Trustees and fellows


Plunkett Foundation is governed by a board of trustees who are elected by our members. Click on their profiles below to read more about each person.

Our Chair,
Margaret Clark CBE

Margaret Clark CBE joined Plunkett’s Board in February 2013 and became Chair in July 2013. Margaret Clark spent her career working in national government agencies, concerned with rural development, where she was responsible for advice, research and the development of rural policy and practice and for managing a range of social and economic programmes aimed at improving the wellbeing of rural communities in England. From the early 1990s, she represented the UK on the OECD’s Rural Working Party and was its Chair from 2000 until November 2007.

Since retiring, she has continued to be involved in rural development policy and delivery. Margaret has a particular interest in the provision of rural affordable housing and for a number of years was a board member and then Chair of the Hastoe Housing Group, the leading provider of rural social housing in England. She is currently Chair of the Rural Coalition, an alliance of 12 national organisations who share a vision for a living and working countryside. She also chairs the Rural England Community Interest Company Stakeholder Group, which aims to improve the rural evidence base through sharing knowledge and undertaking research into rural issues. Margaret is also a Board member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). She is an honorary fellow of the Centre for Rural Economy at the University of Newcastle. Margaret was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours’ List for services to rural communities.

Vice Chair, Tom Scanlon

Tom Scanlon is Vice Chair of the Plunkett Foundation. Tom is the board representative of the Plunkett Community Shops Network after successfully establishing a community shop in his community. Tom spent most of his business career at director level in supply chain organisations across a whole spectrum of internationally recognised companies and is now involved in his own consultancy enterprise engaged in business improvement, mergers and acquisitions and employee relations.

Chris Coe

Chris Coe has worked as a Director and Trustee in the charitable sector for almost twenty years and he previously held Executive Director posts in major British retailers. Chris has volunteered his time to Plunkett for over four years and he has recently been supporting Plunkett’s Executive Director with leadership development, strategic planning, and organisational culture.

Helen Aldis

When Helen joined The Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2014 she was able to combine her experience growing up on the family farm in Shropshire with her determination to improve the livelihoods of people living and working in the countryside. While at the Fund she was responsible for overseeing its grant giving programme and as a valued strategic partner developed her understanding and appreciation of the valuable role that community businesses can play in delivering vital services and retaining key assets in rural communities and the essential role the Plunkett Foundation has in inspiring and encouraging communities into action.

Prior to joining The Prince’s Countryside Fund she led the national awareness campaign Carers Week working with a coalition of national charity partners dedicated to supporting unpaid carers to access the support and services they need as well as tackling isolation. In summer 2018, Helen and her husband, plus much loved beagle-basset cross Dexter and cat moved to Dartmoor. She now works part-time for the Soil Association running its Innovative Farmers programme and is a freelance consultant for clients including the Plunkett Foundation and The Prince’s Countryside Fund as well as being a Trustee of Age UK Devon.

Julian Ross

Julian joined the Plunkett board in 2014. In 2003, Julian took the lead in founding a co-operative to buy The Old Crown pub in the village of Hesket Newmarket on the northern edge of the Cumbrian Lake District. The purchase was completed in August 2003 and The Old Crown became the first co-operatively owned pub in Britain. Julian is chairman of the Old Crown Co-operative, a position he has held from the beginning. Since that time, several other pubs throughout the country have adopted the model pioneered by The Old Crown. Hesket Newmarket also has a microbrewery, situated just behind The Old Crown, which is also co-operatively owned.

In his ‘other life’, Julian works full-time as a freelance translator working from Dutch into English. He is married to Tori and lives in Carlisle.

Martin Collett

Martin Collett is Operations and Communications Director at English Rural Housing Association, a specialist affordable housing provider which owns and manages around 1,250 rural homes nationally. Martin’s broad range of responsibilities include services delivered to residents and other partner rural housing associations. He also leads the organisations promotional activity and advocacy work. He is one of the principal architects of the 5-star plan for rural housing, an ambition emerging from the National Housing Federation Influencing Academy, where Martin was the selected national rural lead. He is also Chairman of the Rural Housing Alliance.

Martin has a longstanding interest in the countryside, driven by his farming heritage and is a regular blogger and media contributor on rural issues. A History and History of Art graduate and Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Up until 2018, Martin was a Trustee of Community Action Hampshire and is also an Ambassador for the LGBT youth homelessness charity The Albert Kennedy Trust.

Sue Boer

Sue Boer became a Plunkett trustee in July 2014 and is the representative of the Plunkett Community Enterprise Network. Sue has been a member of the Kingsbury Community Shop management committee for 3 years. For the period of time before the shop opened, during its launch and as a manager since it opened.

During this time Sue has also represented the Plunkett Foundation by giving presentations to local and district councils and communities planning to open community shops.

Sue’s ‘day job’ has always been in Primary Education, as a teacher and then in school improvement, working in inner city schools that were failing. Her role was mainly to improve the quality of teaching and learning but also to ensure that the systems and structures were in place that would mean that the improvements could happen and be maintained. She has found that many of the leadership, people management and organisational skills needed to ensure development in these challenging circumstances, have served her well when working in the unfamiliar territory of community enterprise.


We bestow fellowships to individuals in recognition of the support they’ve given to Plunkett Foundation over a number of years. Click on their profiles of the people below to find out more about them.

David Button

David Button has almost thirty five years’ experience in the Co-operative sector, having held key senior positions in Food from Britain, both as agricultural development director and as financial controller.

He is a past Chairman of the Plunkett Foundation holding the position for six years being instrumental in leading the organisation through an extensive strategic, financial and staffing review. This enabled the Foundation to maintain its key agricultural and rural co-operative development objectives whilst developing a leading role in the social enterprise sector.

David has considerable practical experience of all forms of cooperative development within the UK and also as a senior consultant working on international projects in Central and Eastern Europe funded by DFID and through them the World Bank He is currently a main Board member of Co-operatives uk representing its federal members and is also Chair of the UK Co-operative Forum where he also represents English Farming and Food Partnerships for whom he works as an Associate Consultant advising on all areas of agricultural collaborative development.

Dr Rita Rhodes

Dr Rita Rhodes, a long standing member and former Trustee of the Plunkett Foundation, graduated from the Co-operative College in 1957 and after this time took on a number of co-operative education roles. Her roles included Lecturer in Co-operative Studies at Magee College, University of Ulster, Londonderry, the Co-operative Union’s Scottish Sectional Education Officer, the Education Liaison Officer of the National Co-operative Development Agency, London and the Education Officer and Secretary to the Women’s Committee of the International Co-operative Alliance in London and Geneva.

In 1995 she completed her Ph.D at the Open University on The International Co-operative Alliance During War and Peace 1910-1950 and her thesis was published by the International Co-operative Alliance in the same year. She has since co-authored Thematic Guice to ICA Congresses 1895-1995 in 1996 and authored An Arsenal for Labour – The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society and Politics 1896-1996 in 1997. Currently, she is preparing a history of the development of co-operatives in the British Empite 1900 – 1960. Dr Rhodes has written numerous articles for Co-operative journals and has delivered papers for national and international co-operative research conferences. She has undertaken co-operative education and training assingments in Malaysia,Sri Lanka, Egypt and Mongolia for the Plunkett Foundation and ILO, often for co-operative women members.

Dr Rhodes is a Visiting Research Associate of the Co-operative Research Unit at the Open University, a member and past Chair of the Society of Co-operative Studies and Review Editor of the Journal of Co-operative Studies and a founder member of the Scottish Co-operatives Development Committee.

Edgar Parnell

Edgar Parnell started his working life in a consumer co-operative in the north of England and subsequently held senior management posts within several UK co-operatives before becoming General Manager of the Co-operative Development Trust, Botswana, which established the nation’s first supermarkets and central wholesaling operations.

On returning to the UK he was appointed as a retail management consultant for Clarks Ltd and later held a similar position with the Co-operative Wholesale Society (UK). Next he became the Non-Food Retailing Manager covering co-operative stores throughout Scotland; then in 1974 adviser on co-operative management to the Government of Jamaica. Other appointments followed, including Manager for the Fund for the Research and Development of Africa and then UN/ILO adviser on management and marketing to co-operatives in India. In 1980 he was appointed as Education Officer at the Plunkett Foundation and thereafter served as Chief Executive from 1984 to 1998.

He has undertaken consultancy and training assignments for co-operatives both in the UK and in over 40 other countries. He also served as: a member of the General Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance, co-chairman of the EU Committee for the Development of the Rural Economy of Poland, a member of the Council of the Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives (UK), chairman of the UK national Co-operative Development Agency, Education and Training Committee, and on various COGECA (the EU federation of agricultural co-operatives) working parties. Edgar Parnell is the author of many publications of which the best known is Reinventing the Cooperative – Enterprises for the 21st Century, which has been translated into several languages. Edgar is author of the Co-op Pundit blog

John Tyrell

John Tyrrell comes from a farming background in County Dublin and is a graduate of University College Dublin with an Honours Degree in Agricultural Science, specialising in Animal Production.

Between 1975 and 1978, he worked with ADAS in the UK as a Dairy Husbandry Advisor. In 1978 he joined the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), the umbrella organisation for agricultural co-operatives in Ireland. In 1990, he was appointed Director General of ICOS. He has been deeply involved in the major structural changes which have occurred in the Irish co-operative sector since 1990 including the mergers of co-operatives. This has included chairing of merger negotiations. He has also played an active role in the development of the Irish position on the Common Agricultural Policy, and is on a number of expert groups which the Irish Government has set up to advise an food and agriculture policy.

ICOS advises co-operatives on policy issues, including sectoral policy, co-operative structures and representation of co-operatives’ interests at national and international level. It also provides a wide range of services for co-operatives and has long been involved in facilitating the re-organisation of the Irish dairy sector.

He was Vice President of COGECA, the European Association of Agricultural and Fishing Co-operatives from 1996-99. He is also a member of a number of European Advisory Committees including the Common Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee.

Kate Targett

Kate Targett began her career as a journalist in the USA, before arriving in the UK in 1984. Here she put her honours degrees in history and English to work as Press Officer and ‘wordsmith’ for five counties of the English Tourist Board. In 1992 she joined the Plunkett Foundation, initially with the international development department and subsequently as Information Services Manager, librarian and archivist. A substantial grant from the Ireland Funds in 1998 enabled her to undertake a major project of heritage conservation, preservation and electronic classification for the Foundation’s historic collection of co-operative books, journals, manuscripts and correspondence.

After a year studying and teaching English as a Foreign Language at Oxford Brookes University, Kate returned to her major interest in the Foundation’s heritage in 2003. At the invitation of ICOS Director-General John Tyrrell and James Moloney, Chairman of the IAWS (now One51), she transcribed, annotated and indexed the fifty-one volumes of Sir Horace Plunkett’s handwritten diaries. Covering the years 1881 to 1932, these documents clarify and amplify Plunkett’s colourful biography, as well as his unique role in the social, political and co-operative landscape of Ireland, England and America.

Since retiring in 2008 Kate has remained committed to promoting a range of social enterprises and occasionally edits material for co-operative publications. She became a Fellow in 2011.

Lord Plumb

Quintin Fox

Born and raised in rural Worcestershire and educated at the University of London, Quintin joined the Plunkett Foundation at the beginning of 2001 and went on to become Head of Consultancy and Training. The values of Sir Horace and the work of the Foundation in promoting and supporting economic self-help in rural and agricultural communities resonates deeply with him. At the end of 2005, Quintin and his family emigrated to Canada where he became responsible for member services, education and research at the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) in Ottawa. Quintin continued to maintain links with and promote the work of the Plunkett Foundation since coming to Canada. His experience during his time at the Foundation in developing education and training programs for farmer-directors directly led to his involvement in the award-winning Leadership in Governance director and delegate training program at Gay Lea Foods Co-operative. Gay Lea Foods is one of Canada’s largest dairy co-operatives with over 30% of Ontario dairy farmers as member-owners and over $600 million in sales. In 2012 he joined Gay Lea Foods as Director of Training Development and Capacity Resourcing and is responsible for leadership and co-operative development programs for members, staff, delegates and directors. He resides with his family in beautiful Guelph, Ontario.

Richard Moreton

Former Plunkett Foundation Chief Executive Richard Moreton became a Plunkett Fellow at the 2013 Plunkett Foundation AGM. Richard originally joined the Plunkett Foundation team for the first time in the 1980s working closely with another Plunkett Fellow, Edgar Parnell. Richard then rejoined Plunkett as Chief Executive in 2000 and led the organisation until late 2006. Richard has contributed hugely to building what the Plunkett Foundation is today. Under Richard the Plunkett Foundation took on the community shop support role previously provided by ViRSA. He developed Plunkett’s reputation as experts in rural social enterprise and also conceptualised the Making Local Food Work programme which became a reality shortly after leaving the Plunkett Foundation.