Who We Are And What We Do

We are the River Thame Conservation Trust

The River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT) was established in 2012 to preserve and enhance the terrestrial and aquatic life of the River Thame, for the benefit and enjoyment of the local Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire communities. The Trust has developed significantly over the last two years and is involved in a range of practical conservation projects in collaboration with diverse and expanding stakeholder engagement. The Trust works closely with Freshwater Habitats Trust on a number of projects and both organisations are joint catchment coordinators for the Thame catchment area, in partnership with the Environment Agency. The Trust also runs a catchment-wide water quality monitoring network and has initiated a number of independent habitat improvement projects.


CEO: Louise Bowe

WP_20160724_032 (2)Louise was appointed as Chief Executive of the Trust in January 2016.  She is an experienced environment and communications manager, having previously held senior positions in the Waste & Resources Action Programme, a not for profit environmental consultancy, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and local government environmental projects.  In addition to leading the work of the Trust, which is a part-time position, Louise also runs her own management and communications consultancy, Greengage Communications & Management. You can get in touch with Louise via email: louise@riverthame.org.

Project Officer: Natalie Breden

WP_20170302_002Natalie joined the Trust as Project Officer in February 2017, taking over from Emily Godfrey. Natalie previously worked as Education Officer for The Conservation Volunteers in Kent. She really enjoyed sharing her passion for nature with the local community and is excited to do this again but in the Thame Catchment, but is excited to get stuck back into nature conservation with the trust.
Working for a short time as an ecologist Natalie has a broad range of surveying skills as well as habitat and volunteer management skills from numerous voluntary roles with organisations such as the RSPB and Sussex Wildlife Trust.
You can contact Natalie on Natalie@riverthame.org 

Secretary to the Trustees: Jane Willis



Chair: Sally Rowlands

SallyAfter reading Modern Languages at Hertford College, Oxford, Sally pursued a career in international marketing with Wilkinson Sword, L’Oréal and Gillette. The demands of five children pulled her away from London and the world of marketing back to the Oxfordshire countryside. Through living on the banks of the River Thame for 11 years Sally became increasingly aware of the need for a local, grass roots response to the increasingly urgent conservation issues and to that end established the River Thame Conservation Trust in 2012. Sally has been chairwoman of the Trust since September 2015. In addition Sally has been actively involved in a number of other local charities and campaigns including the Stadhampton Community Building Project and the PAGE campaign.

Andrew Callendar

img_0124-2Andrew Callender has a business background, with substantial experience in investment management, specifically concentrated in Asia, where he lived for 14 years, and other emerging countries. Andrew left finance in 2010 for a career in the environment.

Andrew has worked in a variety of roles since graduating with his environmental MSc: he has supported Treweek Environmental Consultants in its management of ecological surveys and assessments for EIA and SEA, notably helping with a brown bear survey in Armenia, and research into the management of oil sector impacts in Uganda on communities with high levels of dependence on ecosystem services for livelihoods and wellbeing. Up until July 2016, he also worked in Westminster as an environmental researcher, driving the agenda for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity.

He has an excellent knowledge of the Thame catchment as he worked for the River Thame Conservation Trust from November 2013 to December 2015 as its inaugural Project Officer.

Andrew is a keen ornithologist and has travelled extensively across the world in pursuit of this passion.

Nicholas Marriner

NickNick is married with two young children and has lived in Thame for 12 years. He has 20 years professional background in a National Governing Body of Sport, working with local County organisations to access public funding, plan strategically, improve their decision making, resource base and governance. Nick also offers extensive voluntary experience in wildlife surveying. He been carrying out year round bird surveys on the Upper Ray Reserves for BBOWT for 10 years and also involved in many surveying projects with BTO and RSPB. More recently he has established the RTCT wetland bird surveying programme and has also been volunteering in the Trust’s Riverfly and water quality testing programmes for 18 months.

Keith McCullagh

KeithKeith lives beside the River Thame at Cuddington and has had a long-standing interest in wildlife ecology.  By profession he is a veterinary surgeon and pathologist and  has spent his professional career in the management of research in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. He is currently non-executive chairman or director of a number of  entrepreneurial bioscience business. Prior to retirement, he was Chief Executive of Santaris Pharma A/S, an RNA medicines business now owned by Roche, and British Biotech, a company he founded and built into one of Europe’s leading public biopharmaceutical businesses. Keith acts as the Trust’s Treasurer.

Pascale Nicolet

pascaleDr Pascale Nicolet is Director of Policy and Implementation at the Freshwater Habitats Trust (FHT). She has recently become a trustee but has been working closely with RTCT since its foundation in 2012 on catchment management projects. Pascale has worked for the FHT since 1999 as a freshwater ecologist and has extensive experience of wetland plant and macroinvertebrate surveys, ecological assessments and monitoring, and pond creation and management. She currently leads our habitats working group as a trustee whilst continuing to work on joint RTCT/FHT projects.

Charles Peers

Ben Piper

BenBen Piper is a chartered civil engineer with over 40 years experience of hydrology and water resource planning.  His experience of strategic water resource planning for water companies and regulators ranges from drought and water supply planning in South East England, to water demand forecasts and water resource investment strategies.  His experience includes policy and strategic advice to regulators and government departments.  His research includes the potential impacts of climate change on water resources, and how to include uncertainties and risks in long-term planning.

Ben lives in Oxford.  He worked for almost 20 years at the Institute of Hydrology (now CEH) in Wallingford.  He then joined the Compagnie Générale des Eaux group (now Affinity Water), where he was head of the water resources team for six years.  After almost 18 years with Atkins he is now winding down as Technical Director – Water Resources.

David Wales

DaveDave is Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager for Oxford Instruments.  His interest in the future of the River Thame began in 1980 when he took on the role of Secretary of the Thame Valley Fisheries Preservation Consultative (TVFPC), which he continues to hold today. He cares passionately about the future of the River Thame, which has been hit by pollution several times over the last 35 years, and he has been closely involved in three Court cases against the polluters. Most of his spare time is spent on fisheries and pollution matters and he is in discussions with the Environment Agency and senior directors of Thames Water – as well as numerous meetings. Dave is also Chairman of the Angling Trust Thames Regional Forum (since 2011), Chairman, High Wycombe Thames Angling Club (since 1990) and Chairman, Kingsey Fishery (since 1990).  Sadly, there is little time left for him to actually enjoy fishing.

Key Supporters

Robert Campbell

bobBob retired from Wiley in Oxford in early 2014 after holding various senior positions; for most of his career he was responsible for Blackwell’s publishing programme in ecology and conservation. He has also lived in Stadhampton near the Thame and alongside the Chalgrove Brook since 1980. He has been chairman of several charitable/not for profit international organisations as well as businesses, and has maintained an interest in publishing as an adviser to several young companies. Bob lives and owns land in the Thame catchment and has supported countless environmental initiatives on them. Bob remains one of our key supporters after stepping down from his role as a trustee in September 2016

George Farrant

Doug Kennedy

S1580016Doug Kennedy is a life-long environmentalist who got involved with the River Thame following a serious pollution incident at Aylesbury in 2013. He found dead fish on the river and realised that there was no press coverage and that no-one in the local council or community seemed to be aware of the problem. Doug therefore held a conference in Aylesbury that involved all the stakeholders and so set up the Save The River Thame campaign. This  worked for 2 years on raising awareness of the River Thame for 2 years, supported by Waddesdon Estates, before merging into the River Thame Conservation Trust.

Doug is now an active volunteer who chairs the Website Working Group, contributes many photographs of river scenes and wildlife, coordinates liaison meetings with Thame Water at the Aylesbury STW and takes part in bird surveys and water testing.
He has degrees in biology and environmental studies and has led several environmental projects and campaigns.

Ellen Robson

P1020046Ellen is studying an ecology degree at the University of East Anglia. She has been volunteering for the Trust as a part time intern since June 2016. Alongside assisting with data management, article writing and general admin she is also collecting much needed data, across the catchment, that will inform her dissertation project. We look forward to seeing Ellen’s results and working more with her in the future.

Emily Godfrey

WP_20160313_14_07_16_Pro(2)Emily joined the Trust as Project Officer in January 2016, taking over the early project work of the Trust from Andrew Callender. She now works for the Environment Agency in their flood and coastal risk management team, but continues to have frequent contact with the trust. Emily is a marine and freshwater biologist and worked previously to coordinate the Essex Rivers Hub on behalf of the Essex Wildlife Trust.