Our People

The Society is managed by the Executive Committee, a group of volunteers elected to serve by the membership. Elections take place at the Annual General Meeting in April each year.

There are four officers (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) and up to 21 ‘ordinary’ members of the Executive Committee.

The four officers are elected for a period of one year but can be re-elected each year.

Ordinary members of the Committee are usually elected for a period of two years after which they must step down but can stand for re-election.

The Society’s Constitution allows for up to three committee members to be co-opted each year but co-opted members must stand for election at the first Annual General Meeting following their co-option.

All members of the Executive Committee, whether elected or co-opted, are trustees of the charity.

The Executive Committee members are:


PresidentKevin Trickett MBE, BA (Hons), MBA, MA (Phil).

Kevin is a native of Wakefield and has lived in and around the city all his life. After a 40-year career in the Civil Service, culminating as a senior project and programme manager, Kevin now devotes much of his time to charity work, writing, public speaking, and travel. Kevin writes and speaks about some of his favourite subjects including architecture, heritage, philosophy, travel and Art Deco. He also writes restaurant reviews and other articles for Wakefield-based regional business-to-business magazine TopicUK. His blog can be found on his website https://itbroadensthemind.com/.

Kevin is well versed in the activities of the civic movement, having been a trustee of Wakefield Civic Society since 1990. He was elected as the Society’s President in March 2002 and continues to hold that position today. Shortly after taking up the presidency of Wakefield Civic Society, he became a trustee of the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies (YHACS) and was elected as its Chair in January 2011, a role which he also continues to fulfil.

In the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, Kevin was awarded the MBE for services to the community in Wakefield.

Vice President – Pete Taylor BA (Hon), Mech Eng T. (CGLI)

Pete left Thornes House School and started an apprenticeship with Spencer and Halstead in Ossett, qualifying as a mechanical engineer.  He then worked at E Green and Sons as a draughtsman and then contract manager and at Craven Fawcett as a Contract Manager.  There he was selected for training to project manage and implement their IT systems. Pete changed from mechanical engineering to IT and began a 30-year career in IT operational management.

He was IT manager at Craven Fawcett and then Bretton Hall College before moving to ITW ROCOL as Operations IT Manager for 18 years until retirement. Pete now manages the Second Chance Headway Centre in Wakefield (Therapy and Rehabilitation for Adults with Brain Injuries), and is a Trustee of Wakefield Civic Society, and member of Southgate Surgery PPG.

Pete’s hobbies are Archaeology (the subject of his BA degree), and Historical Research.

Pete joined the Society’s Executive Committee in April 2015 and was elected Vice President in April 2019.

Secretary: Mike O’Donnell

Mike re-joined the Executive Committee in 2004 after a break and was elected the Society’s Secretary in March 2008.

Treasurer: Alison Sykes

Alison joined the Executive Committee in February 2017 and was elected as Treasurer in April 2019.

Committee Members

Barrie Bradshaw

Barrie worked for many years in the construction industry. Firstly heading his own multi-million pound turnover light civil engineering company before working as a freelance consultant dealing with high-end fit-outs and refurbishments in the City and West End of London.

He now keeps busy by, amongst other things, working as a volunteer for Walton Community Library and as an Executive Committee Member for Wakefield Civic Society.

Barrie joined the Executive Committee in January 2019.

Debra Burkill BA (Hons)

Debra joined the Executive Committee in February 2020.

Debra was born in the Wakefield District but her parents moved to Norfolk when she was a baby. Later she lived in Cheshire and Greater Manchester until her family immigrated to Canada. Returned to England in 1977. Debra studied A levels at Wakefield College and started her career with Wakefield District Council at the Education Department, during employment she studied part time for 8 years, at Wakefield College, Leeds Beckett University, including a BTEC Building Studies at Wakefield. Following 38 years of public service for Kirklees, The Arts Council of England, Leeds, and Sheffield, Project/Programme managing capital builds, she now volunteers for British Heart Foundation, Street Kitchen and organisations for the homeless. Her last paid role ended before lockdown.

Hobbies include live music, flower arranging, dancing, swimming, cycling, environmental issues.

Sarah Cobham BA (Hons)

Sarah is the CEO of Dream Time Creative and the driving force behind the Forgotten Women of Wakefield #blueplaqueparity Project. With 22 years of teaching English and Drama in local schools and 23 years of supporting post natal women with her business Dream Time Baby Massage, she is well connected  throughout the district. The head of an Open Awards Training Centre, Sarah facilitates courses designed to upskill women in the community. Sarah is dedicated to the power of creativity as a tool for change and believes in the power of connectivity to create a better society for all. 

Sarah joined the Executive Committee in April 2019 and now leads on our Blue Plaque work.

Fay Dell BA (Hons), MA

Fay is a native of Wakefield, but it was only after 10 years away from the city that, on her return, did she decide to join the Society. It turns out there are many, like her, who spend most of their free time talking about what a great place Wakefield is and hoping to promote that!

A qualified Social Worker, having previously worked in Domestic Abuse Services, Fay is currently working in an HR capacity for a nationwide charity. Having lived in other cities in the UK and abroad, Fay is happy to be finally back in her favourite place in the world. 

Outside of work, Fay is currently studying for a PgDip in Human Resource Management (CIPD Level 7). 

Fay joined the Executive Committee in January 2020.

Jon Dell BA (Hons), ACA

Jon is a Chartered Accountant who currently works within the Civil Service, providing assurance for investments made using public money. Prior to this he has worked in the private sector, as well as working internationally in Malta. Jon is also the Finance Director for the nationwide not-for-profit community service organisation Free Cakes For Kids.

Outside of work, Jon has a big passion for baking, 90s pop music and promoting the amazing city of Wakefield. Having lived in other cities of the United Kingdom as well as abroad, Jon can say with certainty that Wakefield is truly his favourite place in the world.  

Jon joined the Executive Committee in January 2020.

Richard Downes BA (Hons)

Rich has over 28 years’ experience working within the private, voluntary and public sectors. He initially started his career within engineering then moved to other roles including working within research and development, also for a national charity working with asylum seekers and has also worked for one of Britain’s largest law firms, amongst others.

Rich has also undertaken various volunteer work over the years, including for the Ministry of Defence. Amongst other qualifications, he also has a degree in social work and has worked for Wakefield Council for over 10 years.

Rich joined the Executive Committee in March 2013.

Sandra Elliott

Sandra worked for Wakefield Council for over 30 years in various jobs but mainly in the Careers Service (latterly working with young people with special needs) and the Adult Education Service, initially as a Personal Development tutor and then, in her later years there, as part of the management team. She retired in 2010.

Alongside this work, Sandra trained in counselling and psychotherapy, and worked with a range of clients for a number of years.

Apart from a keen curiosity about people and their interactions, Sandra’s interests include reading, theatre, cooking, cinema, music and travel.

Sandra joined the Society’s Executive Committee in May 2018 and organises the Society’s monthly Dining Club.

Vicky Flintoff BA (Hons)

Vicky has lived in Wakefield all her life, being a member of many groups and, having friends in all parts of the district, she has spent quite a lot of time in these areas and thinks they are underrated locally. Her interest in heritage started from travelling around the country with her parents and visiting countless historic properties. This interest was carried into her BA degree in interior architecture in which her masters featured an adaptive re-use of WW2 Sea Forts. Since graduation she has worked as an interior designer at a local architects and looks forward to delving more into heritage. When given the opportunity to join the committee in October 2020, her answer was an easy yes!

Her hobbies include local choir sandal singers, musical theatre and walking.  

Barry Goodchild

Barry Goodchild, Professor (Emeritus) in Housing and Urban Planning, MRTPI

Barry has lived in Wakefield since 1972. Over a long academic career at Sheffield Hallam University, he taught planning and urban studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised or mentored the successful completion of three doctorates, participated in or led research projects for a variety of housing and planning agencies in the UK and France and secured the publication of five books, including one in French and 47 articles in social science journals, with more underway. He has now retired from full-time work but remains active in the development of research papers and research projects with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam and other universities.

The main theme in his work, both in a university setting and as a member of the Wakefield Civic Society has been to inform policy and practice and to push policy in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive direction.

Barry joined the Executive Committee in February 2019.

Gill Hutchinson

Gill is a long-standing member of the Society, joining the Executive Committee in February 2018.

Now retired , Gill worked as a Court Usher at Wakefield Magistrates Court for twenty three years.

Born and brought up in Wakefield, Gill says that she loves her city and is proud of its rich heritage. She is interested in the city’s development and fully supports the Society in its vision for the future.

John Ramsden BSc MRICS

John joined the Executive Committee in February 2015. He has lived in Wakefield most of his adult life after student years in London and the Midlands, which made him appreciate the strengths of Wakefield and Yorkshire for both work and leisure. 

He is a General Practice Chartered Surveyor, with 40 years of experience of managing major land and property holdings in the public sector. Having worked his way around much of West and South Yorkshire, his last 20 years before retirement was in a senior asset management role at Leeds City Council. During that time he was heavily involved in rationalising and modernising the very substantial operational estate and bringing forward major sites for residential and commercial development through the planning process. As a member of the Society’s Planning sub-committee, this background assists in reviewing planning applications and development projects in the city to provide the Council with commentary of either support or in the role of critical friend when necessary.  

Along with theatre, film and reading, travel is a major pastime, particularly long distance trekking in the UK, Europe and further afield. By comparison this reinforces my firm view that Wakefield has much to be proud of. By combining with like minded and experienced people in the Civic Society we provide a knowledgable means of promoting the best and supporting improvement projects in the city.    

John Seacome BA, Dip. T.p., MSc, DipTheol., MRTPI (ret’d)

John has lived all his adult life in Wakefield, as a town planner, working for West Riding County  Council, Leeds City Council, the Planning Inspectorate, subsequently for the Planning Team of  a large Law Firm, and lastly for Leeds Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer. Being retired since 2010, he can now reflect on the city of Wakefield and its challenges. He is a keen gardener, and a Licensed Lay Minister at his local church, and looked after his grandchildren until very recently. He also writes prose and poetry with a local group and is compiling a family history.

John joined the Executive Committee in April 2020.

Kevin Swift

Kevin joined the Executive Committee in April 2013.

Brandon Titterington

Brandon joined Jordans Solictors as Head of Property in October 2019.

He has a wealth of experience in a broad range of commercial property transactions amassed over 25 years, advising both in the private client and in-house corporate sectors.

He covers all types of commercial property work, including landlord and tenant matters, acquisitions and disposals of business property, pre-emption, option, overage and lock out agreements, development work and secured lending for both lender and borrower.

Having had experience in the corporate sector, he is commercially aware and understands the requirements for quality work to be turned around within tight time frames.

Away from work, Brandon enjoys travelling, the challenge of learning conversational Italian and good food and wine.

Brandon joined the Executive Committee in April 2020.