President, Patrons, Ambassadors & Trustees

Our President and Patrons voluntarily act as ambassadors for our charity using their extensive networks across the county and beyond.

The Board of Trustees are volunteers who have overall responsibility for the effective governance of the charity and for setting the long term strategy. Bringing with them vast experience in many fields, they offer support, guidance and a shared ethos for making a difference in the lives of children and young people.


Clive Emson (2)

Clive Emson

Clive was the founding Chairman of the Young Lives Foundation and remained as a Trustee until August 2016 when he took on the ambassadorial role of President.

Clive is the leading Kent Property Auctioneer practising in Kent for 50 years and has been involved with many children’s charities either as President or Chairman for 25 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and was recognised by the Kent Excellence in Business Awards for his Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent in 2016. He is also a member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers. Clive is a well known after-dinner speaker, charity auctioneer and a Kent Ambassador. He has been one of our Independent Visitors for young people in care. In 2017, Clive’s contribution to the county of Kent, both in terms of business and his voluntary work, was recognised when Kent County Council presented him with the Kent Invicta Award.


Geoffrey Dearing

Geoffrey is a solicitor and, although retired from private practice, he maintains an interest in a number of charities. He is a past President of the Kent Law Society and was one of the first solicitors on the initial Children’s Panel operated by the Law Society and as a result was involved in many cases relating to young people.

Geoffrey was also a founder member of the Kent Family Conciliation Service and, until recently, has for many years been involved as a school governor, including a government appointment, and also Vice Chairman of an educational trust with a particular responsibility for safeguarding. Prior to his role as Patron, Geoffrey was Chairman for the Young Lives Foundation for four years and has been involved in the charity for over 10 years.

Russell RaceRussell Race

Russell is a retired stockbroker who lives in Rochester. A Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, he is the link DL for the Medway Towns.

Russell has a long standing commitment to the Medway area, having been Chairman of the Chatham Maritime Trust, and also a past Senior Warden of the Rochester Bridge Trust, on which body he still serves.

Russell also chairs the Trustees of the Sir Joseph Williamson Trust, which supports the school of which he was a pupil. He was also one of YLF’s Independent Visitors for a number of years.

Fiona SunleyFiona Sunley

Fiona has recently joined YLF as a Patron and we are delighted to have her on board. A full Bio will follow shortly.


Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Harry Reid, Actor, who played Ben Mitchell in British Soap Opera, Eastenders, and is currently performing in the West End, was introduced to YLF by one of our Volunteer Mentors. After hearing about the services the Charity provides, he decided that he would like to support the work in any way he can. He is a proactive ambassador and present at many YLF events.

“I was introduced to this Charity by a hardworking, loving person and that resonates through the YLF team. Young people’s lives matter and The Young Lives Foundation look to be a group set to help that fact. I look forward to supporting their movement!”

James Hall

After welcoming British and European Championships gymnast, James Hall, to our charity events, we are delighted that James has chosen to become an ambassador for YLF.

YLF is proud to have James on board and is grateful for his support.

“Honoured to take on the role of ambassador for YLF! Such an incredible charity that helps achieve effective outcomes in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.”

Ben Towers

Ben Towers is one of ‘the most influential entrepreneurs on the planet’ whilst still only being 20 years old. Ben started in business aged 11 and has since successfully exited his marketing agency, invested in disruptive start-ups and inspired millions. Ben is now on a mission to change the health outcomes of his generation.

Young Ambassadors

David Jenkin

“I have been supported by YLF for several years, and I am now at University studying to become a teacher. Having been offered opportunities such as being Chairperson for their Children in Care Council and to be involved in an overseas volunteering trip to India, I feel I am in a privileged position to be a positive role model for young people and at a stage in my life where I am ready to give something back.”


Les Hutchinson

Les Hutchinson, is currently Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), a post he has held since December 2015.  Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Executive of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB), a post which he held for over eight years. The MCF took over the responsibilities of the RMTGB and the other three main Masonic Charities in April 2016. The MCF has total assets of approximately £450M and an annual expenditure of over £35M.

Les was born on the Wirral and at the age of 11 years moved with his family to North Wales. He now lives in East Kent with his wife Debbie and their two sons.


Marc-Farmer-800x500Marc Farmer

Marc is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a partner at Wilkins Kennedy Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors based in Maidstone.

He joined the Young Lives Foundation in 2014 to bring additional financial support and knowledge to the Board and to assist the CEO, Stephen Gray, during a key growth period for the Charity. Marc also acts as Chair for the YLF Finance and Risk Committee.

rob2Rob Godman

After living in Zimbabwe for a few years where he learned to fly, Rob has worked in the oil industry for most of his career in tax, accounting systems, commercial, and energy conservation roles. In addition, he has been a director of a number of companies. He holds a master’s degree in law, is a chartered company secretary, and a chartered tax adviser.

Rob has also been a school governor of both a primary and a secondary school for over 18 years, and a director of an academy trust. Rob is an Independent Visitor with the Young Lives Foundation, and he is delighted to be a Trustee and voluntary Company Secretary.

annabel-goodyerAnnabel Goodyer

Annabel is a university academic and was previously a Childrens’ Guardian and former Chair of the Kent Guardians Panel.

Her research about young people’s views of being fostered was published as a book: ‘Child-Centred Foster-Care’. Annabel’s current research is about child protection. Having worked for YLF as a consultant, she is delighted to have joined the Trustees of this dynamic charity.

MarilynMarilyn Hodges

Marilyn has worked as an independent consultant for education and children’s services since 2009. She recently supported a number of local authorities in reviewing and redesigning the services they commission and provide for schools and vulnerable children and has been the Independent Chair of a Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.

In 2014, Marilyn was part of high profile review team commissioned to advise a top independent school in their safeguarding practice following a number of historical child abuse allegations. She is the Chair of a school governing body in Maidstone, Kent who run two secondary academies and one primary school as well as their safeguarding lead. She previously worked for many years for Kent County Council as Director for Strategy, Policy and Performance for Children, Families and Education and has been a Director and Trustee for two other Academy Trusts, including a Swedish sponsored group.

DSCN0132Iain Pearson 

Iain retired from Shell International Petroleum in 2013 after some 37 years in oil trading, supply chain management and business process redesign. He is a trustee of Kidney Research UK and is also involved with other local voluntary organisations.

Having met members of the management team and learned of the vital work that the charity is doing for so many young people in Kent, Iain was delighted to be invited to become a trustee of the Young Lives Foundation.

Jo_WilliamsJocelyn Williams

Jo has been involved in charity work from a very young age. Her father started “Ashford Children’s Day”, a charity to help local families and, as a young girl, Jo helped with collecting the donations and encouraging local firms to either join in or ‘give’ to the charity by advertising.

From her early twenties, Jo combined her role as the mother of two boys with starting and running of several companies with a former school friend. Ultimately, she and her husband were founding directors of the Kent-based company now known as Holiday Extras. Jo retired from the company 10 years ago and has since busied herself with various projects. She was delighted to be asked to join YLF as a trustee and thoroughly enjoys any opportunity to meet and interact with the young people.

The Young Lives Foundation is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and the Trustees are also the directors of the registered company for the purposes of company law.