Board of Trustees

The trustees are elected from the membership of the Museum and can serve for up to nine years. They meet formally together six times annually and manage the affairs and strategic direction of the Museum, working closely with outside bodies and a management team of senior volunteers who look after the day-to-day running of the building and collections.

Roger Ascough

Roger is our newest trustee. Elected in 2024, he has been a volunteer for several years in many roles including the fit out of the Sail Loft. He has been a Trustee for Devon in Sight, as well as also volunteering for other Topsham charities. He had an extensive career in Marketing and Management, in a wide range of industries, and as a Business Development Consultant before retiring to live in Topsham in 2005

Will Atkinson

Will is a relatively new trustee, having joined the team in 2023. His passion for history led him to the Museum – he is a history teacher, currently working at Exeter University on its teacher training programme.

John Claxton (treasurer)

John brings his organizational, technical, and financial skills to Topsham Museum after a broadcast engineering career, initially at the BBC and then leading a private company supporting the worldwide distribution of UK television programmes.

Jenny Ellis (chair)

Jenny is a retired senior civil servant with extensive experience of governance and as a charity trustee. She is a room steward at the Museum and has an interest in history and the development of communities.

Heather Kay

Heather started her career in corporate marketing before becoming a manager at the National Trust, responsible for properties across Dartmoor including Castle Drogo. She holds degrees from the George Washington and New York universities and from Birbeck College in London. Heather has lived in Topsham since 2003.

Emma Laws

Emma is a chartered librarian and associate member of the Museums Association, with extensive experience working for heritage organisations including the Royal Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Devon and Exeter Institution and The National Trust. Emma was appointed Cathedral Librarian at Exeter Cathedral in 2022.

Jan Lawson

Jan has many years’ experience in education, social work, voluntary and charitable organisations with young children and families and business administration, project management and consultancy. Her interests include textiles and crafts.

Gill McLean (secretary)

Gill has a career background in educational publishing for the developing world, and has lived in Devon since 2006. She has been a trustee of the Museum since 2018.

Jeff Nicholls

Jeff has a postgraduate degree in Heritage Theory & Practice and has a particular interest in maritime history. His postgraduate dissertation examined the learning mechanisms of heritage trails. Since 2019, Jeff has been a volunteer assistant archivist at the Museum and is a responder to maritime related queries.

Graham Norwood (vice-chair)

Graham is a journalist, formerly at the BBC and now freelance. He’s lived in Topsham since 2001 and is a director of Love Topsham community interest company. His interests include making the Museum even more central to Topsham life, publicising its events and activities, and looking at future funding.