Board of Trustees

Graham Walter

Graham has been a member since 2004 with an interest in family history research spanning 35 years. Professionally he is an IT manager with Nissan and Renault, and has also worked in insurance and banking organisations.

He is a professional member of the British Computer Society. In the family history community, he volunteers with the society’s Educational Outreach programme attending various family history fairs and society open days showing people how to make use of online services for their family history research. 

Graham has also been an instructor at the British Institute run by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History in Salt Lake City. He is a regular speaker in the Genealogical community.

Heather Nowlan
Vice Chairman

Heather is a professional and accomplished genealogist with over 15 years’ experience, a registered Ancestry ProGenealogist contractor, and an AGRA Associate. 

Heather has run a number of her own businesses within the wedding industry for nearly 20 years, including eCommerce websites. She is also the Treasurer of the civilian committee for the 5F RAF Air Cadets, a self-funding charity-based organisation governed by the MOD.

Ray O'Connell

Ray has been a member since 2012. He is a keen genealogist who has 20 years of experience of genealogy and family history research. In his professional life he has worked in Investment Banking, for many years with Lehman Brothers. 

His skill sets are wide and include product development, business strategy, fundraising and marketing. Since his retirement from banking, he has dedicated himself to helping on several Charitable and nonprofit organisations at Board Level.

Darris Williams

Darris has been a member since 2006. He began discovering his family history while stationed at RAF Alconbury in 1983. Darris has a bachelor’s degree in Family & Community History. He worked as a British reference consultant at the Family History Library for 15 years. The next 15 years have been spent creating new record publications and help projects.

Developing research and teaching skills continues to be a priority after 30 years as a FamilySearch employee. He was a co-founder of the FamilySearch wiki. Darris is presently the FamilySearch Wiki & Community Trees Manager, freelance genealogist, and family history instructor. A special area of interest has been Welsh family history.

David Gill

David is an experienced Global Corporate Real Estate Director with 20 years of executive level leadership experience in blue chip Professional Services businesses.

He has a background in strategy definition and execution, business transformation, optimizing performance and reducing costs. Has a strong track record of building and managing diverse, high performing teams and managing sensitive C-suite and board level relationships.

Alan Pursell

Alan has been a member since 1990. As an active part of the charity’s invaluable volunteer community, he has led the highly successful pedigree rolls digitization project, that covers the Society's handwritten family trees (20,000 images and 1.3 million names).

He brings more than 40 years’ experience in selling and successfully delivering IT and telecom services to a wide range of customers in the US, UK, Europe and India.

Hayley Hall

Hayley has been a member for over 20 years and is a keen amateur genealogist and volunteer. She was Head of Production Finance at Channel 4 where she worked for over 20 years. She has worked as a Trustee for other charities including St. Mungos and volunteers on the helpline for AgeUK.

Sheila Mercieca

Sheila is a professional archivist and information records manager. She brings a range of experience including cataloguing physical and digital collections, curating national and international exhibitions, and assisting with data protection issues. In her earlier career, Sheila was a fundraising manager for a cancer charity, and has six years’ experience working with the voluntary sector.

Her career began in sales, leading to training, and ultimately marketing for a French cosmetics company, working in senior management for twelve years in the UK and Australia.

Sophie Hutcherson

Sophie brings over 30 years of experience covering banking, wealth and asset management in UK, EU and internationally.

She is a qualified accountant, coach and Non Executive Director with extensive membership of Boards and executive level committees; including as Chief Executive of a UK bank, regional Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff of an EU bank. Sophie has also recently been appointed to the Board of the Financial Conduct Authority.

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