Meet the team
Hen Harrier Action is a small charity: it has no staff and no premises. Its people are all volunteers, whether as trustees of the charity or looking after particular aspects of our work. Of course, many, many people help Hen Harrier Days in all sorts of ways. We thank them all, especially the organisers of local events. This page is about those making a longer-term commitment specifically to Hen Harrier Action, the central co-ordinating charity for Hen Harrier Days.
Here are the team:
Alan Cranston – Alan has campaigned for more than five years to end the ills associated with driven grouse shooting. He is a trustee of OneKind, a charity devoted to ending animal cruelty in Scotland. He served on the RSPB Council from 2004 to 2009, with a main interest in its education and public engagement programmes, subsequently working on a reserve as a volunteer for a number of years. Until 2016 he was a trustee of Youth Music Theatre UK. A retired senior civil servant, Alan moved to Edinburgh in 2017 where he continues with interests including birding, walking, theatre and the arts.
Andrea Goddard – Andrea is a passionate conservationist living in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Volunteering at the RSPB's Tollie red kite centre from 2011, she graduated in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Science at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Her dissertation focused on the roosting behaviour of Eurasian treecreepers, which led to a feature on the subject on BBC's Winterwatch in 2020. Now working for the RSPB, her spare time is taken up by managing the online wildlife crime campaign group Mad for Wildlife, pressing for a ban on rodent glue traps in Scotland and monitoring raptor nesting for the Highland Raptor Study Group.
Joanne Hodges – Joanne is a retired senior civil servant with a PhD in physics and an MBA. Her Civil Service career was mainly spent in science policy, including working on climate change in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the environment. Before moving to Edinburgh, she was the self-appointed “hen harrier correspondent” for her local RSPB group, writing articles for the newsletter. She is somewhat obsessed with reducing her environmental impact, from transitioning to veganism to wildlife gardening and cutting out plastic. Her other interests include learning to paint, politics, reading voraciously and the Tour de France.
Andrea Hudspeth – Andrea runs Aquila Ecology, based in the beautiful Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and offering walks and tours as well as ecological services. Andrea has always loved nature and all animals but worked first in the service sector and then in adult and further education before taking a degree in Wildlife and Countryside Conservation which included a dissertation on moorland management and hen harriers. She has since worked for the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and others, and volunteered in raptor protection camps on Malta and Sicily. She completes yearly monitoring of breeding raptor species with Tayside Raptor Study Group. Andrea has organised three Hen Harrier Days in Scotland to date.
Harry Huyton – Harry is the Director of Political Strategy for the Scottish Green Party. He was previously Director of OneKind, the campaigning Edinburgh-based animal welfare charity. Earlier, at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Development, he managed the UK Corporate Leaders Programme. Before that, as Head of Climate Change Policy and Campaigns for the RSPB, Harry played a key role in the ban on fracking in national parks in England and Wales and was a steering group member of the Climate Coalition. Harry has an MSc in Environmental Technology and a BSc in Natural Sciences.
Gill Lewis – Gill is an author, writing mainly for children. Her first novel, ‘Sky Hawk’, was published to much critical acclaim in 2011 and further books including ‘Sky Dancer’ have brought continued success. Her stories reflect her passion, starting from her earliest years, for wild animals in wild places. She draws inspiration from the many people and animals she has met during her work and travels as a vet, both at home and abroad. Gill has spoken at a number of Hen Harrier Days and is an advocate for nature in many other ways.
Jenny Shelton – Jenny works for the RSPB’s Investigations Team with the aim of bringing raptor persecution to the public attention and driving change through rallying support. She has a background in media and communications and loves finding new ways of telling stories and engaging people.
‘Only when people know will they care, and only when they care will they be moved to act’.
Dirk Todd – Dirk is a Chartered Accountant and has led finance functions in international organisations in the travel, entertainment and fashion sectors. He has a law degree and MSc in charity management, and held senior finance positions at Save the Children UK. He was treasurer and meetings organiser for a RSPB local group. His interest in wildlife has seen him volunteering with small mammals – on the Vole Patrol – in the UK, and with echidnas in Australia. When he’s not doing anything else, he’s probably thinking about either travel or tennis.
Bob Elliot – Bob was a founder Trustee of Hen Harrier Action and is Director of OneKind, a respected and evidence-led welfare organisation helping to make a difference for animals in Scotland, exposing the cruelty and persecution so often encountered by our domestic, farmed and wild animals. His previous work, over nearly 25 years in nature conservation, included posts at the National Trust for Scotland, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and latterly as the Head of Investigations for the RSPB, managing and overseeing the detection and investigation of serious wildlife crime cases. When not at work Bob can be found leading nature tours, watching wildlife and sea kayaking.
Cathy Robinson – Cathy has been fascinated by wildlife since she was a little girl, keeping caterpillars and ants in the garden shed where she also had a pet frog called Archie, rescued from the family cat. Although her working life as a civil servant took her away from conservation, nature has always been a big part of her life and she is thrilled to be able to volunteer her acquired skills to Hen Harrier Action. Cathy now works as a freelance writer and tutor.
Paul Samuels – Paul is a wildlife and documentary film maker who lives in N.E. London. He has produced material for WWT and RSPB together with items for Hen Harrier Day in 2017, 2018 and 2020. His early career was as a professional violinist but now he works exclusively in the world of film making and his output includes social documentaries on housing and support for the homeless, as well as events like the Great River Race, London. Recording the natural world has been a lifelong interest, beginning with stills photography in his teens and developing into video in the last 10 years.
Debra Williams – Debra is a self-employed proofreader and content writer working with students and academics in various countries, and UK-based charities and small businesses. She has volunteered for a number of conservation and animal welfare charities over the years, and started volunteering with Hen Harrier Action in 2020, helping out ‘behind the scenes’ with written content for Hen Harrier Day Online and the website in general. Having seen hen harriers on the Dee Estuary and in Scotland, she is pleased to be offering her professional skills to a charity working to protect them.