Board of Trustees

Air Commodore (R'td) Ian Elliott OBE BSc FRIN, Chairman of Trustees

Ian studied Aeronautics and Astronautics at Southampton University before joining the RAF in 1982. After early tours flying VC10s in the air to air refuelling role (including Gulf War 1), he served at RAF Brize Norton as OC 101 Sqn in 1999 and led his Squadron in the Kosovo War for which he was awarded the OBE. He then commanded RAF Brize Norton, the RAF´s primary strategic air transport base from 2004-2006, and was appointed an Aide De Comps to Her Majesty the Queen. Promoted to Air Commodore, Ian served as the RAF’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy & Policy before being appointed as the UK Air Attaché to Washington DC.

On retiring from the RAF in early 2011, Ian took up a post as Airbus Military´s Head of Defence Capability Marketing during which time he was based in Madrid. After 5 years in the defence industry, Ian retired from full-time employment and now lives in Cornwall with his wife, Sue. He has two daughters, and his hobbies include his beloved Triumph TR6, rugby, rock music and house restoration. Ian chairs the Polperro Promotion Group and is Chairman and CEO of the newly formed Polperro Community Interest Company, a not for profit organisation aimed at promoting and supporting a variety of local heritage and community-related projects and events.

Julian Browne MBE

Julian Browne is a Senior Advisor/Operating Executive of The Carlyle Group focused on Aerospace, Defence and Government Industries. He is based in their London office.

Mr. Browne followed an early career in the British Army, commanding an Armoured Brigade in the rank of Brigadier, with one in industry. Initially with Westland Helicopters, he led their successful Apache bid for the £2.5bn UK MoD Attack Helicopter programme. In the following 10 months he put in place the Apache offset programme involving contracts into British aerospace companies from the US-based supply chain. His subsequent business career included executive Directorships on the Boards of Racal Defence Electronics Ltd, Racal-Thompson Networks Ltd and Thales International SA before joining The Carlyle Group as a Senior Advisor in December 2001.

Since joining Carlyle, Mr. Browne has served as Deputy Chairman of NP Aerospace Ltd and Exensor Technology Ltd as well as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Gardner Aerospace Ltd, Lifesaver Ltd, Morgan Crucible (Composites & Defence) Ltd, and Clarion Defence Ltd.

Current commitments include Deputy Chairman Exensor Technology Ltd, Non-Executive Director of Hesco Bastion Ltd, and Senior Advisor to the Boards of Praesidiad Ltd, DSM Ltd, BluewayOneway Ltd, Newton Europe Ltd.

Mr. Browne holds a Masters degree in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Dublin University and attended the United Kingdom Higher Command and Staff Course. In 1980, he was appointed as MBE for work in connection with UK/US special operations. He is married with 3 daughters with interests in field sports, golf, National Hunt racing, cricket and bridge.

Alex Hoppenbrouwers

Alex is part of the sales team at Databricks. Databricks help solve some of the world’s toughest problems using Machine Learning.

Prior to joining Databricks, he was part of the Entrepreneur First accelerator, the top pre-seed technology accelerator in Europe. Here he worked on commercialising machine learning for toxicology to de-risk the drug development lifecycle.

Before EF he was part of the investment team at Mercia Asset Management, a leading Venture Capital investor. Whilst at Mercia, he led investments into software and life science businesses. He sat on the board of some of these companies including Refract, the revenue enablement platform.

Alex graduated from Bristol University with a bachelors in Pharmacology.

In his spare time, Alex plays Waterpolo and competes in triathlons – having recently completed a half ironman he has set his sights set on a full ironman.

Alex’s LinkedIn can be viewed here.

John Kerner

John left the Army in 2016 after an enjoyable 26 years including service in Hong Kong, Nepal and Germany plus operational tours in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Career highlights were leading the Armed Forces media communication effort in Afghanistan, command of a regiment, Gurkha service and captaining the British Forces team in the World Elephant Polo Championships. He has been a project director with Highways England since 2017 and is also an Armed Forces transition mentor.

John first became aware of Horticultural Therapy at DMRC Headley Court whilst a member of the Army Welfare Working Group. He has first-hand experience of physical and mental trauma management and understands the importance of rehabilitation where life-changing injury is involved. Serving as a Trustee gives John the opportunity to help HighGround grow a sustainable future and also improve the range of support available to Service leavers and veterans .

John is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and an IoD certified Director. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and two children and has enjoyed a strong bond with the countryside since his childhood. He enjoys a wide range of outdoor pursuits and looks forward to meeting you.

Jon Perkins

Now semi-retired, Jon is a former Naval Officer with a career spanning some 33 years both afloat and ashore.  Following a degree in Politics and early service in the Royal Naval Reserve he joined the RN in 1980 and served in a wide variety of roles spanning navigation, warfare, communications and intelligence. His staff appointments embraced both the RN and Joint Service communities and encompassed Capability Development, Acquisition & Support as well as Personnel and Training & Education posts. He was fortunate to have undertaken a full time MBA and subsequently been selected for a period of secondment as a management consultant with KPMG. Leaving the RN in 2013, Jon joined QinetiQ where he held several posts including Business Development, Account Management and Transformation; his last year with the company was spent on secondment to the UK Home Office as part of the Joint Security and Resilience Centre.

Jon’s home is a Small Holding in rural mid Devon where, with his wife Gloria, he keeps a menagerie of dogs, cats, horses and sheep. His passion is working with Gun Dogs, currently 3 misbehaved Golden Retrievers, seen regularly on several shoots in his area. In addition to his work with HighGround Jon is also a volunteer for the Dogs Trust and an active member of the Royal British Legion.

Michael Ward

Michael Ward studied French at Warwick University where he also flew on the University Air Squadron and rowed. He was commissioned into the Royal Hussars in 1988 and served for six years in the UK, Central America and elsewhere, including Yugoslavia where he was assistant to the Chief of Staff of the European Community Monitor Mission before returning briefly to command a Challenger tank squadron in Germany.

He left the army in 1994 and retrained as a solicitor, qualifying in 1998 with national firm Hill Dickinson before moving to the agriculture team at Hibberts LLP in 2002 and becoming a partner in 2006.

He specialises in contentious trusts and probate work as well as agricultural litigation, usually relating to the dissolution of farming partnerships and partition of farms.

He acts for a substantial Wildlife Trust and is a trustee of various discretionary and life interest trusts. He has also been appointed by the Court of Protection as a deputy.

He has been closely involved with various local and charitable concerns over the years, including the Rural Development Programme Leader Action Group and is a keen countryman with a lifelong interest in nature, birds and British wildlife. He has for many years run a small family shoot where he combines his passion for conservation work with sport. He is married with four children, all of whom share his passion for rural matters.

Robert Winterton

Having trained as an accountant before joining the Army, where he served for 3 years on Short Service Commission with the 14/20H with BAOR in Germany. Robert has then spent the last 33 years in the City in a number of Sales, Business Development and Management roles within the Institutional market at Morgan Grenfell, BZW, CSFB, ABG Sundahl Collier and BNP Paribas. He then helped set up Libra Investment Services, which provided a visual quantitative valuation, risk and market timing tool for Institutional investors before then joining Asset Match, the online market place for Private Equity as Head of Sales & Marketing. Over the last 3 years he has been a Business Development Consultant in the Charity Sector working for amongst others CCLA (Church, Charities & Local Authorities), the second largest UK Charity Investment manager and most recently for the last 18 months as Head of Business Development for Charities at the Wealth Manager Charles Stanley. He has been a Charity Trustee for a number of years and on a personal basis has been involved with a number of military charities including H4H & HighGround since their inception, as well as CRY and Contact the Elderly. Married to Jo for the last 33 years, they live in the Vale of Belvoir in Nottinghamshire and  he currently has a son serving in the Navy.

Sue Harper

Sue spent 11 years as a civil servant, 9 of which were working as a Senior Community Development Worker for the Army Welfare Service across Salisbury Plain.

Before taking up post with Our Wilton in February 2016, she was the SO1 MCI at HQ SW (formally HQ 43 Wx Bde and then HQ 1 ARTY Bde and SW), heading up a team of military and civilian staff to shape the development and delivery of Civil Engagement activity.

During this time she was involved in the delivery of a number of work strands, including OpFortify, Rebasing and The Armed Forces Covenant.

Positive relationships built with the military community and local authority made her the ideal candidate to take the veterans’ project at Our Wilton forward. She worked closely with Wiltshire Council and HQ SW to ensure that the project addressed the needs of both veterans and the local community. She delivered an innovative new project, including 44 homes for veterans with training space, coffee shop and plans for an enterprise hub to create a platform for positive transition for veterans to integrate and support the regeneration of the area.

In March 2019 she took up post as Head of Fundraising and Charity Support at The Almshouse  Association, supporting member charities to deliver affordable housing across the UK.