Meet the members
Richard Whitbread – Chair
Richard Whitbread is a qualified accountant who spent eight years in the bus industry as part of his career working in various business management roles until his retirement in 2014.
He remains a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
He has had a lifelong interest in surface transport. He acts as contact for the various councils who provide support and assistance to yelabus for which he offers continuing thanks.
Bill Hill – Secretary
Bill spent 29 years working in the food industry in various sales and marketing roles. He worked at a number of companies including United Biscuits, Merrydown Cider and Associated British Foods.
Bill was UK and International Sales Director at Ryvita before moving into consultancy.
In 2010 Bill made a dramatic career change and retrained to become a Primary School Teacher. After a year at Winchester University he joined Oaklands Junior School in Crowthorne. Bill retired in July 2019.
Whilst working in the food industry he worked with a small children’s eye cancer charity called CHECT. He helped the charity recruit its first full time employee and was involved in developing a number of HR policies.
Bill and his wife are keen travellers both internationally and in their Romahome camper van. They have three children, two grandchildren and a dog. Bill has lived in Yateley since 1988.
Paul Champney – Treasurer
Paul is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, who spent the early years of his career working in aviation R&D at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough. In later years he worked in project, estate and property development and management in the UK and overseas.
He has been a volunteer driver for yelabus since 2013, and has taken on the role of Treasurer in 2023. He and his wife have two sons and two grandsons, and have lived in Yateley for over 40 years.
David is a recent addition to yelabus having volunteered as a driver in 2021. He is now retired from software consultancy, where he provided support for both military and commercial projects. He has recently accepted the role of IT support as a trustee and will endeavour to improve the IT structure and web sites.
David is keen on outdoor sports with a passion for sailing, mountain biking and skiing. He has lived in Fleet for over 25 years with his wife Sarah and their two sons and daughter.
Further details to be updated
Mo has lived in Yateley for at least 74 years and is a very active member of the committee. She has been associated with yelabus for 18 years and is the charity’s principle fund raiser. In her long service to yelabus she has raised over £50 thousand pounds. Her Bingo nights and coffee mornings are legendary in Yateley and Mo is always ready with her collecting tin. At the May Fayre she runs her famous Tombola Stall with donations from her amazing network of friends and contacts.
Mo has one daughter, two sons and five grandchildren. They all get involved in yelabus fundraising!
Greg has been appointed as a Trustee at the December 2023 AGM and joins to enable a strong liaison between Yateley Town Council who are a major funding partner and yelabus so that there is close understanding between the parties. His business knowledge and experience enables him to advise on various aspects of our operation.
John Ellis stood down at the 2022 AGM
We are not sure John himself knows just how long he has served as a Trustee of yelabus. When asked he indicated that he thought it was about 18 years and certainly not as long as Margaret. In the first few years with Andy Whittaker in charge of most aspects it was a relatively easy journey until Andy became unwell and John had to initially stand in as Acting Chair – which would have been about seven or eight years ago and then as Chairman.
Early on he was involved in the transformation of the charity to CIO status thereby providing a solid legal but inexpensive and straightforward structure which ensures longevity and yet formal oversight from the Charity Commission. This underpins the organisation providing a positive place in the community, supported by a revised approach to our name and branding so that we can serve much wider aspects of the community extending our reach with the work undertaken over the last four to five years with Young Carers alongside more traditional users. Improvements to the website and use of social media have run alongside that new branding.
The last three years have had particular challenges for running Community Transport with the government issuing instructions such as not to go to either Berkshire or Surrey as such visits were no longer permitted and yet we had contracts from Hampshire and Yateley Town Council under which we were required to operate to those places. Allied with this the unexpected departure of Tracey as Operations Manager meant that John had to lead the search for her replacement.
John has certainly led the acquisition of two and more likely at least three vehicles and headed the actions to ensure that the funding was in place for our most recent acquisition of the Mercedes which also marked as an upgrade from the Ford with, we all anticipate, a longer life ahead. Alongside this John has led the links with our local councillors and this key aspect is where I am sure he will be most missed as our links with those have ensured our financial position over recent years.
Inevitably it seems dealing with a charity impacts personal time and we must therefore thank John for dealing with such matters when on holiday and at sundry other unusual times. Henceforth he should have rather more time for golf and his family although I suspect his other activities will still keep him busy.
So after a particularly busy three years John leaves knowing that the charity is legal solid, is financially strong, operational management and business development is being pursued with new vigour and that the basic elements needed for ongoing success are in place. All of the elements in place and therefore of which a retiring Chair can and should be proud.
Margaret Claydon also stood down at the 2022 AGM
The last Trustee involved in the formation of the yelabus association, Margaret Claydon, decided to retire from the committee.
Getting yelabus started to provide a community transport service in Yateley and surrounding areas cannot have been but Margaret and others ensured it happened and she has kept an eye on progress ever since. We are now using the fifth and sixth vehicles purchased by the charity, evidencing the strong demand which continues some 25 plus years since formation.
Whilst Margaret may have relinquished her responsibility she remains a committed and regular user and has promised that any decline in standards will not go unnoticed.
Margaret, many thanks for your many years of contribution and may we wish you many more years as a happy and contented user of yelabus.
Tony Spencer spent many years as a Trustee standing down at the 2023 AGM and we thank him for his contributions over that time.