Our Trustees

Professor Mary J. Morrell – Chairperson

Professor of Sleep and Respiratory Physiology at Imperial College, London.   Her involvement in Porters Progress began when she was asked to be a researcher on the 2003 Medical Expeditions trek to Nepal. During her time in Nepal she learned about Porters Progress and upon her return became a Trustee of Porter Progress UK.  She now runs research projects in Nepal.

Nicola Steele – Treasurer

A qualified Chartered Accountant, Nicola became aware of Porters Progress UK after attending a fundraising event at the RGS. Following a trek to Nepal and witnessing the lives of the porters first hand, she decided to become involved. A keen trekker, she is proud to use her financial skills to ensure funds raised are spent in the most effective way possible.

Gabrielle Dean – Publicity

Gaby has long been committed to supporting the welfare of mountain porters since her first trek to Nepal in 1999 and has actively been involved in many fundraising events during her 10 years working at adventure travel specialists, World Expeditions. Gaby is responsible for marketing and the website.

Denise Prior – Events

A founder member of Porters’ Progress and House Manager at the Royal Geographical Society. Since 1991 Denise has developed a an interest in climbing and mountains which led to her joining the Medex Expedition in 2003. Deeply impressed by the courage, endurance, dignity and hospitality of the mountain porters. Denise was also responsible for ensuring their welfare throughout the trek and became aware of the precarious and inherently dangerous nature of their lives. On her return to the UK she threw her energies into setting up this charity.

Luke Walker – Clothing Bank Liaison Officer

As a climber and as a landscape painter, Luke has huge love for the mountains and the outdoors. Following a trip to Nepal in 2004, he was overwhelmed by the generosity, spirit and stoicism of the Sherpas and Porters who supported him. When he heard about PPUK he really wanted to find a way to help and started by donating a painting to be auctioned and volunteering to help at fundraising events. A trustee since 2011, Luke is our Clothing Banks’ Liaison Officer

Venetia Simonds – Grants Co-Ordinator

Venetia has made several trekking trips to Nepal, most recently in 2011 to climb Mera Peak. She has a deep respect and admiration for the porters, reinforced on this trek where they carried kit and equipment through prolonged periods of poor weather and deep snow, always with resilience and good humour. Working as a fundraiser for Scope she is pleased to use her knowledge to support Porters’ Progress in making grants that will improve porter’s welfare and develop their skills and knowledge.

Tom Buttle – PR & Communications

Tom joined Porters’ Progress following one of our Autumn lectures, bringing his experience in marketing and copy-writing. He’s passionate about adventures in mountains and cold places, from climbs in the Alps to Arctic snow-shoeing trips. He also tries to spend as many nights as possible on the British hills, in a bivi bag. Treks and climbs in the Andes and Himalaya have given Tom the privilege of spending time in the mountains with porters – teaching him a lesson both positivity and fortitude, and making the opportunity to contribute to PPUK all the more rewarding.

Peter Thomson – CAN Co-ordinator

Peter most recently led the initiative to raise funds for the construction of a porter rescue shelter and medical centre in the remote location of Gokyo (near Everest base camp). His primary role is to support the close relationship between PPUK and Community Action Nepal (CAN) who provide valuable assistance to the porter communities via the establishment and management of shelters, health centres, schools and income generation projects in some of the most remote regions of Nepal.  Peter has worked in the financial services sector for over thirty years. He and his family have made several visits to Nepal, as tourists and project related.


Past Trustees

Barbara Holl (chairperson) 2004-2006

Joy Whyte (2007-2008)

Simon Dickenson 2007-2009

Heather Peacocke 2006 – 2012

Toby Gee (Chairman 2006 – 2012)

Rob Kesterton (2007 – 2014)