Our Trustees

Mr John Smith

Trustee - Chair

John is a former senior manager in Aviva’s Legal function. He has extensive experience in areas including strategic planning, leading and developing teams of professionals, change management, business improvement and procurement.

He was an early member of the Law Society’s Law Management section and actively engaged in developing the Law Society’s Lexcel quality standard for in-house legal teams. John also has many years of governance and school improvement experience.

Mrs Mary Richards

Trustee – Vice Chair
Chair of Governors at Hellesdon High School

Mary Richards is Senior Development officer of Governors Services and has previously worked for NCC Planning and Transportation Department. She has experience in managing large teams, budgets, premises and contracts. Mary has an in depth knowledge of school/academy governance as well as providing advice, support and training to governors and school based staff.


Mr Patrick Gorman


Patrick is a mining engineer with forty years of managerial, technical and project experience in a wide range of business, cultural and climatic environments and commodities.  Patrick has worked on over 100 projects in 60 countries and has managed development programmes, pre-feasibility and bankable feasibility studies, conceptual evaluations, scoping and acquisition studies and provided post privatisation support and technical audits for project financing. Patrick has hands-on experience in the formation, management and legal representation of a range of exploration, mining, consulting and construction companies and has served as either a non-executive director or executive director of public and private companies in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Patrick served his community as a Magistrate in Norwich for 10 years and was a volunteer Generalist Advisor for 3 years at Citizens Advice Great Yarmouth. Patrick is currently a volunteer First Aider with St John’s Ambulance.

Mr Daniel Thrower


Daniel Thrower has been Headteacher at Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School for many years. Daniel guided the school to Academy status [the school converted to a ‘stand-alone’ academy on 1 June 2013], one of the first infant schools in the region to do so and he is a founding member of the Norfolk Schools and Theatre Royal Trust.  In March 2015, the school achieved ‘Outstanding’ grades in all five areas.

Daniel has extensive experience of managing, resourcing and overseeing a successful school and Academy ensuring sustainability and long term investment.

Mr Edwin Pearson

Governor at Acle Academy

Edwin Pearson is now retired from his role as a Director at Bernard Matthews responsible for Planning, Supply Chain and IT.

Edwin is Chair of Governors at Firside Junior School.  Edwin was a Governor at Hellesdon High School serving on the Sixth Form Review Committee and was governor link for Pupil Premium.

Edwin is also Chair of Governors of Lyng Church of England Primary school in his home village.

Mr Jason Tipple


Following a short career in the food industry, Jason entered financial services in 1992 and had a variety of roles including mortgage and business finance underwriting, ending up in the online business of Moneyfacts, the financial research company. After a big lifestyle change in 2003, he started a microbrewery which continues to trade successfully, recently adding a micro distillery to the business and also running 2 pubs.

Jason became a community governor at Garrick Green Infant School in Spring 2012 joining, and ultimately chairing, the Finance and Premises Committee, ensuring the school maintained a surplus budget. He was elected Chair of Governors in September 2015 and during his time as Chair, has seen the school receive a very positive Ofsted inspection and helped guide and support the school through the decision to apply for academy status and ultimately, joining The Wensum Trust.

Both of Jason's children attended Garrick Green, and are now in Years 8 and 9 at high school.

"Garrick Green is an awesome school and I enjoy being part of it. I think I am a dedicated and enthusiastic governor and am happy to give the time it takes to do it justice. I’m able to provide both challenge and support to the school leadership team and I approach my trustee role with the Wensum Trust with equal enthusiasm."

Rev Louise Alder


Reverend Louise Alder – Vicar of Hellesdon (St Mary’s, St Michael’s and St Paul’s). I am married to Andrew and have 2 children, we are all involved with education in a variety of ways. I have been a Priest since 2002, beginning my ministry on the Isle of Wight where we were already living before moving as a family to Norfolk in 2007. I began my ministry in Norfolk as a vicar of a number of rural parishes before moving to take up my current post in Hellesdon in March 2014. I have always been involved with ministry to children, young people and families seeking to ensure that there are opportunities for all round development through learning and new experiences which enable them to discover who they are created to be and better enabling them to take their place as responsible citizens.

Mrs Jennie Reynolds

Lead Clerk

Jennie has a background in Office Management, Finance, Adult Education and Governance.  

Jennie joined the Wensum Trust in July 2018 as Lead Clerk, having worked previously for another Academy Trust in the same role and as clerk to governors for several other governing boards.  Jennie has extensive knowledge of the statutory roles around academy governance. 

Jennie was appointed as Company Secretary to the Wensum Trust as from 1st September 2019. 

Ms Zaliha Williamson


Zaliha joined the board of Trustees on the 1st August 2019, and is currently the Head of Finance for the Walking With The Wounded Charity. She is a qualified accountant with extensive financial and senior management experience within the Manufacturing Sector.

Zaliha has held a number of Finance Director roles that encompassed the management of other functions such as Planning, Logistics, IT, Risk and Crisis Management.