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Executive Committee

The following were elected to the Executive Committee at the last Annual General Meeting.

Chairman: Russell La Forte CBE MA BA

From 2013 to 2015, Russell (Russ) served in the Falkland Islands as Commander of British Forces South Atlantic Islands, accompanied by his wife Gillian, who worked as a nurse at Stanley Hospital. Traveling and socialising widely throughout their tour, both professionally and personally, they developed deep and abiding affection for the Islands and their wonderful people.

Throughout a long career with the RAF Regiment, he saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Georgia, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  He was appointed an MBE in 1994, an honorary ADC to HM The Queen in 2007, and a CBE in 2009. Awarded an honors degree in history from the Open University in 1994 and a master’s degree in Defence Studies from King’s College, London in 2001, he is also a graduate of both the Higher Command and Staff Course and the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Russ is married to Gillian and with four adult children, his interests include most sports, music, history, and mountaineering.  In 2002, he was decorated by the Royal Humane Society for leading the night-time rescue of three civilian climbers from the 23,000-foot summit of Aconcagua in Argentina.

After forty two years of service, Russell finally retired from the RAF in November 2020 and shortly thereafter was co-opted onto the Executive Committee, having been a member of the Falkland Islands Association since 2015. He was elected Chairman in 2021.

Honorary Secretary: Tom Swales

Tom Swales was born in the Isle of Man in 1957 and lived on the Island until he came to England to study for his degree. During his time as a student, he met his future wife Jane in Manchester who was studying to be a Physiotherapist. They were married in 1981 and have four children and nine grandchildren.

After graduating in 1981, Tom went to work for a Company called Hogg Robinson who at the time were responsible for moving freight on a worldwide basis for the UK Government including the MOD. As an Islander, Tom found it easier to understand the culture in the Islands and was asked to be the first General Manager of Stanley Services Limited to establish the Company. He moved to Stanley on 1st September 1987 for a three-year secondment from Hogg Robinson and was joined by Jane and his three sons in November. In January 1989, their daughter was born at the King Edward Memorial Hospital.

On completion of his contract in 1990, Tom and his family returned to England, and he undertook a number of roles for Hogg Robinson until he returned as Managing Director of Stanley Services Limited in 2001. Tom is especially proud that the senior positions of the Company are now held by Falkland Islanders and believes passionately in the Islanders’ rights to self-determination.

In 2002 Tom was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 2007 completed his Masters. Now retired, Tom is spending more time helping Jane look after the younger grandchildren.

Treasurer: Keith Angus

Keith served in the British Army for 37 years in the Royal Engineers, he left the Army in 2007. After leaving the Army he worked for the charity Sue Ryder and finely retired in 2022. 

Keith completed several tours on the Falkland Islands during his time in the Army. The first was in 1984-1985 building a generation station on Mount Kent for the radar installation, and three further tours forged his interest in Falkland Islanders and their right to decide their own future. The most memorable was his tour as Assistant Property Manager for the military estate in 1999-2000, this 6-month tour included the inspection and maintenance of the military installations and during this time, he befriended many Islanders and has played host to them when they have visited the UK. Keith has been an active member of the Falkland Islands Association since 2014.

Membership Secretary: Karen Clapp

Karen was born in the Falklands and is a fourth generation Islander on her mother’s side.  Her family moved to the UK in 1975 when her father was posted back to the UK to set up the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Headquarters in Cambridge.  Her brother returned to live in the Falklands in 1986 and still does so.

Karen joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1990 and served with them for 25 years.  She had postings in Moscow, Washington DC, and Canberra.  She was also part of their Rapid Deployment Team for many years – ready to travel anywhere in the world at 3 hours’ notice to help British nationals caught up in a crisis.  In 2008 she was part of the team sent to China, after a devastating earthquake, to look for missing British nationals and give Consular aid to those who needed it.

Karen has been back to the Falklands on many occasions and still considers it home.  She is a long-standing member of the FIA and became Membership Secretary in 2015, following in the footsteps of both her father (Ted) and mother (Jean).

Website Administrator: Tamsin Cunningham

Tamsin is a Falkland Islander and has been a member of the Association since 1990; she was introduced to the Association by Lewis Clifton, the then FIGO Representative. She joined the Executive Committee in 2016.

Tamsin joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1989 and stayed until 1993 when she got married. She has lived and worked all over the world, firstly while traveling with her parents, then working in the FCO, and since accompanying her husband; the family is now settled in the UK in South Lincolnshire, her daughter is also an FIA member.  In 2015, she completed her BSc(Hons) in Social Sciences with Social Policy and Sociology and is a Verger at Peterborough Cathedral.

Development Secretary: Beverley McLeod

Beverley (Bev) is a Falkland Islander who travelled to England in 1963, with the support of the Falkland Island Government Scholarship, to be educated in Dorset.  She graduated as a teacher and taught in several Secondary Schools in Bristol and London before taking early retirement in 2004.  She worked as an Education Consultant until 2010.  

Bev currently lives in Bristol but visits her mother, who lives in Stanley, as often as she can.  Between 1957 and 1960, Bev lived on South Georgia where her father ws the Chief Wireless Operator.  She recently wrote a book about this part of her childhood with the title ‘In The Shadow of Shackleton’s Cross’.

Marketing and Facebook: Deborah Northwood

Deborah lived at the military base on the Falkland Islands between June 2001 and April 2003.  During this time she visited as many of the settlements and met as many residents as possible.

She left feeling inspired by the wildlife, scenery, and life stories she had seen and heard, and the passion for the Islands felt by the residents.  This included their sincere thankfulness for the Military Personnel who came and recovered the Islands; as well as their continuing resolve to remain linked with the United Kingdom.

That was why Deborah joined the FIA to help make sure all freedoms are preserved and that is also why she has volunteered for Veterans Outreach Support, a charity founded by Falkland Veterans.

Nina Ashton

Nina’s interest in the Falkland Islands really began when she met and subsequently married Robert who served both on NP8901 in 1978 – 1979 and again on HMS Endurance prior to and during the conflict.  Her association increased further in 1986 when the couple moved to Stanley to live.  Robert worked as a Policeman before joining Fisheries Protection, ultimately ending up at Falkland Farmers whilst she worked for Standard Chartered Bank in Stanley.  They remained in the Islands for 2½ years getting to know the people and the Islands well and still have many friends there.

Nina currently lives in Devon, with Robert, and works for Devon and Cornwall Police who are the supporting Force for Falkland Islands Police.  Other than 1986, she has been back to the Falkland Islands twice (but has still not seen as much of them as she would like) and to South Georgia once when she was able to see where Robert “did his bit” during the conflict.

Peter Judge MBE

A Solicitor with a master’s degree in International and European law, Peter served as Attorney General of the British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (2014 – 2017). In these roles Peter was responsible for all the Governments’ legal and regulatory functions including directing public prosecutions and new legislation.

Peter currently chairs the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) – based in London and Stanley, Falkland Islands. He is a Board member of the Marine Management Organisation – England’s marine regulator – and is Senior Independent Governor of Northumbria University – the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2022.  Peter also holds a number of other directorships and  non-executive roles.

Peter’s early career was as a corporate lawyer in private practice before serving as Legal and Procurement Director (General Counsel)and Group Company Secretary of the Regional Development Agency, One North East and other in-house roles.

Peter has a wealth of leadership experience gained senior leadership positions in complex organisations in the Public, Private and HE sectors he has a reputation for strong leadership, innovation and for improving efficiency, governance and stewardship of public resources. 

Peter was appointed as an MBE for services to Economic Development and the North East region in 2012 and named UK In-House Lawyer of the Year by The Lawyer Magazine in 2010.

John Maskell-Bott

John joined the FIA after forty years in the Royal Navy specialising in nuclear submarine propulsion. Indeed, he first saw the Falkland Islands in 1983 from the casing of HMS Spartan for all of five minutes before the cold drove him back to the warmth below!  Twenty years later, he and his wife, Sarah, were sent there by the Navy for a one-year appointment in Commander British Forces’ (CBF) HQ. That appointment turned into eighteen months and was followed by a further five years as the Civil / Military Liason Officer based in Stanley. They have traveled extensively around the Falklands, both privately and professionally (escorting CBF on farm visits) including all but one of the inhabited islands. They became Falkland Islanders in 2008.  Although Sarah’s ongoing health checks have prevented them from running their planned mini lodge; they have homes in both the UK and FI, traveling every equinox to maintain summer!

The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton BA, FRGS

Alexandra’s interest in the Falkland Islands really began when she renamed HMS ENDURANCE in 1968.  The Endurance was the Falkland Island’s guard ship and the Navy ice patrol ship for many years.  Her interest increased when her father, Lord Shackleton, produced the 1976 and 1982 Reports on the Islands.  He was the youngest child of Ernest Shackleton.

Alexandra has a History degree from Trinity College, Dublin.  She was a Sponsor of HMS ENDURANCE for 23 years; Bob Turner was her last Captain.  She was the Sponsor for the BAS ship RRS Ernest Shackleton until its retirement and is currently the ‘Godmother’ of Antarctic Endurance, a Norweigan fishing vessel.  She has been to the Falkland Islands nine times, South Georgia three times and the Antarctic five times, and is a member of associated committees.  She has spoken in many countries on Shackleton’s leadership and has been a Patron of four Antarctic Expeditions.

Richard Tranter

Richard is a Research Professor of Rural Economy at the University of Reading and, for over 40 years, he has worked in the University’s Centre for Agricultural Strategy. Much of his work has been in the realms of agricultural policy, farm economics, and farmer behaviour.

In 1969/70, he was sent to the Falklands by Voluntary Service Overseas to work as what was titled an Itinerant Camp Teacher. He was based in the North West of East Falkland moving every two weeks from San Carlos to Port San Carlos and then back again. When not teaching he helped out on the various farm tasks.

Richard’s wife Helen comes from a large farming family in Cumbria and, through them, he became involved with the Family Farmers’ Association; he has been on their committee for around 35 years.

Richard is still a keen cricketer and, in 2016, he acquired a 4-hectare wet field near Wargrave on the Thames where he is now growing some 200 cricket-bat willows. One day, he hopes to play with a bat made from one of his trees!

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