As a small charity we rely on a team of dedicated volunteers and trustees to ensure we make our vision a reality.
Rory Forsyth Founding Trustee and CEO
Rory owns and operates Panshard Ltd, a premium events company specialising in production and delivery of major scale events and campaigns.
Rory has been visiting the battlefields since he was a young boy and has retained a passion for military history, walking and learning. His key goal is ensuring the Western Front Way stands in the best possible place to succeed. ‘For me personally, life moves incredibly quickly most of the time. Walking over such sacred ground with nothing but birdsong and the company of fellow walkers for company is a truly special experience.'
As CEO, Rory is responsible in directing the operational side of the charity towards short, medium and long term goals. He often speaks on the charity and to potential supporters to maximise the impact of the WFW in the time left before the end of the centenaries.
Amanda Carpenter Founding Trustee and Development Director
Amanda runs a bespoke consultancy business Achill Management and has over 20 years experience working with not for profits and charities in the UK and internationally, as well as supporting large scale environmental sustainability projects across the corporate and commercial sector. She has been a school governor, an NHS non-executive director and charity trustee for numerous organisations and is currently Chair of the Board for Applause Rural Touring.
Amanda is a keen walker and environmentalist with a passion for poetry so the Western Front Way offers a chance to combine those interests while developing a lasting legacy for all future generations to enjoy. As Development Director Amanda is responsible for strategic development of the charity and for fundraising and income generation to ensure its future success.
Sir Anthony Seldon Founding Trustee
Anthony Seldon Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham since 2015, is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors.
He was a transformative head for 20 years, first of Brighton College and then Wellington College. He is author of over 40 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last four Prime Ministers, was the co-founder and first director of the Institute for Contemporary British History, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street, a member of the Government’s First World War Culture Committee, chair of the Comment Awards, a director of The Royal Shakespeare Company and the President of IPEN, the International Positive Education Network. He appeared on the Desert Island Discs in 2015, the biggest thrill of his life.
Anthony was instrumental in setting up and inspiring the Western Front Way and remains a key driver of the charity’s strategy and mission.
Lal Mills Founding Trustee
Trained as a secretary, worked in PR and then in the political world at the Conservative Research Department and the House of Commons. Travelled extensively from Australia back to the UK overland. Lived in France for a year. With 3 grown up children, Lal lives in Hampshire with her husband, on the edge of the New Forest, helping look after their historic home and fund raising for charities in the local community..
‘After being taught a sense of direction by my father at an early age, I have a passion for maps. A keen walker, I would love to fulfill my great uncle’s wish to create “that Via Sacra” so I immediately became an enthusiast of the WFW project and embraced the chance to learn more about the Great War and become actively involved. It is vital to educate the next generation to prevent such atrocities ever happening again but at the same time enjoy the pleasure of walking through (mostly) beautiful countryside.’
As a Trustee Lal is focusing on mapping and defining the stages of the route
Tom Heap Founding Trustee
Tom Heap is a broadcaster specialising in Rural Affairs, Science and the Environment appearing almost weekly on Countryfile on BBC1 and frequently on the BBC Radio 4 series 'Costing the Earth'. He is also a Panorama reporter. Tom is the great nephew of A. D. Gillespie, who's book of ‘Letters from Flanders’ has been a personal inspiration. 'A walking route along the front is the perfect way to take remembrance in to the second century. Bold, active, inclusive and educational - it is a fresh approach to honouring the bravery, camaraderie and sacrifice of those on all sides who fought on the Western Front'.
As a Trustee Tom is focusing on building the relationships, with officials and in the media, necessary to deliver this ambitious project.
Andy Hill Board Member
Andy is a former mine surveyor and environmental restoration project manager. He is now retired and this gives much more time for walking, one of his favourite pastimes. He has completed many long distance footpaths with the highlight being a pilgrim route from Dorset to Santiago de Compostela and on to the southern tip of Spain. Another great interest is military history and the Western Front Way provides an ideal blend of these two interests. For Andy the new path combines the stunning sadness and heroism of the battlefield cemeteries with the pleasure of trekking great distances with other like-minded enthusiasts. "I feel honoured to help create a new, long-distance footpath which will help to unite an often divided Europe, especially as it will continue the remembrance of the unimaginable sacrifices made by all nations in that Great War". As a Trustee Andy is focusing on mapping and defining the route to ensure we create the most stunning new long distance walk for everyone to enjoy.
Andrew Gillespie Board Member
Andrew was a career soldier for 31 years retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2005. Commissioned into the Royal Artillery, he has served in Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East and with the United Nations in Cyprus and Korea. A recognised authority on the tactical handling of firepower on the battlefield, he was awarded a commendation for outstanding service during the First Gulf War.
He is a keen military historian and active walker. He is a member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, a City of London Livery Company with close historical connections with the British Army and whose charitable focus is on supporting the provision of mobility for the disabled.
Charles Pike Board Member
Charles Pike, is a solicitor and Consultant to Forsters LLP of Hill Street, Mayfair, having joined the firm more than ten years ago. Throughout his career Charles has advised both private individuals and charities themselves on all aspects of philanthropy. Charles first became involved with WFW a couple of years ago, and has helped the trustees to develop WFW from an inspirational idea into its own registered charity today.
It is with immense sadness that we have to tell you of the recent death of Jamie Forsyth – he was an inspiration to all the Western Front Way team and his support, enthusiasm and passion for our project will continue to inspire us as we make the pathway a reality. Our deepest condolences got to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
We would like to say a special thanks to
To Graeme Mill for the beautiful films
To Neil Graver and the team at Ech Design for this website
To Charles Pike, Andrew Derrick, Sam Heap, Peter Fiennes, Peter Carpenter Nigel McNelly, John & Sue Doble, and Andrew Gillespie for their advice, ideas, support, enthusiasm and endless patience.
We would not have got this far without them.