Board of directors

Our board of directors hope that Fire & Water will see an increased sense of pride and ownership by the local community in something unique that provides the people of Sowerby Bridge, with their active support and involvement, with a centre of excellence

Phil Hawdon

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Phil is an architect and has worked in Sowerby Bridge since 1975. He is a founder and producer of the town’s Winterlight Festival and has been actively involved in negotiating the Community Asset Transfer of the Fire & Water buildings with Calderdale MBC. Phil has also advised other local groups through The Community Foundation, represents Fire & Water on Locality’s Community Anchors Network, on the Sowerby Bridge Development Board and on the High Street Action Zone steering group with the council.

Isolde Davey

Musician and writer Isolde Davey was moved to attempt to link the artistic community in Sowerby Bridge by forming Artsbridge in 2013. With an overwhelmingly positive response, the group became quickly established and expanded their remit to also promoting arts in the town.

Isolde has striven to develop a range of activities to bring the community together including children’s art, poetry & photography competitions along with various bands and musicians in a range of venues across the town plus spoken-word & theatre events. She is also a key member of the Sowerby Bridge Winterlight group.

Frank Darnley

Frank has worked as an artist for 30 years and lived in Triangle, a mile down the road from Sowerby Bridge, for the past two decades. He has a studio at Dean Clough in Halifax where he creates his own artwork and collaborates with other artists and theatre companies. Frank also teaches in local schools and colleges and has served as chair of governors at his children’s local primary school.

Dot Foster

Dot has lived in Sowerby Bridge for the last 14 years, was elected as a local councillor in 2014, and re-elected in 2018. She is a school governor at a local schools and works as a caseworker. She has a background in horticulture. Dot is always keen to get involved with local projects and sees Fire and Water is a really exciting opportunity to bring back into use derelict buildings in the centre of the town for the benefit of the community. She sees the potential for the buildings as enormous, from performance space to offices, creative spaces to riverside garden and is looking forward to continue to help make this dream a reality.

Malcolm Gardner

Malcolm has had Structural Engineers offices in Sowerby Bridge for over 25 years. He was heavily involved in the development of the Wharf and saw the regenerational effect of this project. He is a past chairman of Sowerby Bridge Forum and although now retired is still involved in the management of the Wharf. He is keen to see the Fire and Water project develop and the further regeneration and benefits it will bring to the community of Sowerby Bridge together with the Calder and Ryburn Valleys generally.

Tom Stringfellow

Tom has always had a keen interest in Calderdale groups and charities. Over the years he has been a volunteer with Square Chapel and the Overgate Hospice and has served as administrator and fundraiser for Halifax’s Arch-Way Project. Since 1998 he has been an active part of the organisational committee for the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival.

Viv Jorissen

Viv has been in property construction, management and letting for over 40 years. For over 10 years, she also worked for The Princes' Regeneration Trust helping to find new uses for old buildings and was greatly involved in the restoration of Sowerby Bridge Wharf. She is very enthusiastic about the Fire & Water Project and the effect it will have on Sowerby Bridge

Clare Nestor

Clare has lived in Sowerby Bridge since 2011. She left Citizens Advice after a 24 year career taking in local and national roles, ultimately volunteer development. She has been involved in a range of volunteering and was a trustee of a food bank and Chair of Kirklees Law Centre. In recent years, she has worked for the library service in Calderdale and tended gardens and her grandchildren. She joined the board in 2017 after being involved in DIY sessions and is prepared to do almost anything to see Fire and Water come to fruition!

Clare leads on marketing and would love to hear from you if you have photographs to contribute to our annual fundraising calendar, would like a collection tin for your business or would like to run a fundraising event.

She brings a wide range of skills and experience in the third-sector and is prepared to roll up her sleeves and do whatever is needed to bring Fire & Water to fruition and help make Sowerby Bridge the best possible place to live and work.

Freda Davis

Freda moved to Calderdale in 1981 and worked as a teacher, trainer, advice worker and mental health advocate in a varied career until retirement. She also spent many hours in voluntary work helping to develop the Calderdale and Kirklees WomenCentre, between 1983 and 2013.

Freda lives in Triangle, and since retiring has developed her skills in art and printmaking. She is a member of Sowerby Bridge ArtCircle and is also Treasurer of Healthy Minds (Calderdale Wellbeing). Freda is a member of the Green Party and has stood several times for election in Ryburn Ward.