Our people

We are dedicated to making a real difference to our community

Our staff, Trustees, Ambassadors and Advisors play an important role in the Community Foundation for Surrey. Our Trustees and Ambassadors help actively promote the Community Foundation in the county, attending and participating in our events and promoting the wider national UK Community Foundations network. Our Advisers provide valuable, specialist and specific support. Our staff have specific areas of expertise and skills allowing us to be a versatile and dedicated organisation that works with both donors as well as community and voluntary groups in the county.

Our staff

  • Wendy Varcoe Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours

    Wendy Varcoe MBE

    Executive Director

    Wendy Varcoe helped establish the Community Foundation for Surrey in 2005 becoming its first Executive Director, heading up the team and taking overall responsibility for strategy and development. In this time she has overseen the development of our permanent funds as well as increasing the numbers of grants given to support community needs.

    Contact Wendy Varcoe MBE

    01483 478085 | wendy@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Laura Thurlow

    Laura Thurlow

    Deputy Director

    Laura Thurlow joined in 2008 and has since been promoted to Deputy Director. She works closely with our donors to manage their funds and supports them in awarding grants. Laura also works closely with Wendy and Trustees to drive the Foundations development.

    Contact Laura Thurlow

    01483 478086 | laura@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Kate Peters

    Kate Peters

    Grants Manager

    Kate Peters oversees the Foundation’s Grant Programme and is responsible for maintaining relationships with voluntary and community groups throughout the county. Kate also works closely with many of our Corporate Donors and Area Funds to support their grant-making.

    Contact Kate Peters

    01483 478092 | kate@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Rebecca Clay

    Rebecca Clay

    Grants Officer

    Rebecca Clay is the first point of contact for grant enquiries and the best person for groups to speak to about potential applications. She is responsible for assessing grant applications and making grant recommendations as well as supporting voluntary and community groups throughout the application process.

    Contact Rebecca Clay

    01483 478092 | rebecca@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Katie Owen

    Katie Owen

    Grants Officer

    Katie Owen is the first point of contact for grant enquiries and the best person for individuals to speak to about potential applications. She is responsible for assessing grant applications and making grant recommendations as well as supporting voluntary and community groups throughout the application process.

    Contact Katie Owen

    01483 478092 | katie.owen@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Tanya Vartan

    Tanya Vartan

    Office Manager

    Tanya Vartan works part time providing administrative support to the whole team. She is often the first port of call for people contacting the Foundation and supports Wendy with the office management.

    Contact Tanya Vartan

    01483 478092 | tanya@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Deepa Craig

    Finance Manager

    Deepa Craig works part-time, managing our finance and producing statutory accounts. She assists with the Foundation’s investments and works closely with Trustees to ensure effective financial management.

    Contact Deepa Craig

    01483 478092 | deepa@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Lou Wickham

    Lou Wickham


    Lou Wickham works part-time providing support to the Finance Manager. She works closely with the Grants team and is responsible for paying out each of our grants awarded. Lou also processes all the donations received by the Foundation and generates the quarterly fund statements.

    Contact Lou Wickham

    01483 478092 | lou@cfsurrey.org.uk
  • Alix Carpenter

    Alix Carpenter

    Marketing & Development Manager

    Alix Carpenter handles all marketing and communications for the Community Foundation for Surrey and works closely across the team to raise our profile with both donors and potential grant recipients. Alix is the primary contact behind the Foundation’s social media accounts, including Twitter, and should be the first point of contact for all press enquiries.

    Contact Alix Carpenter

    01483 476383 | alix@cfsurrey.org.uk

Board of Trustees

  • David Frank

    David Frank


    David Frank spent his professional career in the City. He joined Slaughter and May in 1977, became a partner in 1986, and in 2001 he became the Firm’s first Practice Partner. Since retiring in 2008, David has developed a portfolio of charitable interests in Surrey and is Chairman of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.
    He became Chairman of the Community Foundation in 2013. David plays a vital and very active role in the Foundation, sitting on and chairing our working groups and supporting Staff and Trustees to guide the Foundation’s development.

  • Julie Llewelyn

    Dr Julie Llewelyn

    Vice Chairman

    As an NHS diabetes physician Julie Llewelyn has first hand experience of the very real impact of social deprivation on health in parts of ‘Hidden Surrey’.  Her previous role as a Trustee for Whiteley Village in Hersham further confirmed the vital importance of community for the well-being of the elderly population in Surrey. Julie is chair of the Hambledon Community Fund, one of the Foundation’s area funds. She sits on the Foundation’s Grants Policy and Marketing and Development Groups.

  • Bridget Biddell

    Bridget Biddell MA MRICS


    Bridget Biddell has always lived in Surrey and is a partner of her family’s traditional agricultural estate, Hampton Estate Farms. She is heavily involved with the local community as Trustee of The Henry Smith Charity, and church warden of the United Parish of Seale, Puttenham and Wanborough. Bridget actively supports the Community Foundations Grants process and sits on the Grants Policy Group.

  • Peter Cluff


    Peter Cluff was until recently Co-Founder and Principal at Europa Capital, an international real estate fund management group based in London that has invested more than €9 billion in over 90 transactions across 18 European countries since 1999. He was a member of the Investment Committee responsible for acquiring and disposing of all assets as well as being the Compliance Officer.

    He volunteered for 13 years and was a founder member of the British Venture Capital Association Regulatory Committee. He also established a private equity finance director forum which now has representatives from over 100 firms.

    Peter is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and currently sits on the Foundation’s Marketing and Development Group.

  • Martin De Forest-Brown

    Martin De Forest-Brown MA FCA


    Martin De Forest-Brown is a qualified chartered accountant and part time Finance Director and Business Development Director with the FD Centre in Surrey. He originally qualified with Price Waterhouse and has since held a number of senior finance and management posts for major listed companies including WPP, Abbey National and Prudential both in the UK and abroad and in a policy role as a civil servant working with the UK government, the EU in Brussels and the OECD. Martin sits on the Foundation’s Finance and Investment, Marketing and Development and Research groups.

  • Nigel Gillott

    Nigel Gillott BSc(Econ) FIA


    Nigel Gillott retired as Partner and Head of the Worldwide General Insurance Practice at Watson Wyatt LLP in 2006 to pursue his interests in charitable activities. He was instrumental in establishing the Surrey charity, Leatherhead Youth Project, which provides support, activities and training to young people from one of the most socially disadvantaged areas of Surrey. Having lived in the county all his life, Nigel was pleased to increase his commitment to the Community Foundation by becoming a Trustee in 2015 and sits on the Foundations Finance and Investment and Grants Policy groups

  • Julia Grant

    Julia Grant


    Julia Grant has held leadership roles in global consulting firms, insurance and the not for profit sector in a career spanning thirty years. She has deep experience of turnaround and change management and served as Chief Executive of Surrey Community Action and National Gardens Scheme before becoming Portfolio Director at Impetus- the Private Equity Foundation and now CEO at Pro Bono Economics. She has extensive non executive and board experience and is currently sits on the Advisory Board of Big Society Capital. She has deep experience of the link between the business and not for profit worlds and including investing for impact and supports the Foundation by sitting on our Development and Marketing and Research Groups.

  • Graham Healy

    Graham Healy


    Graham Healy qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in 1980, and joined Smith & Williamson in London in 1983, becoming a tax partner in 1985. Following the acquisition of an office in Guildford, Graham moved to Surrey with his family and clients in 1991, and has advised on a broad range of private client matters, including landed estates and charitable trusts. Graham was also involved with the Surrey Community Development Trust (now Transform Housing & Support), acting as honorary treasurer for 13 years, and remains involved with several local charities, including the Wonersh Foundation. Graham actively supports the Foundation by sitting on our Finance and Investment Group.

  • Simon Whalley


    Simon Whalley is Chairman of Birtley House Group, one of the oldest family-run care homes in Surrey. Simon and his family are also donors, establishing one of the Community Foundation for Surrey’s earliest funds, the Birtley House Fund. As well as being a Trustee, Simon is an Ambassador for the Community Foundation.

  • Richard Whittington

    Richard Whittington


    Richard Whittington previously worked for KPMG where he was Partner-in-Charge of the Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare group and simultaneously Global Head of Building and Construction, based in London. He has lived in Surrey for over 30 years and is involved with the community in a number of areas including being a Governor of Gordon’s School and non-executive director of The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Richard is Honorary Treasurer of the Foundation and sits on the Finance and Investment Group. Richard is currently High Sherriff of Surrey 2016-17.

  • Graham Williams


    Graham Williams spent 15 years in Private equity in both the UK and France before becoming a director of Guildford-based Hays PLC. Now retired, Graham is a Trustee of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, a governor of The Hawthorns Prep School as well as being a non-executive Director of a listed company. Graham sits on the Foundation’s Research, Marketing and Development groups and Chairs the Finance and Investment Group.


Patron and Vice Presidents

  • Michael More-Molyneux

    HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux


    Michael More-Molyneux has lived in the county all his life. His family has been there for five centuries. A businessman, he runs Loseley Park Farms. Michael and his family have kindly supported the Foundation for a number of years including hosting a number of events for us at Loseley Park. We were delighted to receive his patronage on his inauguration as HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey in 2015.

  • Professor Patrick Dowling CBE DL FREng FRS

    Founding Chairman and Vice President

    Professor Patrick Dowling was the founding Chairman of the Community Foundation for Surrey from 2005 to 2013. Patrick was previously Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey, a post he held for 11 years. During that time he worked closely with communities in Surrey and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey in 1999. Patrick has used his experience and knowledge of local communities to greatly support the Foundations development and grant making and continues to champion the Foundation as Vice President.

  • Matthew Bowcock CBE

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Formerly Chair, UK Community Foundations, the national body that co-ordinates activities of Community Foundations throughout the UK, Matthew Bowcock is an entrepreneur who has been involved in founding technology and biotechnology companies in across the world. Matthew has become increasingly involved in philanthropy with a particular focus on the Arts and continues to support the Foundations development.

  • Trustees' Week - Peter Hampson

    Peter Hampson CBE, OstJ, QPM, LLb (AKC)

    Vice President

    Peter joined the Foundation as a Trustee after retiring as Director General of the National Criminal Intelligence Service in 2006. He has a very active role in the Community Foundation supporting the grants process. He is currently the Chair of the Grants Policy Group and a member of the Personnel Group.

  • Sir Stephen Lamport KCVO DL

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Sir Stephen is Receiver General of Westminster Abbey and Clerk to the Dean and Chapter. Before joining the Abbey, Sir Stephen, was a Group Director of the Royal Bank of Scotland, served at the United Nations, and at the British Embassies in Tehran and Rome. He has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey since 2006 and has used his wealth of experience to support the Foundation since establishing.

  • Gordon Lee-Steere DL

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Gordon Lee-Steere is a Farmer and Landowner in Surrey and previous Vice Lord Lieutenant of Surrey.  In the past as a member of the Mole Valley District Council, President of Country Landowners Association 1987 –1989; Chairman of the Rural Housing Trust and Trustee of the Henry Smith’s Charity Gordon has invested much of his time and resources into Surrey; a legacy he continues as a Vice President.

  • Jim McAllister

    Jim McAllister

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Jim McAllister is Chief Executive of The Rutland Group, a privately owned property development, investment and management company, which he founded in 1984. Since its inception, The Rutland Group, and Dunsfold Park Ltd. have been closely involved with supporting local communities throughout the UK and have generously supported the Foundation since establishing in 2005.

  • The Hon Mrs Lavinia Sealy

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Lavinia Sealy is heavily committed to working with the voluntary and business sectors and was previously elected as Surrey County Council’s Chairman. She is particularly interested in helping to educate and train young people and disabled young people and has a keen interest in the Arts. Lavinia has generously supported the Foundation since we established and was instrumental in establishing our Surrey Community Arts Fund.

  • Andrew Wates OBE DL

    Founding Trustee and Vice President

    Andrew Wates is former Chairman of Wates Group, one of the UK’s largest private construction companies. For over 100 years the Group has been committed to supporting and improving the communities in which it works through corporate philanthropy. The Wates Group previously hosted the Community Foundation for Surrey within his offices in Leatherhead when it was first established in 2005, and Andrew continues his support of the Foundation as Vice President.



  • Robin Sharpe Chair of Ambassadors and Business Consultant
  • HH Judge Christopher Critchlow DL Judge, Guildford Crown Court
  • Bryan Farley BEM Potter Owtram & Peck
  • John Hargrove Under Sheriff of Greater London
  • Joseph George IT & Management Consultant
  • Professor Paul Layzell BA MSc PhD FBCS CEng Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Rodney Luff Former City Financial Advisor
  • Sally Marks Chair Surrey County Council
  • Hugh W Riley JP DL Past President, St John Ambulance Surrey
  • Taravat Taher-Zadeh Business Consultant
  • Lady Elizabeth Toulson CBE DL Former High Sheriff, Surrey
  • Andrew Shaw Legal Consultant
  • Nishi Singh Director Carlton Training and Consulting Ltd
  • Simon Whalley Chairman of Birtley House Group and Community Foundation for Surrey Trustee


  • Dr Grace Dowling Previous High Sherriff and retired Medical Doctor
  • Sonia Hubbard CEO, Age Concern Mole Valley
  • Maggie Lowe Partner, Smith & Williamson
  • Richard Mitton Quilter Cheviot Investment Management
  • John Molter Strategic Consultant to the the Consumer Goods sector.
  • Sian Sangarde-Brown Community Development Consultant
  • Cate Newnes-Smith CEO, Surrey Youth Focus