The Management Team comes from a diverse set of backgrounds. There is a good financial background to many and not all are paddlers. Most are still in full-time employment and they give their time voluntarily. It is safe to say that if it wasn’t for the combined effort of all of the Team, then AquaPaddle wouldn’t be the successful charity that has been created. Click on the links to find out more about them.
Emily King has nearly a decade of racing at the elite level in the UK and Internationally. Coming from a surfing background originally, Emily has been consistently one of the top SUP athletes regularly winning Iconic Elite Races and UK National Race Series. She is currently the GBSUP Technical Series Race Champion in 12’6”.
“It’s a real privilege to become involved with AquaPaddle, it s such a great project which will give so many people the chance to get involved in paddle boarding. It reflects everything I feel passionate about within SUP, allowing people to paddle in a safe and inclusive environments and have the opportunity to explore this amazing sport. What ever reasons people have for paddling it’s going to have so many benefits such as mental health, fitness, being outside and of course meeting new friends and trying new venues to paddle at.
I’d really like to take this opportunity to thank all the team at AquaPaddle for making me feel so welcome, I know that their going to make you feel this welcome too…” Emily King
Brett Scillitoe first paddle boarded in Adakoy in Turkey in 2013 and 3 years later started to paddle more regularly. So much so, that he set up Dittons Paddle Boarding in April 2017 from Ditton Beach in Thames Ditton, near Hampton Court, SW London. The basis of the club was to offer people a go at paddle boarding for free. There were a number of commercial organisations locally charging quite a lot and Brett wanted to get more people involved who might not have been able to afford the high prices.
Roll forwards a couple of years and Brett wanted to widen the benefits of Paddle Boarding to even more people, especially for the wellbeing, mental and physical health benefits of the sport. This is when the idea of setting up a charity first started and would include a regular timed 5k paddle, to help build a supportive community around the charity. Three years later and AquaPaddle is a Charity and a movement. Thanks must also go to Paul Sinton-Hewitt who founded Parkrun, for his help and guidance early on.
Arnold Jager is an internationally oriented business professional with 34 years of General Management, Investment Project Development, Mergers & Aquisitions, and Finance experience. His last full-time position before retirement in 2020 was vice president, Large Project Business Development, Russia, CIS and Africa for Air Products based in Surrey, UK. His career took Arnold and his family to Belgium, Hong Kong and the USA. Arnold’s strengths are in driving growth, developing new business opportunities, supporting diversity and developing the people in various teams he engages with. He has a direct and energetic style as well as strong passion and engagement to deliver results.
Arnold was introduced to AquaPaddle by an ex-colleague, who is now a keen paddler. He was captured by the enthusiasm of the AquaPaddle team, and felt that his strong business development and managerial background could be put to good use to help develop the dreams of the AquaPaddle team into reality. He strongly believes in the ethos of AquaPaddle to help people’s mental and physical health through paddle sport.
I had an enjoyable working life in the engineering industry, but did often look out of office window (remember the office window?) on a sunny day thinking how nice it would be to be out there in the sunshine. Well, when the time came to retire several years ago, I started to go out on my paddle board for an hour or so throughout the year whenever the weather and river permitted. I would typically be on my own on the river in the afternoon, and encounter people on the river bank, walkers with and without dogs, families, fishers, kids coming out from school, and they would often call out to me asking how easy it was, saying that they would not be able to do it, and occasionally saying that it looked cool. My reply was that if I can do it, anyone can, and yes, it is the coolest thing to do on the river. And on top of that, I am now, even though I not do paddle very hard, or for very long, probably more physically fit and resilient that I have been since my youth.
I want to share this benefit and enthusiasm. AquaPaddle aims to do this, on the one hand by building a community of regular paddlers all around the country for the regular 5K events, and on the other by bringing it to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity for whatever reason with AquaPaddle-BlueSpace. I am proud to be a Trustee of this Charity.
Emma Lamb is a qualified accountant who started her career at Deloitte LLP auditing a wide range of organisations big and small. During her time at Deloitte she was seconded to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (“LOCOG”) finance team, where she focused on risk and contract management of third parties – something she continued to specialise in when returning to Deloitte post Games. On leaving Deloitte, inspired by her time at LOCOG, Emma moved to Sport England – a Government Arms Length Body focused on tackling the inequalities in sport & physical Activity in order to help get more people active across England, no matter their age, race, ability or background. Emma is passionate about process improvement and ensuring value for money is top of the agenda.
Emma has always been a water baby, having learned to swim by the time she was 3 and sailing for many years, so SUP was a natural step for her to get her ‘Vitamin Sea’ fix on a regular basis alongside a busy job in the city. She is now found regularly on whatever the closest bit of water is using SUP for both her physical and mental wellbeing. Emma was therefore keen to be involved in AquaPaddle from first hearing about it, and is herself a regular attendee at the Hampton-Moseley AquaPaddle. Emma is especially passionate about AquaPaddle-BlueSpace and the ability this provides to people who might not otherwise be able to enjoy the benefits of SUP and water activities to get on the water and generally be more active!
As an ACCA and PRINCE2 qualified Interim Finance Systems Consultant/Project Manager and highly experienced in leading successful Group finance system transformation for multi-national and SME clients, Peter brings a wealth of knowledge to the Charity.
He has also been the Treasurer for Dittons Paddle Boarding for several years, helping the club grow. With the creation of AquaPaddle, be was happy to help the charity get up and running.
Ed is an Independent Chartered Ergonomics and Human Factors (EHF) consultant. With a background in providing Ergonomics and Human Factors support to the UK H&S regulators (Health & Safety Inspectors and Local Authority Environmental Health Officers). He has worked in HSE for over 15 years as an Ergonomics and Human Factors Specialist Inspector.
Ed joined Dittons Paddle Boarding at the very start and has been a key member of The River Wey Group of club members. He is also a keen SUP Racer, who has competed in a number of GBSUP events around the country. He brings his years of experience in the Health and Safety field to AquaPaddle, to make it as safe as possible for all.
Sara works in marketing and communications for the life sciences sector and SUP is her passion outside of work. She enjoys SUP touring, SUP yoga, SUP Polo and trying anything new that involves being on a paddle board!
Sara joined the AquaPaddle team as chief marketing officer to promote the events through social media and marketing campaigns to spread the word and joy of AquaPaddle to the wider community.
I’m Jo and I help AquaPaddle with Business Development support. I’ve been working for over 20 years in Local Government Strategic Planning, including writing and monitoring business plans.
I am a keen paddler and have found it a great benefit to my physical fitness and mental health. I joined the AquaPaddle team as I am passionate about spreading the benefits of paddle boarding so that everyone can access and enjoy it. And I love the ethos of building a paddling community and providing accessible coaching and 5k paddles for a wide range of people.
Al is our Chief Technology Officer and has 20+ years building websites and software for the web. He’s worked for some big brands such BP and Loreal, plenty of small businesses and startups, and all things in between. He is responsible for creating the AquaPaddle software and for providing technical expertise wherever they are needed.
As a self proclaimed “fair weather paddler” you might see him out on a board during the warmer months enjoying a relaxing paddle but you’re more likely to find him mountain biking along the River Thames towpath instead.
“I’m thrilled to be part of AquaPaddle because I’ve seen how vibrant the paddling community is and know that the project will help it go from strength to strength.”
Sarah is an accomplished entrepreneur and enterprise consultant with over 25 years’ managerial experience in industry. An award winning business leader who has succeeded everywhere from Dragon’s Den to supporting start-ups. She’s determined to remove barriers for other entrepreneurs using her expertise in training and experience gained through a varied and fast paced career.
When Sarah’s not helping businesses she can be found on her paddle board or walking in the great outdoors; ‘ paddle boarding came into my life at a time when I was struggling with my hormones and confidence, it has enriched my life in so many ways and I am delighted to be helping in a small way with Aqua Paddle, introducing other women to the benefits that the sport can have on their mental health’. She’s also passionate about the environment and organic living and loves nothing more than a camping trip with family and friends.
Ben works in Financial Services, primarily in banking and specialises in Operational Excellence / Continuous Process Improvement. Ben is a ‘beginner” paddleboarder at best, but is very experience in watercraft having competed in sweep oar rowing since 1989, Dragon Boat Racing Hong Kong and more recently, skiffing for the Dittons Skiff and Punting Club.
Ben got involved in helping AquaPaddle 3 years ago, as I have cycled and skiffed with Brett, including cycling half of Lands End to John O’Groats. Ben brings experience of timed events from cycling, first aid from rugby and problem solving from my interest in business transformation.