Council 2023

Chair

Mary Barratt

Chair

Mary began skydiving in 2006 and now has over 1,250 skydives. She is a Canopy Formation (CF) coach and organiser, and competes nationally and internationally. Mary was part of the European CF record set in 2018 and co-authored the new CF coaching manual (2019). She is also a Parachute Rigger, specialising in equipment for CF and BASE jumping.

Mary holds a Doctorate in Philosophy, with a specialist interest in the body, risk, edgework and sustainable social change. As a Senior Lecturer with a highly successful UK university, she brings considerable expertise in matters of inclusion, retention and equal opportunities to her role with British Skydiving’s Council.

Vice Chair

Mark Bayada

Vice Chair

Mark started skydiving 28 years ago, initially as a member of the Red Devils parachute display team, in his early skydiving career mark competed in FS 4-way, FS 8-way and Canopy Piloting winning a gold medal in the 4-way intermediate category at the 1992 British Nationals that were held at Weston-on-the-Green.

Mark then concentrated on gaining his instructor ratings and becoming a category system, AFF and tandem instructor before eventually working up to the rating of advanced instructor. A full and varied career has seen Mark hold the position of Chief Instructor at Bad Lippspringe, Cypress and Netheravon, he is now a rigger and pilot at APA Netheravon.

A Council member since 2017, Mark is the Chair of the Member Development Committee (MDC) and currently chairs the Canopy Working Group that created the CH and CP system. As an instructor examiner for the past 17 years, he assists at British Skydiving instructor courses and is involved with many inquires and working groups.

In his spare time, Mark likes to keep active by taking part in many outdoor pursuits including climbing, bowls, hiking and walking Hector the black Labrador.

Treasurer

Tash Higman

Treasurer

Tash started skydiving in 1997 to celebrate qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant. Since then she co-set belly big-way world records, learned to freefly and competed in Canopy Formation and Formation Skydiving. She holds International judge ratings issued on behalf of the FAI in Canopy Formation, Formation Skydiving and Speed Skydiving.

Tash has been on the board since 2016, initially serving on the Competitions Committee including as the Judges’ Coordinator. In 2019 she moved to the Development and Communication Committees broadening her understanding of the organisation. She was elected as Treasurer in 2020.

Outside the sport Tash is a freelance management consultant, translator and finance professional.

Chair of Member Development Committee (MDC)

Eleanor Southworth

Chair of Member Development Committee (MDC)

An experienced Senior Commercial Manager in Telecoms with 10 years’ experience in IT in both customer-facing and internal roles. Eleanor believes that people and the skills of people are at the heart of any organisations performance and aims to act as a driving force behind grassroots development programmes within skydiving.

Chair of Elite Performance Committee

Wes Guest

Chair of Elite Performance Committee

Wes was born and raised in a skydiving family. He started jumping on his 16th Birthday and moved to Langar when he was 18, choosing his university to be closest to Langar. He has now been jumping for 17 years and has remained an active fun jumper throughout that time. Wes has tried most disciplines over his time but focused mainly on FS and CF. He has attended nationals every year since 2010 and been national champion 8 times in various disciplines. Wes has represented Team GB at 4 World meets. Outside of competitions, he holds FS, CH, and CF coaches’ ratings and enjoys being part of the CF resurgence in recent years, helping to organise events throughout the UK. Wes also holds USPA AFF and Tandem Instructor ratings.

Alternate Delegate to the Royal Aero Club

Craig Poxon

Alternate Delegate to the Royal Aero Club

Craig started skydiving in 1997 and has almost 5000 jumps. He holds Tandem, Accelerated Freefall and Category System instructor ratings. He was on the 400-way World Record in 2006.

During his 14 years as a Director of British Skydiving, he chaired the Development Committee from 2009 and was Vice-Chair of Council from 2012 before being elected Chair in 2020. He has been a delegate to the Royal Aero Club since 2014 and the International Skydiving Commission since 2017.

Craig works in IT for the world’s leading media and marketing consultancy. He lives in Wiltshire with his partner and two young children.

Council Member

Adrian Bond

Council Member

Adrian has over 17 years in the sport, with 14 years having been spent on Council previously and contributing to the overall strategy and governance of the organisation. Having a commercial background in developing and growing several successful SME businesses, has enabled him to bring these skills and expertise to the benefit of our Association. After a year away, 2022 sees the return of Adrian to Council.

Council Member

Karl Kojro

Council Member

Karl is an experienced Director, Chairperson and senior leader in the retail industry. Areas of expertise include complex organisational change, business development, income generation and strategic vision. He is focused on supporting British Skydiving’s growth, development, and financial sustainability. 

With a background in mountaineering, rock climbing and a qualified Skydiver since 2011, he is passionate about the positive impact that participation in inclusive outdoor activities and sport enables for both health and well-being. 

Council Member

James Round

Council Member

James started skydiving in 2014 and has completed approximately 2300 skydives. He holds Freefly and Tracking Coach ratings and also a Tandem Instructor rating.

 

Whilst not skydiving James works in IT for an airline, ensuring their IT Services are reliable & resilient

Council Member (Independent)

Rob Hartley

Council Member (Independent)

Rob is Senior Operations Manager within Sport England’s Special Projects Unit, supporting professional sport survive the effects of Covid through a £600m funding package from the UK Government. He works closely with Government departments and other major partners, and leads on internal processes, procurements and governance.

Before joining Sport England, Rob worked in major events, holding positions such as Head of Events and Competitions at the British Judo Association, and helped to deliver events including the World Taekwondo Championships, World Para-Athletics Championships and the World Triathlon Series Leeds.

Knowledgeable in sport policy, Rob wrote his Master’s degree dissertation on the UK Government’s Sporting Future strategy.

Council Member (Independent)

Joanne Shaw

Council Member (Independent)

Joanne is an experienced Director, supporting industry leaders across Energy, Resources & Marine (ERM) and Life Sciences, achieve business objectives through their Strategic Meetings Management programme.

Demonstrated history in developing strategies and concepts which deliver results and define value proposition.

In previous roles, Joanne has held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors: Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – responsible for the strategy & operational implementation plans for the International Sector of the Queen’s Baton Relay; American Express – EMEA regional lead aligned to a top 3 BioPharma.

Joanne is passionate about effective communications & mentoring – inspire and motivate!

Outside of the working environment – Volunteers as a mentor with young people to raise their aspirations and achieve their potential.

Co-opted to Council as Safety & Training Committee Chair

Jeff Montgomery

Co-opted to Council as Safety & Training Committee Chair

Jeff started skydiving in 1997 and currently has over 3000 jumps. He holds Instructor Examiner (IE) Advanced Instructor (AI), Accelerated Free Fall Instructor (AFFI) ratings and joined British Skydiving as a member of staff in October 2013 and was appointed as the Safety & Technical Officer replacing John Hitchen after 30 years of service to British Skydiving.

Jeff is a 22-year Forces Veteran, where he first discovered the thrill of skydiving. He served with several Skydiving Display Teams traveling all over the UK and abroad for several years and gained his Instructor Qualifications during this time. He then spent 10 years delivering Skydiving Adventurous Training Courses at several Joint Services Adventurous Training Centres such as Netheravon, Northern Ireland & Cyprus.

In 2016 he was appointed as Chairman of The Safety & Training Committee. Jeff works closely with the British Skydiving Safety Team, Ryan Mancey, and Kev Dynan and advises Council on matters of Safety in the Sport.

in September 2023, Jeff was appointed as Head of Safety, Training & Competitions. 

He lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two children, Noah and Casey, two cats, Tyke & Katana, and his dog, Toggles.

Chair of Elite Performance Committee

Alex Busby Hicks (Resigned)

Chair of Elite Performance Committee

Alex joins us with a 22-year career in the Army, a further 14 years of business experience and is currently the Chief Instructor at Tilstock.

As CI Alex strives to provide a safe, customer-focused, inclusive experience for all jumpers, building a team that feels valued, trusted and has been given the opportunity and support to develop within the sport.

Future 2024 Council Member

Dr. Theodoros Koutroukides

Future 2024 Council Member

Theo is a biotech scientist turned entrepreneur. He holds a doctorate in neuropsychiatric disorders from Cambridge University where he was part of the team that developed the world’s first diagnostic blood test for Schizophrenia. In his medical career, he diversified from Cancer R&D in the US to working with Great White

Sharks in South Africa. Over two decades, he sat on boards of health and academic startups while founding tech and wellbeing ventures. His first leadership role dates back to 1998 in Cyprus military trained under special forces. Since 1994, Theo raced in international competitive rowing and UCI professional cycling in the US under Olympic coaching. He later established luxury health clubs in Cambridge and London. Personally, caring for his 8-year old daughter and 14-year old yellow lab Obree offer him the greatest drive towards a purposeful life. Other passions are music composition, filmmaking and open-source software development for non-profit DAO’s.

Vice Presidents

Vice President

Christopher Allen

Vice President

Chris completed his first jump in 1978. He is a Former member of the Parachute Regiment, Pathfinder Platoon and Team Leader of the Red Devils. He held Instructor/Examiner ratings in all disciplines. He was National Champion in 4- and 8-way FS and represented the UK at World level. His team’s 1990 speed 8 national record of 7.62 seconds remains unbeaten.

Chris Joined Council in 1993, was Chair of Competitions Committee between1994- 1998 and Council Chairman between 1999 – 2006. He became a Vice President in 2006. During his time on Council Chris created the FS intermediate category and coaching road shows. He was joint author of the canopy handling and canopy piloting manuals. Chris established an underpinned strategic annual action plan for the Association and codified British Skydiving’s disciplinary procedures.

Chris currently works as a Barrister and lives happily in Wales with his lovely wife Lis.

Vice President

Martin Soulsby

Vice President

Martin was first elected to Council in 2008, becoming Communications Chair 2009. He then became Chair of Council in 2011 and served in the role for 9 years, stepping down in 2020.

Martin did his first jump in 1982 and has completed over 5,000 jumps, mainly formation skydiving. With a focus on competing in 8-way, so far winning 17 National Championships and representing Team GB at 9 world Meets and acting as Head of Delegation at another 2.

Outside the sport, Martin is a Director of an Executive Search Consultancy specialising in professional services.

Vice President

John Smyth MVO

Vice President

A military parachutist with UK Reserve Airborne Forces, John made his first sport parachute jump at Thruxton, Hampshire, in 1973. Continuing parachuting with UK Reserve Airborne Forces, he earned USA, French and Danish Wings as well as UK APJI Wings, and trained in High Altitude Low Opening (HALO). John then joined the Metropolitan Police sport parachuting team, and he also competed with the Mustgetbeers and Philishave Teams, with whom he was National Champion.

Serving on British Skydiving Council for over 25 years, including as Competitions Chair and later Chair of Council, he was then elected as a Vice President, and represented British Skydiving on the Council of the Royal Aero Club.

John is now our UK Delegate to the International Skydiving Commission and has served as FAI Controller and Jury Member at various World Meets. When not carrying out such international duties, John is highly experienced as Head of our UK Delegation.

Vice President

John Lines

Vice President

John was first elected to Council in 1985, becoming Treasurer in 1987 until 1990 when he became Chair of Council and served in the role for 2 years

His first jump was a static line descent, at the old Midland Parachute Centre DZ at Bickmarsh, near Stratford on Avon. A windy day (not over limits of course) John was dragged along a ploughed field after landing, not put of by his first experience John went on to become the CCI MPC.

In his Skydiving Career he has completed almost 3000 jumps and just under 30 hours in freefall. John enjoys Relative Work and CRW with a keen interest in instructing having held Advanced and Tandem Instructor ratings for many years.

Vice President

John Hitchen

Vice President

John undertook his first jump in 1956 as an airborne soldier in the Parachute Regiment. His first sport jump was in 1973.

John served as a Council member before becoming NCSO from 1983 until 2013. STC Chair until 2016 and is currently Vice-Chair of STC. An Instructor since 1975 he achieved advanced, examiner, tandem, AFF and rigger ratings. With Tony Butler, John was paramount in establishing the training courses for AFF and Tandem Instructors.

A National/FAI Judge for 25 years, John has judged at 7 WPC’s/Cups and been a Chief Judge at 2. Served as the IPC Delegate/Alternate Delegate for 34 years and a member of the IPC Style and Accuracy Committee for 30 years; 16 as Chair or Vice-Chair. He also served as FAI Controller at 10 World Meets and Jury President/Member at 6.

Advisers

Dr Jake Hard

Medical Adviser
Aviation Adviser

Tony Knight

Aviation Adviser
Safeguarding Adviser

Sara Orton

Safeguarding Adviser
Governance Adviser

Amanda Bennett

Governance Adviser
  • UK Delegate to the International Skydiving Commission (ISC) of  Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation: John Smyth MVO
  • UK Alternate Delegate to IPC: Craig Poxon
  • Delegate to the Royal Aero Club (UK National Air Sports Control): Martin Soulsby
  • Alternate Delegate to the Royal Aero Club: Craig Poxon
  • GASCo Rep:  Kieran Brady
  • Safeguarding Adviser:  Sara Orton
  • Archivists: Graham Spicer & Andrew Hilton