We are delighted to announce the appointment of three new trustees to our board.
Welcoming these new appointments, Sylva’s Chair of Trustees, Dr Peter Savill, said:
“Luke Hughes, Samantha Leigh and Michael Wills bring together a range of specialisms and a wealth of experience to the board, which is particularly welcome given the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the Sylva Foundation.”
Luke Hughes is a designer specialising in site-specific furniture in architecture, embodying the highest standards of British design, production and craftsmanship. His studio was established in 1981 in Covent Garden, and has since designed furniture for more than 50 Oxbridge colleges, 70 parish churches, 17 cathedrals, 5 Royal Palaces, 2 synagogues and more than 900 boardrooms for major city corporations.
In 2010, he was shortlisted for a Walpole Award for British Luxury Design Talent for ‘outstanding achievement in design, craftsmanship, business and culture’. In 2011, Stanton Williams, the architect of the Sainsbury Botanic Institute (for which all the furniture was specially designed) was winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize. Other notable projects include the British Embassy in Moscow, the New Parliamentary Building, the UK Supreme Court, Sainsbury Family Trusts HQ office building at North House (with Ian Ritchie Architects) not to mention St Paul’s, St Alban’s, Exeter, Hereford, Winchester, Bristol and St Giles Cathedrals. He designed the new furniture on the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, used for the Papal visit in September 2010 and the Royal Wedding in April 2011.
Luke Hughes sat on the Crafts Council for six years and was Chairman of their Grants Committee (1994-7). He is former Chairman of the Art Workers Guild, Honorary Designer for the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, and is a member of the Fabric Advisory Committee for Southwark Cathedral. He has, in recent years, been a judge for the Wood Awards and for the Koestler Trust (for art in prisons) and is now Design Consultant to the Singapore Furniture Industry Council. He is a regular lecturer to the architectural profession (on materials and sustainability) in the UK as well as the USA, Middle East, South East Asia, Australasia and India.
Samantha qualified as a lawyer in 1997 and has since specialised in property law. She trained at Wallace & Partners and then, on qualification, she joined Russell Cooke in South West London where she was made a partner in 2001. After moving to Oxfordshire in 2003 she worked as a partner in the commercial property team at Darbys LLP, where she established the Agriculture team, and she joined Henmans Freeth as a partner in September 2012. There she acts in all types of non-contentious property work, her interest in agricultural matters being primarily due to the variety of work and disciplines that the term “agricultural property” covers. She is also an experienced commercial property lawyer.
She has conducted seminars, chaired conferences and written articles on various issues in connection with agricultural and rural property. She is a member of Thames Rowing Club and lives with her husband and son in Henley on Thames. Samantha enjoys wandering through the British countryside, particularly where pub lunches can be located, and mushroom spotting (which she is not very good at) in the autumn.
Michael has spent all of his working life in the international arena, initially with what were then the two top business magazine publishers in the world and then – aged 34, married and with two small children – moved into the international development sector where he has worked ever since. He has specialised as a new project “innovator and resource locator”, launching new ventures in both the business and not-for-profit sectors.
In 1995 Michael founded Oxford HR Consultants, where he remains a non-executive director, pioneering the use of executive search and selection in the international development and social enterprise sectors. He was a Director of Emerging Markets for Adaptive Eyecare, developing world marketing strategies for the world’s first “wearer adjustable” spectacles. As a consultant he has worked with DFID, the World Bank, and UNESCO. He worked for six years as a VSO Field Director in Malawi and Indonesia mainly in education, agriculture and healthcare sectors.
Michael is also a trustee of the Fred Hollows Foundation UK and Secretary of a local residents association.
Read more about our staff and trustees