Chair of Trustees
Phil was brought up in Kent and spent his twenties in London, where he gained a degree in law. In 1984, he moved to East Devon, where he still lives today, and started a career in the aerospace industry. As Commercial Director, he travelled throughout the world negotiating with governments and aircraft manufacturers. He later changed direction, taking on Project Director and Business Improvement roles, and added a strategic element to his practical experience by obtaining an Executive MBA. After taking early retirement, Phil joined Devon & Cornwall Housing Association as an Independent Director and subsequently became Chairman of the Association’s social care operation. In 2014 he moved to the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA) as the Association’s Chief Executive, helping to guide it through a period of significant change. He worked for the DPA until retiring in 2022. Phil has a love of Dartmoor and hopes to bring his previous experience to contribute to the work of the museum.
Previously, a serving officer in the Royal Air Force, specialising in human resource and personnel management. Has experience within estate and security management and has held managerial responsibilities for significant public relations and charitable events. He trained as a service accountant, held budgetary and project management responsibilities and has undertaken organisational and management responsibilities for worldwide adventurous training. On leaving the Service provided administrative support for Royal British Legion activities in Devon as County Secretary until taking early retirement.
Debbie has been a trustee since 2012. Her background is in farming as she grew up on a Dartmoor hill farm, forestry and education. Apart from ten years in Wales she has lived on the edge of north Dartmoor all her life. Debbie’s working life is now, and has been for over 30 years, in education working at Okehampton College and then Devon County Council where she rose to assistant Director for children’s and young people’s services. Debbie left DCC in 2011 and now has a national role as a Schools’ Adjudicator. She believes it to be a privilege to live in such a lovely area, rich in history and with a vibrant community.
Jane has lived near Okehampton for a number of years. She is an archaeologist and until retirement a couple of years ago worked for the Dartmoor National Park Authority for 25 years becoming the Park’s Senior Archaeologist. She has a great affection for Dartmoor and a good knowledge of the Moor, many of its inhabitants, customs, traditions and history. As a Trustee of the museum she shares this experience and professional archaeological knowledge.
Jo has worked in museums and the heritage sector since 2008 after graduating from the University of Leicester with an MA in Museum Studies. Jo has previously worked at Mount Edgcumbe House looking after the associated collection and overseeing the Heritage Lottery Funded project to display and conserve the artefacts from the wreck of the Metta Catharina von Flensburg. She has also worked as a Curator at Plymouth Museum and over the last 12 years has worked for the National Trust as a Researcher, Collections Engagement Officer and latterly as a Registrar, bringing a wealth of collections management knowledge to the team. Jo grew up in nearby Launceston and moved back to the area in 2016.
Jan began her career as a teacher in Toxteth, Liverpool after gaining a Bachelor of Education Degree – one of the first women in the country to do so. She went on to holding teaching positions in Okehampton, Exbourne, Northlew, Lydford and other smaller villages. Since retiring she volunteers for many organisations, including the Museum of Dartmoor Life and Books on Wheels for the RVS and the local library. She is also an Okehampton Town Councillor and her aim is to make our town welcoming and beautiful to visitors and residents alike. As a museum Trustee, she wants to help the museum become a self-sustaining attraction for residents and visitors alike being interesting, educational and fun!
Mary brings her expertise from 20 years working at National Museum & Galleries of Wales in Cardiff, UK. She was Head of Section (1997-2009) managing a collection of over 300,000 lots. Whilst at the Museum she ran a project that put their collection databases into the public domain, creating a flexible searchable database to give the public access to material in the collections. Part of the team that assisted in the development of drawer content for the Glan Ely gallery, she was also on their Interpretation strategy group and bilingualism working group. An active researcher, she ran large projects with capacity building for biologists in Africa, as well as working with other Museum Scientists in similar projects on the Galapagos, doing field research in Africa for over 12 years. Now Mary volunteers with IUCN, a conservation NGO working on the conservation of Molluscs on a world-wide basis, as well as working with her husband in the running of Adventure Okehampton, an adventure activity centre in Okehampton .
Dr Jenna Spellane
Jenna brings a wealth of experience in delivering digital interpretation for museums and heritage sites. She has delivered interpretation projects at sites including the Roman Baths, Bath Word Heritage Site, the National Trust, V&A and Wiltshire Museum. She is skilled in developing imaginative and engaging digital exhibits that push boundaries, including innovative interactives, immersive experiences, projections, animations and films, game play and smartphone apps. She now works at Chester Zoo as Senior Interpretation Manager. She is also a certified Project Manager and has written numerous successful funding applications for museums and heritage sites for major interpretation and community engagement projects.
Tony moved to North Devon in 2020 with the aim of spending more time walking and hiking in the countryside and being close to the beach for the water sports. He has worked in operational management for over 25 years, his most recent role as a Delivery Director for Capita. Prior to Capita he was an Interim/Contractor providing a range of management and professional services focusing on areas of strategy, structure, governance and digital media across publishing, retail, hospitality, telephony and consumer finance. His role as Trustee focuses on extending the reach and appeal of the museum through social and digital media. When not working or walking, he can be found engaging his passion for marathon running