Meet the Team
The team working towards the Centenary celebrations are...
Peter is a former national chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and of both the National Fruit Collection and of the Tree Council. He is co-founder of Hanson Green, for many years the principal source for non executive appointments and has been on boards of public and private companies often as chairman in addition to being a former visiting professor at both Warwick and Cass Business Schools. A former member of the International Cricket Council and a trustee of the Royal Opera House, Peter is author or co-author of two business books, a business novel, a collection of poetry and a history of the campaigns that saved the English countryside. He is chairman of the Housman Society, a director of the Gardens Trust, and a judge on both the Wainwright Literary Prize and of the Contrarian Prize. He is a former chairman of the Welwyn Garden CIty Society.
Jenny McCann has lived in Welwyn Garden City since 1971 during which time she has maintained an active involvement in several local organisations, particularly the Welwyn Garden City Society where she was an officer and member of the Executive Committee for ten years. She held secretarial and administrative roles over 20 years at a variety of SME’s, an international pharmaceutical company and the University of Hertfordshire prior to moving into the charitable sector.
Julian Payne has lived in Welwyn Garden City for 20 years and is Finance Director and shareholder of a technology company based in Hemel Hempstead. Julian graduated as an Electrical Engineer and subsequently qualified as a Management Accountant. He has held several Financial Management roles in both corporates and SME’s with responsibility for Finance, IT, HR, Facilities and legal matters.
Prior to joining the WGC Centenary Foundation, Julian was a Governor at Templewood School for 9 years, and is also involved with the organising committee of Dellcott Family Tennis Club. In his spare time Julian can be found either on the golf course or a tennis court, or in the garden.
Graeme Bell is a retired Chartered Surveyor and Town Planner. In a career in local government he served as a senior officer in Hertfordshire County Planning department before posts as chief officer in Lancashire, Swindon and Devon. He is a Vice President of the Town and Country Planning Association (the charitable company established by Ebenezer Howard in 1899 to promote his ideas for garden cities) having previously served as Chief Executive of that Association.
He has lived with his family in Welwyn Garden City for over 30 years. He is a former Trustee and Company Secretary of the WGC Heritage Trust. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association.
David Kell was born in WGC and in his early years lived close to and attended Parkway Primary School. His wife also comes from the town and they have brought up a family of four here, living in three houses in different parts of the town. David’s career as a consultant in Public Health Engineering was mainly concerned with major overseas projects in the Middle and Far East. This necessitated frequent overseas trips leaving little opportunity for involvement in local affairs.
This changed when he retired and he has since become a Governor of a local primary school, a Rotarian and an active member of the WGC Horticultural Society. David is delighted now to be a Trustee of the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation.
Completing the Delivery Group are...
Caroline Baynes joined the Centenary Foundation team as she is passionate about promoting Welwyn Garden City as a place to live, work and play. As part of a team of four mums with young children, Caroline helped create Frankie’s Garden as a place to be enjoyed by the community, centrally located at St Francis of Assisi Church. The project was achieved with the support of the church, financial assistance from the Big Lottery, practical help from many groups and clubs and the hard graft of the local youth offending team! This experience demonstrated to Caroline that anything can be achieved with vision, determination and the support of like-minded people. Caroline’s ambition is to celebrate Ebenezer Howard’s legacy by creating a show garden at RHS Chelsea in May 2020 and bringing it back to WGC, for all to enjoy.
Caroline is a qualified project manager who has held a variety of roles within a professional membership organisation, a retail finance provider, a pre-school, a change management consultancy, and a family support charity.
Born in Argentina, Mariana Bitonte came to the UK in 2005 as Trade and Economic Affairs Executive for the Argentine Embassy in London.
In 2011 she moved to Hertfordshire and in 2012 was appointed Welwyn Garden City Town Centre Manager. Mariana works with businesses and other partners to raise the profile of the town centre, increase footfall and promote the overall vitality of the town. Throughout 2016 she was leading the development of a Business Improvement District (BID) for WGC town centre. Town centre businesses voted on a a ballot during October which was successful and will see the BID bring over £1.5 million of investment into the town centre over five years.
On 1 April 2017 Mariana was appointed as the first Welwyn Garden City BID Project Manager.
Malcolm Day is a retired Civil Servant. In Government he worked for the Department of Trade & Industry helping British companies win major infrastructure projects overseas – mainly in the Far East, where he travelled widely. Was seconded to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and was in Hong Kong for five years over the Handover period: principally involved with the infrastructure projects concerning the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.
Born 1941 in London. Studied Natural Science (Metallurgy) at University of Oxford, married and stayed on to do his Doctorate. This was followed by a period carrying out industrial research in the Midlands and developing post graduate engineering degrees in the North East. The family moved back to the Midlands where Malcolm ran a company recovering precious metals from industrial waste, before joining the Civil Service as a late entrant from industry and moving to Welwyn Garden City in 1989.
Since retirement he has been heavily involved with local issues, mainly through the Welwyn Garden City Society, where he has just retired as Deputy Chairman.
Robert Gill is a retired project manager after a working life in the aerospace industry where he was responsible for a variety of programmes. An engineer by training, he has had a lifelong interest in aerospace. In retirement life he has maintained a long interest in amateur drama with the Barn Theatre, latterly being the Stage Director and Archivist. Other interests are local history which has resulted in Robert being a trustee of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust and a volunteer on the Our Welwyn Garden City memories project.
Dennis Lewis enjoyed a long and successful career as a chemist with ICI, based in Welwyn Garden City and subsequently other national professional organisations. Concurrently he maintained a strong commitment to the local community as a Councillor for 39 years. During this time he also either founded, served on or supported in some measure over 20 local community organisations and is still actively involved in a large number, including the Heritage Trust, the WGC Society and now the WGC Centenary Foundation. In 2014 Dennis was appointed MBE for community work over 40 years.