Meet The Team

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.

Select Team Member

Brett Scillitoe

Founder / Trustee

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.

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Arnold Jager

Chair of Trustees

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.

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Anthony Wagstaff

Trustee and First Time Lord

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.

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Emily King

Patron

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...”

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Peter Brown

Financial Officer and Treasurer

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.

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Ed Milnes

Safety Officer and Charity Secretary

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.

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Emma Rouse

Marketing Officer

With 23 years of in-house experience managing marketing and communications campaigns for the sports industry, Emma has some stories to share.

Emma has a wealth of experience managing projects and events for the London 2012 Games to crime-busting campaigns for the Police. Driving attendance at the UK's largest sporting events, to artist liaison at sell-out gigs, and managing media relations across the UK and Europe… she's done it all.

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Lynne Ruddick

BlueSpace Advisor

Lynne is working to ensure everyone has access to the physical and mental health benefits of water and nature and founded Ripple Rebels CIC for this purpose.

Her vision is that Blue Therapy should be accessible to every mind and body. Lynne has been exploring open water for more than 25 years as a sailor, scuba diver, kite surfer, swimmer and paddler.

Lynne is experienced in creating the conditions for innovation to flourish in health and social care settings. She is passionate about giving people a voice and empowering communities to solve social problems and reduce inequalities. Her role at AquaPaddle is to bring her years of experience working within the Blue Therapy field to a wider audience and to help more people in need through AquaPaddle's BlueSpace session.

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Henry Carter

Development and Outreach Advisor

Henry used to race kayaks in sprint and marathon as well as taking up ocean racing in a surfski. He has had the privilege to train with and befriend some of the best and fastest paddlers the UK has produced. Henry has coached everything from first-time beginners (Sup, Canoe, Kayak and K1) through to podium seeking paddlers.

These days Henry has swapped racing for repairing and building kayaks. His role within AquaPaddle is in the outreach, growth and development; helping and advising the team on participation and uptake as AquaPaddle continues to grow.

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Al Patterson

Technology Officer

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.

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Sarah Agar-Brennan

Business Growth Specialist

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.

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’.

When Sarah’s not helping businesses she can be found on her paddle board or walking in the great outdoors. She’s also passionate about the environment and organic living and loves nothing more than a camping trip with family and friends.

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Ben Nicholson

Business Advisor

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.

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