Alex Davies - Trustee & Chair

Alex 2017 395x450Born and educated in St. John's Marlborough, Alex spent three months in Gunjur in 2003 after graduating in History from Warwick University. After returning to the UK he joined the Marlborough Link Committee supporting other volunteers to travel to Gunjur. In 2006 Alex was Summer Group leader taking nine students from St. John's and marlborough College to Gunjur for a month to work on classroom renovations in Gunjur Islamic school. He first became an MBG Trustee in 2006 and was Deputy Chair between 2009 and 2013. Between 2011 and 2015 Alex organised 12 modern apprentice groups to visit Gunjur from Lloyds Banking Group and he led four of these groups. Alex has been Chair of Trustees since 2017

Now 41, Alex leads Sustainability and ESG at Cancer Research UK.  Alex started work in pharmaceutical quality assurance and then nine years working at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Head Office in Windsor.  As National Programme Manager for 300,000 participants and over 80,000 expeditions annually he authored the DofE Expedition Guide, selling oiver 25,000 copies. During this time he completed an MSc in Leadership and Management specialising in the voluntary sector at the University of Southampton. Alex spent six years as Head of Responsible Business and Sustainability at St. James’s Place Wealth Management, a FTSE100 finance company with Head Offices in Cirencester, distributing £16m to charity and community work annually and achieving the globally recognised BITC Community Mark. Alex also writes the fiendish questions for our annual quiz night.

David Johnson - Trustee

David portraitI first became involved with MBG as part of the Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) trips between 2011 and 2013, initially as a volunteer and then assisting trips as a deputy and the project-leader. I interned in the TARUD office during the Summer of 2012, providing IT assistance and project support. My experiences in Gunjur inspired me to leave LBG in 2013 to study International Development at the University of Leeds, where I focused on political economy analysis of development policy and interventions. In 2016 I studied at the University of Ghana where I conducted independent research into spatial and economic inequality in the country.

I now work in London for the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies conducting market research, programme development and sales activities for public policy-orientated short courses. From September 2018 I will be studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science for an MSc in International and Social and Public Policy.

James Busby - Trustee

james busby portraitMy first experience of MBG and The Gambia was as part of a volunteering group that travelled to Gunjur in November 2017. Even during that short week, I was overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of Gambia’s people, and the trip had a profound impact on my world view which drove my decision to continue supporting MBG and the work they do.  I have been back to the village leading another group for a week.

My career to date has primarily been as a marketer, first within an agency providing website, email and video marketing to small businesses and now within the marketing department at St. James’s Place Wealth Management in Cirencester. I have an MSc in Digital Marketing through the company. I bring my marketing and media background to the charity to help communicate the impact they’re having both in the UK and The Gambia. My specialist areas are photo and video and I have produced video content from the two trips I have been on, as well as supporting MBG with an updated photo library.

Max Gajadharsingh - Trustee

Max G 22 CROPPED 2I was born and raised in Buckinghamshire, moving to Wiltshire in 2020. During a taxi ride in Atlanta in September 2022, I discovered that the driver was a woman from Gunjur who had visited Marlborough with MBG in the 1990s. During her time in Wiltshire, she learnt new skills which helped her become an active global citizen and eventually relocate to the USA. It was incredible to see first-hand the impact that MBG can have on people’s lives, and how far across the world MBG’s work has spread. I am keen to support the people of the Gambia, so I joined MBG as a trustee in November 2022.

After leaving school in 2018 with A Levels in Maths and Economics, I travelled to incredible places including Southeast Asia, Europe and North Korea. In 2019 I began working with a start-up drinks company, handling day-to-day operations, such as investment, manufacturing and marketing, to bring their unique drinks to market. More recently I worked for a consultancy firm, advising private equity clients in North America on M&A in the industrial automation field. In Autumn 2022 I was privileged to collaborate with LGBT Ireland and the prominent gay Afghan Activist, Nemat Sadat, to organise discussions with the Irish media, politicians and charities about providing asylum protection for LGBT+ Afghans.

Dr Nick Maurice OBE - Founder Patron

Dr-Nick-MauriceBorn and educated in Marlborough, Nick was a VSO volunteer teacher in a lycee in Togo (1961-2) and a VSO medical assistant in Papua New Guinea (1967-8) while a medical student at St Mary's Hospital Paddington. He worked as a volunteer doctor for the Britain Nepal Medical Trust in Nepal (1973-4) and became a GP in Marlborough in 1977.

Inspired by his time spent in Africa teaching English, where he lived with the Akouete family, welcomed as their fifth child in a community with no electricity or running water, and meeting people full of warmth and humour who exuded the extraordinary African spirit of Ubuntu:

"I am, because you are, because we all are"

Nick was determined other young people should have a similar opportunity and in 1981, with others founded the Marlborough Brandt Group. He subsequently became a trustee of Oxfam and Chair of Oxfam's Asia Committee and in 2001 Nick was awarded an OBE for his services to International Development. Nick retired from his role as MBG Director in 2016.

Anita Bew MBE - MBG Volunteer

Anita-BewIn 1984 whilst Anita was working at the local doctor's practice in Marlborough, MBG's current director, Dr Nick Maurice mentioned in conversation he was taking a group of St John's students out to Gunjur the following summer. Anita initially volunteered to help with some fundraising for the group which quickly led to her going on the trip as one the group leaders! 

Anita describes her first trip as being incredibly challenging, but she was so impressed with the wonderful opportunities MBG was offering to young people she has remained actively involved to the present day.

Anita supports the regular group visits of students and of individuals going out to Gunjur to volunteer and was group supervisor for the 2016 Summer Group. Anita has also been responsible for the care of many young Gambians visiting Marlborough, supporting them during their one year placements as well as providing additional support to the host families. Anita spends 2-3 months a year in Gunjur where many of the residents still call her 'mum'.

In January 2010 both Anita and Nick were made Honourary Citizens of Gunjur at an official naming ceremony. And in June of that year, Anita was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the Birthday Honours list for her services to the community of Marlborough and Gunjur.

Neil Griffiths

Neil-GriffithsNeil Griffiths was a primary school headteacher for 13 years before taking on the role of director of a National Literacy Project for the Basic Skills Agency. During this time Neil developed the highly original Storysack idea and promoted it to schools and communities throughout the UK. After six years, Neil began to devote all of his energies to the project and set up what is now the worldwide, highly acclaimed, and award-winning Storysack® phenomenon.

Neil has worked tirelessly for MBG in Gunjur on a voluntary basis for a number of years and has been instrumental in writing an early years curriculum that has now been nationally recognized in The Gambia. Neil's support of the TARUD pre-school scheme has given more than 7000 children the invaluable opportunity to attend pre-school.

Neil is a professional storyteller and popular children's author Corner to Learn.

Stephanie Dale - MBG Volunteer

Stephanie-DaleStephanie Dale is our longest serving volunteer who, while we ran an office, came in two days per week providing invaluable admin support.  She keeps us in order, ensures everything is in its rightful place and supplies us with welcome cups of tea and coffee!

As a retired teacher from Pewsey Vale School, Steph has been always been interested in the work of MBG since the time that Pewsey Vale established a partnership with the Upper Basic School in Gunjur, she has visited Gunjur many times and helps out at innumerable fundraising and other events in which MBG is involved.

Steve Atyeo 

Steve-AtyeoSteve Atyeo is an ex-physics teacher from Wootton Bassett and first came to the Gambia on a teachers' study visit in 2008. Since then he has done a whole host of things – training teachers in Sierra Leone, working with Jole Rider, raising the standard of physics teachers in the Gambia and facilitating and organising schools' visits.

In 2016 Steve ran a highlighy sucessful science trip for students from St. John's Accademy Marlborough to work alongside students in Gunjur.  Another trip is underway for 2018.

Lilli Loveday - MBG volunteer

Lilli Photo MBGLilli Loveday is from Marlborough and first visited The Gambia in 2003, aged 17, before returning as a lead for the 2010 the Summer Group and again for a Lloyds Bank Group in 2011. For her Masters in International Development she conducted research in Gunjur on how MBG has contributed to changing gender norms. Lilli then returned to live and work in The Gambia for a number of years. Based in Basse and working with Tostan International, she supported implementation of a multi-donor programme across 153 rural communities. She represented the organisation on a National Steering Committee of over 20 development organisations and government ministries to develop a successful five-year National Plan of Action to accelerate the abandonment of female genital cutting/child marriage (UNICEF/UNFPA).  Lilli was an MBG Trustee until April 2018 and remains a consultant for the charity.

Since returning to the UK, she has continued to work in the international development sector and is currently working as a Social Development Consultant with Oxford Policy Management. Lilli has interests in and a technical focus on gender, inclusion, equality, rights, citizen voice/accountability and understanding processes of social change. She has managed large, complex assignments for a wide range of development clients (including DFID, Danida, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Across her technical areas and across sectors, Lilli undertakes research and advisory work, including for UNICEF, DFID, Sida/Irish Aid, as well as contributing to evaluations, such as of the global Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and the REACH Initiative (UN).

Janneke Blokland - MBG volunteer

JannekeJanneke was an MBG Trustee for five years while Chaplin at Marlborough College having worked as a Curate for the Marlborough Anglican team from 2014-16. Janneke is now chaplin at Hurstpierpoint College. Janneke has an MSc in Physics and Astronomy (2001-06) and PhD research from Radbound University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She came to the UK and studied at Cambridge University for a Certificate in Postgraduate Study and then completed a Masters in Systematic and Philosophical Theology at the University of Nottingham. After completing Ordination Training at Westcott House, Cambridge, she was ordained priest in 2015. Janneke was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship for post-doctoral researchers (2010) and is fluent in English, Dutch and German.