The Family Holiday Association is lucky to have a number of Ambassadors who support the charity, help promote its work and generate support.
Simon Allan open accordion arrow
Until recently Simon was MD of Canvas Holidays, where he had worked for 25 years. He rose through the ranks from resort representative to take over the helm in 2010.
Outside work, Simon renovates properties and has the chair of two charities in Scotland: Fife Young Carers, which has successfully linked up with the Family Holiday Association; and the Homelands Trust, which provides luxury accessible self-catering holiday accommodation in the East Neuk of Fife.
Most cherished holiday memory: Camping (of course) in north-west Scotland in the hot summer of 1975. I remember the days being endless, the beaches vast (and empty), the waters crystal clear and the skies enormous.
Roger Allard - Executive Chairman, All Leisure Group open accordion arrow
Roger has been involved in the travel industry for over 40 years. He is a director of ABTA and several other non-competing travel companies, and also sits on the Air Travel Insolvency and Protection Advisory Committee (ATIPAC) which advises the Civil Aviation Authority, representing ABTA. Roger was instrumental in creating Owners Abroad (now TUI Group) and in listing it on the London Stock Exchange in 1982.
After 20 years, Roger left First Choice as Group Managing Director in 1993 and was involved in the aviation industry until 1996. He acquired the Voyages of Discovery brand in 1997. Ten years later, All Leisure Group plc – the holding company of All Leisure Holidays, an established destination-led cruise and escorted holiday company which owns the tour operators Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic, Discover Egypt, Hebridean Island Cruises, Travelsphere and Just You (the latter two being brands of Page & Moy Travel Group Ltd, purchased in May 2012) – was admitted to AIM on the London Stock Exchange, raising £10 million (before expenses).
Roger has been inducted in the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame, and was recognised by both Travel Trade Gazette and Travel Weekly for his contribution to the travel industry. In addition, he received the Royal Warrant from HM the Queen in respect of Hebridean Island Cruises in January 2012.
Most cherished holiday memory: Going to Cornwall at the age of four or five. It was so green and hilly, with blue seas and pretty villages. I must go again now that I am old!
Ian Chapman - Director, Destination Services, TUI Group open accordion arrow
Ian has spent more than 25 years in customer-facing tour operations, starting his journey in 1990 as a rep in Ibiza and working his way through the ranks to become Regional Manager for First Choice.
With the merger in 2007 of Thomson and First Choice, the company became Europe’s leading travel company, and Ian became Director of Holiday Experience. In this role, he has been responsible for the 5.6 million holidaymakers who travel on package holidays each year, as well as a team of more than 3,000 employees overseas.
After the recent merger of TUI Travel PLC and TUI AG to create TUI Group, he is now Regional Director of West Mediterranean for all source markets.
Most cherished holiday memory: The first time I went abroad, to Benidorm in 1976. The amazing experiences of the flight, foreign food and foreign people made it simply magical.
Alison Cryer - Managing Director, Representation Plus open accordion arrow
With a BA in Hotel Management and an MA in Marketing, Alison has been part of the travel and tourism industry for 30 years now. As well as running hotels and restaurants in Europe and marketing hotels and destinations worldwide, she has chaired the Tourism Society, won awards for leadership, and been recognised as one of the 100 most influential women in the industry by Women First.
Above all, Alison is passionate about how travel and tourism can benefit society both now and in the future. On raising funds and awareness for the Family Holiday Association, she says it is a fulfilling experience, and that being asked to become an Ambassador by Ian Reynolds, former charity Chairman, was the greatest honour.
Steve Dunlop - Proprietor, Steve Dunlop Photography open accordion arrow
Steve has been photographer to the travel industry since 1987. His first job was in the photographic department of an advertising agency based in London’s Soho from 1979 to ‘87. During this time he also gained a BA (Hons) in Film & Photography at the Polytechnic of Central London.
Most cherished holiday memory: Family holidays in Devon – especially holding hands with my brothers and sister, with the sea washing gently around our feet as we stood on the rippled sand
Giles Hawke - Chief Executive, Cosmos; CEO, Archers Holidays; CEO, Avalon River Cruises open accordion arrow
Giles is Chief Executive of Cosmos Tours & Cruises, the independent UK tour operator, and CEO of Archers Holidays and Avalon River Cruises.
Before taking up his current role (starting May 2016), Giles was Executive Director for MSC Cruises with responsibility for operations in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Scandinavian countries. Prior to joining the company in November 2013, he spent 11 years at Carnival UK as Sales and Customer Service Director. Before that, he worked for Highlife Breaks and Crystal Holidays, which included several seasons in the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps.
A non-executive director of the Institute of Customer Service since 2011 and deputy chair of CLIA UK since early 2015, he has been married to Abi for 13 years, has three young children and is a keen skier and cyclist.
Most cherished holiday memory: My aunt used to own a tiny cottage in St Agnes in Cornwall. Our family used to spend a week there every summer for about five years in a row, during which time we would surf on the beach on wooden surfboards, walk the cliff paths and visit local towns and disused tin mines. I remember that the sun nearly always shone, the sea was always warm and it felt like a foreign country. We didn’t do anything fancy; we didn’t go to theme parks or amusement parks – but it was amazing for a young boy to be outside and just enjoying the best that Britain has to offer.
Derek Jones, Managing Director, UK, Kuoni open accordion arrow
Derek joined Kuoni UK in 2009 and his multi-channel sales approach has proved to be a huge success, with sales figures escalating dramatically and customers appreciating the human ‘face-to-face’ contact that the Kuoni shops and travel agent partners provide.
Derek became Managing Director of Kuoni UK in October 2011, and he has continued to grow the Kuoni retail estate since. Under Derek’s leadership, Kuoni has created branded partnerships with selected independent travel agents, implemented a focused customer service strategy, transformed its digital presence, expanded its range of exclusive worldwide resorts and launched high-profile television marketing campaigns.
Derek is a well-known and highly regarded member of the travel profession with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, including more than 10 years operating at main board level with TUI UK.
Favourite childhood holiday memory: We never had a car so we would travel around the UK by train. We visited most corners of England and Wales, staying in seaside caravan parks. More often than not it rained but that never seemed to matter – there was always an end-of-pier penny arcade to visit or a round of crazy golf to be had.
It sounds crazy now but back then, before the advent of health and safety, my dad would lower the window in the door of the train and allow me to put my head out into the wind! I loved it – the smell of diesel and the clacking of the rails, and the occasional scary near-miss with a signal post!
Allan Lambert - Managing Director, Blue Chip Holidays open accordion arrow
Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE - Chief Executive, Visit Kent open accordion arrow
Sandra has worked in the tourism industry over 25 years, and been CEO of Kent’s Destination Management Organisation, Visit Kent, for the last 10 years. Her specialism is managing multi-stakeholder partnerships and driving growth through strong relationships. She has overseen many award winning projects and played a key role in securing significant European funding to help support Kent’s tourism economy which has grown by 50% over 10 years. In 2012 Sandra was inducted into the TOP 100 Club for the most influential women in the tourism industry. Chairman of the UK Tourism Society and Trustee of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Sandra sits on national panels and steering groups and speaks at national conferences. Married with three grown-up children and a granddaughter, Sandra’s passions are her family, her dog, gardening, theatre, travelling, jam-making, Faversham and tourism. She was invested with the MBE in 2014 in recognition of her services to Tourism.
Cherished childhood holiday memories: None of the things I remember were expensive or money-oriented. It was just time to laugh, play games, go fishing, have barbeques on the beach and be a family – my Mum and Dad, my sister and I – we got Dad back!!
As my Dad worked in retail, we didn’t have weekends like lots of families – with many domestic chores taking up Sundays and less time for days out. So every year my parents prioritised a fortnight’s camping holiday, often in Wales or Cornwall. The anticipation of that fortnight is still a tangible emotion to me today and whilst our holidays were a simple affair under canvas, we felt freedom and fresh air away from a busy urban neighbourhood in London.
I never forget our first overseas holiday and the first time I flew when I was about 8. I felt like a millionaire on that 2-hour flight to Majorca!
Lisa McAuley - Managing Director Tour Operations B2B Dnata Travel Europe - Gold Medal & Travel 2 open accordion arrow
Prior to current role I was Commercial Director for UK and Ireland at Silversea Cruises responsible for Sales, Marketing and PR, which followed 15 years at Avis Budget Group as Head of International Leisure Sales. Worked in the travel industry since leaving school and couldn’t see myself working anywhere else. Completed MBA as mature student in 2015, won’t be doing a PHD! Passionate about family, travel, and travelling with the family!
Ran my first half marathon at the ripe old age of !! (guess!) in 2015 on behalf of the Family Holiday Association and would recommend everyone does it!
Most cherished holiday memory: Driving up to the Scottish Highlands for a holiday, with Mum, Dad, Nan, and an annoying younger brother singing songs from Paul McCartney’s Wings cassette, reaching the brow of the hill and the sense of giddy excitement knowing that the seaside was just over the top!
Jackie Murphy - Chief Executive, Flagship Consulting open accordion arrow
Jackie says: “I love travel and am lucky enough to have visited many different places around the world. Some of my favourite holidays have involved trekking and exploring far- flung places in Africa or South America. But my favourite childhood holidays normally involved water – either near lochs in Scotland where we would skim pebbles and catch crabs or on beaches in Brittany, France, where I learnt to dive and sail with my father.
“Holidaying with family is really important – spending time together, cooking and sharing great meals and laughing, send you back home rejuvenated ready to face the world.”
Deborah Potts - Director, Summit Advisory open accordion arrow
Deborah met charity founders Patrick and Joan Laurance more than 25 years ago. Their passionate belief in the power of holidays to do good immediately resonated with her as a young manager with Club 18-30 and ILG, and as a mother.
She was a charity Trustee for many years, building travel industry support while also building her own travel businesses. As a director of Summit Advisory – the Growth, Mergers and Acquisitions arm of Elman Wall travel accountants – Deborah enjoys working closely with travel entrepreneurs across all industry sectors and inspired the Family Holiday Association’s 500 for 500 fundraising campaign.
Most cherished holiday memory: Playing beach cricket on Polzeath beach, Cornwall, with my family on our caravan holidays
Victoria Sanders - Head of Travel, News UK open accordion arrow
Ronnie Simkins - Managing Director, Travel Trading Co open accordion arrow
Following a year as a school teacher, Ronnie commenced a marketing career with Colgate Palmolive. In 1970 he joined US airline giant TWA, and it was the start of a travel and tourism career spanning almost 40 years.
He took senior management positions with TWA, British Airways and Pan Am before starting his own marketing and PR company, the UK-based Travel Trading Company. In this role he has worked with Hawaiian Airlines, MGM Grand Air, Royal Tongan Airlines, Air Vegas, Grand Canyon Helicopters, the state of Arizona, USTTA, the Kingdom of Tonga and various hotel and tourism companies and destinations around the world.
Ronnie continues as a Director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association following four years as Chairman of PATA UK, and is the UK and Europe Ambassador for Tourism Tonga.