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The Board of Trustees

As with any charity the Road Victims Trust relies on its trustees to ensure that the appropriate policies, procedures and resources are put in place to enable our staff and volunteers to deliver the service to clients.  In addition they hold the Chief Executive to account for the use of those resources to ensure they are used in the most efficient and effective manner to support the clients. Our trustees bring a wide range of skills and experience to bear as well as providing a good geographical spread of the areas we cover to ensure our service meets the needs of all the communities we serve.

Ian Pears


Ian is a solicitor, qualifying in 1986, and partner in the Bedford & Northampton firm of Park Woodfine Heald Mellows LLP. Ian is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Panels. He is also Assistant Coroner for Bedford and Luton and a Trustee of the Northampton & County Community Law Service. In his spare time Ian is a gongoozler

Bob Panton (Treasurer)


Bob is a Chartered Secretary and was one of the founding trustees of the Road Victims Trust. He has been Treasurer since the start of the Trust. Bob spent the early part of his working life with a large conglomerate but since then has provided financial services to local SMEs. He has been a trustee of the Holiday Homes Trust for over 20 years. He is an active Rotarian and is also involved in supporting several other local organisations.

Les Ebdon


Les grew up in Hertfordshire and after studying for his BSc and PhD in chemistry at Imperial College, London went on to an award winning career in analytical chemistry at the Universities of Makerere in Uganda, Sheffield Hallam and Plymouth. The latter conferred a personal chair on him in 1986 and he was Deputy Vice Chancellor for 14 years before moving to the University of Luton as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive in 2003. Les led the formation of the University of Bedfordshire in 2006 from the merger of Luton and De Montfort University's Bedford campus and became the first Vice Chancellor. He retired from this post in 2012 and is now the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, an independent regulator reporting directly to Ministers and Parliament.
Professor Ebdon was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year's Honours List in 2010 and Her Majesty's Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire in 2011. Les is a father and grandfather as well as a Baptist deacon and lives in Hitchin with his wife, Judith. He became a Trustee in 2012.

Lyn Hesse (Chairman)


Lyn is a Road Safety Officer with Cambridgeshire County Council. She began working for Cambridgeshire County Council in 1989 for the Education Welfare Service as a Family Officer in areas of high deprivation, supporting children and their families whose situations were often complex and difficult. She joined the Road Safety Team in 2001 as an Education Officer and has worked on numerous campaigns and projects across the County. Lyn has previously worked for Bedfordshire Social Services and has an Advanced Diploma in Counselling from Cambridge University. Lyn has lost a brother and a nephew in two separate Road Traffic Collisions.

Clifton Ibbett


Clifton was born in 1937 and joined the family business in 1956, when the Company was still involved in gravel extraction, house building and farming. In 1967, having actively and very successfully developed the farming business, Clifton took over the running of the group of companies. Over the next 30 years Clifton was responsible for growing and developing the Bedfordia Group from its small beginnings into a large, well-respected and diverse entity – still firmly based in Bedfordshire but by now with representation and trading activities right across the country. Clifton was a founder trustee of the Road Victims Trust (then called the Road Traffic Service) in 1995 and has been involved ever since, for much of the time as Chair of Trustees.

Paul Jones


Paul is Managing Director of a Luton based Electrical Contracting Company - Instalec - and has run the business since 1979. The business carries out installation, maintenance and testing services within education, local council and commercial sectors.
For the past 20 years Paul has specialised in lighting design for historic and church buildings. Through his company Paul has supported the RVT with a golf day every year since 2008 following the loss of his son Oliver in a road traffic collision. He hopes in some small way to help the charity that supported his family at a very difficult time.

Pat Whittome


Pat has worked in education since 1975, originally as a teacher in schools and later as a Computing lecturer in the university and further education sectors. She was Head of Computing at Bedford College before taking the role of Technology Training Development Manager at the college, organising IT and Engineering training for local organisations. Pat retired in July 2013 and she supports the Road Victims Trust in various IT projects.

Tim Sharpe


Tim is a barrister practising from Temple Garden Chambers in London. He started his career at the Bar in 2002 and since then has been predominantly involved in Health & Safety cases, inquests and civil litigation. He represented Balfour Beatty in the prosecutions and appeal arising out of the Hatfield train derailment and since then has represented various corporate clients in relation to Health & Safety prosecutions, ranging from ports to engineering companies and transportation companies. His civil litigation work brings him into contact with cases arising out of road traffic collisions and he represents both Claimants and Defendants in these matters and often appears at inquests arising out of such collisions. In addition to appearing in court, he also advises in writing and in conferences. He went to university in Cambridge and lives in Hertfordshire.

Rosaline Wong


Rosaline qualified as a Solicitor in 2003 and joined Ashton KCJ in 2014. Prior to this she was a midwife and a senior NHS Manager. She has a broad range of experience in clinical negligence claims and specialises in fatal accidents, birth injury, and injuries of significant severity. She often represents families at inquests.
Rosaline’s skills and expertise as a lawyer have been noted by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. She is known for her expertise in birth injury and obstetric cases and has a very pragmatic approach to work and is very determined for her clients.
Rosaline says, "I am looking forward to serve as a trustee of RVT as supporting victims of road traffic collisions is a cause close to my heart. I hope to become more involved in the direction that this charity takes.
In September 2016 Rosaline became a Senior Associate and part of the Personal Injury Team at Knights 1759.

Clifton’s story – how the RVT was started

I was involved right from the beginning when, a couple of years after my two daughters had been killed in a fatal road collision on December 23rd 1982, I was at a Black Tie function in the town. I happened to be sitting next to and opposite the then Director of Victim Support and the then Deputy Chief Constable - and the conversation somehow got around to how did I cope with the loss of my two daughters? I explained that I and my then wife had tremendous support from friends and relations.

I count myself very fortunate to have had very supportive parents, a reasonably strong Christian faith, many friends connected with the church, many friends and business colleagues and not in any way to belittle them many Just Friends. It was an amalgam of all these people with their many and different backgrounds and life experiences which helped us through the first 7-8 months up to the time when my wife left me in July 1983.

After my wife left my son John - then 21 – and I looked after each other. On one very cold February evening in 1984 we both arrived at the back door together. John had had a particularly bad day at work, and he broke down and said "you and mum had a lot of support when the girls had their collision, but nobody realised I had lost my sisters"

As a consequence of recounting this in the conversation it was decided something formal should be set up and we arranged a further meeting - which for a multitude of reasons did not take place for over a year. Eventually it was decided we would start something under the auspices of Victims Support and with the active involvement of the police. A meeting was held to which the great and the good of the county were invited, along with interested family members of recently bereaved persons.

The first office location was in a portacabin in the Bedford Road police station. It then moved to the Victim Support premises in Kempston, and we received great support and encouragement from the Director. It soon became apparent that we did not fit with Victim Support national procedures and in spite of the best efforts of the team we could not get a sustainable working arrangement. Thus the Road Victims Trust was born and the rest from then on has been a real success story.