New Trustees for the National Churches Trust

Published: Monday, October 5, 2015


Dr Julie Banham, Sir Paul Britton, John Cowell, Catherine Cobain and Dr Mandy Ford, have been appointed as new Trustees to the National Churches Trust.

(Pictured above, left to right: Catheirne Cobain, Luke March, John Cowell, Dr Julie Banham, Sir Paul Britton CB CVO)

They join eight other members on the trustee board of the charity which supports churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the UK and promotes their value to communities.

Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust said:

“We are delighted to welcome our new Trustees to the National Churches Trust and look forward to working with them to build on our successes.”

“They come from a range of backgrounds including research, publishing, property and the civil service and will add to the board’s expertise in helping to ensure that church buildings of all denominations remain in good repair and at the heart of communities throughout the UK.”

Dr Julie Banham

Julie Banham is Secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) for the Diocese of Sheffield. A qualified teacher, her previous experiences include establishing and running a LAPADA registered antique furniture and restoration business. Combining practical and theoretical knowledge, she was for twelve years an Associate Lecturer in the Open University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities and an administrator in a digital arts institute at the University of Sheffield.

As a (DAC) Secretary, Julie has direct experience of working with parishes to maintain church buildings of all ages, size and location to the best possible standard and to foster their role as positive and valued assets in cultivating and supporting the ever-changing social, cultural and spiritual needs of their parishes. Her research interests include exploring how people use their environment to shape identity and offer meaning to their actions.

She is also a trustee of the Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust, the first woman to be appointed since its foundation in 1554.

Sir Paul Britton CB CVO

Sir Paul Britton CB CVO is a retired civil servant. He served in various departments in the period 1971-97, chiefly the Department of the Environment, where he was, successively, Director of Local Government Finance and Director of Sustainable Development.

Taking partial retirement in 2009, he was Appointments Secretary to the Prime Minister until 2016. He is now deputy chair of Mind and a trustee of various other charities.

John Cowell

John Cowell has had an active career in the property development and construction industry for over 25 years.  His working collaborations have reflected his keen interest in architecture and conservation of historic buildings.

He has worked with The Henley Group, Wiltshier construction, and the OSI Group and since 2000 he has continued to work in partnership with many companies in the heritage sector through his consultancy firm The Cowell Consulting Group.

He has been a member of his Parochial Parish Council and actively involved in many community and charitable organisations.

Catherine Cobain

Catherine Cobain worked as a Publishing Director at Transworld Publishers, part of the Penguin Random House Group, until 2014. She previously worked for the Hachette Book Group.

She has a degree in English Literature from University of Bristol, is a graduate of the Mountbatten Programme of New York, and has an MBA from London Business School where she was a Celia Atkin Avent Scholar.

Reverend Canon Dr Mandy Ford

Since September 2014, Mandy Ford has been Canon Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Ministry and Training for the Diocese of Southwark. She was formerly a parish priest in Leicester. Prior to her ordination she worked as a teacher, freelance artist and printmaker.

She has significant experience as a trustee, having worked with boards for trustees for various youth and community organisations and chaplaincy for ex-offenders.


Click here to find out more about our Trustees.