I graduated as a civil engineer from Manchester University in 1971. Lorna and I met shortly after, travelled overland to India via Afghanistan on honeymoon and then settled in northern Scotland.
For many years I headed up the design and construction team of the engineering department of the local council for the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides), then spent five years as Western Isles Manager for the North of Scotland Water Authority. I was subsequently self-employed for 10 years, mostly working on the supervision of dams. We have lived on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles for 36 years and, for most of that time, ran a croft with small numbers of cattle.
As a trustee, I am able to bring project management experience, financial skills and a genuine affection for and knowledge of developing countries gained from travelling independently on our holidays each winter.
I’ve lived in the north of Scotland most of my life, and brought up our two daughters on our family croft on the Isle of Lewis. Until recently, I did most of the work with the stock and still keep a large organic vegetable garden.
In 2000, I started the charity Western Isles Beach Clean Up. I obtained sponsorship from local businesses and the local council and persuaded voluntary groups to undertake beach clean-ups. The majority of the sponsorship goes to Water Aid, a UK charity providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to the poor communities in developing countries. Our fundraising ideas have expanded over the years with the help of a committee of women local to the Uig area on Lewis where we live.
As a trustee, I bring my knowledge of charity work, book-keeping and secretarial skills, a practical knowledge of developing countries and, last but not least, a woman’s perspective.
My working life has focussed on rural development and included European policy research work, delivery of rural development grant programmes, feasibility and impact assessment studies, as well as rural training organisation. I live in Ness, Isle of Lewis, where I have a croft with cattle and sheep. I have always been involved in local community organisations and projects and particularly enjoy being a part of communities taking control and managing their own development. In recent years I have become increasingly interested in the use of sustainable energy as a means to assist development.
I hope to be able to bring to the Foundation skills in and experience of programme and project management, accountability in managing allocation of funds and grants, and governance – and my enthusiasm to support the valuable and important work in any way I can.
I was born in Glasgow and lived and worked in many different parts of the UK, finally settling in a village near Inverness, where I live with my husband and youngest daughter. Originally a journalist, I moved into PR in the early 1980s and worked in the public and third sectors. I met John Norgrove when we both worked for the North of Scotland Water Authority.
For 15 years I ran my own PR consultancy – Platform PR – named after the railway station that was our office. I sold my business to another PR consultancy in 2015 although I’ve continued to work for them part-time. I’m a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Chartered PR Practitioner. I am on the Board of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and was previously on the Board of Eden Court Theatre, so I have some relevant experience for my role as a Trustee.
Hugely impressed by the way John and Lorna have turned such a tragic experience into a force for good, I was deeply touched to be asked to become a trustee. It is a privilege to use my PR skills to help this worthwhile cause.
I’ve worked in development for most of my life, primarily in India and Britain, but also in other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. My involvement began when I was a Fulbright Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, and I have co-authored 3 books on development and one on the UN.
I lived for four years in India, researching rural non-farm employment and building capacity in the Tibetan refugee community.
Back in Britain, I was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University, and then Director for Enterprising Communities at the New Economics Foundation in London. With funding from the Ford Foundation, I also continued working with micro-finance institutions in India.
I settled on South Uist in the Western Isles in 2003, ran the local Children’s Parliament for 3 years, and now divide my time between parenting two young children and working with the local community to develop the local economy and enhance opportunities for young people.
I feel honoured to bring my experience, and love for diverse cultures, to the Foundation as it seeks to continue the inspiring work of Linda Norgrove.