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Our Trustees

Our Trustee Directors work with Sophie and oversee the strategic direction of The Spring. They are responsible for governance and making sure we deliver our charitable objectives.

In 2014 our trustees were awarded the NCVO Winifred Tumim Award for Good Governance. This is an award given to a UK charity of any size in recognition of excellent governance.


Paul Jessop

Paul comes to The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre from a long career in the Not-for profit sector, combining years of experience in charity management with a personal love of the Arts and arts centres. Paul is a a fan of contemporary dance and a self -confessed heritage geek, spending free weekends touring European museums and eating pastries. He began his career as a successful professional fundraiser with VSO before moving into organisational development, and has worked as Chief Executive for a number of charities covering subjects from drug abuse and spiritual healing to printing heritage including a period managing the Bridewell Theatre and the renowned St Bride printing archive in Fleet Street. 

Originally from Yorkshire, Paul has lived on the Hampshire/Sussex border for over 20 years and was Councillor and Chair of a Sussex Parish Council for five years. 

Paul was appointed Chairman at the Spring in March 2019.


Valerie Bird

Valerie Bird has been on the Board of Trustees of The Spring since 2003 and also works as a volunteer in the Box Office.

Valerie has a background in teaching. She has a degree in Related Arts with English from West Sussex Institute of Higher Education, a postgraduate graduate certificate in education from Southampton University and an MA in Creative Writing from Chichester Institute of Higher Education, now Chichester University.

Valerie worked as a secretary, brought up a family of four while becoming a youth worker. Her first degree, undertaken after her children finished their education, ignited a writing career. She taught English in the secondary sector for fifteen years.

While teaching and in retirement, she took on the role of examiner in English for several boards of education.

She has short stories and poems published and has recently self-published novels.

Writing, reading and gardening are her passions. She enjoys art exhibitions and the theatre.

She has lived in Havant for fifty-six years.


Peter Hammond

Peter Hammond has been a Trustee at The Spring since November 2013.

Peter is a retired Chartered Marketeer and has had a successful career in visitor and heritage management, economic development and place management.

Peter managed the award-winning marketing and tourism team that developed the City of Portsmouth into an internationally acclaimed visitor and heritage destination. He has also worked in Europe in the publishing industry, managed a number of EU-funded projects and, latterly, was one of the original EU-sponsored cohort of qualified Place Managers in the UK, developing strategies to promote economic and cultural benefits for communities at all levels.

Peter has a proven track record in leading visitor and heritage organisations, producing visitor development strategies and applying for, winning and delivering heritage and other lottery funding.

He has had involvement in a number of heritage projects in the Borough of Havant and wider afield, including the Havant Heritage Trail and blue plaques, D-Day and VE commemorations. Peter sincerely believes that understanding the heritage of an area can positively develop residents’ sense of community and place.

Married to Caroline, Peter has three adult children and two adult step-children, plus three grandchildren. He enjoys literature and the visual arts in general, history, travel, sports and walking Milou, their dog and newest addition to the family.


Steve Murray

Steve Murray teaches at Havant and South Downs College. He has a background in the media industry, working as a newspaper journalist and television producer for the BBC and ITV before moving into education. He has taught English, film and media in Hampshire for more than 15 years. Steve has a Master of Arts degree in Media, Culture and Communication from the University of London and a first degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Hull. He also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Southampton.

At Havant and South Downs College, Steve is a part-time teacher of A level Media Studies and Film Studies and GCSE English. He is also an assessor for the OCR examination board. In addition to teaching, Steve works as a co-ordinator on heritage projects and has successfully written and managed a number of Heritage Lottery Fund bids, including The Spring’s Scalextric, Havant and Waterlooville FC and Kenwood projects.

In his spare time, Steve enjoys watching and playing football and is a season ticket holder at Havant and Waterlooville FC. He lives in Havant with his partner Nicky and sons Oliver and Alex.


Nathan Curry

Nathan is the Co-Artistic Director of Tangled Feet ( and the Associate Director of The Greenwich+Docklands International Festival ( Previously he was the Associate Director at The Bush Theatre and Staff Director at The National Theatre.

He has directed Tangled Feet productions across the UK and in Europe. He has also directed work at The Bush Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Unicorn Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith. 

Nathan has developed a number of projects with the National Theatre Studio and recently created an outdoor theatre production in Libya working with the British Council. He enjoy's sharing his working process and regularly teaches at RADA, East 15 and Middlesex University as well as leading workshops in theatre making across the UK.

He trained at Middlesex University and subsequently received training from The National Theatre Studio Directors Course, Howard Davies, Katie Mitchell, The Royal Shakespeare Company (with Cicely Berry) and The Stary Theatre, Krakow


Sam Garner-Gibbons

Sam Garner-Gibbons is the technical director and a senior manager at Chichester Festival Theatre where he has worked for the past 20 years. Sam has worked on over 250 major productions across its two theatres, working with a rich diversity of creative teams and actors. Heis also a passionate supporter of its Youth Theatre and its work.

Sam trained at Central School of Speech and Drama as a stage manager and has had a varied career working at English National Opera, The Royal Albert Hall, Haymarket Theatre and on tour with Northern Ballet Theatre amongst others.

Sam has a number of lighting design credits both at Chichester and in the West End, and works freelance as a Production and Technical Manager around the country in the few quiet moments between productions at Chichester.

Sam lives on Hayling Island with his wife Sally who is a stage manager and teacher, his son who is a drummer and bass player (thanks to a formative education from Music Fusion and Rock school), his animal-besotted daughter and their two dogs Nuala and Ted. He enjoys long beach walks, sailing, holidaying in France and adventures with his family.


Tom Spurgin

Tom Spurgin is a London-based and Portsmouth-born audience development specialist. In his current role as Audience Development Manager at the Philharmonia Orchestra, he leads on the delivery and longitudinal evaluation of The Virtual Orchestra, the most expansive audience development project in the organisation’s history. Tom Co-Chairs the Orchestra’s Equality Group and also sits on the advisory board of By Jove Theatre Company, an emerging feminist and socialist theatre collective based in London.
He specialises in community engagement and co-creation to ensure that organisations are representative of and relevant to the widest audiences. He works alongside partner organisations and under-represented communities to challenge and diversify larger institutions.

Tom returns to academia in October 2020, starting his doctoral study on audience development in UK orchestras with University of Sheffield and Manchester Collective.
Outside of work, Tom spends most of his time on long walks with his husband, David, and their dog, Diana.


Francesca Moody

Francesca is an award-winning Theatre Producer with over ten years experience having produced theatre at the Edinburgh Festival, in London, on tour in the UK and internationally. She is best known as the original producer of the multi-award winning and Olivier-nominated FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which she has produced globally on behalf on DryWrite, most recently in London’s West-End.

Francesca is also the former Producer of leading British new writing theatre company Paines Plough, where she produced and developed plays by leading UK playwrights including Dennis Kelly, Duncan Macmillan, James Graham and Kate Tempest.

Francesca now runs Francesca Moody Productions and since launching in 2018 the company has produced five world premieres presented across London, New York and at the Edinburgh Festival. FMP’s production of BABY REINDEER by Richard Gadd was the Bush Theatre’s fastest ever selling show in history and the company recently announced the West-End transfer of BABY REINDEER to the Ambassadors Theatre in co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions.   

Francesca has received eight Fringe First Awards and two Off West End Awards for her productions. She is a trustee of The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre and an Honorary Associate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.   

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Sarah Shephard

Sarah is Co-Artistic Director of Filskit Theatre ( who specialise in creating theatre for early years children and their families. Sarah has directed and performed in Filskit Theatre productions such Kaleidoscope for babies aged 6-18 months and Huddle a Co-Production with Unicorn Theatre and winner of the Off West End award for Best Performance for 0-7 year olds.


Sarah has worked as a facilitator specialising in inclusive work for children and adults with learning disabilities. Recently she has led artist development projects for Neurodivergent artists and parents / carers in the performing arts.


Sarah grew up in Gosport, Hampshire and works with a number of community organisations across the South West in order to bring high quality theatre to hard to reach audiences. When she is not creating and touring her own work, Sarah is a visiting lecturer at Rose Bruford College, London.


Richard McMillan

Richard McMillan has been on the board of trustees of The Spring since 2018 and also works as a front of house volunteer.

Richard is a chartered accountant who worked in the financial and education sectors for 35 years before retiring early. He worked at IBM, Barclays and Crookhorn College where he also had a spell as a governor.

In addition to his role as the finance trustee, Richard volunteers for Oxfam, the RSPB and at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and is the independent examiner for a number of local charities.

Richard is a keen swimmer and enjoys watching cricket and football live. He lives in Emsworth with his wife Roslyn.


Maggie McMurray

Maggie has a professional background in education, teaching English, Drama and Theatre Studies in the secondary and sixth form sector.  She has many years experience in educational leadership and as Head Teacher of a residential school in the independent sector, giving her some experience of working as CEO of a charitable organisation.

Her interests and indeed passions have always been in the arts; having early ambitions of becoming a ballet dancer, she spent her teenage years dancing professionally (receiving payment for following her dream was simply the cherry on top); literature has always been the breath of life to her and the theatre came a close second so it is easy to see why she chose English with Art as her first degree, progressing to Drama and Theatre Studies in her PGCE and teaching.  Then later, as her career developed into leadership, she completed her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Southampton.

In addition to her role as Chair of Directors at The Spring's trading company, Havant Arts Active, she retains her interest in education as Chair of Governors at St James' Primary, Emsworth, and as an Associate Tutor for Hampshire Governor Services, training governors across the county and the IOW.  Further to this she holds the honorary title of Artistic Director at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport, organising 24 concerts and recitals each year since 2013; more recently she has taken on the organisation of the Music Room Concerts at Stansted House.


Jackie Branson

Representative of Havant Borough Council


Ray Bolton

Representative of Hampshire County Council (Observer)