disability and/or autism for a charity based in Merseyside. In Scouting Ruth has been a Beaver Leader for 12 years and more recently has taken on an additional role of Assistant Explorer Leader (Young Leaders) Outside of work and Scouting, you can find Ruth watching her local rugby league team St Helens or meeting friends for dinner.

Pam Owen
County Programme Team Member (Cub Scouts)

Pam’s role is to ensure that effective operation of the Cub Scout Section.

Amelia Riley
County Programme Team Member (Explorer Scouts)

Outside of Scouting, Amelia is Second in Department teaching Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish/French/German) in a high school. Having only started Scouting herself at the age of 10, her leadership journey began as a Cub Leader with a pack in Lancashire whilst at University. She then continued this journey on her year abroad in Spain, volunteering as a leader with a local Cub pack whilst practising her Spanish at the same time. Upon returning home after graduation Amelia took over running her local Explorer Scout Unit, and in 2019 was part of the leadership team that led one of the Cheshire Units to the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. When she is not Scouting/teaching/sleeping, Amelia can be found on various hockey pitches across the North West playing hockey for her local team.

Ian Turnbull
County Programme Team Member (Scout Network)

Ian’s role is to ensure that effective operation of the Scout Network Section.

Carol Frain
County Programme Team Member (Top Awards)

Carol works as the Supporter Care and Lottery Manager in the Fundraising team at East Cheshire Hospice, supporting the team to raise £8,000 each day to keep the Hospice open. Carol has been in Scouting for over 40 years, starting as a Cub instructor whilst working towards her Queen’s Guide Award. Weird but true, she also lived at Baden Powell House for the first two years of her degree at London University! When she and her husband moved to Mobberley, they answered an advert in the parish news to donate a cooker to the newly built local scout and guide hut. The reply was “we already have a cooker thank you but we don’t have a Beaver leader”. The rest, as they say, is history leading eventually to her finding her “happy place” supporting Cheshire Scouts achieve their DofE and QSA awards. Away from scouting Carol enjoys spending time with her family, baking and walking.

Diane Blurton
County Programme Team Member (Young Leaders)

Graham Shaw
County Programme Team Member (International)

Graham’s role is to promote an international dimension in the youth programme within the County

Volunteering Development Team

Neil McAleece
County Activities Sub-Team Leader

Neil is the Assistant County Commissioner (Activities) and Manager
of the Activity Permit Scheme (MAPS) role is to work in partnership with leaders in the County to support the safe provision of activities.

Tim Owen
County Learning Sub-Team Leader

Richard Johnson
County Learning Sub-Team Leader
Joanne Turner
County Volunteering Development Team Member (Support)

Joanne’s role is to provide support for adult volunteer development.

John Duley
County Growth Sub-Team Leader

John retired having spent some 40 years working in telecommunications.

His scouting life started as a cub, scout and leader in Hertfordshire and progressed via Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and now Cheshire. During this time he has held roles at group, district and county levels including the county commissioner role in Bedfordshire

Outside of Scouting he enjoys attending football matches as a supporter of Manchester United. He also is involved with various roles within the Methodist Church.

Jane Duley
County Welcome Team Administrator

Support Team

Josh Diamond
Communications Sub-Team Leader

Josh leads a Cheshire-based marketing agency by day, having started his career in web development, and holds a wealth of experience across everything digital. Having taken part in all sections of Scouting from Beavers through to Explorers, Josh has held a Cub Scout Leader role since the age of 18. Outside of work and Scouting, you can find Josh exploring the outdoors with his two dogs, whether it’s walking a mountain or kayaking down a river.

Nigel Flatman
County Events Sub-Team Leader

Nigel is a Logistics Director with many years’ experience in Food Logistics, systems and processes.

A member of the movement since the age of eight, Nigel has since been a member of the County team for a number of years starting as Assistant County Commissioner (Venture Scouts) before moving into Events, running Site Operations for the last five Chamboree’s and supporting many County events and projects. Outside Scouting he enjoys, kayaking, caravanning and is a keen DIY enthusiast.

Paul Brown
Community Impact Sub-Team Leader

Paul has been a member of Scouting since joining the Scout Section back when he was 12 years old. While still in Venture Scouts, he became a leader within the Beaver Scout Section at 18. Since then he has been involved in the Service team for a number of Chamborees, numerous Gang shows, held the role of ACC (Beaver Scouts) and until Summer last year was District Commissioner for Warrington East for 7 years. Outside of Scouting currently earns a living as a Project Manager in the Nuclear Industry, having gained years of experience through out civil engineering in the Waterway, Rail and Highways Sectors. In his spare time after retiring from playing football, he can be found most weeks flogging a ball around a Golf Course, on a rugby league terrace supporting Warrington Wolves or in the garage tinkering with classic cars.

David Metcalfe
Inclusion Sub-Team Leader

David has been a lecturer in policing at the University of Chester, for the past 8 years following a career in Cheshire Police. He has been involved in Scouting as a Cub Scout, Scout, Venture Scout, ADC and DC in Knutsford, and then County Campsite Manager.

In his spare time David likes to be out travelling the UK and Europe on his motorbike.

Roger Owens
County Support Team Member
John Bennett MBE
County Safety Adviser

John is a retired police officer and company director with many years of experience in the world of safety. Once a Cub and Scout in Buckinghamshire, John moved north becoming a warranted leader in South West Cheshire in the 1970’s. John is cuurrently the GSL with Wistaston Scouts (35th SWC) as well as District Secretary for South West Cheshire, Cheshire Hike and Chamboree’s Director of Safety, and also holds involvement in Crewe Gang Show.

In the non-Scouting world John enjoys foreign travel, as well as spending time with his Golden Retriever. In between this, he is a sports fan, with rugby, soccer, and cricket being the favourites.

Laura Livingstone
County Safety Safeguarding Adviser

Laura has been a primary school teacher for over 10 years. She has been part of Scouting since the age of 16 when she was an Explorer Scout. She has held the role of ABSL at her local group alongside various other Scouting roles at District and County level. Outside of Scouting, Laura spends time with her young family and enjoys being outside on mini adventures with them.

Staff Team

Cathy Bland
County Administrator

A former Brownie and Guide, Cathy’s Scouting career started nearly 25 years ago. Her roles have been in all sections (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers) and include Group Scout Leader, Assistant District Commissioner, Assistant County Commissioner, Local Training Manager and County Active Supporter. She is best known as “Cathy from Cubs” although currently is running a fledgling Scout Troop.

Having qualified in Foreign Correspondence specialising in French, Russian and Spanish, her working career started off in London before moving abroad to cover export sales markets.

In tandem with her voluntary roles, Cathy is a part-time paid employee of Cheshire Scouts. For almost 18 years she has run the busy County Office which is now virtual. She is renowned for her cheerful disposition and service with a megawatt smile.

When not working, Cathy is Scouting or actively involved in the local community. Not many people know she excels at growing stunning hollyhocks. If she doesn’t pick up her mobile, text her as she’s either in Barcelona (travel permitting) practising her Catalan or eating Colombian coffee flavoured icecream from the tub!

Deb Arden
Activity Centres Administrator
Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls