The Birmingham Civic Society is governed by its Board of Trustees with the committees directing the programmes in the different areas of activity. The day to day operations of the Society, Birmingham Trees for Life and the Next Generation Awards are sustained through the invaluable contribution of the Executive Team.


Amelia Ladbrook

Amelia is Marketing Manager for Birmingham at Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group, and has been working in the city since graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2014.

Amelia has always taken part in community initiatives inside and out of the workplace. She is currently a member of Birmingham Hippodrome’s Development Board and previously held the role of Chair of BPS Birmingham Aspire, an organisation that supports those in education and training to develop in the business professional and financial services sector and connect with the city.

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Irene de Boo
Incoming Chair of heritage committee

Irene is a member or our Heritage Committee and has a strong background and knowledge of Birmingham’s history and heritage. She has worked at both Birmingham Museums and Black Country Living Museum.  Irene currently works freelance on heritage projects and events, and has recently coordinted the James Watt Bicentenary Project and Birmingham Heritage Week.

Robin Barnes
Honorary Treasurer

Robin, a chartered accountant, is a Partner in Edgbaston-based JW Hinks. He leads the healthcare department of the firm and is a member of the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers. He also has responsibility for the SME services offered by the firm. In the past he has been Chairman of Sandwell Junior Chamber of Commerce and of his local residents association. An adopted Brummie of thirty years, his Suffolk roots means he remains a “Tractor Boy” ( like many innovations, a name created in Birmingham!), but spends his summer days enjoying the cricket at Edgbaston.

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Gavin Orton
Immediate Past Chair

Gavin is an RIBA chartered architect who has worked on a wide variety of projects across Birmingham and the West Midlands. He became involved in the Society’s Planning Committee in 2008 and in 2013 became its Chair and a Trustee. Gavin is former Chairman of the Society and of RIBA West Midlands. He is also a former President of Birmingham Architectural Association (BAA). During his time at the BAA, he launched Walking Architecture: Birmingham – a free architectural guide to Birmingham for smart phones. Gavin studied architecture at The Birmingham School of Architecture (Birmingham City University) and now regularly tutors MA Architecture students at the School as part of the Teaching Practice programme. Gavin is also a Trustee of Birmingham & Five Counties Architectural Association, which holds one of the largest architectural drawing collections in the UK outside of London and judges The Green Book Award.

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Geoff Cole
Chair of Birmingham Trees for Life

In 2006 Geoff became one of the founder members of the Birmingham Trees for Life Project and a volunteer member of the Trees Committee after retiring from his post as Assistant Director Parks, Sports and Events at Birmingham City Coucil. He has 42 years in the horticulture profession, beginning as a student at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  He worked for Birmingham City Council for 31 years and whilst in later years his remit included leisure services he has always been involved with parks, horticulture and trees.

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Rita McLean
Chair of the heritage committee

Rita is an independent museums and heritage consultant with over 20 years experience in the sector. She serves on the National Trust’s Midlands Regional Advisory Board and the editorial board of History West Midlands Magazine. From 2004 until 2012, Rita was Head of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG) and prior to this a member of BMAG’s senior team with responsibility for the service’s historic house museums and sites. In 2010 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Birmingham for services to the cultural life of the city.

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Christine Cushing

Christine continues to love the city’s industrial heritage and more speccifically, the Jewellery Quarter, since retiring from her role as Design and Marketing Manager for one of the oldest and largest manufacturers based there. She is also a Trustee of the Birmingham Conservation Trust and a volunteer tour guide at the Coffin Works. She is also Chair of Governors at Chandos Primary School in Highgate.

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Stephen Hartland
Deputy Chair
Chair of public art committee

Stephen’s interests are wide and varied, and are largely focused on citizenship and making a difference in the city. He is involved in various organisations in the city and has held several roles within the Society.  He chaired the Society’s Planning Committee from 2001 to 2007, during which time the Society was increasingly called upon to consult on the city’s planning matters and introduced the Renaissance Award. He was also the first Chairman of Birmingham Trees for Life (2005-2007) which planted its 10,000th tree in the city in 2011. Since 1983 he has been a member of The Victorian Society and has sat on the Executive Committee of the Birmingham and West Midlands branch since 2002, becoming Chairman in 2009.

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Lorraine Francis
Outgoing Chair of membership and events committee

Lorraine set up Weave Marketing in 2004 after spending 14 years (the last three as Executive Director) with Birmingham Forward, a membership organisation now known as BPS Birmingham Leaders.

Lorraine has a particular interest in corporate social responsibility and passionately believes that we have a responsibility to give something back to the city in which we make our living. She is motivated by making connections, making things happen and helping to facilitate change.

Lorraine is also a Council Member of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and a Birmingham Common Purpose Advisory Group member.

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Matt Vaughan
Deputy Chair
Chair of planning committee

Matthew is a conservation architect and leads Donald Insall Associates‘ Birmingham studio. Matt has been a member of our Planning Committee for several years and recently became Chair.

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Tony Elvin

Tony is General Manager of Touchwood Solihull. A southerner by birth, Tony is passionate about his adopted City and proud to be part it’s continued growth and success.

Tony became a Trustee in 2015 , having been an active ambassador for the Society since 2012. He is also heavily involved in raising funds for the Birmingham Big Art Project. As the only trustee working within Birmingham’s rapidly growing, and much lauded, hospitality sector, Tony believes his ‘non-professional services’ background could offer a different perspective on our City for the Society.

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Michael Butler
Chair of citizenship committee

Michael is Reader in Transformational Change at Aston Business School, Aston University and became a Trustee in 2015. He is passionate about Birmingham’s history and wants to celebrate the past and maintain the heritage that survives by making this legacy relevant to contemporary audiences for their enjoyment and education. To achieve this he brings his academic experience of working in a top-ranked business school. Aston University is a corporate partner and he is a direct link to colleagues and students, local and international.

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Stephanie Bloxham

Stephanie is a project co-ordinator at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, supporting the local voluntary sector, community groups and citizens in Birmingham, through cross sector partnerships.  In 2018 Stephanie became Partner Governor for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.  Stephanie joined the board in 2018 and is deputy chair of the Citizenship Committee.

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Sean Elson

Sean is a Partner at Pinsent Masons LLP. He became a Trustee in 2015. The main focus of his work at Pinsent Masons is in health and safety. He is Secretary of the Health and Safety Lawyers Association and a Trustee and Director of the Construction Health and Safety Group, a charitable safety organisation for the construction industry.

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Isobel Wilson-Cleary
Incoming Chair of membership and events committee

Isobel is a communications specialist at DHA Communications, working exclusively with organisations, individuals and collected focused on social change in the UK and overseas. She has lived in Birmingham since 2015 and has a background and strong interest in art history and heritage. She is also on the board of Beatfreeks Arts, having previously been a member of Beatfreeks’ 2017/2018 Youth Steering Committee. Between 2014 and 2016 she co-chaired Development in Action, a global citizenship charity based in London.

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Haroon Qayum

Haroon is a private client lawyer and Associate at Blackhams Solicitors, based in Birmingham City Centre. He specialises in all areas of private client work, including the drafting of wills and trusts, administering estates, applying for probate, inheritance tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, advising high network individuals, court of protection applications and managing affairs of the elderly.

Haroon’s interests are wide and varied, and he became a Trustee of the Society in November 2016. He sits on the +PLUS Strategy committee and aims to contribute in making a difference in the city by increasing the Society’s impact in making Birmingham a better place for everyone.

Haroon is also a Trustee of SBA – The Solicitor’s Charity and is a Past President of the Cambridgeshire Law Society.

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Executive Team for Trustees

Kay Dashti

Kay is a Membership committee member and supports the Next Generation Awards.  She is an active and committed member of DWF’s Corporate Social Responsibility team, focusing on inclusion.  Kay is also a past (and hopefully future) performer of Colmore Chorus.

Jo Dunlop
Next Generation Awards Project Manager

Jo began her career in marketing in London and moved to Birmingham in 2000 when she joined the Art and Design department at BBC, Pebble Mill.  Jo is now a freelance project manager working primarily in the film production and charity sectors.  In addition to managing the Next Generation Awards, Jo is also currently working with Into Film on space related film activities and career development initiatives for young people.

Jane Harding
Birmingham Trees for Life Project Manager

As Project Manager for Birmingham Trees for Life, Jane carries out the day to day management of BTfL activities, and provides both professional and administrative support to the Trees Committee, on a freelance basis. She has worked in the services and charitable sectors in the past, before retraining as a garden designer; she now runs a successful business which is complementary to her work with BTfL.

Jane Edwards
BTfL Schools and Community Liaison Officer

Jane uses her extensive knowledge of Birmingham to engage community groups and schoolchildren in tree planting within BTfL. As an Educational Volunteer at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, she promotes the value of trees and plants to visiting children.

Jamie Justham
Recording Secretary to Board of Trustees

Following a management career in manufacturing, Jamie founded a software consultancy in 1989. When the business was sold he kept an interest in the company, where he still works part time. He’s also a Board Member of the CBSO Development Trust and Secretary of the Birmingham Civic Society and the Birmingham Big Art Foundation.

Deborah Needle
BTfL Development Officer

Deborah has a BSc in Environmental Sciences and worked for many years as a Ranger and in other roles in the Parks Department of Birmingham City Council, where she enjoyed involving local people in working with the natural environment. With a broad understanding of funding through both her work and voluntary positions, Debbie has the ideal background to support BTfL’s fundraising and project development work to ensure that tree planting with local communities continues in to the future.