Governors as at 6th August 2021

Master Mr Laurence King (Almshouse Property), Mr Tom Ayling (Park, Gardens and Roads), Mrs Glynne Butt (Residents),   Mr Michael Matthews (Grants & Archives), Mr Kevin Senior (Finance), Mr Simon McConnell (Commercial & Residential Property),  and Mrs Julia Kent.

Cllr Mrs Margaret Crick, Cllr Mrs Helen Pighills and Cllr Andrew Foulsham.

Rev Dr Charles Miller and Mayor Cllr Cheryl Briggs.

Mr Tom Ayling

Tom has been a Governor since 2007 and has a particular responsibility for the 14 acres of Albert Park and its surrounding roads, and the gardens of the three sites of Christ’s Hospital’s almshouses. He has lived in the historic centre of Abingdon for more than 40 years. He and his wife have three daughters and six grandchildren.  Brought up on the Isle of Wight, he travelled daily by ferry to Portsmouth Grammar School.  He studied chemistry at Christ Church, Oxford before becoming a trainee patent agent in London, but finding that it had little human interaction, he moved to teaching at Emanuel School in Battersea (a voluntary aided grammar school) and then to Abingdon School, initially as the Head of Chemistry and finally as Second Master.  He still retains his interest in Abingdon School as a Governor there.  He also serves on the committee of The Arts Society Abingdon.  His background experience and his various current roles assist him in policy making.  Beyond his family, the town of Abingdon and Christ’s Hospital, his interests include all sport, music, architecture, theatre, film and travel.

Tom served as Master from January 2018 to December 2020.

Glynne Butt

After graduating from Oxford, where she studied Botany, Glynne Butt took up a teaching career.  Working part-time for many years enabled her to combine science with musical studies in both Oxford and London and music has remained an important part of her life.  She performs regularly both as a pianist and a viola player.

Upon retirement from the headship of Our Lady’s Abingdon, Glynne continued her interest in education as a governor of two schools and as an Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate, and she is currently a Governor of Abingdon School.   Her administrative experience in education has proved useful in the updating and overseeing of several areas of the administration of Christ’s Hospital.   She has been a Governor since 2003. Glynne’s other interests in the town include St. Michael’s Church and The Friends of Abingdon.

Glynne served as Master from January 2015 to December 2017.

Michael Matthews

Michael is responsible for Grants and Archives.  He lives in Abingdon.  Michael was born in the town and attended Abingdon School before doing his National Service in the RAF.  Upon leaving he went to the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and on to H R & S Sainsbury in Trowbridge and then his family firm Harris & Matthews (Abingdon), which was then based at The Old Gaol.  Michael was elected to Abingdon Borough Council in 1964 and was Mayor in municipal year 1972/3.  He was elected to the shadow District Council of The Vale of White Horse in 1973, which prepared for the takeover of the existing local authorities in 1974.  In subsequent years he was chairman of the Recreation and Amenities Committee which oversaw the creation of The Old Gaol Recreation Centre and Wantage Recreation Centre and the Chairman of Planning for the Vale from 1988 until he left the council in 1991.  Michael has been a Governor for Christ’s Hospital since 1988.   He was appointed an Honarary Freeman of the town in 1998.  Michael was also the Chairman of The Friends of Abingdon Civic Society for six years, after having been on the executive committee for 20 years.  Michael’s extensive knowledge of the grant giving systems assist the charity with their own decision making.  His other interests include art and travel.

Micheal served as Master from January 1995 to December 1997.

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.

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.

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 practises 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.

Helen Pighills

Helen was born and brought up in Burton on Trent. She studied for a degree in Engineering at the University of Bath and worked as a gas turbine engine performance engineer for Rolls Royce. After moving to Oxford she worked in IT support before taking a break to bring up two sons now in their twenties. Now living in Abingdon, she spent 13 years as IT Technician at Our Lady’s School. After leaving this post she retrained to teach English as a Foreign Language.

Helen served approximately 15 years as Independent Member on Oxfordshire Adoption Panel. She became a Town councillor in 2010 and District Councillor in 2011. She was Mayor of Abingdon in 2015/16.

Helen’s enjoys travel and she is a member of the RHS and National Trust. She is interested in many creative activities – and is particularly proud of her City and Guilds Certificate in Creative Embroidery.

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.