Our People

COAST has five members of staff and two contractors who work with over one hundred volunteers, fifteen of which are Community Advisory Panel (CAP) members; eight of these make up our Board of Trustees. The CAP meet every two months to guide the team’s work and make key decisions. Our Advisors help with technical and legal issues, and our Ambassadors promote COAST’s vision for healthy seas across the world. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved.

COAST Co-founders

Howard Wood and Don MacNeish founded COAST in 1995, setting sail with what has turned into an internationally recognised grassroots marine conservation community.

Howard Wood

Howard Wood OBE

Howard has been diving the seas around Arran and Scotland since 1973; he has an extensive knowledge of the marine environment in the Clyde has created a photographic and video archive of Arran marine life. Howard was COAST’s chair for 10 years before stepping down in 2018, before retiring from the Board at the end of 2023. Howard received the Goldman Environmental Prize in April 2015 for his work with COAST and was awarded an OBE for services to the marine environment in 2015.

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Don MacNeish

Don MacNeish

Don’s travels to New Zealand inspired the idea of a community marine reserve; from this COAST and the campaign for the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone was born. He played an instrumental part in the establishment of the NTZ. Today Don remains a loyal and dedicated supporter.

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Board of Trustees

COAST Trustees govern the charity and ultimately decide on the strategic direction COAST takes.

Anne Sheppard

Chair
Anne is a marine biologist who initially worked on pollution monitoring around the UK coast before being seduced by the warm tropics and working on coral reefs.  She is now living on Arran and happy to be on this beautiful island.  She is interested in all aspects of natural history, from the seabed to the stars.

Catherine Jenks

Secretary
Catherine and her husband Robin moved to Arran in 1994 to raise their two sons. She’s worked in healthcare on the island since moving, and became involved with COAST following the 5 year celebrations of the No Take Zone. Inspired by the knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication of other Trustees, Volunteers and Workers, Catherine is keen to support the ongoing work of COAST to ensure the revival and health of our coastal waters.

Ronnie Mann

Treasurer
Ronnie spearheaded the impressive development of the Auchrannie Resort since he co-founded it in 1988 so brings significant local knowledge and financial strategy to our Board.

Ruth McLaren

Minutes Secretary
Ruth worked for Arran Eco Savvy delivering projects on sustainable lifestyles and carbon literacy. It is through this work, along with her interactions with COAST that she has recognised the importance of marine conservation in the fight against climate change.

Cicely Gill

Cicely moved to Arran in 1968 and has been involved with COAST for about 12 years. Since leaving her job as a psychotherapist in Glasgow she has prioritised her writing, and is currently writing a play about the Clearances in Arran. She believes our actions at COAST are essential in order to push forward the attainment of sustainable seas. She swims in the sea nearly every day.

Jim Henderson

Jim Henderson

Born on Arran and former fisherman and retired joiner, Jim is a local historian who remembers Arran’s once famous fishing festivals well.

Graeme Walker

A retired ecologist, Graeme has been closed linked to the conservation of Arran’s biodiversity, geology and landscapes for the last three decades. 

Alastair Milne

Alastair moved to Arran in 2021 after a career that encompassed academic research, the City and education. His teaching career covered both History and Government & Politics, the latter providing him with useful insights into the way that pressure groups interact with, and seek to influence, governments.

COAST Operational Team

The operational team ensures the smooth day-to-day running of COAST; they’re the first point of call for most people who engage or work with COAST.

Áine Purcell-Milton

Executive Director
Áine took up the position of Executive Director at the start of 2022. She has an MRes in Marine Ecosystem Management from St Andrews. She has come from a career in coastal community engagement and environmental education from various Irish and UK NGOs. She is a keen water sports enthusiast and you’re most likely to find her in or under the water.

Andy

Andy Telford

Finance Officer
Andy has been involved with COAST for many years, having previously worked as Community Outreach & Admin Officer from 2013-2015 and as more recently as Operations and Finance Officer. A keen diver, sailor and world traveller, he’s worked in the marine sector in SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand – this non-stop adventurer is at home as long as he is outdoors!

Euan Ribbeck

COAST Explorer Skipper
Euan joins the COAST team after returning full-time to Arran after working both overseas and elsewhere in the UK for more than 20 years. Having started out renting out small boats on Brodick Beach, he has since skippered sailing yachts for training and was fortunate enough to learn to dive in Indonesia. Euan has a strong background in Project and Operations Management and is a Yachtmaster Offshore and a PADI Advanced Diver.

Jenny Crockett

Outreach and Comms Manager
After volunteering with COAST for her MSc in Marine Environmental Management, Jenny joined the staff team in early 2016 and now manages our outreach, education and communications. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in public engagement, she loves passing on her passion of the marine environment to people from all walks of life.

Liz Sutton

Liz Sutton

Funding Officer
Liz has worked in heritage development and fundraising for 18 years. She grew up on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, surrounded by saltmarshes and big skies, and is looking forward to combining her love of the coast and her professional skills at COAST. 

Lucy Kay

MPA Project Officer
Lucy has worked on marine protected areas and marine management in the UK, south east Asia and the Pacific. She has been fortunate to visit and dive in marine reserves in many different places and is enthusiastic about realising the benefits of marine protected areas for wildlife and people.

COAST Community Advisory Panel (CAP)

The CAP are volunteer representatives from the community who feed in thoughts and ideas to our Board to help direct the work of COAST.

A Binnie Staff

Andrew Binnie

Andrew wrote the original proposal for the South Arran MPA in 2011. He has an MSc in Aquatic Ecosystems Management and a background in community-based natural resource management. He was COAST’s Executive Director up to 2017 and again from 2020 to early 2022. He is now focused on organisation support and special projects delivery.

Gavin Cameron

Gavin retired from a career as a professional engineer in shipbuilding and the offshore energy industry. He has been attached to the sea for his whole life through both work and play; after being enthralled by Jacque Cousteau as a child, he has now been diving for over 40 years and is an avid sailor and sea kayaker.

Georgina Maclean

Georgina is a keen open water marathon swimmer, a snorkeller and diver. She has a passion for the sea and seeing the other world that lies beneath the waves. Regularly immersing herself in our waters has cemented her strong belief that it’s an environment we should look after, respect and engage with and teach others not to be scared of. 

Hayley Woodroffe

Hayley Woodroffe

Hayley moved to the island a few years ago and works in the community and is actively interested in the island’s marine wildlife through snorkelling and kayaking.

Richard Godfrey

Richard leads a local business and instructs scuba diving around the island. A active member of the lifeboat crew, Richard has a true passion for the sea both above and below the waterline. 

Simon Ross-Gill

Simon is an Arran based Graphic Designer who has worked and volunteered with COAST since 2017. After many years living in Peru, he returned home to Arran where he believes there is huge potential to become more sustainable and self-sufficient. He is a director of the Arran Pioneer Project and created the Arran Green Map.

COAST Advisors

These amazing people volunteer their time and invaluable expertise to assist COAST.

Amy Fairbairn

Amy is a communications professional with two decades’ experience working in the public and charity sectors, most recently as the Head of Media and Communications for Mercy Corps. Currently Amy consults for purpose-led organisations helping them better communicate social and environmental impact and solutions.

Claire

Claire Youdale

Claire has a BSc Hons in Marine Zoology from Bangor University. She is a experienced Seasearch diver and assists COAST conduct research around Arran.

Simon Baxter

Simon Baxter

Legal Advisor
Simon has worked as a lawyer in Brussels for over twenty five years in the field of EU regulatory law. He has advised COAST on the establishment of the South Arran Marine Protected Area, and on other projects.

Tom Appleby

Tom Appleby

Legal Advisor
Tom is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of the West of England, specialising in environmental law. He is a trustee of Blue Marine Foundation and helped COAST establish the public’s right to fish and the Lamlash Bay NTZ.

Zabdi Keen

Zabdi Keen

Zabdi runs Flying Fever paragliding school, with her partner Maurice. She is our web designer and technical back-up and works closely with COAST on our campaigns.

COAST Ambassadors

These individuals or groups  have devoted time and effort to work with us to achieve great things, and are dedicated to advancing the missions and goals of COAST.

Don MacNeish

Don MacNeish

Don’s travels to New Zealand inspired the idea of a community marine reserve; from this COAST and the campaign for the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone was born. He played an instrumental part in the establishment of the NTZ. Today Don remains a loyal and dedicated supporter.

Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson has worked worldwide creating underwater sequences for award winning BBC series such as “The Blue Planet”, “Planet Earth” and “Life”.

Katie Clark

Katy Clark

Katy Clark MP was made COAST Ambassador for her invaluable support and help to COAST as our former Westminster MP.

Kenneth Gibson

Kenneth Gibson

Kenneth Gibson MSP received his COAST Ambassador certificate from Howard Wood for his tireless support to COAST over many years.

Leigh Howarth

Leigh Howarth

Dr Leigh Howarth, formerly of York University, spent many summers on Arran leading a team of researchers investigating the effects of the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone. You can find his published research papers under the Research section of our website.

Sunnyside Primary School

Sunnyside Primary School of Conservation is an inner-city Glasgow Council establishment which involves its pupils in developing skills and embarking on adventures based around exploring and protecting nature.

COAST Volunteers

Coast relies largely on volunteers, that happily give away their free time to support our mission in any possible way. Different volunteering options include; front desk support at the Discovery Centre, DIY improvements of our space, assisting in public events, donating pieces of art, baking and many more!

We really value our volunteers and we would like them to share their experience with you!
Check out a few testimonials from our volunteering team here.