The Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust board is currently made up of 14 Trustees & 2 Co-opted members.
Graham Seymour, Independent (Chairman)
Graham joined the Board of CCGHT in June 2013, six months after his retirement from the Department of the Environment. He spent the bulk of his working career in the NI Environment Agency and its predecessors. Graham joined in 1987 and his early responsibilities included the development of policies and management proposals for AONBs, the promotion of access to the countryside and administration of natural heritage grants. He finished his career as Director of Natural Heritage and was responsible for managing a budget in the region of £9 million and a manpower resource of around 180 staff. Throughout his time in the Department he took a great interest in CCGHT and other bodies that had been set up to manage our special landscape areas.
Graham has a great love of the countryside and has walked extensively in the Glens of Antrim and along the North Coast. He is passionate about rambling and hill walking and he is currently Chair of the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs and Chair of the National Outdoor Recreation Forum appointed by Sport NI. Graham would like to see more opportunities for access to the country side as he believes it is good for our physical and mental well being.
Roy Craig, Independent (Vice-Chairman)
Roy was elected to Larne Borough Council in 1997. Served as Mayor 2004/5. He is a qualified teacher of Mathematics but also has many years’ experience as a publican. Now semi-retired his interests include bowls, both indoor and outdoor, cars, reading historical and crime novels, and horse-racing. One of his favourite sites in the locality is Cranny Falls, where he enjoys the quiet walk and splendid views across Carnlough Bay. The leisurely walk, taking little more than an hour, follows the old mineral path from the picturesque harbour in Carnlough up to Cranny Waterfall in Gortin Quarry. Roy is looking forward to the restoration of the Gobbins path and the busloads of tourists that will arrive and stay in the area to experience nearly three miles of heart-stopping paths, bridges and tunnels along the magnificent Gobbins cliffs, just a few feet above the waves of the Irish Sea, an amazing testament to the Victorian entrepreneurial spirit.
Roy’s vision for the future of the area is that the Trust and other stakeholders involved in protected area management will be congratulated on the way they have managed the Causeway Coast & Glens area and that the evidence of their work and dedication is apparent in the landscape.
Cllr. Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council
Ald Sharon McKillop, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council
Cllr Oliver McMullan, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council
Cllr Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council
Ald Tommy Nicholl MBE, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
An enterprising and altruistic individual with an outstanding record in Public Service.
Tommy has been a councillor in Ballymena Borough Council since 1981. He twice served as Mayor of Ballymena between 2001 – 2006, and also two terms as Deputy Mayor 1989 -1990.
He has extensive experience serving on various Boards with particular expertise in the areas of Community Planning, Health & Safety and Environmental Health.
Tommy is known as a man who is prepared to take risks in the area of Community Relations, and is one of very few people in Northern Ireland to be respected by both sides of the divided community. He was responsible for “The Mayors Initiative” during his term in office, which called together key people from the Harryville district in Ballymena, during a particularly difficult time for that area. Tommy managed to bring all the Clergy together and achieved the almost impossible by bringing all factions together in the same room at the same time for the very first time.
Tommy was recognised for his untiring dedication to his community by HM Queen Elizabeth II when she awarded him the MBE in 2006 for Services to the Community.
He is at the forefront of the local government reform process and, alongside his colleagues in Carrickfergus and Larne, is working to build the new Mid and East Antrim Council.
Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
George McAuley, Ulster Farmers Union
George has been a resident in the area of Armoy all his life, where he has farmed part-time and now full-time. George has worked for thirty years in the further education sector as a Lecturer and the last ten years as an Administration Manager and Member of The Corporate Management Team at North East Institute.
George is a past President of Loughgiel Credit Union and a member of Ballycastle Rotary Club. He has been a member of the North Antrim Branch of Ulster Farmers Union for over 30 years and served on the Central Policy Legislative Committee for the union. He is now a serving member on the Hill Farming Committee and a member of the AFBI Beef Committee.
Prof Patrick McKeever, Special Advisor to the Global Geoparks Network
From 1995 – 2012, Patrick worked at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland in Belfast where he developed the organisation’s geological heritage and tourism sector. In 2000, he took part in the inaugural meeting on Geoparks and has since undertaken many Geopark and World Heritage advisory, evaluation and revalidation missions on behalf of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2006, he brought the 2nd global conference on Geoparks to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast which attracted over 300 delegates from across the world. Also in 2006 he was invited to join the UK’s Geoconservation Committee of the Geological Society and in 2007 he was invited to become a member of the World Convention on Protected Areas (WCPA). He was a member of the scientific board of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) on behalf of Ireland (2007-2012) and in October 2009 and October 2011 he was the official representative for Ireland to the Science Commission of the biannual UNESCO General Conference.
In 2012, Patrick moved to Paris to join UNESCO as the new Chief of Section for Earth Sciences and Geohazard Risk Reduction and as Secretary of the IGCP. While at UNESCO, Patrick directed the formalising of the relationship between the GGN and UNESCO. This has happened through the creation of the new International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme and the creation of the UNESCO’s first new site designation since the creation of the World Heritage Site label in 1972 by establishing of the designation “UNESCO Global Geopark” which happened in November 2015. Patrick drafted the statutes and operational guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks and has given countless keynote talks and workshops (both regional and national) on UNESCO Global Geoparks and has advised countries on every continent regarding the creation of UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Patrick left UNESCO in October 2018 to concentrate on establishing UNESCO Global Geoparks in areas of the world where there are none or few, and to encouraging deepening networking between UNESCO Global Geoparks through the Global Geoparks Network.
Andrew McAlister, RNLI
Andrew joined the Board of Causeway coast and Glens in 2022. He had previously been on the Steering Group for the Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership since 2015
With a career which includes running several businesses to working in local government and delivering EU and cross-border funding programmes, Andrew has a depth and breadth of experience, most of it based in the area covered by CCGHT.
After qualifying as a Town Planner and working for a short time in England, Andrew returned to his home in the Glens of Antrim to run the family retail, funeral, farm and cafe businesses. The combination of these and the interest in planning, development and the environment led him to very quickly become involved in rural and community development.
He has managed a range of EU funds such as Leader (Rural Development), Peace (community development) and Interreg (cross border funding) between 2000 and 2018. This involved working at local, regional and at European level. This has given him a real understanding of strategy and policy formation as well as the nitty gritty detail around governance and grant applications and assessments.
Between 2018 to 2021 he was the Harbours and Marinas Manager for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. Since then, he has, among other things, run a small consultancy business assisting SMEs and community organisations.
Andrew’s has a profound commitment to supporting his own rural community in the Glens, and he continues to play an integral role across a number of key arts, cultural, and social economy organisations. This includes his work with the local RNLI, where he is Operations Manager, after serving as crew and helm across 40 years of voluntary service with the organisation.
Professor Joan Condell, Ulster University
Professor Joan Condell, Professor of Intelligent Technologies from the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems at Ulster University focuses her research on data analytics, AI and (wearable/ambient) IoT sensors.
She was awarded a Distinguished Teaching and Learning Fellowship in 2011, regularly has External Examiner positions in UK and Ireland in teaching and research, sitting on funding review panels for the UK Research Councils, the Irish Research Council, Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation and is a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s STEM committee.
She manages teams of PhD researchers and Research Associates/Fellows across multiple national, EU and commercial projects; and has published 250+ papers, actively securing grants from external sources over £36M for Ulster University. Joan has won Innovation and Enterprise awards for commercialisation work, creativity and bio-entrepreneurship.
Robert Wilson, Education
A native of Islandmagee, Robert studied geography at university and then had a long career in post primary education, working in Ballymena, Coleraine and Limavady. His interest in natural, historical and cultural heritage began as a child living on a farm and has continued over a long period. He believes that the cultural, historic and natural environments are inextricably linked and believes that a sustainable future must incorporate a focus on economic opportunities for local residents and communities.
For many years Robert led groups of young people exploring the Antrim Hills through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Between 2016- 2020 he served as a member of the Historic Monuments Council and continues to explore much of the area served by CCGHT on his bicycle.
Robert has resided on the North Coast for over 30 years.
Julie Taylor, Education
Julie joined the CCGHT Board in September 2022 following her relocation to Northern Ireland in 2021. Julie was the former Chief Executive of the Thomas Deacon Education Trust in England. TDET is a multi-academy trust and charitable organisation which provides exceptional teaching, learning and care for more than 5,000 pupils, many of whom are disadvantaged, raising aspirations and outcomes across a diverse range of nursery, primary and secondary schools and academies. It is one of the largest employers in Peterborough with nearly 1,000 employees and a budget of £50m. Julie chaired the Peterborough CEO network.
After 38 years in schools, Julie still retains a strong interest in education and remains a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. She is a Director of Schools of Tomorrow, a member-owned social enterprise open to all schools seeking values-led, research-informed change with a unique focus on developing student leadership.
Julie was a former Board member of Peterborough Environmental Charitable Trust and she has a keen interest in protecting and promoting heritage and the environment.
She was the Women Leaders Award winner 2017: Community Impact Professional.
Julie’s other volunteer roles include work for Save the Children, Samaritans and she sings in her church choir.
Dr Paul Jose, Environmental Management
Paul joined the Board in 2022 with a wide range of experience in the areas of natural and built environment management.
Between 1990 and 2005 he worked in river and wetland management for a range of organisations in the UK and Europe. These included the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF); a Water Company; English Nature; The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB); and the Environment Agency. In the 1990’s in Northern Ireland he led training courses for the then newly established Rivers Agency on sensitive river management, geomorphology and wetland hydrology. His first book, Rivers and Wildlife was launched in 1994 by Sir David Attenborough, followed by publications on reedbeds, floodplains and wet grassland. He led a 3.2 million Euro multi-partner project between 1997 and 2001 on wetland restoration for Bitterns as well as longer term involvement in several major landscape scale restoration projects (e.g. Great and Wicken Fen).
Paul moved into senior leadership positions with a Council and the Rivers Trust Charity network. As a local Government Head of Environmental Management Department in the East of England he led, shaped and promoted a sustainable environment agenda (built and natural environment). He had direct management responsibility for Projects and assets; Facilities Management; Building Control; Environment Policy, Education and Advisory teams; as well as a spell as Head of Environmental Health. As Director and CEO of Wessex Rivers Trust he led strategic and operational delivery of the organisation. As Chair of two Catchment Partnerships, he embedded an ethos of ‘partnership working’. Success was exemplified by one of the Partnerships being awarded the UK River Restoration Prize.
Paul is a keen angler, has had a range of sport interests, is passionate about his semi-wild garden and now lives with his Northern Irish wife in the Binevenagh AONB.