Bethan Evans, Chair of Trustees

Beth has lived in Bristol since the 1970s when she came to the city to study law at University. She practised as a solicitor for 35 years. Beth worked as a lawyer in the public sector for a number of local authorities in the area, then became a partner at Bevan Brittan in Bristol, where she was elected as Senior Partner for 4 years.  During her time at the firm, Beth led work on CSR and engagement with community/charity work. Beth was Vice Chair of the Bristol Partnership for two years. Having retired from full time practice in January 2018, Beth now runs a business delivering training for local authority elected councillors.

She believes strongly that equipping young people to enter the world of work is essential for their development and the success of our society. Also, that links between business and the world of education should be stronger and more focused. Beth became a Trustee of Ablaze in Spring 2018 and was elected Chair of Trustees in 2020.

Ashley Daniells

Ash was born and raised in Bristol and has a real connection to the city. He is currently an Associate at RPC LLP, working in the Professional and Financial Risks team. He was introduced to Ablaze after leading RPC’s partnership with West of England Mentoring, a partnership that saw him ultimately win Mentor of the Year at the inaugural South West Mentoring Awards. Ash is heavily involved in Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at RPC, most notably in relation to Social Mobility and LGBT+. Having attended a school that benefits from Ablaze, Ash is perfectly placed to help make a difference.

Ash became a Trustee of Ablaze in April 2019 and is excited to help make real change across the South-West.

Nigel Hutchings

Nigel retired in 2013 as Director, Chambers of Commerce, Business West where he had worked for 15 years after 30 years in retail banking. He is a trustee of Keynsham Charities which manages Alms Houses in the town, and a past President of Keynsham Rotary Club with responsibilities for helping deliver the Club’s Youth programme which involves 6 local primaries and 2 secondary schools.

Nigel is a co-founder of Ablaze and is very keen to see Bristol and the West of England achieve its full potential, for which one of the ingredients is a fully skilled, numerate and literate workforce.

Robert Bourns

Robert was Managing and then Senior Partner of TLT LLP, national law firm head quartered in Bristol. An employment lawyer, he has committed to a number of local charities. He was trustee and then Chair of St Peter’s Hospice, Bristol and is currently chair of Quartet Community Foundation. He is also a friend of Room 13 studio in Hareclive and a governor of Merchants’ Academy. He is a member of the Council of The Law Society of England & Wales and was its President for 2016/17. He is passionate about the potential power in diversity and believes that most people can achieve great things for themselves and their communities if given encouragement and confidence in their own abilities.

Robert is married, with 4 adult children and a granddaughter. He skis occasionally and badly, gardens, and sings in his local community choir. He enjoys walking in the Lake District.

Geraldine Buckland

Geraldine lives in North Somerset and works in Bristol, is married and has one son. She brings a range of knowledge to her role as a trustee gained from various general management and leadership roles, as well as functional HR competence, from her broad, generalist HR background.

Geraldine has worked for many different types of organisation; both in house and as a consultant; across the private, public and third sectors. She worked for a variety of blue-chip companies such as Lloyds Bank and BP, before spells at Cornwall County Council, Leonard Cheshire Disability, and Smith & Williamson, where she led the HR Management Consultancy team. Since 2016, Geraldine has worked at Bristol Water as Director of People, Health & Safety.

Geraldine has been a Trustee of Ablaze since November 2015 and enjoys contributing to this exceptional organisation.