The Active Cheshire Trustees, Patrons and Ambassadors

Responsible for the governance of the organisation, the Trustees play a key role in determining the strategic direction of Active Cheshire.

Active Cheshire are driven and challenged to achieve the collective ambitions of the region, through scrutiny and advocacy by our experienced board of Trustees, Patrons and Ambassadors who bring a diverse range of skills and expertise to the organisation.

Led by the Chair, Martin Pearson, they all work on a voluntary basis and come from a wide range of backgrounds, including business, local government, health and sport. Together, they bring a diverse range of skills and expertise and through scrutiny, advocacy and challenge help us achieve our collective ambitions.

Board Champions/special roles:

  • Senior Independent Director – Susan Sellers
  • Safeguarding and Equality Champion – Rachel Waterman
  • Welfare and Safety Champion – Iain Lancaster


As an independent charity in receipt of public investment, we are governed and managed robustly as you would expect. Active Cheshire see good governance as a keystone to constantly improving as a charity, and a positive way to provide better service to the community year-on-year.

Find out more about about Active Cheshire’s Governance.

Your can read our annual Assurance Statement here


Martin Pearson Active Cheshire

Martin Pearson


Martin started his working life serving an apprenticeship in Marine Engineering. He has worked in the UK Nuclear industry for over 30 years, which included running Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station in Kent. Martin has a Business Degree and lives in Cheshire. He has a strong belief that physical activity, good health and wellbeing is accessible to everyone.

Heather Barnes

Vice Chair (Chair of Governance, Finance and Risk Committee)

Heather has had an extensive international career working for global Blue Chip organisations such as Unilever, SC Johnson and Sealed Air, and latterly leading the Financial and Operational functions of a prominent independent day school in Cheshire.

Susan Sellers Active Cheshire

Susan Sellers

Senior Independent Director

A former High Sheriff of Cheshire, Susan originally served for five years as an officer in the Women’s Royal Air Force, including time as a recruiter in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland. She has a wealth of experience in Governance having been Chairman of the Countess of Chester Hospital for seven years during which time it became one of the first NHS Foundation Trust’s in the Country. She was also National Chairman of The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) and was the Senior Independent Director on the Board of Alder Hey Children’s NHSFT, a role she also performed during her time on the Board of the Royal School of Needlework. Susan is currently a Board member of Tarporley War Memorial Hospital and is involved in a wide range of voluntary/public bodies.

Simon Gerrard Active Cheshire

Simon Gerrard

Trustee (Chair of People and Performance Committee)

Simon is the visionary CEO of Lancashire Football Association, having joined the Company in June 2018, and proceeded to progressively modernise and transform its operations and governance, reaching Code of Governance compliance in 2023. Simon has worked within the Football Association Group for over 19 years, having previously been CEO at Cheshire Football Association from 2011-2016 and having Team Manager roles for various England Disability Squads, which involved supported the Partially Sighted Team to win a World Cup Bronze in 2008. He is currently Team Manager for the Partially Sighted England Team.

Rachel Waterman Active Cheshire

Rachel Waterman

Trustee (Board Safegurding Champion)

Rachel is the Head of business development at Changing Lives Together, and was previously the Head of Volunteering for Sport England – roles which both demonstrate her passion for helping people to live happier, healthier lives. She is particularly interested in working with those from marginalised communities to achieve their potential and empower their communities. She brings to the Board much demonstrable policy, strategic and stakeholder experience as a previous Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister for Health and her national leadership role for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Outside of work, Rachel is the Vice Chair of Governors for Rudheath Primary Academy and a Board member of the Cheshire charity ‘Changing Lives Together. She has recently discovered a love cycling and for kettlebell training but is not yet confident enough to combine the two. She is a Cheshire girl born and bred and has recently moved back here after 25 years away and so is very excited to be working alongside the whole Active Cheshire team – staff, Trustees and volunteers.

Iain Lancaster

Trustee (Board Welfare and Safety Champion)

Iain is an experienced manager having worked in both private and public health, physical activity and sport for over 20 years. Iain started working in the health and fitness industry, managing private health clubs, and later developing and delivering healthy lifestyle programmes, such as weight management, cardiac rehabilitation and GP Exercise Referral schemes in a public leisure trust. Iain has experience in the charity sector, promoting disability cycling in Warrington before spending six and half years with England Golf as their national Club Support Manager. He is currently responsible for developing a package of support for tennis clubs and facilities in his current role at The Lawn Tennis Association. Iain is a self-confessed sports nut, currently obsessed with triathlon and recently completed his first full Ironman in 2019. Iain is passionate about the role that physical activity and sport plays in improving public health.

Stephen Law-Lyons Active Cheshire

Stephen Law-Lyons


Stephen has been a Medical Devices commercial executive for 30 years. He owns and runs APC Cardiovascular Ltd, a medical device distribution business, together with his wife. A team of around 20 members serving the needs of the UK’s NHS and Private hospitals with a focus on ‘making people better’ in the area of cardiovascular disease management. Married with 2 children and 2 dogs. Living in Hartford, central Cheshire, renovating a grade II listed landmark property in the village. Stephen attempts to role model the behaviours for a healthy lifestyle. He competes in fitness racing, most recently at the Barcelona Hyrox event.

Adam Sullivan Active Cheshire

Adam Sullivan


Adam is the Chief Executive of Baywater Healthcare, the UK’s largest supplier of respiratory healthcare services to the NHS and is Executive Director of Intus Healthcare an online advisor and supplier of diagnostic testing and therapies for Sleep Disordered Breathing. Adam created Baywater following a management buyout of the healthcare division of Air Products PLC in 2013 where he spent 22 years in commercial and operational leadership roles. He sits on the Cheshire East Advisory Group of the Cheshire Community Foundation, supporting their charity initiatives across the county. Adam spent 14 years coaching grass roots rugby and football and now spends much of his spare time with his family and on the golf course.

Claire Thompson Active Cheshire

Claire Thompson


Claire joined Ecolab in June 2020 as the Vice President HR for UK and Ireland, running a small team leading the people agenda. In December 2022, this scope was broadened to include 4 Nordic Countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway) and RESS (Real Estate, Facilities and Fleet) for all 6 countries, covering c.2,000 employees. Claire has also worked for Capita plc as HR Director, where she had the opportunity to work across multiple sectors and industries as Capita grew through TUPE and acquisition. Prior to joining Capita Claire had a couple of junior HR roles at Phones4U and Marks & Spencer. Claire lives in Cheshire with her husband Andrew. She has always been actively into sport and physical activity, from weekly swimming lessons, riding her bike, and roller booting up & down the road as a kid. She enjoyed horse riding, tennis, netball, and athletics at school, was part of the university netball team as well as trying out some kick boxing until the schedules clashed. Claire has continued to be active in her adult life, cycling with her Dad and Sister, walking, swimming and had a part-time role as a lifeguard. More recently she has played for a couple of local netball teams in leagues. Claire goes to the gym a couple of times a week, loves a spin class and walks lots to keep active.

Kate Morris-Bates


Kate is Group Resources & Transformation Director at Harworth Group, a leading sustainable regenerator of land and property for development and investment.  Kate has responsibility for Harworth’s HR, Business Support, Technology, Workplace Development and Internal Communications functions.  Working with the Executive team and across the business, Kate’s role is critical to delivering Harworth’s strategy to grow the business to £1bn by 2027.  Kate has spent 25 years working within facilities, risk management, learning & development as well as a time running her own consultancy and wellbeing businesses.  Kate and her family are self-confessed outdoorsy people with a passion for nature and exploring the great outdoors.

Eleanor Underhill

Trustee (SID elect)

Eleanor began her career in local newspapers selling advertising before progressing into advertising management, leadership training, and general management, latterly as Managing Director at the Cheshire Guardian Series. Eleanor joined the National Trust at Quarry Bank in Wilmslow, where she supported a successful £10m Heritage Lottery Fund project. She was promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Operations, responsible for the National Trust’s property portfolio across the North West, retiring in 2023. Throughout her career she's been involved in voluntary governance roles in Cheshire: as Trustee of St. Rocco’s Hospice, governor at Styal Primary School, and she is currently a Director of Marketing Cheshire, and a Deputy Lieutenant for the Cheshire Lieutenancy. Eleanor lives in Northwich with her husband, who’s also retired. They're both keen on cycling, running and hillwalking; and Eleanor plays the flute in the Altrincham Concert Orchestra. Eleanor loves being active, and knows how much better she feels when she's able to get out and about. She's seen how this works for others too, through for her own family, friends and work colleagues, and her active involvement in local sports clubs. She knows that not everyone has the chance to benefit from physical activity, and strongly supports Active Cheshire’s quest to embed physical activity into all aspects of everyday life in Cheshire. Through her role in Active Cheshire, Eleanor feels privileged to have the chance to support the team’s work in delivering this change, for the benefit of all Cheshire residents.

Joseph Onions

Joseph Onions


Joseph is an Executive Search Consultant with a leading executive search firm, Sherrington Associates, currently leading the future leaders recruitment arm. To remain informed on the issues facing demographics and industries, he aims to complete and publish thought leadership content four times per year. This year, he has spoken with CEO’s of charities to understand the challenges they face as well as speaking with leading voices in the neurodiverse space to understand the challenges facing the neurodivergent. Born and raised in Chester, Joseph has a real appreciation for the local community. He's currently in the process of joining the Independent Ethics Panel for the Cheshire Police, to impact and influence the communities relationship with the police. Joseph has founded and co-hosted a mental health podcast “Men to Talk”, where they discussed the challenging issues facing young men in society that lead to mental health problems and encourage them to ask for help. He has completed the national and Yorkshire three peaks in the past 15 months as well as 2/3 of the Chester triple with the marathon. He also plans to complete an IronMan next year. Being active is vital for physical and mental wellbeing, it’s a way to blow off steam, become part of community, increase fitness and release endorphins to improve mood. By championing this cause and making it available to as many as possible, we can fundamentally improve the lifestyle of individuals across Cheshire.

Active Cheshire’s board members all work on a voluntary basis and come from a wide range of backgrounds, including business, health and sport. Together, they bring a diverse range of skills and expertise and through scrutiny, advocacy and challenge help us achieve our collective ambitions.