Our trustees

Meet the people who make decisions about our strategic direction

Dame Hannahs is a governed by its Board of Trustees, which is ultimately responsible for the management and conduct of the charity. It sets the strategic direction to enable us to work towards achieving our vision and goals.


  • Ian Cowley

    Chair of Trustees

    Ian is a lifelong supporter of disabled and disadvantaged individuals, and is committed to helping Dame Hannahs maintain its excellent standards of care and support during the next stage of its development.

    A retired Executive and Non-Executive Director with extensive experience of working with not for profit organisations. He has been closely involved with a number of charities who found themselves having to overcome challenging and difficult situations. His work helped them to get through their difficulties, refocus on their core values, renew their sense of purpose and put in place the financial security that is so important for the long-term sustainability of any charity.

    “I want to make sure that Dame Hannahs thrives and moves forward and that we concentrate on what we do best – providing first class care for our adults with disabilities. It is vital that we keep looking at ways to expand their lives and to enable them to have an even better quality of life. And it is critical that we make sure the Trust is in a position to provide for a greater number of adults with disabilities on a sustainable basis in the future.”
  • Christine Erwood

    Chris Erwood CTA ATT TEP has worked within the field of taxation for 40 years and has a solid base of practical experience at senior level within the field of estate and trust taxation reflecting a balanced mix of HMRC, Big 4 Accountancy, Stockbroking/Asset Management and FTSE100 Industry background. Chris is the tax director of Erwood & Associates Ltd which provides a specialist capital taxes consultancy service to the professional forum. She continues to be a popular circuit lecturer, regular contributor to technical journals and widely published technical author in her specialist field. Chris is a qualified member of: the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and, having recently stepped down from her exam involvement with the latter, she remains directly involved with the CIOT exam process. Chris is a long established trustee of the Edward Gostling Foundation where she is Chair of the Audit & Compliance committee.

  • Judith Gentry

    Judith Gentry has a portfolio career originating from retail management. She is an experienced retailer having held Board level positions with FTSE 100 companies until 2004. She then worked for 6 successful years as an independent retail professional with contracts in the UK and Europe. Throughout this time Judith became known for innovation and developing out profitable new opportunities.

    She studied for a degree in Psychotherapy and added professional career coaching to her portfolio, gaining a BSc(Hons) in Reflective Therapeutic Practice (1st Class).

    She is a published author, writing for organisations such as BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) taking regular commissions to write for their audiences.

    She has extensive experience as a volunteer in the charitable sector, at both operational and strategic level, including education programmes with Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and mental health programmes for young people. She was the founding Chair of Trustees of The Burton at Bideford, an Arts Council England accredited museum and art gallery, overseeing its transition from local authority control to charitable status. During her tenure as Chair the charity became a National Portfolio Organisation.

    Now based in North Devon, Judith splits her time between retail consultancy and career coaching helping professional people find their passion and goals so that they actually want to go to work when they wake up!

  • Paul Boys

    Paul has spent the whole of his working career in construction and housing development. He worked on major projects for John Laing Construction moving on to Laing Homes and finally Taylor Wimpey as a regional MD. His interest in learning disabilities began 33 years ago when his youngest son Alex was born with Down’s Syndrome. Since then, he has held several Trustee roles in charities that support people with a learning disability including 20 years at Robert Owen Communities, a Devon based support provider which has recently merged with United Response. He is currently a Trustee of two other Charities; a grant making Trust and a small housing provider for people with a learning disability.

    “Hannahs is a great charity and I am delighted to be able to use the skills that I have gained both through my working career and from working with other charities with a similar ethos to hopefully make a useful contribution to the ongoing success of the organisation”

  • Simon Morris

    Simon is a lawyer of over 20 years experience. He started his legal career in Devon with the then Bond Pearce LLP, moving to Bristol for over 10 years and working for Osborne Clarke LLP and DAC Beachcroft LLP. Simon’s experience is in commercial and corporate contracts and project financing. He has recently worked on high value NHS commissioning contracts and financings. Simon also has industry experience having worked as an in house counsel for Wincanton plc and the then Lloyds TSB Bank plc.

    “Dame Hannahs is a wonderful charity and I am pleased and proud to be a member of the board of Trustees. I am hoping that my previous experience can positively contribute to the direction and growth of the charity, to allow it to continue to provide the excellent services which it currently provides.”