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 British Forces South Atlantic Islands, accompanied by his wife Gillian, who worked as a nurse at Stanley Hospital. Travelling and socialising widely throughout their tour, both professionally and personally, they developed a deep and abiding affections 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 CBE in 2009. Awared an honours degree in history with 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 feet summit of Aconcagua in Argentina.
After forty two years' 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.
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 eight grandchildren with another on the way.
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.
Honorary Treasurer: Keith Angus
Keith served for 22 years as a soldier in the Royal Engineers, he was commissioned after reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 in 1994 and retired from the Army in 2007, where he was the Quartermaster at Chetwynd Barracks in Nottingham.
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.
After leaving from the Army, Keith worked for the charity Sue Ryder coordinating a fleet of vans and drivers for an area stretching from Catford, South London to Chesterfield in Derby until he retired in 2020.
Keith has been an active member of the Falkland Islands Association since 2013.
Membership Secretary: Karen Clapp
Karen is a fourth generation Falkland Islander on her mother's side. Her family moved to the UK in 1975 when her father was posted back to the UK to help 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 (FCO) 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 and travelled to China in 2008 after the terrible earthquake they suffered to look for, and give consular aid to, missing British nationals.
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, after being retired from the FCO on medical grounds, was able to take up the role of Membership Secretary in 2015.
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'.
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 joinng 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.
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 / Milirary Liason Officer based in Stanley. They have travelled 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 running their planned mini lodge; they have homes in both the UK and FI, travelling every equinox to maintain summer!
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 is also why she has volunteered for Veterans Outreach Support, a charity founded by Falkland Veterans.
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 been Patron of four Antarctic Expeditions.
Richard is 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 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!
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 travelling with her parents, then working in the FCO and since accompanying her husband; the family are now settled in the UK in South Lincolnshire, her daughter is also a FIA member. In 2015, she completed her BSc(Hons) in Social Sciences with Social Policy and Sociology and is a Verger at Peterborough Cathedral.
The Association welcomes new members who support the continuing freedom of the people of Falkland Islands. Just click the tab below to learn about the different levels of membership that are available in the UK and overseas.