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Our team

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Jessica Bone

Operations Manager

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Shannon Bye

Weaver Tackler

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Lisa Gale

Visitor Experience Manager

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Olivia Goldsmith

Trainee Weaver Tackler

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Sue Tapliss

Mill Director

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Laney (Elaine) Thorpe

Groups and Volunteer Co-ordinator

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Zoë Umpleby

Visitor Experience Coordinator

Trustees

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Andrejs (Andy) Alferovs

Trustee

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Caroline Barber

Trustee

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Christine Beresford

Chair

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Marion Brinton

Trustee

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Samuel Carr

Trustee

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Sharon Egan

Trustee

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Liz Hide

Trustee

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Andy Mason

Trustee

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Sarah Mitchell

Trustee

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Annette Poulton

Trustee

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Kevin Wheeler

Treasurer

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Jessica Bone

Jessica Bone joined the Mill team in 2018. She grew up in Southampton before graduating from Winchester School of Art in 2011 with a degree in Woven Textile Design. She has several years’ experience working in both catering management and retail and now combines this experience with her passion for woven textiles. Besides the Mill, Jessica enjoys arts & crafts, swimming and cooking.

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Shannon Bye

Shannon’s interest in weaving was first sparked in her home town of Norwich. Growing up, Shannon was surrounded by textile history. In 2015 Shannon began her Undergraduate degree at Norwich University Arts, where she discovered weaving and fell in love with it! Shannon joined the weaving team at the Mill in September 2019 learning the process and skills of silk weaving on industrial heritage looms from our Senior Weaver, to continue the tradition of heritage weaving for future generations.

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Lisa Gale

Lisa Gale has spent the last ten years working in museums, combining her enjoyment of history and working with people, in various roles. She now splits her time between working at the Mill and entertaining her young children, she hasn’t worked out which is more demanding!

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Olivia Goldsmith

Olivia joined as a Trainee Weaver Tackler in 2021. She has always had a passion for textile design but found her love for weaving whilst studying for her undergraduate course at Winchester School of Art. She started her weaving career at the mill in September 2021 where she began to learn the valuable skills of silk weaving on our heritage looms. As well as weaving, Olivia loves embroidery, sewing, and reading fictional books.

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Sue Tapliss

Sue Tapliss has been Mill Director since 2012. She is a Curator and experienced Heritage Manager. In her 20-year career in local and regional museums she has been involved in transforming the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery in Basingstoke and now the Mill. She is involved with various community museums within the region and is an Arts Council England Accreditation Mentor for Fordingbridge Museum and Greenham Control Tower and a Trustee for the Royal Artillery Museum.

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Laney (Elaine) Thorpe

Laney (Elaine) Thorpe was born in Farnborough, Hampshire where she worked in publishing before going on to be Director of an IT software training company. Moving to Bradford, West Yorkshire, Laney worked for a debt counselling charity engaging with leaders at all levels to grow the charity centres throughout the UK.

Laney has lived in Whitchurch since 2012 when she began volunteering at the Silk Mill.

She became a member of the paid team in 2013 and is now responsible for co-ordinating our group visitors and volunteers and provides management support.

Laney is a keen crafter (including hand weaving), enjoys reading and watching movies.

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Zoë Umpleby

Zoë joined the Mill team in 2017, as part of a National Heritage Lottery funded post. Zoë has always been passionate about history and museums from a very young age when her parents momentarily lost her at Sherborne Castle as she had wandered off in search of history!

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Andrejs (Andy) Alferovs

Andy has 40 years’ experience in educational publishing, and has worked for the British Library, HarperCollins and a number of book and journal distribution companies. He spent time in North America as a vice president of the US’s largest book distributor. He currently works for a new education technology start-up, Kortext, delivering interactive digital textbooks to university students. Andy has been a Trustee of the Mill since 2019, his interest in textile production stemming from being brought up in Bradford, surrounded by textile mills.

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Caroline Barber

Caroline has been a Trustee since 2014. She has a young family and works part time as an in-house lawyer for a theatre company, her main area of expertise being intellectual property, but with experience of commercial, employment, data protection law and safeguarding. She is involved with various community groups within Whitchurch, and her interests include theatre, live music and playing the harp.

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Christine Beresford

Christine has lived a full and varied life. She grew up in Switzerland and the Channel Islands, and after a few years serving in the British Army and raising a family she returned to full time education to study heritage management. She was a museum curator, manager and consultant for nearly thirty years, during which time she was manager of Whitchurch Silk Mill. Although now retired, Christine is still involved with museums as a volunteer and trustee. She became a Trustee of Whitchurch Silk Mill in 2013 and Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2017.

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Marion Brinton

Marion is an experienced adviser on built heritage matters. Having trained at the Architectural Association in building conservation she has spent her working life in the south-east. She was a founder member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and set up the institute’s technical panel. She works for Historic England and is a passionate believer in the value of the historic environment in enriching our everyday lives.

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Samuel Carr

Samuel is the recently elected Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillor for Evingar ward, which covers the parishes of St Mary Bourne, Hurstbourne Priors, Highclere, Burghclere, Ecchinswell, Newtown, Ashmansworth, East Woodhay, and Litchfield and Woodcott. A passionate advocate for the North Wessex Downs and the Test Valley, his priority is to enhance the natural environment and economic vitality of their communities. A public affairs consultant by profession, with a passion for History and the protection of local heritage, he brings an expertise in planning and communications to his role on the Board of Trustees.

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Sharon Egan

Sharon became a trustee in 2019, nominated by the Town council. Sharon has been a Town Councillor for Whitchurch since 2014 and during that time has been involved in all of the council committees, the council strategy, the Whitchurch Neighborhood Plan and most recently has been working in 2020 with residents on a Health and Wellbeing Plan for the Town. Originally from the Midlands, she moved to Whitchurch in 2003 and has put down deep roots! She started life as a scientist, then became a civil servant. She has worked on many projects and programmes in strategy, policy and delivery during her career.

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Liz Hide

Liz is Director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. She trained as a geologist and palaeontologist, and has been a Curator at the National Museums of Scotland, and Museums Officer for the eight museums of the University of Cambridge. As an independent consultant she has advised museums and organisations nationally and internationally on advocacy, organisational strategy and audience engagement. She is committed to making museums places where everyone feels welcome and can find something that meets their needs and interests. Liz has a long-standing family connection with Whitchurch and with the Silk Mill, and became a Trustee in 2019.

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Andy Mason

Andy became a trustee in 2021, nominated by the owners of the Mill, Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust (HBPT). A chartered building surveyor, currently working in HM Naval Base Portsmouth, he specialises in historic building conservation and is presently working towards RICS conservation accreditation. He joined the board of HBPT in November 2019 and is a trustee at Wymering Manor Trust since 2013.

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Sarah Mitchell

Sarah is passionate about textiles, having studied textile design before changing career track, resulting in her completing an MA in museum and gallery education. Her experience in the arts and heritage sector is broad, though primarily focused on fundraising, with a range of experience across major gifts, events, membership schemes, campaigns, trusts and foundations. She began her career at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and now works for the Tate galleries based in London. Sarah lives in Hampshire and became a Trustee of the Mill in 2019.

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Annette Poulton

Annette studied textiles at Chelsea and Winchester Schools of Art and has worked in woven textiles for around forty years, for most of that time designing collections for commercial purposes and selling internationally under the name DesignZamis. She has been much involved with the planning and teaching of woven textiles at higher education level and still works as a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins. She has been a Trustee since 2016.

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Kevin Wheeler

Kevin is the Mill’s treasurer and has been a Trustee since 2016. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. After many years’ experience in accountancy firms, dealing with small- and medium-sized enterprises, he founded his own firm, Wheeler & Co., in 1991. He has been volunteering at the Mill for most of his 28 years living in Whitchurch. His main interests (apart from family and the Mill) are running his two sports cars, snooker, skiing and walking his dog.

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