Trustees

No trustee holds any property on behalf of the charity and they all work entirely pro bono.

Ian Irvin (chairman)


Ian Irvin is a civil engineer by training who moved into general management, working at senior level in major international corporates before buying and building up his own multimillion turnover, international manufacturing business. He sold this in 1989 and has subsequently worked in strategy and management consulting at board level in major international PLCs. At the same time Ian has acted as a trustee and committee member/chairman of many charities and served for a term as a county councillor, heading the education committee. He became a trustee of Amasango in 2012 and manages to visit the school most years.

Martin Coombs (hon secretary)


Martin worked in the transport industry for several years, in Britain and South Africa, before making his later career as a secondary school teacher of geography and maths. After many years as a head of department, boarding housemaster, and in senior management, largely in boarding schools in Scotland and East Anglia, he spent a ‘mature gap year’ in 2011–12 as a volunteer at the Amasango Career School. Now ‘semi-retired’ he is gradually increasing his voluntary involvement in community activities up in Cumbria, with perhaps another stint overseas to come when the opportunity arises.

Hannah Peters (hon treasurer)


Hannah works as a project accountant for an engineering company where she is studying to become a chartered accountant. She first heard about Amasango on Linda’s visit in 2016, and has since visited the school twice for eight weeks in total. She plans to visit every 18 months or so to keep up to date with the school. Prior to becoming an accountant, Hannah worked as a tutor in Maths and English for children aged 4–16 for four and a half years which is where her passion for children’s education stems from.

John Cartmell


John is a mechanical engineer who spent his working life initially in the car components industry and latterly in project managing large railway projects. In the last of these he led the winning consortium bidding for the Gautrain railway which is now operating between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the airport. He married Anne in East London in 1993 and through her got to know Jane Bradshaw and the Amasango Career School. He has been a Trustee since 2005 and has served as Chairman and as Hon Treasurer. He visits the school every 18 months or so while visiting family in East London.

Alison Evans


Alison is a graduate of the Royal College of Music. She has spent her career teaching music in both the public and private sector, from pre-school children up to those aged 85 +!
More recently, Alison has had an active interest in supporting Amasango Career School in South Africa. She has made several visits to the school. Each month in the UK she tries to be actively involved in various fund-raising activities – ‘Every One A Winner’ 50p Jam-Jam stall is hugely successful at bazaars etc, a coastal walk from Aldeburgh to Southwold and ‘the odd job’ here and there – each sum adds up and this all makes a vital difference to the children at Amasango Career School.

In 2018 she was granted a richly deserved British Empire Medal in the New Year’s honours list for service to the community.

Revd Kate Mier


Kate is currently a member of the Scargill Movement in North Yorkshire. Until 2017 she was rural dean of Fosse Deanery in Coventry Diocese, and vicar of Wellesbourne and Walton, two country parishes in Warwickshire. Formerly an analytical chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, she was ordained in 1996. She volunteered at Amasango School for two months during a sabbatical in 2008 because her churches wanted to form real personal links with a project in another country. She has visited the school nearly every year since to maintain the relationships.

Mark Newton


Mark is currently a software engineer with a telecommunications company. In addition to his work interests he enjoys staying up to date with the latest technological developments and their applications in everyday life.
Mark studied at Rhodes University in Grahamstown where the school is based and has had personal contact with the school. He became a trustee in 2007 after being invited to attend the AGM. Mark assists the charity with various IT matters.

Oliver Pattenden


Oliver is currently living in London whilst working towards a PhD at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. He volunteered at Amasango for six months in 2011, during which time he was also conducting research within the field of the anthropology of education. Prior to this he had worked for education charities in Ghana and the UK. He has also worked as a behavioural specialist in schools in London and is interested in educational policy and inclusivity. He became a trustee in 2010 and is the volunteer coordinator.

Rebecca Pennells


Rebecca is a secondary school art teacher in London, who first volunteered at Amasango Career School in 2002. She has been a trustee for several years and writes the quarterly newsletter. She has visited the school twice since then, each time seeing the improvements that the school and Friends of Amasango have brought. In addition to this, in 2004 Rebecca spent a year volunteering in Zambia working with severely marginalised children and young people using accelerated and vocational education strategies.

Brian Wakeham


Brian was born in London, UK, and educated and brought up in South Africa. His senior school days were at St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown. He returned to the UK in the early 1970s as he held a British passport – he never took out South African citizenship and was registered there as an “alien” or “vreemdeling”.

He is involved in other organisations with Grahamstown links (as chair of The Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord UK, and trustee and treasurer of the UK branch of St Andrew’s College Old Boys Club) and has visited Grahamstown every two years since 2000.

In professional life he is a banker, and as a trustee he co-ordinates the disclosure and safeguarding applications for volunteers and keeps in regular contact with the school in Grahamstown.