Board and Committee
After the recent England Touch AGM, the Executive Board and operational committee members for the 2016 season are as follows. We would like to thank those who’ve left us for their hard work and welcome all the new volunteers to their role. These are exciting times for Touch in England and with a committed and driven team at the helm, we’re looking forward to taking the next steps in developing and moving the sport forward to the next stage.
CEO – Gregg Cropper
Gregg, president since 2011 and CEO since February 2016, is the principal leader of England Touch and has overall responsibility for the Association’s administration and development. The CEO is elected by the members and responsible for representing the views of the Association and its members.
Gregg is an enthusiastic, focussed, passionate advocate for the sport of Touch as a whole and specifically for the growth and development of England Touch. He has a clear vision of the future direction and development of the ETA and has worked tirelessly over the last 6 years to further this, generating many positive outcomes thus far.
By creating teams that work positively to support this vision and getting others to believe in, share and work hard to develop this, England Touch has had it’s most successful years on record, winning the Home Nations championships, three European Touch championships and becoming joint 3rd in the world.
Working within tight budget constraints whilst identifying and generating additional funding and income through a range of innovative means, Gregg has hugely increased revenue in the last 3 years, with numerous new income streams and has plans to further this too, with national England Touch League partners too.
Following his national manager role in another NGB, where he was responsible for the strategic development and implementation of all minimal contact and recreational offers, planning for the future is high on Gregg’s priority list, he is currently overseeing the formulation of the ETA’s strategic plan, which will outline the foundation of our efforts, programs and focus over the next few years. The plan will provide a clear direction for the sport, provide an outline of the activities we will undertake and set some ambitious but achievable targets for our sport to obtain.
Governance Director – Carly Heselwood
Elected in 2011, Carly’s role is to ensure the ETA has effective corporate governance ensuring both regulatory and ethical procedures and processes. This encompasses document control, policy formulation, legal compliance and safeguarding.
The role also entails leading initiatives to compile our organisations best practices in partnership with the Sport and Recreation Alliance (member organisation) and Sport England. Incorporating her experience and expertise through employment within the Sports Development sector since 2003 and as a Touch participant since 2007. The ETA board is to make a commitment to better governance by signing up to work towards the Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport and Recreation Sector.
Finance Director – Douglas Benzie
Doug is a Chartered Accountant, previously holding senior positions with Big 4 Accountancy firm Ernst & Young and currently Chief Accountant and Financial Controller at Pret A Manger. Doug brings extensive finance experience at a turning point in the ETAs finances.
As Finance Director, he is responsible for ensuring the ETA complies with all accounting requirements and ensuring the effective control and management of the ETAs finances. Doug is passionate about Touch and keen to use his skills and experience to support the ETA executive and drive the ETA’s financial management and planning.
High Performance Director – Tim Osborne
Tim was appointed to this post in September 2013, following two years as Head Coach of the England Women’s Open team. Following the 2015 Touch World Cup Tim stepped away from coaching the England Women’s national side in order to focus his time and energy on the HP Director role.
In this role Tim leads England’s HP programme of nine divisional age-grade teams and four junior teams. This involves: forming the HP management and coaching team; monitoring coaches development needs; overseeing the selection of players for national teams; controlling campaign and tour finances; coordinating conditioning programmes and research; and setting the strategic performance goals with the HP coaching team.
Events Director – Kevin Hill
Kevin is responsible for annually delivering a range of tournaments for all ages and standards of players to compete in across England. These events will provide the opportunity for England Touch to nurture talent and improve standards of performance of all involved in Touch through regular high class competition.
With a wide background of event delivery at all levels, Kevin has experience of providing high class sports events and competition, including a key field of play role at the 2012 Olympics. Kevin will be working closely with NTS/CTS/DTS and other event hosts across the season as well as continuing to develop as a Touch referee.
Non Executive Directors
Non Executive Director – Chris Martin
Chris has been a long time player and fan of Touch and hopes to bring to the Non Exec role a wide range of commercial experience. Over the past 15 years Chris has built a number of successful companies in and around Sports Development and has built up an extensive network of industry experts and contacts on whom he can rely.
As a qualified PE teacher, an experienced coach and successful business owner in the world of digital and web, Chris hopes to use this experience to offer effective advice and support to the England Touch board through this period of accelerated growth and development.
Chris has acted as a Governor and NED with other organisation and feels this experience will be of benefit to the future governance of England Touch.
Non Executive Director – Natalie Daivs
Natalie has played Touch for over five years and aims to bring her professional experience in national sport policy to the Non-Executive Director role.
As a policy advisor to Government Ministers for the last seven years, Natalie has experience creating and developing policy ideas at the national level. Most recently Natalie was one of the authors of the Government’s new Sport Strategy and has worked with sports administrators across the sector to increase participation and raise the profile of women’s sport.
Natalie hopes to use her experience to help England Touch become more effective and sustainable at this exciting time in its journey as a National Governing Body.
Non Executive Committee
Development Manager – Ken Pollard
Joining the team in 2014, Ken has 7 years playing Touch and has 8 years sports development experience and works for the CSP in Nottingham. Ken has Coordinated high profile engagement programmes, including Sportivate, recruiting and attracting new participants into a range of sports, predominately been focused on the 14-25 age group. Developed a range of engagement programmes with National Governing Bodies and arranged, managed and delivered large multi-sport events, including the Nottinghamshire FE games, attracting 400 people from 6 colleges.
Ken has developed relationships with key bodies in Sport, including Sport England, the Youth Sport Trust, National Governing Bodies, HE and FE sector, Local Government, Leisure Facilities, private providers, professional sports clubs, Charities and the voluntary sector.
Referee Managers – Nicolas Van de Rijt
Nicolas’s main role within England Touch is the development of referees within England. His team will oversee coaching and grass-root development and manage the newly appointed Regional Referee Managers, forming the bridge between the regions and the Managers. They will maintain the referee section of the England Touch website and oversee the collaboration and communication with the EFT and FIT Referee Commissions. They will take the lead on managing the databases and finances, as well as monitoring the stock of badges, whistles and kit.
PR & Marketing Manager – Chris Wearmouth
If you want to talk about promoting Touch in your area, email Marketing@englandtouch.org.uk.
Membership, Insurance and Affiliation Manager – Rich King
Rich joined the team in 2016, having previously led Oxford Touch club as its chair from 2009 until 2015. He is responsible for all membership, affiliation, and insurance matters, including administering the membership process for individuals, clubs, leagues, and events affiliated to England Touch.
Rich’s experience of leading a club that hosted multiple ETA-accredited competitions, was an early O2 Touch club, and with members of all levels of ability and experience, means he is well versed in the multiple needs and interests of a wide range of Touch participants. He is keen to support England Touch’s diverse and growing base of members as effectively as possible.
This role is responsible for membership within England Touch, specifically ensuring that England Touch provides as much support and assistance to members as is possible and also administering the whole membership process for leagues, clubs and events affiliated to England Touch.
For a quickly expanding sport such as Touch, it is important that we are involved in all Touch operations throughout the country and engage as much as possible with each member. Anyone looking to affiliate their Touch operation should contact us, our website also has some information about affiliation, including FAQs: http://www.englandtouch.org.uk/membership/
Head of Medical Services – Cari Thorpe
Cari was appointed in 2011 and brings a wealth of experience to this role. Having created a strong multi-professional medical team, Cari’s main role is injury management, rehabilitation and prehabilitation programmes for all players involved in England Touch.
With strong links with the sports physiology department at Chester University a collaboration has begun to improve the strength & conditioning programmes, research the demands of Touch and aim to inform training programmes. Child Protection officer for the Association.
Operational Board Members
Association Secretary – Vacant – Apply here
The secretary role is to organise and document all of our formal minuted meetings as well as providing other admin assistance where required. Any general ETA enquiries should be sent to the secretary who will either answer your question or direct where appropriate.
Commercial Partnerships & Sponsorship Manager – Luke Roberts
Luke has worked in sport for over seven years in a variety of roles. He has developed numerous public and corporate sector partnerships, with government departments and NGBs, as well as commercial sponsors. Luke now works for an international integrated marketing agency, Racepoint Global, managing several different sport and lifestyle brands.
Joining England Touch in the summer of 2016, Luke hopes to bring his business development, sponsorship, marketing and PR skills to the role of Commercial Partnerships and Sponsorship Manager. He aims to work closely with colleagues so that the partner roster continues to grow and sponsorships are creatively activated for the benefit of the sponsor, England Touch and the wider Touch community.
Disclosure and Barring Manager – Julia Kang
As part of her role as a teacher, moving into her 19th year in the profession, Julia has undergone child protection and disclosure training throughout. As disclosure manager for the ETA, she has the responsibility of helping to safeguard the welfare of young children and vulnerable adults within the Touch community.It is the disclosure manager’s role to ensure that all coaches and course deliverers affiliated to the ETA, working with young children and vulnerable adults, have up-to-date checks in place. Julia administers the DBS checks on all eligible coaches and is responsible for verifying applicant IDs.
Schools Liaison – Tom Humphreys
Tom brings to the team, over 10 years of sports development and PE teaching experience adding to the 8 years of playing Touch, 6 of those at an elite level.
Joining the England Men’s Open team in 2010, Tom soon found out that grassroots to elite coaching and player progression in England was lacking in diversity and felt he needed to make his mark on developing new young England players through to an elite level. He set himself a pilot scheme in his local city Canterbury to talent spot and develop junior players, with the aim of moving them through the ranks; the final goal being to represent England in senior teams. This proved to be very successful and currently a total of 7 junior players have progressed on to represent at an Elite level, 3 of whom are in the Men’s Open team.
Tom also sees a great future in the game and aims to develop schools, teachers and junior players so they can enjoy Touch and develop to their full potential. In 2016 Tom set up the inaugural England National Schools Touch tournament which we hope will pave the way for many more schools competing in inter school Touch competitions.
University Touch Liaison Officer – Harry Grocott
Accounts Assistant – Mark Aldous
Byron joined the ETA team in 2016 to implement a volunteer management and reward system within England Touch. Working closely with other operational and non-executive board members Byron aims to streamline the reporting of Touch volunteer activity across England and in the process develop a database of referee, physio, coach, and tournament support volunteer information which will support the growth of Touch in England.
Byron, a player since 2012, elite since 2014, is captain of England Senior Mixed, an Intermediate level Touch coach and an England Touch Regional Development Officer for the South West.
High Performance Team Members
High Performance Manager – Zoe Parish
(Finance and Payment)
Zoe has been involved with England Touch since 2008, and returns to the ETA operational board after being involved with the HP team throughout Euros 2012. During time spent in Australia, she has developed links and made key contacts while participating in the high performance programme at Wallsend Wolves. Zoe played State Cup and Vawdon Cup for the Wolves rep team, and also played for Hornets in the National Touch League. This experience, along with a passion for fitness and nutrition, will help her role in supporting Tim with the Elite programme.
High Performace Manager – Lois Lau
(Operations and Admin)
HP Tour Manager – Denise Yarrow
Denise has 7 years experience in Elite Sport operations from her time working with British Cycling where she maintained and actioned information in support of the logistics for the Olympic Programmes. She now works as World Class Programmes Assistant Manager for British Para-Swimming. She ensures the British Para-Swimming World Class pathways and programme operate in a well-structured and coordinated manner. Having played with the Women’s 27s squad for a season, Denise has learnt about how the squad fits within England Touch and the demands each squad is under to perform on the day. As Tour Manager it will be Denises job to make the life of every player and coach easy, to allow them to be the best they can be without worrying about the daily issues that always occur when travelling with a large team. She will work closely with the Team Managers to ensure the international events runs smoothly and successfully.
Apparel Co-Ordinator – Cathryn Ogle
Cathryn joined England Touch as the new Apparel and Kit Co-Ordinator in 2013/4. Her responsibilities include the administration or all kit and liaison with players and Managers to ensure that all International players are kitted out appropriately.
Cathryn has a vast experience in this area of expertise and has been involved in Touch as both a player and volunteer for over 20 years.
Head Physiotherapist – Emma Knott
Emma has over 12 years of experience as a Chartered Physiotherapist and has worked with the ETA since she accompanied the squad to the Touch World Cup in 2011. Emma was appointed as Head Physiotherapist for the ETA under the management of Cari Thorpe in 2012 and has supported the ETA squads in both national and international competitions over the past four years. More recently Emma worked as a physiotherapist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Emma currently works as a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield and in private practice. As part of her academic role, she is carrying out research into Touch-related injuries and injury prevention developing her PhD ideas in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, Chester University and Manchester Metropolitan University. It is hoped that this knowledge will be able to inform the practice of the medical team and ultimately benefit the players.