Phone: 0808 278 7992

How we are governed

As an independent charity, we have a Board of Trustees who are collectively responsible for ensuring the organisation is financially sound, well managed and that it meets its charitable objectives.

The Board provides leadership and guidance to our Chief Executive, Liz de Villiers who has day-to-day responsibility for leading and managing the organisation.

Meet our Trustees

Peter Oakford – Chair

Peter is married to Sharon and they live in Southborough. They have 3 grown up children and 5 grandchildren.

Having spent 30 years working in the energy industry, 19 of these working internationally, Peter elected to take early retirement in 2014 to pursue other interests within the local community.

He has been an elected councillor since 2007 serving the residents of Tunbridge Wells on Southborough Town Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council where he is currently
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services.

He also holds the position of Independent Chair of the Downstream Oil Distribution Forum which is contracted via the DfT working as a trade body within the energy industry with focus on safety in the area of fuel distribution and supply resilience.

In his spare time Peter enjoys travel and finding new and different types of food, tinkering with his classic cars, looking after the garden and spending as much time with the family as possible.

Alan Goda – Vice Chair

Alan Goda has been a trustee since 2009, and vice-chair for the last two years. He originally became involved with Citizens’ Advice as a trustee of Citizens’ Advice-South Lakes when he lived in Cumbria.  He is married with two sons and three grandchildren, of whom he is very proud.

In addition to his work with CA, he is a governor of High Weald Academy which is a comprehensive school in Cranbrook.  Alan’s other activities include sailing, gardening, walking the dog, and washing the mud off his 1967 MGB.

Peter Lawne – Treasurer

Peter has been a Trustee /Treasurer since July 2017.

He has lived in the Tunbridge Wells area for 26 years and after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant he worked most of his career for an international oil company in a number of positions related to finance. He joined Citizens Advice in 2015 and was a Gateway Assessor and Adviser until taking over as Trustee/Treasurer.

Peter is married with two sons. He is also Treasurer of the Sports Ground Association in Groombridge.
His leisure interests are bridge, bowling, classic cars and walking.

David Marriott – Trustee

David has over 40 years’ experience in commercial property and worked with Knight Frank Group in Sydney, Jones Lang Wootton in Los Angeles, USA, Hillier Parker (now CBRE) and Lawson-Price in London.

David set up Core Commercial in 1996 in Kent specialising in industrial and warehouse property. He was a Councillor for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for 8 years until May 2010 and has been involved with CATWD for over 10 years and more recently as a trustee.

Elaine Abbs – Trustee

Elaine Abbs is the Chair of the Friends of Citizens Advice Tunbridge Wells & District and joined the Trustee Board in 2016. Elaine is an employment lawyer and currently works for Rix and Kay solicitors.  From 2004 she worked at the Bureau as a volunteer for over 4 years jointly delivering the Employment Law service. Elaine has previous experience of working for the whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work and of working for the Maternity Alliance, lobbying Government and working with the former Equal Opportunities Commission and with the Health and Safety Executive on projects to improve employment rights for pregnant working women and all parents.  Elaine also worked as an HR Manager for 4 years for a local school and is a trained nurse.  She enjoys caring for her family, singing with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Choral Society, politics, gardening and making bread.

Dame Helena Shovelton – Trustee

Dame Helena Shovelton joined the Trustee Board in March 2020 having once worked for Citizens Advice Tunbridge Wells & District before going on to chair the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux in the 1990s.  Dame Helena’s previous roles include Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation and Chair of the Audit Commission.

Tom Bourne – Trustee

Tom joined the Citizens Advice Tunbridge Wells and District as a trustee in 2016. Tom is a commercial lawyer specialising in dispute resolution at Cripps LLP and regularly advises clients in the charity sector.

George Gordon – Trustee

George became a trustee of Citizens Advice, Tunbridge Wells and District, in 2021.

He is the Communications and Corporate Affairs Director of TSB Bank. Prior to joining TSB in 2018, George worked in Communications roles for Unilever and then Tesco for more than two decades.  From 1999-2001, he was seconded to the UK Government (Cabinet Office) advising ministers and policymakers on better regulation.

George lives in Bidborough and is married with three daughters.