Directors and Trustees

The Patron of the Medina Valley Centre is Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White CB, CBE JP.

The Centre’s Directors are also its Charity Trustees. They are all non-executive and unpaid. The current Directors are:

John Wells: Chairman of the Board

John was born on the Isle of Wight in 1950. He left school at the age of 16 to take up an apprenticeship in agricultural engineering. At the age of 21 he set up a small engineering business along with his father and brother on the Isle of Wight. This company has grown over the years to become one of the largest manufacturers of wood burning stoves in the UK. It exports worldwide and employs over 160 people. John, who has a passionate support for the dignity of employment and the encouragement of young people, is Chairman of the Board and a major shareholder of the company. He joined the Board in 2007.

Derek Holbird

Derek has been associated with the Centre since he brought youth groups and school parties here in the 1970s. Until retiring in 2017 he served as Diocesan Director of Education for Guildford Diocese. His department was responsible for the support of 86 Church of England schools, and at various times, parish youth and children’s work, adult education and chaplaincy in Further Education Colleges. He was previously Head Teacher of Soho Parish School in London. He has served on the Archbishop’s Council’s Board of Education, chaired the Association of Diocesan Directors of Education and has held a number of offices in local church leadership. In 2018 he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England and now serves as Curate at St Alban’s Church Hindhead in Surrey. All 4 of his children learnt to sail at MVC and now the family’s love for the Centre extends to all his grandchildren. Derek joined the Board in 2003.

Helen Whitley

Helen retired in 2011 from teaching mathematics in a Surrey sixth form college, where she specialised in progressing students who lacked mathematics qualifications when they entered the college. She qualified as a sailing instructor at the Centre in 1983 and has returned each year since then to teach sailing. Her husband and three sons did their sailing qualifications at the Centre, and all became Centre sailing instructors. Helen joined the Board in 2012.

James Topping

James has been sailing at Medina Valley Centre since he was 13 years old working his way up to instructor level. From that point, he spent many happy summers working as a dinghy instructor and then as a senior instructor. He currently works as the assistant manager for Sport at the University of Southampton. He is the principal of the University Watersports Centre, which incorporates a wide range of activities as well as overseeing the sports grounds and customer service team for the department. They have a membership base of over 10,000 plus a wide range of external users. James joined the Board in 2013.

Kelvin Burke

Kelvin was appointed director and trustee in 2018. He was born in Northern Ireland and trained and qualified as a Chartered accountant in 1980. Kelvin was ordained C of E Minister in Wakefield Diocese in 1999 and became a NHS Healthcare Chaplain in Leeds (LTH) NHS Trust in 2006 gaining a Masters in Healthcare Chaplaincy in 2009. He is married to Jennie and they have three daughters (two married). They moved to the Isle of Wight in 2010 and Kelvin was appointed Senior Chaplain in the I.o.Wight NHS Trust in April 2012. He retired from healthcare chaplaincy in 2018 prior to his appointment to the MVC Board.