Meet the Governors

 Elected Governors

  • Richard Porter, Lead Governor, Public – South Somerset

    Richard PorterI started my working life by qualifying as an accountant but since then I have had a varied career in a variety of freelance occupations.

    I have been and still am a trustee of several charities, some of them being Quaker based and some based on community activities. I am a trustee of the Balsam Centre in Wincanton, and it was through involvement with this healthy living centre that I was drawn to the idea of the Somerset Partnership. I have come to feel that mental health work, whether within the NHS or in the voluntary sector, is the most neglected and under funded area of community health, and the area which can probably do most to benefit general community welfare.


  • Elaine Hodgson, Public – Taunton Deane

    Elaine HodgsonI enjoy serving the community. I would like to use the experience I have gained as a volunteer with LINKS, Healthwatch Somerset, running The Acorn Project, being involved with Alternative2 Admission, and a member of Taunton Deane Forum for Mental Health. With the changes in the NHS, I want to be in a position to influence things for the good of the patients. I would see the role as one where I could continue to break down the barriers of ‘them’ and ‘ us’.

    I know what it’s like to be ‘down there’ and not understood or listened to. For this reason I feel I am well qualified to represent vulnerable constituents. I have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life. I also suffer from other physical illnesses which enables me to understand the problems with having a disability. I am not afraid to speak out in public meetings and am experienced in serving on committees. I am told people find me easy to relate to.

  • Peter Ernest, Public - Taunton Deane

    My job as a supervisor/placement manager involves working with service users that are directed by the courts to carry out community work, some service users can have chaotic lifestyles and challenging behaviour, may have experienced drug addiction, alcoholism or mental health issues. Yet  some may be first-time offenders and in full-time employment,  together they can make a difference  in the community whether it be painting children’s play areas, painting and decorating in schools, litter picking or helping out in community events.

    As a newly appointed public governor, I look forward to representing the public of Taunton Deane and work with the council of governors. The NHS is an important part of our lives, from birth to elderly care.  The NHS has been referred to as the jewel in the welfare crown.

  • Philippa Hawks, Public - Taunton Deane

    Phillippa HawksAfter a decade of working for the BBC, firstly in London as a drama PA and then a year in the Natural History Unit in Bristol, I married a General Practitioner and moved to Somerset.

    Since giving up paid work I have been very involved with the local community.  A Justice of the Peace for many years, a member of Taunton Deane Borough Council, Parish Councillor, School Governor for both Primary and Secondary schools, Trustee and then Chair of the Community Council for Somerset.  I have also been involved with many projects to do with the arts and environment in the County.

    My interest in health began with my membership of the Somerset Community Health Council.  I then became a Non Executive Director for Taunton Deane Primary Care Trust.

    I am currently a Mental Health Act Manager for the Partnership and Cygnet Healthcare, Trustee for the Bishop Fox’s Educational Foundation and a volunteer for Circles UK.

    I am very much looking forward to working with the Partnership as a governor and again representing the people of Taunton Deane.

  • Cathy Hackett, Public - Mendip

    Our ever-widening health agenda brings real complexity to setting priorities and allocating resources and I want to represent the community’s needs in decision-making so the Trust can continue to provide quality, accessible health and hospital services.

    My career has been all about people. I’ve been a Human Resources Director in large corporates and have a commercial, strategic and planning background as well as a deep understanding of change management and the needs of human beings in organisations. I’ve been a member of the Patient Participation Group at my local GP practice and the Patient Chair on the Patient/Carer Forum at UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. I’ve also worked in Organisation Development at a couple of NHS Trusts so I have a strong appreciation of the issues, constraints and opportunities that hospitals and our public health services face.

  • Richard Brown, Public - Mendip

    I have no connection with the NHS except as a user, I therefore seek to represent and serve all sections of my fellow users in the Mendip Area.

    Have both management and judicial experience, also I serve as a Director and Trustee of a number of Charities; have served on a number of Government and County appointed Boards.

    I with my wife, live at Westhay near Glastonbury, our four children having long left home.

  • Bob Champion, Public - Mendip

    Bob ChampionI wanted to be a Governor to help people who have trouble helping themselves. I have spent the last 30 years of my working life with the Somerset Ambulance Service, most of it on the road, several occasions acted up to senior positions. I have been a Town or District Councillor since 1989, and in September 1998 appointed by MDC Members to be their representative on the Somerset Community Health Council, (Health Watchdog) made vice-chairman for the last two years of its life, then joined the PPIs, now Healthwatch which is the new health/social care watchdog.  It was during the CHC period of time that we had a good look at stroke care within Somerset and we found it totally inadequate at weekends, so set up meetings with the two acute hospitals and in the end, had a service which covered 24/7, soon after, some of the community hospitals had rehab stroke units within them. 

    During my 46 years involved with the NHS I have seen the patient's journey from the beginning (which is good) and the end of life; this opportunity gives me, therefore you, to look more closely at the middle of life's journey and to ensure that Mendip residents receive what they are entitled to.

  • Nick Phillips, Public - Mendip

    Nick PhillipsFor the past year I have been acting as an appointed governor with a responsibility for young people and have started an initiative to engage more young people as trust members.  This is an area that I would like to continue to develop as well as extending similar work to engage with other under-represented groups and ensure that they have a voice and a say in the direction of the trust.  Having lived and worked in Mendip for the past eight years I would be honoured to represent all the people of the district, many of whom I already work with on a daily basis and to ensure their views and needs are always heard and considered.

    I have twelve years’ experience as a senior manager in both the education and charity sectors during which time I have been involved at a strategic level in several regional and national initiatives including the FE Sector Peer Review project and the piloting of the Common Inspection Framework.  I have a background in public sector quality management and have experience of running quality audits and ensuring oversight of both projects and institutions.  I am used to analysing information, acting as a voice and advocate for others and, when necessary, asking the difficult questions.

  • Eddie Nicolas, Public - Sedgemoor

    I have been involved as a volunteer with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants since 1995. I started my working career in the Civil Service but then moved on to qualify as a psychiatric nurse. Although I have not worked continuously in the health service and did move on to other pastures I feel that I may be able to make a contribution to the Somerset Partnership. I am well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead for the health service in Somerset; this acts like an added incentive rather than a deterrent. I will enjoy facing the challenge with the other governors. I have had the opportunity to look at one of the financial projections in the county and realise that it will not be an easy task to balance the books in the years to come. The Governing body will have to be brave enough to deal with the problem. I hope that I will get the opportunity to be part of that body.

    I have occupied various positions on the Bristol and Croydon Branches of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, including being Chairman/President. I was a governor for two years at Woolavington Village Primary School and occupied the position of Vice-Chairman. I was part of the Finance Group at the Woolavington Village Primary School.

  • Dave Gudge - Public Sedgemoor

    Dave Gudge

    Over the past 30 years, I have worked with many people to deliver care to everyone and anyone in nursing homes, hospitals and brain injury units.  I have worked in professional and semi-professional sports, teaching and guiding both young and old athletes, mainly as a sport scientist, coach and psychologist.

    I wanted to become a Governor to make a difference in my area with how care happens and who gets the care required.  I would like to oversee NHS strategic planning and its delivery to the public, to help change the perception of some members of the public as to how hard staff in our NHS work.  I want to help staff with their vocation and use my medical knowledge and vast experience for the need of the people.  I would also like to help change and improve how social care is delivered and to ensure we support those who have to deliver the care.

    I am a qualified welfare officer with many proven strategies and theories.  My best assets are my honesty, professionalism, versatility, patience and knowledge of the medical profession.


  • Malcolm Turner, Public - Sedgemoor

    I have significant management and organisational skills gained in both public and private sectors, coupled with many years of practical experience as both a user and supporter of the NHS services.  I have experience of partnership work across the public and private sectors which would support the need to work more closely with partner organisations.  I also have exposure to, and an understanding of, the financial pressures faced by an ever-changing political landscape, particularly in a past role as CEO of a Bristol based not for profit organisation, supporting individuals experiencing disadvantage in the labour market.  I have many years’ experience in working in support of equality and diversity programmes. 

    I wanted to become a Governor to play a part in maintaining and improving health services for the local community.  I have spent several years as the chair of my local Patient Participation Group and subsequently became an Ambassador for the Patients Association.  Additionally, I play an active role in the Peninsular Patient Involvement Group supporting health research through Exeter University.  I believe this wide-ranging experience puts me in a good position to understand and contribute to the provision of community and mental health services supporting the work of the Trust.  I would like to help represent and put the service user at the centre of provision.

    I hold an MSc in Local Economic Development and a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance.

  • Nick Beecham, Public - South Somerset

    Nick Beecham I have been in the farming industry for 30 years.  I had a mental health breakdown and the team at Bracken House have been very supportive to myself having a mental health illness.  This got me drawn into helping other people who have a disability and a mental health illness by starting a group called the Watch project.

    I am also a full time carer. When the opportunity for a public governor came up I felt that I could help in some way in moving the mental health side of the NHS forward as the NHS is part of the solid base of England. 


  • Ian Aldridge, Public - West Somerset

    The NHS has been there when I needed it and now I want to put something back. The NHS is essential for everyone at some time in our lives.  I have experience of being a patient, a carer for a patient and working in a commercial organisation supplying the NHS.  The service is not perfect, but not to the extent sometimes portrayed.  I believe it ain't broke, so I'm not out to fix it.

    I now have the time to contribute to the running of the service through representing the needs and views of the people who are served by the Trust.  There is a gap between what we think can be done in our time of need and what the dedicated staff can do in practice.  I will take the needs and aspirations of the people of Somerset to the heart of the Trust and make constructive suggestions to the Board about how those expectations can be met within the limited resources available.  It is also important to feed back to communities the reasoning behind decisions made in their interest by the Board.

    My focus will be on how healthcare is accessed in our particularly rural area by all the people who need it.  I have worked in both public and private sectors and voluntarily in a cancer support group.  Currently I serve as a parish and district councillor.  My background is scientific with a law degree and lay experience in finance.

  • Hannah Coleman, Staff Governor

    Hannah Coleman, Staff GovernorI qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1997 from the University of Plymouth. My first wards included Urology and male surgical in Musgrove Park Hospital. I went on the work in the Private sector as a Nurse Advisor for Coloplast Ltd and Jade Uromed which gave me an understanding of the business side of healthcare.

    I returned to the NHS working as a Practice Nurse based in a Branch surgery of Irnham Lodge and Harley House Surgeries, in the medical centre at Butlins. I started working in Minehead Minor Injury Unit in 2009 and qualified as an Emergency Nurse Practioner 2011.

    I am married with two grown up step-sons and spend much of my spare time helping my husband in his Air Conditioning and Refrigeration business and walking my little (very spoilt) dog.

  • Claudine Brown, Staff Governor

    Claudine Brown, Staff GovernorI am a social worker and approved mental health professional based in the mental health team in Bridgwater. When I put myself forward for the Council of Governors it was in the hope that I would be able to feed back the views of staff about our services and how they should develop in the future. I am looking forward to going out and meeting teams and listening to their opinions and ideas. I am always happy for people to seek me out and share their thoughts.


  • Paul Aldwinckle, Staff Governor

    I was born and grew up in Leicester, moving to Norfolk, Cambridgeshire before moving to North Somerset. I have been involved in Church youth work, more recently in the Scout movement as leader and trainer of leaders. I am married with four children and continue to be involved with the local church and a number of charities.

    As a Chiropodist/ Podiatrist my career began in the practice ran by my parents and then developed into running my own practice for 12 years. I then returned to study gaining a BSc (Hon’s) in Podiatry before joining the NHS, rising through the grades as opportunity and experience allowed, my specialist areas were Diabetes and Bio-Mechanics, combining these within the specialist clinics alongside the Orthopaedic team gave me the experience that I use in my current role.

    I moved to Somerset in 2004 to take up the Lead Diabetes role in Podiatry which was then added to with the role of acting manager through the introduction of agenda for change and the combining of the four PCTs. When the opportunity arose to join the Orthopaedic assessment service I moved into my current role within the trust.

    Over the 17 years in the NHS like many staff I have been through at least 6 changes in structure and have gained knowledge that continues to grow and understand the need for continued flexibility in providing a high standard of care that patients seek to have. 

  • Polly Maguire, Staff Governor

    I want to be involved and influence the way in which we practice and help the NHS to survive in these modern and uncertain times. I also want to help promote the role of allied health professionals and promote the awareness current laws are being passed and how they will affect patients, and health professionals on an individual basis and as a whole. I admire and respect the NHS and all its staff for all they tackle and accomplish every day with such positivity, and desperately want to help this continue in the future.

    I am a young, but experienced professional with previous roles in both acute and community healthcare, working as part of a team and as a lone worker, in general and mental health settings. I have also briefly worked as an account manager and worked with procurement, finance teams and directors to achieve sales targets, so have seen the NHS from all manner of settings. If I were to be elected I would fight for the best patient care possible, and the best work environment and conditions for staff.

  • Nicola Price, Staff Governor

    Information to follow

  • Sumitar Young - Public, Taunton Deane

    My professional life has been spent as a teacher and as a manager in further education.  My personal aim has always been to make a positive difference in the lives of my students. The last 15 years were as the senior manager in Bridgwater College where I was accountable for the quality of support and experience of students.  This brought me face to face to the impact that  poverty, mental health, safeguarding, and learning disabilities had on the learning of individual students and on their families. 

    Working with colleagues from health, police, social services, voluntary organisations and other providers gave me the experience of partnership working and how through cooperation, professionals could add value to the services provided. I believe that there are many similarities in the continuing challenges faced by nationally funded education and health services. I therefore not only bring experience of partnership working but also those of planning, management and quality control. 

    As a new Governor, I am looking forward to representing the communities in Taunton Deane and in a small way contributing to the delivery of higher quality NHS services.


  • Judi Morison - Public, South Somerset

    Since retiring from Adult & Community Learning three years ago I have developed new skills as a Town Councillor. These skills have enhanced my existing management, communication, and empathy with people of all ages and in most situations. I am a good listener and I believe that everyone has a right to be accepted and I actively celebrate difference. 

    I have an interest in the services for young people and I have been involved in youth work all my life.  I am particularly conscious of rising numbers of young people with mental ill-health and have recently started a Youth Council encouraging our young people to have a say in their community and understand democratic processes.

    I live in a rural area and am very aware of the inaccessibility of local facilities and strongly believe that services can be accessed by joining up community services and working in partnership with other agencies.

    I am also keen promote to the NHS as a positive place to work with many opportunities for young people to work in a variety of health settings.


  • Paddy Ashe, Public - South Somerset

    I have served in the Royal Navy for the last 36 years and I am now coming to the end of my career.  I cannot think of a better way to participate in the wider community by becoming a member of the Council of Governors' and help to preserve and improve the NHS in all aspects of patient care.  I have a son and a daughter and my wife who works for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  I look forward to meeting you all in the very near future.


Appointed Governors

 Appointed Governors June 2017
Governors can be contacted in the following ways:

Telephone:  01278 432167
Membership Office
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
2nd Floor, Mallard Court
Express Park
Bristol Road