Governors as at 1st January 2024
Master Mr Charlie Birks (Grants), Mr Kevin Senior (Finance), Mr Simon McConnell (Commercial & Residential Property), Mr Laurence King (Almshouse Property), Mrs Julia Kent and Mrs Angharad Saunders, Mr Steve Workman (Park, Gardens and Roads) and Mrs Marion Evans (Residents).
Rev Dr Charles Miller. Cllr Mrs Gabby Barody, Mayor Gwyneth Lewis OBE, Cllr Tom Greenaway, Cllr Oliver Forder
Mr Kevin Senior
Kevin was appointed in March 2016. Originally from Northern Ireland, where he was schooled, he went on to University in Exeter and his career in accountancy followed. He now lives near Albert Park (which is owned and managed by Christ’s Hospital), with his wife, and is a member of the Albert Park Residents Association. Since 1996 and until his recent retirement he was a partner at Ernst & Young Accountants . Kevin’s considerable experience assists him as Governor in Charge of Finance. Amongst Kevin’s current commitments, you will find, Trustee and Vice Chair of Abingdon Civic Society, Friends of Abingdon, Quest for Learning and Charity Mentors Oxfordshire. His interests include ballet, art and horticulture.
Mr Simon McConnell
Simon was born in Shropshire, but moved to Abingdon at the age of 10 to attend Abingdon School, so feels his roots are really in the town. On leaving school, Simon joined a local firm of Estate Agents and Surveyors, working there for 10 years before leaving to set up Thomas Merrifield in Abingdon, he is now with Carter Jonas. Simon’s skills in this area serve him well in his role as Governor in Charge of Property. He lives close to Albert Park with his wife and can often be seen in the park with his dog. He has two adult children. In his spare time, Simon is a keen cyclist and his other interests include motor racing, travel, food and wine, architecture and buildings.
Mr Laurence King
Laurence was born in Surrey and moved to Abingdon with his wife Barbara in 1981.
Laurence’s career was spent working for some of the country’s major retailers; Debenhams, The Burton Group, The Arcadia Group, BHS and The Kingfisher Group. Initially as a Company Secretary and then moving through audit, finance and risk management, then in 2002 he became a director of B&Q. Before retiring from corporate life he spent time in France working for B&Q’s sister company Castorama. Then followed eight successful years as a consultant working for the Oris Group of companies based at Harwell and was also a non-executive director of a Manchester based facilities management company. Laurence’s experience within his various career roles and local interests will enable him to contribute his time as a Governor to the principal aims of Christ’s Hospital.
Laurence is a Trustee of The Abingdon Bridge a local charity which supports young people in challenging circumstances.
He is a member of St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Albert Park, previously a Churchwarden and currently a member of the choir.
A keen golfer. A theatre goer who also enjoys most forms of music, but particularly traditional English Folk and acoustic-roots music.
Laurence served as Master from January 2021 to December 2023 and as the Governor in Charge of Almshouse Property since August 2021.
Ms Julia Kent
Born to parents with longstanding local connections. Julia’s mother is a Viney, whose family had a furniture shop in 15 Ock Street, the address from which Julia now practices at Franklins Solicitors. Her uncles also founded the business of Abingdon Carpets, her paternal grandfather was the manager of Barclays Bank, after the war and her father’s family then lived over the bank at 2 The Square, Abingdon.
Julia attended St Helen’s School and did a law degree at Exeter university. After passing her solicitors finals she did two years articled to James Franklin before qualifying as a solicitor. In 1983 Julia joined James Franklin and John Cunliffe in the Franklins partnership and has practised there ever since. She commutes to work most days by bicycle from Kennington.
Julia has two grown daughters and likes to spend her time playing bridge with her mother and real tennis on the court built at Radley College.
Rev Charles Miller
The Rev Dr Charles Miller was born in the United States and became a British subject in 2011. He was ordained in the States and emigrated to the UK in 1984, and the lion’s share of his ministry has been spent in the Diocese of Oxford. He was appointed Team Rector of the Parish of Abingdon-on-Thames and Vicar of St Helen’s Church in 2006. He has special interest in Theology, Eastern Orthodoxy and spirituality about which he has published four books.
Charles is interested in art history, music and exercise.
Mrs Angharad Saunders
Angharad is a human geographer by training, which is someone with an interest in the relationship between people and place: what makes places special, why do we live where we do, how do we interact, knowingly and unknowingly, with the world around us and how can we make places thrive and flourish? This is why she was keen to be involved with Christ’s Hospital. She feels that it is a special place, integral to Abingdon’s past, present and future, and is excited to be involved in its evolution going forward.
Since moving to Abingdon in 2017, and leaving her academic career behind, Angharad has worked as a freelance researcher for a number of charities and cultural organisations. She has explored how they can address social need more effectively, engage wider communities and navigate organisational change, all of which shape her work as a Governor for Christ’s Hospital. With a young family, she is involved in several toddler groups, school groups and can be regularly spotted splashing her way through muddy puddles in Albert Park in order that she keeps up with her small charges.
Mr Steve Workman
Steve has lived in Abingdon for 30 years and is an experienced non-executive director/trustee. He is currently Chair of the Fundraising and Communications Committee at the Mental Health Foundation and a trustee of the environmental charity Trees for Cities. He previously sat on the Board of Soha, the Didcot based social housing provider, and was Chair of the Audit Committee for seven years. Providing people with good quality, affordable housing and providing communities with green open spaces for leisure are amongst the factors that attracted Steve to Christ’s Hospital.
His passion is transforming businesses to be sustainable and responsible, both socially and environmentally. Steve previously set up and led the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility teams in major energy and facilities management businesses. He is now a consultant and academic focusing on sustainability, community and stakeholder engagement.
Steve’s first degree is in Geography and he still sees the world through a geographer’s lens. He has an MBA and is currently writing up his PhD in Sustainability and Responsible Business Reporting at Oxford Brookes Business School. His interests include hiking, rugby, the theatre and folk music.
Steve took over as Park, Gardens and Roads Governor in 2023.
Mrs Marion Evans
Marion has lived in Abingdon with her family for 20 years, and her volunteering work here encompasses the Good Neighbour Scheme, Carbon Cutters, Friends of the Museum and her local Residents’ Association. She has served as Chair and Vice-Chair of two Oxfordshire schools.
After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she taught in London schools and then worked extensively in the public realm, managing projects in the NHS (including helping to set up the local Minor Injuries Unit), education (funding pre-school and nursery providers throughout Oxfordshire) and housing (developing provision for young people in London).
She has a Diploma in Architectural History and has studied the amazing history of Christ’s Hospital and of the town of Abingdon. In retirement she enjoys creating stained glass artworks.
Mayor & Councillors
Mayor Cllr. Dr Gwyneth Lewis
Cllr. Mrs Gabby Barody
Cllr. Oliver Forder
Cllr. Tom Greenaway