Our People

Adrian Hassell: Chairman & Trustee

Adrian became involved in the SVR initially on the signalling side, before adding footplate work to his volunteering in the mid-1990s working his way up to driver. Having been a shareholder for some years, Adrian was Membership Secretary from 2018 to 2021, becoming a Trustee in 2019 and Chair of the Erlestoke Manor Fund in 2021. With a passion for all things Great Western, Adrian’s interest and involvement in the Fund has been particularly driven by the hands-on approach in maintaining locomotives 7802 and 7812 in operating condition, the encouragement given for supporters to get involved closely with the locomotives and the Fund’s planning for the longer term.

Tim Hargest – Treasurer & Trustee

Tim was elected as a Trustee in 2020, having volunteered as Treasurer following John Whitcomb’s passing in late 2019.

Tim’s been a heritage railway enthusiast and frequent visitor to the SVR since childhood, a member since his teens and a regular working member (as a signalman) since 2013. Incidentally, Tim’s wife Jane (a GP) is also a working member as the SVR’s Chief Medical Officer. Tim’s other interests include hill walking, sailing & classical music.

Tim is recently retired, formerly a Vice President of Information Technology for a major European energy generation and trading company. He has brought his business experience to bear on the EMF’s finances by migrating the accounts to a commercial cloud-based ledger package which supports robust financial management processes. These include VAT returns, Gift Aid claims, purchase order and invoice management, cash flow management, budgeting, and the production of a comprehensive monthly financial report for Trustees, all of which ensure financial transparency and control.


Jane Preece – Secretary & Trustee

Jane was appointed Fund Secretary in September 2020 and elected as a Trustee in 2021. She was the Severn Valley Railway’s first HR Manager also running the Heritage Skills Training Academy from 2016 until February 2020, when she became an SVR working member. Her career in the public, private and not for profit sector has focused on human resources and governance. Jane brings experience as company secretary of other Community Benefit Societies and currently sits on a number of housing association boards. Widening her involvement in the Fund, Jane took on the reigns of Membership Secretary in 2021, along with regularly running the Fund’s sales coach at Bewdley Station. She is particularly interested in encouraging young people to become involved in the Fund’s activities through education and learning.

Terry Jenkins: Engineering & Trustee

Terry is a Chartered Civil Engineer whose career was primarily in highway and bridge design, construction and maintenance, rising to senior management roles. Terry is a Trustee of the EMF concentrating on arranging the “hands on” side of the funds locomotives. He is also a steam driver on the Severn Valley and West Somerset railways. For many years Terry served as Chairman, leading the Fund through a strengthening of its relationship with the Severn Valley Railway, successful overhauls of 7812 and 7802, along with a period of mainline running.

Stephen Burnett: Engineering & Trustee

Stephen started working on steam locomotives as a young child with his father and grandfather at the local model engineering society. Through model engineering, he met John Hancock (now EMF president), who introduced him to the Fund. Stephen has been a working member of the fund since he was 16, starting off working on 7812 at Swindon Works and more recently on 7802, 7812 and the new tender at Tyseley. Whilst working with the fund, he has also graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree, and is now a Chartered Engineer working for Rolls-Royce. Stephen is also a driver on the GWSR.

Ian Whitlam – Engineering & Trustee

Ian has been actively involved with the engineering aspects of the EMF for several years, being elected as a Trustee in 2020, and is a regular and popular character amongst the volunteers.

Ian was also fundamental to the 5164-preservation group, being the group’s chairman and a key figure during the locomotive’s preservation career. When he could not be found on the SVR, one had to look south towards the Bodmin and Wenford Railway where-by he could be found ably assisting them with various locomotive restorations.

Professionally Ian was a trained as a vehicle mechanic, latterly moving to Courage brewery in Bristol working on the boilers and plant around the site.

In his spare time Ian has enjoyed building and operating an extensive model railway in 4mm scale, measuring some 25′ X 11′ with 72 points and 112 yards of track all hand built.

Chris Field: Engineering & Trustee

Chris is currently the youngest trustee within the EMF, his first introduction to the world of steam was regular visits to the SVR during the school half term. Eager to become involved with the SVR Chris joined the coal-yard miniature railway at Kidderminster where he stayed for several years. Once old enough Chris joined the SVR MPD at Bewdley, within the first 12 months he met fellow EMF trustee Terry Jenkins, who enlightened him to the fund’s activities with the imminent overhaul of 7802. Chris soon became an active working member and shareholder and assisted throughout the overhaul 7802 and upkeep of 7812. Professionally, Chris has successfully completed his apprenticeship with a local Train Operating Company as a maintenance technician at Tyseley TMD where he continues to work.

He is also a qualified fireman on the SVR alongside being a keen model engineer and classic car enthusiast.

Paul Spence: Engineering & Trustee

Paul Spence

Paul has had a lifelong interest in anything related to steam railways, having started his volunteering with the Great Western Society at Didcot in 1976 until the late 1980s finishing the restoration of 5900 Hinderton Hall, before moving on to Castle class 5051 Earl Bathhurst. Having joined the EMF around 20 years ago, Paul became an active volunteer in 2018, bringing his skills to the overhaul of 7812 in recent years. By day, Paul is a Contract Works officer with Birmingham City Council, and when not busy with the EMF is a keen O gauge modeller and railway photographer.

Peter Evans – Events Co-ordinator & Trustee

Peter has been a lifelong railway enthusiast from the sight, smell, and sound stance rather than from engineering. He first became involved as an EMF shareholder when Bradley Manor returned to service and, upon retirement from his employment as a CEO of a credit union, he decided to offer some of his time to the EMF.

He initially took on events organisation (part of his background).

Retail work in the Sales Coach at Bewdley plus donning his newly purchased overalls for work at Tyseley and Bridgnorth (both activities being well outside of his previous experiences) quickly followed.

He became a trustee in May 2020 and took on oversight of the sales coach at Bewdley station and more general marketing communication roles as well.

Paul Fathers: Trustee

Paul served as Chair of the Fund from 2018 to 2021, having been an active helper at our working parties over many years. He has also been prominent in SVR management as a former Chairman of the Board and the driving force behind various past and some current SVR infrastructure initiatives. One of these in particular has been a frequently shown TV heritage railways documentary featuring him leading the restoration of that wonderful facility on Bewdley island platform, the Victorian gentleman’s convenience! As fully footplate trained, he has been a familiar figure driving and firing our locomotives, even officiating when Princess Anne took the regulator in 2015. Paul is particularly interested in developing future strategy as part of the EMF’s incorporated, charitable state, to encourage younger people to take an active role in the Fund, enhance its attraction to new active members and ensure a succession of management to continue and perhaps expand our vision for the future.