GWSR plc Director Profiles
Richard Johnson - Chairman and Company Secretary
I joined the railway in 1981; initially as a member of the team rescuing Merchant Navy 35006 from Barry.
After six years working on that project, I joined the Loco Department for a short time, before graduating to the Carriage & Wagon department which was just taking up residence at Winchcombe in the old goods shed.
I was asked to become the head of the Carriage & Wagon department in 1999; a post I held for 18 years. I joined the board as Company Secretary in 2014, and in late 2017 was invited to become Chairman; a position which I was very privileged to accept.
In my role as Chairman I shall do all I can to ensure the continuing development of the GWSR; to further our aim to become one of the premier heritage railways in the country.
Richard Winstanley - Finance Director
I joined the Steam Department in 2015 after a fire and drive experience day on 3850. I consider it a privilege to volunteer alongside many experienced and passionate steam enthusiasts who, at the end of a day, can still crack a joke when covered head-to-toe in soot and oil!
Iain Gray – Safety Director
I am a Chartered Engineer with over 40 years' experience in the nuclear industry. My latter working years were spent as a nuclear safety regulator, providing me with good knowledge of health and safety law, and its enforcement. I was introduced to the railway by my wonderful wife buying me a fire and drive experience for a special birthday. I bumped into the recruitment team in Cheltenham shortly before retirement and became a member the next day. I also volunteer as a travelling ticket inspector and a steward with Railway Catering Services.
Dr Graham Plant - Civil Engineering Director
As a civil engineer with professional memberships in the UK, the US, South Africa and Hong Kong Graham has over 50 years of experience in the delivery of major projects through planning, design and construction. He had a 20-year career up to 1992 with Arup, Consulting Engineers in the UK and South Africa where he was a Director.
He then had seven years engaged with the new Hong Kong International Airport from inception to completion carrying ultimate engineering and commercial responsibilities. This was one of the world’s massive and complex projects taken forward against a background of unique political change.
After leaving the Airport Authority in 1999, he was an independent consultant until 2018 providing strategic and engineering advice to clients developing major road, rail, airport and port projects in the UK, the US, Denmark, Australia, Chile, Trinidad, South Africa and Hong Kong.
During this time, Graham also undertook a full-time Interim Management rôle for 18 months as one of three Executive Directors of Crossrail Ltd and its first Programme Director for Crossrail, now Elizabeth Line. He then served on the Engineering Expert Panel for a further 5 years.
His published technical papers put particular emphasis on practical solutions to engineering issues. In 1999 he was awarded The Institution of Civil Engineers’ prestigious Telford Medal. He has also co-authored and edited a book with colleagues on the design, construction and performance of the Hong Kong airport site reclamation.
Col Mike Bennett OBE DL – Non-executive Director
Born and educated in South London, I spent my working life with Dunlop and its successor BTR, starting in sales with several railway customers, and finishing in general management, which brought me to Gloucestershire in 1983. I retired in 2001.
I have had a parallel career in the Reserve Forces, mostly serving with the Army Cadet Force, and my final appointment was as Colonel Commandant Gloucestershire, responsible for 650 cadets and 130 volunteer officers and instructors, for which I was awarded the OBE.
In 2010 I was privileged to be appointed as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and, in that capacity, was responsible for organising the Railway’s QAVS ceremony for the Lord Lieutenant in 2015 as well as assisting in the GWR’s 2018 Remembrance Ceremony.
My teenage years were spent living in Birmingham where I became an enthusiastic train spotter, particularly the Great Western. In 2012 I attended a Steam Firing and Driving Day which was my introduction to GWSR.
I hope that I will be able to use my previous experience, both in corporate management and in dealing with volunteers, to help the Board in keeping the Railway moving forward.
Maurice Hall – Cross Board Director
I was born and live in Gloucester . I have spent my career in accountancy and have been Finance Director of several companies in Gloucestershire.
I retired in 2015 and started to volunteer on the railway. I am a Station Master and a member of the Railway Catering Services.
I have been married to Carol, who is also a volunteer, for over fifty years and have two children and five wonderful grandchildren.