Meet the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust Directors

Board of Directors

Jane Hamilton – Director and Chair of the Trust
Jane hJane Hamiltonas over 30 years’ experience in urban planning and land development, including key roles in major urban regeneration projects and the development of English New Towns. She has worked with both public and private sector organisations at both local and central government levels. Jane has degrees in Social Science and Urban Planning and has lived in Bedford for over 25 years.  She has a wide range of interests, especially foreign travel and walking and, now fully retired, has taken on a number of voluntary roles including joining the Board of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Trust responsible for the planning aspects in the Milton Keynes section of the route this is shared with John Best


Simon Clewlow - Vice Chairman BSc (Hons) DiplEng CEng MICE MCIHT MTPS
Simon Clewlow became a Chartered Civil Engineer in 1990 and during his career has primarily provided transport planning and engineering advice to a range of largely private sector clients. Simon has worked for civil engineering contractors and consultants including spending 17 years with Travers Morgan during which time it was first acquired by Symonds and then by Capita. Before he left Capita Symonds in 2009, he was its Director of Development Transport and Infrastructure. For the last 7 years Simon has run his private transport planning practice advising clients across the South and East of England as well as in London. Simon has been active in the Institution of Civil Engineers serving as the National Chairman of its Associate Members Graduates and Students section and as a Supervising Civil Engineer overseeing graduates seeking chartered membership. Simon is currently the lay member of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Conduct and Discipline Panel and is a past president of the Bedford Civil Engineering Society.


Don Allison - Financial Director A.M.I.E.E
DoDon Allisonn is a retired Electrical Engineer presently the Financial Director and Company Secretary for the B&MK Waterway Trustee and MD of the former MK International Festival (a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee). Don is one of the Boatmaster on the Trust's passenger boat the John Bunyan, owns his own narrow boat and has been narrow boating for over 39 years. He is an member of 5 canal restoration Societies.


Julian Armitage - Director BSc (Hons) CEng MICE
JuliaJulian-Armitagen Armitage has spent a number of years as an HR specialist with major construction companies. In 2002 he renovated a derelict windmill, which he has just sold. He is keen to see the Waterway built and believes this vision will become a reality only with buy-in from the local community, public authorities, private investment and the government. He is committed to trying to bring this about quickly. A keen golfer, Julian is a volunteer driver of the Villager bus, serving North Bedfordshire villages. He is also a Trustee of Amicus Trust providing housing for homeless people.

Stephen Ashley - Director (MIET)
 Stephen has held a number of senior roles with leading Telecommunication Software organisations including Ericsson, Telcordia, Intec Telecom, Invisix (Motorola & Cisco Alliance), Siemens Network Systems and Racal Datacom. He has developed and implemented strategic Market Communications Partner Programs, Developed Partner Enablement programs with leading Global System Integrators. Stephen has advised on training needs and requirements and worked with Product Managers and Senior Marketing Managers to develop Partner Readiness Strategies and Programs for Product portfolios. He has an extensive background in helping companies grow existing and new markets through the building of sustainable, strategic business and technical partnerships that have resulted in long term revenue growth.

Beryl Bennett - Director MBE
BerylBeryl Bennett has worked in the charity, not-for-profit sector, for more than 30 years; latterly, as a member of the Senior Management Team and as "Director of International and Corporate Affairs". Beryl represented her organisation at both national and international forums and was responsible for developing active and genuine collaborations with a number of partners. She has extensive experience as a committee member, in strategic planning and its subsequent implementation, as well as event and general project management skills. She has a good understanding and knowledge of The Charity Commission’s responsibilities and the importance of developing and monitoring a charitable organisation’s key performance indicators and ensuring regular auditable standards are published, together with an appreciation of the many challenges currently facing charities. In 2011, she received the MBE for services to women’s health.

John Best - Director
JohnJohn Best is responsible for planning in the Milton Keynes section of the route and shares this responsibility with Jane Hamilton. After three decades working for local authorities, latterly as Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council, John now lives in MK and has an international portfolio of activities relating to place-making and place shaping. He brings experience of developing community-led waterway-based projects having for several years been secretary of the  Lee Valley Association in North-East London, and now sees the B&MK Waterway as one of the most ambitious elements of the shaping of this sub-region.


Drew Marchant - Director BSc Hons, MBA
Drew isDrew Marchant responsible for the planning aspects along the Bedfordshire section of the route and he has lived in Mid and Central Bedfordshire since 1982. Drew is a business project manager with over 30 years track record in varied industries including engineering, electronic publishing, market research and public consultation. He first became involved in the Waterway in 2007 while at Renaissance Bedford where he led on infrastructure planning to support the homes and jobs growth in Bedford and Marston Vale. Drew was involved in setting up the Consortium and was its first Secretary; he was also Chair of the officer level sub-group, the Bedford and Marston Vale Waterway Parkmails Steering Group.

Leigh Willows - Membership Development Director
Leigh Joined us as a director at the 2015 AGM and continues in his role as Membership Secretary which he has held since 2003. Leigh has worked in the logistics industry for over 30 years and is now a consultant in warehouse design. He has always enjoyed being on or by the water, has had boating holidays since his childhood and even spent a short time as a merchant seaman.