Our Trustees

The Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) is a registered charity number 1147477 and you can read our listing on the Charity Commission’s website HERE. Our Trustees are all volunteers.


Sir Sebastian Anstruther

Sebastian manages his family’s Barlavington Estate in the heart of the South Downs. He is a Secretary of State appointed Member of the South Downs National Park Authority, where he is the Member Lead on Biodiversity, and a member of the South of England Agricultural Society’s Council.

He helped set up the South Downs Land Management Group to represent farmers and land managers within the National Park’s boundary when the Park was designated in 2010.

Sebastian is a Governor of an “outstanding” village primary school, and a Trustee of a small charity which supports education and the arts.

John Archer

John has recently retired as Regional Environment & Land Use Adviser with the National Farmers’ Union. He joined the NFU in early 1997 after a career in the Royal Navy. His NFU work has included water quality and resources as well as planning, employment, public access and a range of other regulatory matters.

He has represented the agriculture sector on the SE River Basin Planning Liaison Panel since its inception, and has been a member of numerous catchment project steering groups across the region, including Catchment Sensitive Farming, the Downs and Harbours Clean Water Partnership and the River Avon Restoration Project board.

John has been a member of South East Water’s Environment Focus Group and Customer Challenge Group during the preparation of the company’s Water Resource Management Plan 2014-2040.He lives near South Harting in West Sussex

Charlie Baker – Chairman

Charlie is from a landowning family at Northchapel in West Sussex. A tributary of the Arun runs through his garden. He is married with three adult children. He was formerly a Guards Officer and then a national newspaper director in Fleet Street. He now runs his own businesses based partly in West Sussex.

He is Chairman of the Countryside Alliance for West Sussex and a director of the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt.

He is a keen fisherman and owns a stretch of a salmon river in Co Mayo.

Gillian Branson

Gillian has been working in the aquatic ecology and engineering fields since she graduated from the University of Southampton in 1997. Spending 9 years at the Environment Agency in the south covering the science of marine and freshwater environments she moved into consultancy joining Jacobs UK Ltd in 2006 working up from Senior Aquatic Ecologist to Technical Director running aquatic ecology, fish and bioengineering projects and teams.

Recently Gillian has also gained experience working in the local authority setting as Environmental Project Engineer for the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership.

She has interest in how engineered designs can be more sensitive to aquatic wildlife and how more natural solutions can be used instead of traditionally engineered structures, on both small and large scales. Overall, Gillian sees herself as a voice for our water environment.

She joined the ARRT as a Trustee in October 2017 and Chairs our Project Committee as well as representing ARRT at many conferences and workshops, developing new project opportunities and acting as project manager for several of our larger projects.

Dave Brown

Dave is an environmental scientist and the retired head of a university unit, having previously worked in the environmental consultancy sector. He is a Trustee of the Rivers Trust, the national organisation which represents over 30 individual river trusts.
He set up and directed MSc programmes in the field of environmental management and has worked on numerous individual research and consultancy projects for clients including government departments, major industries (including the oil and gas sectors) and environmental organisations. While a general environmental scientist, with particular experience in fields of environmental impact assessment and environmental auditing, he has a strong interest in the aquatic environment and has worked in a professional capacity on many river systems.

Richard Chandler


Dendy Easton

Dendy is a Fine Art specialist he worked at Sotheby’s Billingshurst and London for 30 yrs. He is a very keen fisherman and has been fishing the River Rother since 1980, he has a particular interest in Sea Trout and their life cycle.


Richard Hammond – Vice Chairman

Educated in Chichester and apart from three years at University Richard has always resided and worked in West Sussex looking after the environment.Richard has recently retired after 36 years with the Environment Agency and predecessor organisationsHe plans to keep fighting for environmental improvements through his involvement with ARRT.

Roger Poole

Lives at Birdham, West Sussex. Businessman, Angler and Chairman of Petworth and Bognor Angling Club.



Chris Rhodes

Now retired from a long career embracing the arts, design, fundraising, global marketing and then general management, Chris has returned to Sussex to paint, play music and create a garden.
Living in pristine countryside, near rivers and flood meadows led him to leap at helping ARRT preserve this bucolic environment for future generations. 

Stephen Simmonds


John Spence

John has over thirty years experience of environmental and utilities management primarily in the water sector. He is a Biological Sciences graduate (Plymouth) and a Chartered member of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. Following a 30+ year career with Southern Water John left the company in March 2016 to establish himself as an Independent Environmental Advisor.

John’s role at Southern Water involved the management of the company’s regulatory interfaces and establishing company policy in the areas of environmental management, wastewater, drinking water quality, water resources, carbon, climate change and planning. He worked on behalf of the water industry as a member of the Water UK Environmental Policy Advisory Group and the Water UK Strategic Steering Group. He worked closely with the Environment Agency representing the water sector on the South East River Basin District Liaison Panel and was formerly a REPAC member. He was also actively involved in the innovation arena being a Non-Executive Director of UKWIR Ltd (United Kingdom Water Industry Research) whose role is to facilitate collaborative research for UK Water Operators.

John is passionate about enhancing the natural environment and lives in Norton, near Chichester, West Sussex.

Andrew Thompson

Andrew has worked on the Leconfield Estate, Petworth, since 1984, after studying Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Economy at Seale Hayne College. His employment is centred on the estate’s four miles of the Rother Valley and it’s surrounds, where farming, shooting, fishing, education and habitat conservation and restoration fall under his remit. He is a life member of the Hawk and Owl Trust.Andrew is keen to assist the ARRT and its partners in working to improve and provide essential benefits to ensure the long-term well-being of the area.

Tony Whitbread

Chief Executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, lives at Hurston Mill on the river Stor just outside Storrington.



John Whiting

John retired as Office Manager for the National Bus Company (Southdown), subsequently he kept the books for a car auction and then a firm of civil engineering contractors. In 2007 John founded the River Adur Conservation Society, which has now merged with the Sussex Ouse Conservation Society to form the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust (OART) a registered charity. He is a Trustee and Director of OART. He is also the Vice Chairman of Henfield & District Angling Society and has always lived in or within a few miles of Henfield

Martin Willing

Martin has lived in Midhurst for the past 37 years. All his professional life he has been involved in biological and science education. After working as Head of Sciences in two schools he joined Godalming College. He was employed as Head of Biological and Environmental Sciences at this 6th year college for 18 years until his recent retirement. His professional life has been involved in biological and science education.

His particular interests relate to invertebrate ecology, biogeography and conservation, with a particular focus on European Mollusca.Martin is the Conservation Officer of the Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland and also serves on a number of other committees with a conservation focus. These include Invertebrate Link and the Conservation Committee of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.Martin undertakes professional consultancy in relation to molluscan ecology and conservation. The majority of this work has involved the survey and study of freshwater and brackish faunas throughout Britain.

Our Officers

Ses Wright – Project Officer

After gaining her first degree in Economics Ses worked at the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV) at the University of East Anglia for many years as a Senior Researcher and later Lecturer and Deputy Director of two highly successful M.Sc. courses in Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Auditing and Environmental Management Systems. Ses gained a M.Sc. in environmental management at ENV on a part-time basis whilst working on numerous individual research and consultancy projects for a wide range of clients ranging from government departments, major industry (oil, gas, water) and environmental organisations. Topics covered ranged from Flood Alleviation plans and projects, to Environmental Audits of local government and formal Environmental Impact Statements for proposed wind energy and offshore under-sea oil importing pipelines.

After a career break to help bring up her young family Ses began working again for the environmental sphere around 2006. She took up the post of Project Officer with the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust (OART) in 2010, helping the Trust to deliver many river enhancement projects largely funded by the Department of the Environment, Food & Regional Affairs’ (DEFRA) River Improvement Programme. Being based in Hampshire Ses has gradually taken on more work with the relatively new Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT), located slightly more to the West.

Ses is interested in all things environmental although has a particular enthusiasm for rivers and their wider wetlands.