Our People

COAST has four members of staff and two contractors who work with over one hundred volunteers, thirteen of which are Community Advisory Panel (CAP) members; seven 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.

Board of Trustees

Cicely Gill

Chair
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.

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.

Howard Wood

Howard Wood OBE

Co-Founder
Howard formed COAST in 1995 with another local diver, Don MacNeish. He was a key driver in the establishment of the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone in 2008 and a Goldman Environmental Prize Winner in 2015. To read more click Howard’s picture.

Russell Cheshire

Russell operated Ocean Breeze RIB Tours with his wife Elspeth for ten years and is the Community Safety Officer for the Arran RNLI station in Lamlash Bay. They are keen wildlife observers and beach cleaners, and Russ was COAST’s chair for two years before he moved to Seil to operate marine wildlife boat tours.

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.

Ruth McLaren

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.

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. 

COAST Staff Team

Aidan Watkins

Facilities Officer
Aidan joined the COAST team in November 2022, having worked in the charity sector and in leisure management. He is a personal trainer and fan of cold water immersion, so is excited to bring his aquatic expertise and love of the sea to this new role at 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!

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.

Sophie Plant

Education and Comms Manager
Sophie joined the COAST team in October 2022. She has worked in marine conservation, research and environmental education in Scotland, Madagascar and the Maldives, and has a background in community organising and campaigning. A keen diver, she is excited to get underwater around Arran.

COAST Community Advisory Panel (CAP)

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.

Dr Robin Jenks

Dr Robin Jenks

A marine campaigner and former science teacher, Robin lives on the west of Arran and has a doctorate in fresh water biology.

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

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

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.

Don MacNeish

Don MacNeish

COAST co-founder Don MacNeish and Doug Anderson became COAST’s first official ambassadors. Don played a huge part in the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone campaign.

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”.

Kenneth Gibson

Kenneth Gibson

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

Katie Clark

Katy Clark

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

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.