Brian Cookson OBE – Independent Board Member and Chair

Brian Cookson has had rather an unusual dual-pronged career - covering leadership roles in urban regeneration and in sport. Brian began his career working in Local Authority before joining the environmental charity Groundwork. This then led to a series of senior roles in regeneration, including roles with Sefton Council and Pendle Borough Council. He retired in 2013, having successfully overseen large scale, transformative, programmes of housing improvement, heritage conservation, town centre renewal and economic development.

Throughout his professional career, Brian not only participated in the sport of cycle racing, but also became involved in the organising, managing and governance of the sport, on a voluntary basis. This led to him leading a new Board which transformed the British Cycling Federation into an award-winning national governing body, winning numerous Olympic and Paralympic medals and turning the sport into one of the most popular in Great Britain. Brian was awarded the OBE for services to cycling in the New Year's Honours of 1 January 2008.

In 2013 Brian was elected as President of the international cycling federation, the UCI. During his time at the UCI he implemented fundamental governance changes, including establishing a new Ethics Commission and made huge progress in improving neglected issues such as women's cycling and environment and pollution issues all around the world. Brian concluded his mission in 2017 and retired back to Lancashire, where he now lives and cycles, and still involves himself in organising cycling events.

Amanda Parker – Independent Board Member


Amanda’s professional experience is in IT and business management, having run her own business in the sector for twenty five years. In 2011 she established a hospitality and events business at Browsholme Hall in Lancashire, and its success has led to her managing that, together with the estate, full time. Amanda has significant experience in the voluntary sector being a Justice of the Peace since 2005 and having served as High Sheriff of Lancashire from 2015 to 2016. She is Chair of National Crimebeat, a youth crime prevention charity, and sits on other charitable boards in Lancashire, and nationally, as a trustee.
Amanda has a long standing involvement in youth sport, particularly hockey. She founded the young hockey umpire programme in Lancashire and was President of Lancashire Schools’ Hockey Association. She is still an active umpire and umpire coach for hockey throughout the north of England.
Amanda sits on the assessment panel for the QAVS and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2016.

David Clarke – DIVERT Lancashire

David manages an innovative reducing reoffending programme across Lancashire working with an exceptional group of people including team members from nine football community trusts, partners in the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network and local stakeholders.

He’s dedicated to helping young people at risk of offending develop their own pathways to improved opportunities, wellbeing, personal development and sustainable change. He came to the third sector having retired from a career in corporate financial services and has a lifelong interest in the causes of disadvantage, offending behaviour and how social change can be achieved.

His values have been influenced by his own early childhood experiences and a reflection of how he benefitted from exposure to positive environments and supportive people protective factors helping develop his resilience and personal philosophy of life. David is a firm believer in the human capacity to change and championing the interests of people who are often denied opportunities purely by virtue of their circumstances. He’s previously been a magistrate, trustee of South Yorkshire Probation Service and board member of a regional supported housing provider.

Ken Masser – Rossendale Leisure Trust

Ken began his career as a corporate restructuring and transformation consultant at accountancy firm KPMG. He is a chartered accountant and business change leader who has spent the last decade working with Rossendale Leisure Trust. As CEO of the Leisure Trust Ken has overseen significant growth in the business; developing several facilities and leading transformation of the Leisure provision in Rossendale.

As a strategic advisor to Together an Active Future (Pennine Lancashire Local Delivery Pilot) and a board member of Community Leisure UK, he has developed new and innovative approaches to place leadership and built significant networks within the health and leisure sector. Ken has a passion for leadership development, and systemic approaches to tackling inequality in local communities and regularly contributes as a guest speaker at national conferences and events.

On a personal note Ken is the father of five children, enjoys basketball, cycling and is an avid walker - having recently completed the 44 mile Rossendale Way in a day.

Lynne Horner – Independent Board Member

Lynne Horner has worked in education for over 35 years culminating in 2 Headships in Cheshire and latterly in Lancashire, where she received a presentation from the Mayor for services to education in Blackburn with Darwen. She began her teaching career in sport having enjoyed national representative success in athletics, netball and lacrosse at school and university.

Throughout her career Lynne has worked on various sports associations, charity community groups and was elected as Chair of the Society of Heads in 2018. This gave her the opportunity to present educational matters on a national stage, including an inaugural visit to represent the sector in Canada. She is enjoying her work as a freelance Consultant and Executive Coach, school governor and trustee and advisor for postgraduates at Lancaster University Management School.

Sport and an active lifestyle are important to Lynne, especially ensuring that young people have equal opportunities to be involved in physical activity for their health, wellbeing and for positive social interaction. She is passionate about all sport but is also a strong advocate of outdoor activities that make the most of the beautiful countryside in Lancashire.

County Councillor Rob Bailey – Lancashire County Council

Rob Bailey is the elected Lancashire County Councillor for West Lancashire East and Lead member of the Council for Highways and Transport with a substantial interest in Active Travel. He was previously an elected member of West Lancashire Borough Council where he was at one time Mayor and cabinet member for Leisure.

Whilst qualified as a Chartered Engineer, Rob has worked for the Association for Public Service Excellence since 2003 as their principal advisor for Leisure, Highways and Transport. He sits on the National Local Government Physical Activity Partnership and has extensive experience and knowledge of the delivery of Sports and Leisure across the UK. Rob holds an MBA from Warwick, degrees in Engineering and Law and postgrad qualifications in Facilities Management and Marketing.

He is a regular participant and volunteer for Parkrun and other hobbies include sailing, salsa and modern jive dancing and target shooting.

Robin Richardson – University of Central Lancashire

Following a fifteen year clinical career as a Registered Nurse, Robin has worked within the higher education sector since 2002. He is currently Executive Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing within the

University of Central Lancashire in Preston. As a health care professional and educator, Robin is an advocate of physical activity in the maintenance of both physical and mental well-being, which underpins his involvement with Active Lancashire.

Roger Davies - The FA Group

Roger has worked for The English Football Association since August 2007. His current role as National Development Manager (Education) has seen him support the educational development of The FA’s qualifications and support the development of The England DNA. He manages The FA’s PE Unit who hold full time roles supporting teachers, trainee teachers and coaches who engage with both students and teachers in schools. In addition, Roger is the strategic lead for Coach & Teacher Development in the North of England. He was a member of the National PE Expert Group which reviewed the National Curriculum for PE across key stages 1-4, supporting this and the development of resources for teachers and those in Initial Teacher Training.

In 2014 Roger received a National Award by The Association for PE for Leadership & Influence linked to his work within the Education sector in England. Roger has served on the Independent School’s FA Executive Committee since 2001. His previous role within ISFA was as National Coach for the Under 18 representative team. Previous to working for The FA, for nine years Roger worked full time as a Physical Education teacher (5-18 years), where he was also Director of football. He guided the school 1st XI to two National finals (2001 & 2004) where the team were crowned National Champions. Additionally, for eight years Roger worked part-time at Blackburn Rovers FC’s Academy working predominantly with the younger age groups as a coach.

Dr Sherry Kothari – Independent Board Member and Senior Independent Director

Sherry is an experienced CEO, company director, entrepreneur, founder, working in the health and biotech sectors. Sherry trained as a clinician but has spent the last twenty years working at the research/ health /industry interface. With a keen eye for spotting new opportunities, she has a passion for leading innovation in complex, multi stakeholder, multi-sector environments, generating real-world, tangible impacts. In particular, she is drawn to organisations that have a strong social conscience, helping to address societal challenges.

In Australia, Sherry was MD of a large, complex R&D organisation in Australia (with diverse partners including government, health providers and businesses), helping to create the environment to grow a national cell therapy industry. She set this organisation up from scratch, with strategic, operational and fiscal responsibility. Under her inclusive, focused leadership, the Centre established two successful start-up companies and a charitable trust. Sherry has also been a founder investor in two life science spin out companies in the UK. She brings an astute understanding of the innovation pipeline and a passion for driving innovation and translation into practice. As director of Lancaster's Health Innovation Campus,

Sherry provided strategic leadership to help address significant challenges in the North West, such as health and social inequalities. She is currently leading the establishment of a new start-up, developing a platform to exploit the healing potential of gaseous cold plasma across a range of clinical indications. More broadly, outside health and biotechnology, Sherry is a board director and trustee with a number of organisations, as well as an advisory board member on a Design Council led initiative.

Sherry has an interest in strategy, culture and governance and has gained accreditation in the Team Management Profile, a programme that helps to build high-performing teams.

Sherry is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been a recipient of a number of awards, including the SA Women in Innovation Award 2014 and finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2016. She is also an accredited mental health first-aider.

Zuleikha Chikh – Independent Board Member

Zuleika is the President of University of Central Lancashire Student’s Union and is responsible for the Union’s leadership team of Elected Officers; whose role involves representing the views of students at the University and ensuring they get the best possible academic and student experience. She is passionate about leadership and increasing life changes for underrepresented, vulnerable and marginalised communities through the power of sport so that they can inspire and empower those around them. She has over five years of experience working with community groups including South Asian women, young people with disabilities and refugees and asylum seekers.

Throughout her time at university, she engaged in volunteering at a local, national and international level and her key interests are in sport for development, leadership, empowerment and research. She actively advises The Football Association on the Asian Women in Football National Advisory Group and is connected globally through her involvement on the Muslim Women in Sport Network youth committee.

Winner of the 2021 Youth Sport Trust Character and Leadership Award, 2019 Lancashire Sports Awards Volunteer of the Year, and Muslim Women in Sport Power List, Zuleikha is a globally recognised young sports leader. In her spare time, she plays futsal, badminton, tennis and enjoys swimming.

In 2021, Zuleikha graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Sports Business Management and The FA University Women’s Leadership Programme. She is currently working with academics on a research project looking at race, ethnicity and gender in sports governance – understanding the lived experieces to drive real change.

County Councillor Michael Green – Lancashire County Council

Michael became a County Councillor in 2009, making use of the skills he had learnt as a solicitor, community champion and Borough Councillor in South Ribble. He has served at Lancashire County Council as a Lead Member and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning, together with performing the duties of Group Secretary.

Having been re-elected for the fourth time in May 2021, Michael was pleased to become the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at a time when these areas of responsibility were firmly in the focus of Lancashire’s residents. He serves as Chairman of the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board.

Michael is determined that as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to improve key public health outcomes, make Lancashire a healthier place for all and support our residents to thrive through better life chances.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys walking and sightseeing, supporting local charities, watching sports events, travelling, eating out and of course politics.

County Councillor Peter Buckley - Lancashire County Council

Peter was elected to Lancashire County Council in 2013 and represents St Annes North, the coastal stretch fro St Annes Pier to the boundary with Blackpool.

He is the Cabinet member for Community and Cultural Services and his diverse portfolio includes libraries, museums and archives, parish and town councils, community safety, registrations and the coroners service.

Peter is on the Board of Marketing Lancashire and, in his spare time, is a musician and conductor of Fylde Sinfonia Orchestra

Active Lancashire Observing Board Member Profiles

Adrian Leather – Active Lancashire

Hi, I am Active Lancashire's Chief Executive. I’ve been with Active Lancashire since 2006, coming from a varied background in ecology, community development and Youth Justice. I have worked in Lancashire for over 20 years and am committed to improving opportunities for the County and celebrating its strengths and uniqueness!

My role is ensuring that the core team and our partners are seen as a strategic priority and that we work effectively together to improve opportunities and resources for sport and physical activity in Lancashire.

I am supported in my work by the Active Lancashire Board and our Chair, who provide leadership to the partner organisations and our core team to increase participation in sport and physical activity. I am driven by people who don’t make an immediate connection with sport; I know from my previous work how much it can bring to strengthening communities and families, enabling individuals to unlock their potential and lead successful and happy lives.

I am always after a new personal challenge so sport fits in to my life in so many ways. I enjoy scuba diving, cycling, running and my latest interest mountaineering – I’ve recently got back from trekking in Nepal!

I am always after a new personal challenge so sport fits in to my life in so many ways. I
enjoy scuba diving, cycling, running and my latest interest mountaineering – I’ve recently
got back from trekking in Nepal!

Justine Blomeley – Sport England

After qualifying as a teacher, Justine spent 10 years teaching secondary Physical Education with a leading role in Health Education for 11 to 16 year old pupils.

Following a move to Children’s Services within the Local Authority in Blackpool, Justine worked as the PE and School Sport Consultant with an overview of all 40 schools; primary, secondary and special. In this role strong links were developed working with both sports development and health through a broad range of initiatives and projects, over a 10 year period.

In July 2013 Justine joined Sport England as the Relationship Manager for Local Government covering the North West of England. In this role she has worked with Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire to better position Sport and Physical Activity.

Justine has worked closely in the development and realisation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Sport England.

In 2017 Justine became a Strategic Lead Local Delivery to form part of the Local Delivery Directorate Leadership Team and lead on the Local Delivery Pilot work.

Most recently in February 2022 Justine has been promoted to the role Interim Director for the Place Directorate as part of a restructure and transition of 6 months to lead the new Place Directorate.

Stuart Oliver – Active Lancashire

Hi, I am the Director of Finance for Active Lancashire. My role is to manage the finance function for the organisation, supporting the various projects with financial advice and support, reporting the financial performance to the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive, dealing with all funding claims and returns that we are required to submit to funding bodies and liaising with external partners such as auditors, bank and insurance company.

Prior to joining Active Lancashire in August 2015 I worked for Lancashire County Developments for 10 years managing a Commercial and grant finance service and providing a Business Partner support to a number of not for Profit companies including Active Lancashire. My career before 2005 was very much in the private sector running the Finance function and sitting on management teams including 5 years as Finance Director and Company Secretary of a window manufacturing company, 2 years as Financial Controller at a health food company and 7 years as Finance Manager at a chemical manufacturing and research organisation.

My life has always involved an active interest in sport although these days my participation seems to be as a taxi service and support to my three kids who are active in school sport as well as local clubs. I am a big fan of Preston North End (Are there any other teams in Lancashire?), a very retired local league footballer, lapsed squash player and was a keen but poor golfer… the rusted clubs will one day be resurrected! The ambition is now to be the office Table Tennis champ!


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