Former Trustees

Not for Publication – just building ideas

Our Former Trustees

Our Trustees are representatives of the industries and organisations in the County and include the Chairman of the County Council and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham. Many of our Trustees are former Scholars who continue to support the work of the Trust. Our Trustees are key in the selection of our Scholars and it is likely that at some point all applicants will be interviewed by them.



Mick Burrows (Current)

Mick has a long attachment and belief in programmes and projects that help individuals and organisations develop and fulfil their potential. His personal support has previously been to a wide range of organisations including The Princes Trust, Nottinghamshire Compact and the wider voluntary sector community. After retiring from being Chief Executive of the Nottinghamshire County Council in 2015 he joined the Board in April 2017. Mick believes the unique historical link between the County and the United States is more important today than ever before in the current climate of global turbulence.

Russ Blenkinsop Treasurer


Russ Blenkinsop (1983 Scholar) (Current)

Russ has worked as Finance Director for over three decades in the private, public and third sector. Starting out as a sponsored graduate with Courtaulds plc he started work in Nottingham, remained in the Textile industry and was seconded to Liberty Fabrics Inc for six years in the beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia. He then worked for Bell Fruit Games in Lenton, Nottingham before working for two local Housing Associations (Acis Group based in Lincolnshire and Spirita based in Nottingham).
A keen sportsman, Russ was cofounder and chairman of Lowdham Colts Football Club, a thriving local junior football club. He is also a regular team player at Magdala Lawn Tennis Club and was until recently a part time sailor at Notts County Sailing Club. Russ lives in Lowdham with his wife Liz who he met through the scholarship in 1983. His children, Alex and Rhian, now both live in Boston. 

Sheridan Chilvers

Sheridan Chilvers (2011 Scholar) (Current)

Sheridan Chilvers is currently the Big Bang Executive Officer at Learn By Design and Founder of Creative-Dimensions, a 3D printing and Scanning company.

Sheridan is a 2011 Scholar and travelled to the USA to research the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Upon his return to Nottingham he was appointed a new post of Entrepreneur-In-Residence at New College Nottingham.

Gareth Bartsch

Gareth Bartsch (2012 Scholar) (Retired 2022)

Gareth was working in the family business Bartsch Inns when he became one of the 2012 scholars studying the training and development of hospitality students in the USA. He is now a Senior Facilities Manager Consultant at Gleeds in Nottingham. Gareth is a keen rugby player and lives in Bingham. Gareth’s intention is to help the scholarship grow and reach a new audience to ensure that it continues to offer the great opportunities that he received.

Ed Attenborough
Ed Attenborough (Current)

Ed is MD of Attenborough Dental a family owned lab formed 100 years ago, he is a board member of the ADDE (Association of Dental Dealers Europe), represents the dental sector for UK Trade and Investment, is on the Life Sciences Sector steering committee of Innovate UK, is past president of the BDTA, and has served on the GDC Education Committee. Ed holds a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds and has over 20 years industry experience in major ICT projects. He has been responsible for the development and management of a variety of large projects in organisations throughout Europe including NATO, the European Space Agency and financial institutions. Ed pioneered CAD-CAM with the UKs first in-house scanning and manufacturing facility. He led a team which undertook R+D in the application of additive manufacturing techniques to dental technology. In 2006 Attenborough won the prestigious EMDA Medilink New Technology Award for the results of the revolutionary Daedalus Project. Ed has numerous articles published on Digital Dentistry and is a regular speaker at all the major UK dental conferences and exhibitions.


Councillor Merlita Bryan
Merlita Bryan (Current)

Merlita Bryan became a Trustee when she was the Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 2013. Since then she has continued in her role as Trustee while remaining a councillor for the Arboretum Ward. Merlita went to the Ellis Guilford school in Basford, now lives in Canning Circus. Merlita founded and is organising this year’s Black Achievers Awards at NTU .

Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council – Councillor Roger Jackson (Retired 2022)

Councillor Roger Jackson grew up on his family farm in Gonalston, where he still lives and works, as his family have done over three generations. He has been a County Councillor for Southwell since 2013, and a District Councillor for Newark and Sherwood since 2003.

Roger is actively involved in many organisations both within and outside the Authority. He is the Conservative Spokesman for the Fire Authority and Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee at the County Council, and Chairman of Leisure and Environment at Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Aside from his duties as a councillor, Roger is a partner in a wholesale meat company which operates in Nottingham. He has been part of the Nottinghamshire Young Farmers’ Club for most of his life and is now the county representative on its Executive Committee. He is also Chairman of the Nottinghamshire County Show, which is held every year at Newark Showground.

Roger lives with his partner Jilly, and they have two children and seven grandchildren between them. He keeps racehorses, and is Vice-President of Southwell Rugby Club, where he played for many years. He is also a season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest.

The Chairman’s community cause will be the Nottingham Branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain. The Ukrainian Centre has acted as first point of contact for many of the hosts and guests arriving into Nottinghamshire. It provides information, guidance, practical advice and help to those Ukrainians who have been displaced.



Lord Mayor of Nottingham – Councillor Wendy Smith (Retired 2022)

Wendy Smith was born at Fulwood Barracks in Preston and brought up in Corby on a newly-built council estate.  She has a younger brother and sister.

In 1978 Wendy moved to Nottingham at a time when teaching jobs were in short supply and became a school pianist and later did some school music teaching. She then took a secretarial course and did a variety of office jobs as well as working as a self-employed musician.

Wendy returned to teaching in 1990 as a supply teacher then applied for a job teaching deaf children. Following training at Birmingham University she qualified as a Teacher of the Deaf, learnt British Sign Language and in 1995 was part of the team which established the Deaf provision at Firbeck Primary School.  Later she taught in primary, secondary and special schools in the City and has been a governor at several local schools and colleges.  Wendy is now an Associate Governor at Mellers Primary School which has the City’s primary provision for Deaf children.

In 1991 Wendy moved to Bilborough and became a foster carer, fostering 11 children before meeting her husband Peter in 1994 whilst singing at a wedding.

In 2002 she won a competition to become the ‘Voice of the Tram’.  That led to her becoming a professional voiceover, mainly recording at a studio in Sherwood.

In 2007 Wendy discovered she had breast cancer following routine screening.  A few months later her sister also found she had breast cancer. They consider themselves lucky that it was caught early and they both made a good recovery.  As a result they are keen to encourage everyone to attend their cancer screening appointments and be ‘breast aware’.

Wendy was elected as a councillor for the Bilborough Ward at a by-election in April 2013.  Her particular interests are in education, disability, the arts and supporting older people to stay in their own homes.  Having spent many years caring for a relative with dementia, in 2019 Wendy started a monthly Memory Cafe (which had to be paused when lockdown started).

In 2016 Wendy and colleagues started Bilborough Arts Festival, a week-long summer celebration of the arts which involves residents of all ages as well as local schools.

Before becoming a councillor Wendy did voluntary work with the police and she was also a Victim Support volunteer.Wendy also now plays with two jazz bands,  the Shipstone Street Jazz Orchestra and Cool Jazz quintet. Wendy enjoys gardening, boxing, singing, playing Scrabble and languages.

Gabriel Strauss (Current)

Gabriel is a director of Capatex Ltd a Nottingham based company specialising in industrial and technical textiles and medical products. Gabriel was educated at Nottingham High School followed by Nottingham University where he studied Industrial Economics.

Gabriel has spent much time in the USA both for business and leisure, and extended visits in his late teens and early 20s were formative. Whilst not having been a scholar, his experiences & fondness for the USA have given him a great affinity to the scholarship and its objective of personal development and building bridges between Nottingham and the US.


Keith Taylor
Keith Taylor (1959 Scholar) (Current)

Keith Taylor is our US based representative on the Board. He has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the past 13 years and is the first Scholar to represent NRMTS on the ground in America. Keith was a divisional manager at Raleigh Industries and lived first, in the City (The Park) and then the County of Nottingham (Kinoulton). He spent 20 years at Board level in UK manufacturing industry, particularly global automotive components, followed by 20 years as a management consultant working primarily for Central Government Departments and Executive Agencies. For his National Service, he was commissioned into the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and served in Korea (1951) and then the Parachute Regiment (TA). He has numerous military connections and is currently Chairman of the British Army Benevolent Fund America (BABFA). His third book was published in 2009 ( and is the illustrated diary of his 1959 Scholarship trip, the first by car (17300 miles in 4 months!), including photographs of Mrs Roosevelt taken at Valkill Cottage, Hyde Park. Father of three adult children and grandfather of six, he met his partner, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, on his Scholarship in San Francisco in 1959. They will be glad to welcome and assist future Scholars to the United States.

Susan Hallam MBE
Susan Hallam MBE (Retired 2022)

Born in Philadelphia, Susan has lived and worked in Nottingham since 1985. She is the Founder and CEO of the digital marketing agency Hallam based in Nottingham city centre. She is a Trustee of Nottingham Castle, and serves on the boards of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter and MarketingNG.

Fomerly at Senior Lecturer in Computing at Nottingham Trent University, Susan has also held senior marketing roles at Capital One and BT.

She was awarded an MBE for enterprise in innovation, and is a Freeman of the City of London.

Richard Donovan (Current)

Richard spent 18 years in communications and brand-related roles, working in management roles for Egg, Captial One, EY, and Citibank. He joined Experian in 2012 to lead the internal communications function in the UK & Ireland, with his team being awarded in-house team of the year at the 2014 Institute of Internal Communications (IOIC) awards. In 2016 Richard was given additional responsibility to lead the Corporate Responsibility agenda for the UK, and in 2018 he shed his internal communications role to combine his CR activities with leading Experian’s global Social Innovation programme.

Nottingham born and bred, Richard is an avid Notts County fan and, having previously sat on the Board of Governors at Young Enterprise East Midlands and Nottingham College, he is presently a Governor at the Nottingham Growth Board. He holds a BSc in Communication and Media Studies from Loughborough, an MBA from the University of Derby and is a qualified MBTI practitioner and level 2 football coach. Additionally he is a fellow of the IOIC.

Rachel Armitage (Retired 2023)

A 2016 scholar who explored voter engagement during the US Presidential Election, Rachel is a passionate advocate for meaningful civic participation. While working on voter registration initiatives in Nottingham city at the time of her scholarship, she has since turned her focus to research, recently submitting a PhD on tackling online political misinformation.

Having had a life changing experience on the scholarship, Rachel has been thrilled to give back as a member of the Management Committee for the last six years and now as a Trustee. She is excited to help in advancing and protecting the scholarship into the future.



Our Patrons

Lord Mayor of Nottingham – Current

See the Lord Mayor’s Biography here.

The City Council has maintained its support since the inception of the scheme more than half a century ago

Chairman Nottinghamshire County Council – Current

See the Chairman’s biography here.

The County Council has maintained its support since the inception of the scheme more than half a century ago

Haven Roosevelt

The late FDR’s grandson, and graduate of Harvard College (’62) and Harvard Law School (’66), Haven Roosevelt is admitted to practice in the courts of New York and the Federal District Courts for the Southern District of New York the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of Alabama, the Second, Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He was an associate with the New York law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft from 1966 through 1975, a partner with that firm from 1975 through 1995 and Counsel with that firm from 1995 through 1997. At Cadwalader, he concentrated in the fields of antitrust, commercial litigation and construction litigation involving major capital intensive projects. He has appeared before federal and state administrative bodies.

Our Vice Patron

Sir Paul Smith

Both commercially successful and highly respected within the fashion industry, Sir Paul’s reputation is founded upon his menswear and his signature stripe in his menswear, women’s wear and accessories is famous worldwide.”Travel is still definitely my greatest source of inspiration and as I am travelling for many months of the year, I can say with experience that the scholarship is extremely worthwhile and will be very rewarding for the recipient”.