Our Directors and Centre Managers
Roly Owers, Chief Executive
Roly joined World Horse Welfare as Chief Executive in January 2008. He already knew the charity well, having led its fundraising and communication teams from 1999 to 2003.
Roly qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Cambridge University in 1992. Having spent a short time with the Blue Cross, he joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which included a posting as the Veterinary Officer at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London. After the army, he came to work for World Horse Welfare until 2003, when he left to take up the post of Development Director at the Perse School in Cambridge. He returned to World Horse Welfare in 2008.
Since then Roly has played an active role on the steering group of the British Horse Council and established the Equine Disease Coalition, of which he is Chair. He is also the Treasurer for the British Equine Veterinary Association and on the Management Board of the European Horse Network, and represents the charity at national and international events.
Roly has ridden for much of his life, greatly enjoying eventing and team chasing. He rode for his university and says that a highlight was being part of our first Challenge Ride in Jordan, back in 2001. He is married, with three children, and lives in Cambridge.
Tony Tyler, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of UK
Tony Tyler BHSI, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of our UK operations, has spent the last 35 years involved in the horse industry with extensive experience training horses and riders.
Tony has worked in riding schools, as a freelance trainer, BHS Chief Examiner, senior college lecturer and he has worked for World Horse Welfare since 1999. Starting in the charity as the Norfolk Centre Manager and being promoted twice he oversees the work of the charity in the UK including the work of the Centres and Field Officers, educational initiatives and liaising with other charities and organisations.
Liam Maguire, Director of International
Liam Maguire, Director of our International operations, is responsible for the charity’s international work helping working horses in Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and Asia.
Liam studied agricultural engineering at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and management for development at Cranfield University. The greater part of Liam’s career has been in overseas development both in the private sector as an agricultural engineer and with the human development agencies such as Oxfam, Save the Children and CARE.
Jessica Stark, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Jessica Stark is our Director of Communications and Public Affairs overseeing the charity’s brand and reputation, media relations, campaign lobbying and online media.
She has more than 20 years of international communications experience both agency and client-side, as well as a history of volunteering and campaigning for good causes.
After 10 years in various roles with The Economist Group and Pearson plc she led communications and campaigns for Britain’s senior public servants’ union, the FDA, before joining the charity in 2010.
Emma Williams, Director of Fundraising
Emma joined us as Director of Fundraising in June 2015, having spent the last ten years fundraising for national charities including the NSPCC.
World Horse Welfare is the first charity Emma ever raised funds for, completing a sponsored ride for the ILPH 30 years ago. More recently, she has left a gift in her will to the charity.
Emma has been lucky enough to own a pony since she was eight, and has enjoyed competing in a range of disciplines, specialising in dressage, where she trained as a working pupil with Ferdi Eilberg on her wonderful dressage pony. In her holidays from University, Emma also schooled show horses for Alistair Hood.
Emma is proud to have ridden for her country through the British Universities Sport Association and was awarded Full University Colours by her University in Exeter.
Now Emma rides for fun and has two horses, Charlie, and our very own World Horse Welfare Cherokee, on whom she is looking forward to teaching her daughter to ride.
Gillian Maclean, Director of Finance and Administration
Our Director of Finance and Administration Gillian MacLean is responsible for all financial aspects of the charity’s affairs, including forward planning and budgets, internal controls and risk, reporting, data protection and end of year results.
Gillian is ACA qualified and prior to joining World Horse Welfare in September 2017 worked in the commercial team at Kier Group (formerly May Gurney). Her extensive experience includes the Big Four and corporate commercial environments. Gillian, who has had horses since she was 13 years old, has competed in dressage up to Grand Prix level and is currently bringing on her own homebred dressage horses.
Our Centre Managers
Eileen Gillen, Belwade Farm Centre Manager
Eileen has been Centre Manager at our Aberdeenshire Rescue and Rehoming Centre since 1990. She helped set up the farm, which has since grown to be the largest receiving Centre in Scotland for equine cases subjected to neglect and ignorance from all areas of the horse world. Eileen has been involved in the training of horses and riders across the major disciplines, but particularly show jumping. She instigated the “whole horse approach” that is used at each of our farms when assessing and rehabilitating our horses.
Claire Phillips, Glenda Spooner Farm Centre Manager
Claire has worked in the equine industry for many years and has had extensive experience with all types of horses. She originally joined World Horse Welfare as a groom in 2001, and, after a brief spell away from the charity, she returned to take on the role of Glenda Spooner Farm Centre manager in 2011. Claire is a keen horse woman who rides regularly. She has a genuine passion for equine rehabilitation and is a trained equine massage therapist.
Sue Hodgkins, Hall Farm Centre Manager
Sue joined World Horse Welfare in 1997, starting as Head Girl at Overa Farm. She later became Assistant Centre Manager for both Overa Farm and Hall Farm, and then in 2007 took on the role of Centre Manager at Hall Farm. Prior to joining the charity Sue trained for her BHS qualifications at a large Equestrian Centre, where she also became involved with Carriage Driving. Sue spent seven years on the driving circuit, competing at both National and International events with pony pairs, horse pairs and horse teams of four.
Fran Williamson, Penny Farm Centre Manager
Fran has been Penny Farm's Centre Manager since 2011. Fran served over 30 years as a Police Officer in Greater Manchester Police. 23 of these were in the mounted unit, where she attended public order incidents, policed football matches, and carried out patrols around the Manchester area. The last ten years of her service were as a trainer, which included overseeing the selection and training of horses and officers of all ranks. Fran was also a National Assessor for Police Mounted Units throughout the England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and secretary of the National Association of Mounted Police Units.