Our Trustees

Tom Buttle – Chairman

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.

Professor Mary J. Morrell – Trustee

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 – Trustee

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

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.

Matthew Denby – Secretary

Since his first visit to Nepal in 2003 Matt has been hooked on the country. He first considered enquiring about becoming part of the team having attended one PPUK’s annual Best of Kendal Film Festival at the Royal Geophraphic Society. Since then he has become a trustee and secretary. His love of all things trekking and outdoors is borne from the irrepressible, enduring spirit of the porters and the communities that he has visited since. He hopes that PPUK will continue to grow, educate and inspire generations to come.


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)

Denise Prior (2004 – 2016)

Luke Walker (2008 – 2016)

Peter Thompson (2013 – 2016)