Trustees & Officers

The Essex and Suffolk is run by a board of Trustees, all of whom have a personal and professional interest in the rivers and land that makes up our area.


Andrew Davies – Chairman

Andrew is a third generation Essex farmer. With an MA in Applied Biology from St. Johns College, Cambridge, Andrew spent a year at the University of Minnesota and has been running the family farm at Thaxted and Waltham Abbey since 1977. He has previously been a director of several farming cooperatives and is particularly interested in all issues affecting agriculture and water.

Chris McArthur – Vice Chairman

Chris has worked in river and estuarine quality management across Essex Suffolk and Norfolk for over forty years, principally with River Authorities and the Environment Agency. He has a particular interest in issues within the Chelmer, Stour and Deben catchments, majoring on agricultural and land management specialisms. His first degree is in Biology followed by an M.Phil in Agriculture and Dip. Man. He is also a Fellow of CIWEM, C.Env., C Sci., and is on the board of CIWEM and other local organisations. Currently he lives in the Deben catchment   and runs a small organic farm, together with some environmental consultancy work.

Anna Martin

Anna is an Operations Manager for Groundwork, a local environmental and community charity (established 1985) that works alongside communities to transform places and lives. Anna has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and is an experienced programme, team and operations manager covering innovative initiatives with communities, businesses, householders and schools. Anna is currently a Wild Anglia Local Nature Partnership Board Member, Suffolk Inward Investment Ambassador, STEM Ambassador and Northumbrian and Essex and Suffolk Water Forums Member with a strong passion for the natural environment. Having successfully grown Groundwork’s presence and operations in Suffolk and Norfolk, Anna hopes to contribute strategic development and project management skills to the Trust.

Dave Dignum

MRSC.MCIWEM.CWEM Consultant Scientist for the last fifteen years on all aspects of water treatment works, new plants and commissioning and training. Previously twenty five years running water treatment works and NAMAS Accredited Laboratory. Life member of Freshwater Biological Association,committee member of Colchester Piscatorial Society. My interests cover all aspects of the whole water cycle.

Paul Roberts

Paul’s principal career was in the Health and Safety Executive, in which he specialised in occupational health, control of hazardous substances, major hazards and project management.  Paul’s first degree was in Chemistry, with post-graduate qualifications in Occupational Safety and Hygiene and Real Estate Management.  His voluntary work includes hands-on conservation, surveying the River Stour and being a footpath warden.  Other leisure interests are archery, fishing, country walking, Bridge and cookery as well as history, family history, economics and current affairs.  Paul expects to contribute health and safety and project management skills to the Trust, as well as a personal knowledge of some of the catchments.

Will Robinson

BSc (Hons), MSc, CEnv, MIEMA. Will and his family live in east Suffolk and he has a great appreciation of the environmental and landscape value that our local rivers and farmed catchments provide.  He joined Essex & Suffolk Water in 1998 after completing a degree in Environmental Science and an MSc in Environmental Impact Assessment and is now their Water Resources Planning Manager. As a farmer’s son and a manager of a team of scientists and catchment advisors, he believes in the Catchment Based Approach and Holistic Water Management.  As a trustee of the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust, Will hopes to use his experience of catchment and water management to help the Trust to deliver environmental benefits for all.

Archie Ruggles-Brise

AERB profile pic CLA (2)

With a 1st Class Honours degree from Newcastle University in Applied Biology Archie has worked in water and the environment since 2003. As a Graduate in the Technical Support department of Northumbrian Water he gained experience of water and wastewater supply, treatment and regulation, as well as hands-on project management experience and international working. In 2005 Archie become the first employee at the newly established Tyne Rivers Trust, producing their initial catchment action plan and subsequently being involved in a major fundraising campaign and initiating a suite of community engagement, fishing and habitat improvement projects. Returning to Essex in 2008 he worked for the Association of Rivers Trusts (now The Rivers Trust) as Regional Director (South & East) and was involved in Policy support, Trust Development and Project Delivery. Since 2008 Archie has also been running his family business and farming estate in North Essex.

Melissa Abbott

Melissa crop

Melissa began her career at Muntons Stowmarket in 2001, initially as a member of the grain buying team. She moved to a newly created position at Muntons where she looks after sustainability and corporate social responsibility, making good use of her passion for the environment. In March 2017 she was appointed as a Director of Muntons Malt Supply Chain Limited to enable the company to be used as a vehicle to promote and improve sustainability within the malting industry.  Her interest in wildlife helped her to create a series of wildlife walks amongst the 45-acre site at Muntons Stowmarket for staff to enjoy as part of the company’s health and wellbeing programme, which led to Melissa accepting the role of trustee for Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust.

Adrian Wood

Adrian is an aquatic biologist by training and has worked in the Environment Agency since 2006. He lives with his family on the Tendring peninsula and loves the wild, untidy corners of East Anglia.

Jane Burch

J Burch photo

Jane is a farmer’s daughter with a deep love of the countryside and environment.  She has lived and worked in Suffolk for nearly forty years.  Jane has recently retired from her role as Suffolk County Council’s Flood and Coastal Policy Manager with responsibility for working in partnership with many organisations and communities to deliver a range of innovative coastal, environmental and flood management projects; formulating the Council’s flood management policies and representing the Council at a national level in matters of coast and water management. Previously she was employed as environment/coastal advisor for the County Land and Business Association, has been a political agent and run an agricultural training group.   Since retiring she has been appointed as a Trustee of the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust and a member of the Regional Flood & Coastal Committee, which ensures she continues to be involved in local and national water management policy and projects.

Project Manager – Jane Herbert

Jane has been with Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust (ESRT) since 2016 and has been involved in river project management since 2013. She has experience of managing various river related projects as well as volunteer lead work.

She has been responsible for managing all projects ESRT has been involved in since September 2016 as well as managing the hosting of the East Suffolk Catchment Partnership.

She has a keen interest in all aspects of nature conservation and loves nothing more than spend time outside helping to manage and improve habitats.

If you would like to contact her please email;

Project Support Officer – Kirsty Wilmot


Kirsty joined ESRT in 2019 to support the Trust on a part-time basis, alongside her work as a wildlife educator and Forest School Leader.  Kirsty has lived in Suffolk for a decade, following time in parliament as a researcher and advocate for green energy, as well as policy work for the British Ecological Society. Whilst in Suffolk she has worked in the charity sector, advising community groups and charities on governance, funding and energy efficiency, as well as on practical issues around community food and farming. She has degrees in Political Studies (BA Hons) and European Parliamentary Studies (MA), which included research into EU water pollution and biodiversity protection policies. Upon moving east she studied Applied Ecology and Conservation (MSc) at UEA, looking at responses to climate change in butterfly populations. She is passionate about enhancing our rivers, and educating children about them.

Trustees Area (login required)