Sir Chris Bonington CBE – President
Born in Hampstead in 1934, Sir Chris Bonington attended Sandhurst and was commissioned by the Royal Tank Regiment, where he quickly discovered a love of mountains. He started climbing seriously in the Alps, and moved onto the Himalayas. In 1975, he led the first ascent of the South West Face of Everest, on which Doug Scott, Dougal Haston, Peter Boardman, Pertemba Sherpa and Mick Burke reached the summit. Continuing to climb and explore, he wrote numerous books and made many TV appearances, and in 1985, achieved a lifetime ambition and reached the summit of Everest himself. He knows the Sherpas well and has huge admiration for this hardy and generous mountain people. Sir Chris lives in Cumbria with his wife and has two sons.
Graham Wrigley – Chairman
A chance meeting with Sir Edmund Hillary in Nepal, in 1981, inspired Graham to help establish the UK chapter of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust, in 1989 – The Himalayan Trust UK as we know it today. Graham’s first career was in private equity, sitting on the board of Permira as it grew in value to $30bn. Today he is in international development. Following a Masters degree in Development Studies at SOAS, he focuses on sustainable private sector growth in poor countries, and microfinance in India and Nepal. He is a visiting professor at INSEAD and lives with his wife and four children in Surrey.
John Walton – Deputy Chairman
John runs his own business leading treks in the Himalayas. This follows a career in education where, as deputy head of King’s St Alban’s, he established a Himalayan Club for the senior school, King’s School Worcester, taking Sixth Form pupils to the Nepalese Himalayas. Through the years he has raised some £250,000 for charitable causes and, when at home, lives with his wife in Worcester.
Mary Lowe – Secretary
Mary Lowe has been Trust Secretary from the early days, and continues to serve in this role as though she were a full-time employee. Trained as a Physical Education specialist, Mary enjoyed a career as teacher, advisor and Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools in England. She is widow to the Trust’s late Patron and Everest 1953 climber, George Lowe OBE.
Geoff Wolstenholme – Treasurer
In 2002, Geoff trekked to Kala Pattar with his late brother Peter Wolstenholme – a trip that led to his understanding of the needs of the Nepalese people. His brother Peter served as Treasurer of the Trust from the beginning, and when he sadly passed away, Geoff agreed to take over the role. Geoff was a tax partner with Ernst & Young and lives in Hampshire with his wife and two daughters.
Rebecca Stephens MBE
The first British woman to climb Everest – a feat she knows would have been impossible without the Sherpas. Rebecca is also the first British woman to climb the Seven Summits. Author, lecturer, visiting fellow at Ashridge Business School, and leadership coach, Rebecca’s preferred classroom is the highlands of Africa and the Himalayas. She lives on the South Downs with her partner and two daughters.
Sue Leyden is an educational psychologist and consultant, and a keen walker and skier – interests that were nurtured in her youth. Sue is the second of Lord Hunt’s four daughters, and was taught by her father to climb in Fontainebleau, and later Wales and the Alps. In the 1960s, she took part in expeditions to Greenland, Greece and Ethiopia, and for ten years lived and worked in Chile where she and her family travelled extensively. In 2008, she saw Everest for the first time, walking with her two sons to mark the 55th anniversary of the first ascent. She returned to Nepal in 2013 to visit the schools in the Taplejung area.
Debbie is a medical doctor, specialised in Public Health and with a particular interest in Global Health. After graduating from Auckland, she worked in Nepal at Shanta Bhawan (now Patan) Hospital and the Himalayan Trust’s Kunde Hospital. Other experience includes Public Health, academic, charitable and disaster relief work. This has been in Britain, Qatar, Samoa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. Her main focus as a Trustee is on health developments around Kanchenjunga. She is pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to the Nepalese mountain people, who greatly influenced her as a young doctor. Debbie has a son and a daughter, and her family lives in central London.
Angus is the Group Head of Legal for a leading, UK based global asset management company. Having first taken steps into climbing and hillwalking whilst at boarding school in Perthshire he returned to the outdoors in his late 20’s and over the last two decades has climbed and trekked in the Himalayas and Andes and on many occasions in the Alps and his native Scotland. He first visited Nepal in 2001 and has returned to climb there on a number of occasions. Whilst appreciating and always hoping for summits his greatest enjoyment comes from the land and people he encounters on his trips.
Kate is a GP in North Cumbria and first visited Nepal in 1976 as a medical student. Since then she has returned a number of times as a doctor on the Everest Marathon and on various treks. She has travelled widely and has been fortunate to visit all seven continents but has always put Nepal as her favourite destination due mainly to the character of the Nepalese people and their rich culture. She became a trustee of the Himalayan Trust in 2015 and is looking forward to visiting the Kanchenjunga region and advising on primary health care.
Tim Keyes’ teaching career included posts as Head of Classics at The Perse School in Cambridge and Deputy Head of The Royal Grammar School in Guildford, on the way to 16 years as Headmaster of the King’s School Worcester, during which time a visit to Nepal with fellow trustee John Walton was a particular highlight. He retired from this role in August 2014. He has experience of examining and writing A level papers and was for some years a trained school inspector. He served on the board of UCAS and was a member of the HMC/GSA Universities Subcommittee. He is a Fellow of the University of Worcester, a member of the Council of Worcester Cathedral and is also on the Hereford Diocesan Board for Education. Given his background he is particularly interested to help the Trust with its education activities in the Taplejung area.
Tom Rodd is a lawyer at Stephenson Harwood, specialising in marine and international trade. Tom has lived and worked in Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China, gaining a working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. He previously worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Rupert Band is a Reinsurance Broker in the City of London, arranging insurance cover for insurance companies. He lived abroad growing up, but now lives in Hampshire with his wife and 2 sons. He is the younger son of George Band.
Honorary 1953 Patron
Susan Band – Susan was married to George Band for over 50 years and trekked with him many times in Nepal between 1978 and 2009 from Manaslu to Everest and Kangchenjunga base camps. Before her marriage Susan worked in the British Foreign Service and met George in the Netherlands. For 15 years she and their three children accompanied George all over the world, and brought up their children and later grandchildren to appreciate their mountain heritage. In 1983 the family settled in Hampshire and Susan has been working for several charities. Susan has been actively involved in the Trust since its inception and will continue to be involved as a patron whilst her son Rupert joins the Board of Trustees.