Meet our people

At HF Holidays, we put people at the heart of everything we do. Here’s an introduction to our senior members who help drive our defining principles: friendship, fun, fresh air, and the feelgood factor.

Meet our board

As a co-operative, HF Holidays is governed by a board of 12 volunteer Directors who are elected by the Society's members. This board sets the strategic direction of the company and is made up of members who have a passion for walking holidays in the UK, Europe, and beyond. Collectively, our board aims to reflect the interests and background of the wider membership. Individually, Directors offer professional or commercial expertise. 

If you think you’d make an ideal candidate, we are currently holding Board elections and looking for candidates with experience in the following sectors travel & tourism operations, property development, hospitality management, procurement, marketing & sales, business processes, and digital marketing technologies.

Each Director serves on one or more of the board’s committees, which are aligned to the Society’s strategy: People, Product, Performance, Membership & Governance, and Audit & Risk. Their roles are to enable Directors and members of the Senior Management Team to consider matters in more detail than is possible during a board meeting, including the appropriate strategic objectives and goals and to make recommendations to the board. 

Ben Reid
Ben ReidChair
Having joined the Society in 2013, I’m a relative newcomer to HF Holidays but I have felt at home from the start. I love the ethos of a member-owned business run by and for the benefit of its members. I have enjoyed several HF Holidays in the UK and overseas and the one constant factor has been the quality of our volunteer leaders. We need to ensure that this important element is at the heart of our future plans.
Stephen Guile
Stephen GuileVice Chair
It was my privilege to serve as a director from 2018 to 2022. I worked with our highly committed CEO, staff, and fellow board members whilst we developed our current strategy, ‘Building our Tomorrow’. As Vice Chair I want to drive success over the next four years by improving our holidays, viability, and workplace.
Linda Haydon
Linda Haydon
I took my first HF Holiday in 2013 in the Lake District and have been on five further holidays since then – four in the UK and one most recently in Puglia, Italy. I have always been impressed by the enthusiasm and loyalty shown by both the leaders and house staff. The group members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, but all share a love of walking and the outdoors.
Stephen Swift
Stephen Swift
My senior-level experience of the leisure industry includes holidays, hotels, and restaurants. This involved strategic planning, property, digital technologies, and financial performance. Professionally I was a main board member of the National Trust responsible for all its commercial activities including holidays and hotels and Chief Executive of a major animal rescue charity. I am passionate about HF Holidays and believe I have the right blend of professional skills and experience to help take the society forward.
Richard Drury
Richard Drury
HF Holidays has been an important part of my life since I was a child, so this is something I’m keen to help preserve and extend. At the same time, I also see the need to evolve, be competitive, and support the company’s recovery from the impact of Covid-19. I have been fortunate to work as a Board Director for the past two years and believe I bring both professional experience and proven contribution.
Rebecca Horlock
Rebecca Horlock
Having enjoyed HF Holidays from childhood, I am looking forward to introducing my own young family to all that HF Holidays has to offer – the sense of community, coupled with fun, exploration, and exercise. I value the opportunity to volunteer my time and expertise to keep this very special organisation thriving for many more generations to come.
Keith Sellens
Keith Sellens
For 35 years I have been involved with HF Holidays as a guest, member, and more recently, a leader. Our family have derived great fun and fellowship from HF Holidays and its continued wellbeing and development is close to my heart. My focus will be on maintaining the core values of inclusivity and sociability garnered throughout our history whilst ensuring that we are fit and ready to continue providing excellent value holidays.
Robyn Lynch
Robyn Lynch
Of Irish heritage and trained as a lawyer in New Zealand, I believe that everyone, especially women, should be able to enjoy all the benefits of our society. I have spent my professional life as a solicitor helping others achieve that goal. As a single woman, I am acutely aware of the limitations this status can put on taking holidays with confidence. I want to ensure this aspect of membership is addressed and the single women in our guest base are represented.
Andrea (illy) Illingworth
Andrea (illy) Illingworth
I am fairly new to HF Holidays but as a walk leader and member I already feel part of the community. I bring a fresh pair of eyes and a collaborative leadership approach. I have a service industry background, having worked for the NHS for 36 years in a variety of roles. I value the opportunity to apply my skills and expertise at a strategic level, supporting HF Holidays to continue to lead the way for unique walking holiday experiences both nationally and internationally.
Jerry Gould
Jerry Gould
Although I’m a relative newcomer to HF Holidays, I have much to offer. With a background in leisure management and later as a partner in a large professional services firm, I have a range of skills and experience that will support the Board in delivering its strategy for growth. I have significant board and committee chairing experience, having served as an NHS Trust Non-Executive Director for over 10 years. I am also a Cotswold Voluntary Warden.
Manuela Gordea
Manuela GordeaSociety Secretary
Although I only recently joined HF Holidays, I already feel part of the team. Our Board members are dedicated and experienced professionals whom I consider it a privilege to work with. My legal education, knowledge, and commitment will contribute to the future success of the Society. When it comes to walking, my favourite destination is Scotland, especially St Andrews. A stroll along East Sands Beach is a must-do and it’s made all the better by stopping for an ice cream and spending time admiring the view.

Senior Management Team

The Board of Directors delegate the day-to-day running of the Society to the CEO and the SMT who are each responsible for a particular area of the Society. The CEO reports to the chair of the Board.

David Harrington
David HarringtonCEO
Working for HF Holidays has been life-changing. In fact, I even met my lovely wife here. My first HF Holiday was to Alnmouth in Northumberland where the highlight was walking barefoot to Holy Island. I’ve been passionate about what we offer ever since. Looking to the future, I want to bring stability, growth, and success to the business, without losing the features that make HF Holidays so special – shared holiday experiences in the great outdoors.
Justine Gibbs
Justine GibbsHead of Finance
I've just celebrated my six-year anniversary with HF Holidays. My goal is to leave our finances in a much better place than I found them. I’ve had a long career in finance spanning over two decades and have always enjoyed working in the hospitality industry. I’ve visited our much-loved Monk Coniston country house in the Southern Lake District several times, but the stunning views, fantastic food, and wonderful guests never fail to amaze me.
Rob Carroll
Rob CarrollHead of Product & Tour Operations
Product is my passion and after a decade spent helping to fuel the engine of the world’s largest rail tour operator, I want to broaden the horizons of HF Holidays and offer our guests more outdoor experiences than ever before. By embracing the legacy of HF Holidays, our talented and committed team will create new adventures in the UK, Europe, and beyond. After a long day of walking in the Yorkshire Wolds, I love a roaring fire, a comfy seat, a pint of mild and good conversation either in an old-fashioned country pub or at one of our welcoming country houses.
Rob Box
Rob BoxHead of IT Transformation
My first HF Holiday is one I’ll always cherish. I took my dad to the Southern Lake District for his 70th birthday and we stayed at Monk Coniston. We enjoyed gentle strolls around the lakes and climbed the Old Man of Coniston – the highlight of my dad’s holiday. At the end of a walk, nothing beats a cold pint and a packet of crisps. My goal for the continued success of HF Holidays is to refine our strategy and bring in suppliers who understand our ethos and ultimately add value to the Society.
Andrew Turner
Andrew TurnerHead of Commercial & Business Development
Although I’m brand new to HF Holidays, I’ve been working in the travel industry for 16 years now and look forward to helping us grow our profitability and invest in the future of our country houses. One of the most amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to is Antarctica, but as a huge foodie and a big Bakewell Tart fan, the Peak District is my favourite place to explore. There’s something very special about it and nothing beats a brisk winter walk in the Peaks finished off with a refreshing pint by the roaring fire at the Devonshire Arms in Beeley.
Toni Douglas
Toni DouglasHead of Hotel Operations
I’ve worked in hospitality for 25 years, both here in the UK and abroad. I also completed Cornell University’s coveted General Manager programme in New York. I believe HF Holidays has unique values that put people at the heart of everything. Since joining the business in 2021, I have tried to inspire our hotel teams to treat guests to a home-away-from-home experience complete with incredible food, genuine care, and attention to detail. Our long-term goal is to ensure our country houses are fully sustainable and well-maintained so that they can be enjoyed for generations come.
Ali Bull
Ali BullHead of People and Culture
Having worked in the travel, retail, recruitment, and hospitality sectors, I bring a wealth of experience to HF Holidays. I’m excited to work with the People Team to further enhance the workplace benefits we offer. As for walking, my favourite spot is Hastings. I love the combination of hills and sea views and believe it’s the best of both worlds, especially when paired with a whipped cream hot chocolate at a seaside café.

Honorary Officers

Elected by Members of the Society at the annual general meeting, our Honorary Officers are comprised of a President and a maximum of eight Vice Presidents. They shall all be Members of the Society and selected upon the recommendation of the Board.

Helen Boaden
Helen BoadenPresident
After my first HF Holiday, I felt like I had discovered a glorious secret and boasted of it to my elderly auntie, Stella. She burst out laughing and told me that she had been a member of HF Holidays for over 50 years! After working at the BBC for 34 years, and becoming the first female Director of BBC News, I’m now in retirement. When I’m not out walking, you’ll find me chairing the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and the Windsor Leadership Trust – a charity devoted to good leadership. I love the landscapes the UK has to offer and as President of HF Holidays, I celebrate the variety of stunning coast and countryside experiences we offer every day.
Keith White
Keith WhiteVice President 
I enjoyed my first HF Holiday in 1978 at Milford-on-Sea and was instantly impressed by the sense of fellowship – something we are still known for today. Ten years later, I was first elected as President and was re-elected every year until standing down in our centenary year in 2013. I have had the privilege of being the longest-serving President in the history of HF Holidays. My executive career was in the international trade and development sectors, and I now advise and mentor directors and entrepreneurs. I love taking walks along the Thames Path because you can watch the wildlife on the water and admire the grandeur of Hampton Court Palace.
David Gray
David GrayVice President
My family all became members of HF Holidays in October 1948, and I will celebrate 75 years of membership in 2024. I also led many walks as an HF Holidays Leader, and while there are so many excellent walking locations to choose from, I’ve always been very fond of the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog). On a clear day, Pen y Fan enjoys brilliant views and the range from Crickhowell to Hay on Wye has some outstanding trails. I love the sense of community HF Holidays offers and as current chair of the HF Holidays Retired Leaders Association, I help organise its annual reunion.
Bob Gomersall
Bob GomersallVice President
My first HF Holiday was at Tywyn (mid-Wales) in 1961, aged 11. I started leading for HF Holidays in 1969 and I'm still going strong today. The rugged hills and vast lochs of the Scottish Highlands make it a wonderful place to walk, and you’ll find me at Glen Coe every summer and again at Christmas and New Year. A standout spot for me is the Holly Tree on the edge of Loch Linnhe, which, on a sunny day, takes some beating. I’ve served on the board for 32 years and I’ve still got the same passion for HF Holidays that I first found as a boy all those years ago.
Angela Brassey
Angela BrasseyVice President 
After many happy years as an HF Holidays guest and member, I served on the board from 1994 to 1997 and was delighted to be made an Honorary Officer as Vice President in 2018. My favourite walking destination is probably the High Pyrenees, where my husband and I (Peter Brassey, former CEO of HF Holidays) have spent the last 35 years walking and skiing. Now, in my later years, I’ve found that rail holidays in the mountains are becoming more attractive. In summer, there’s nothing quite like a trip to Switzerland’s Bernese Alps where a handy network of cable cars allows us to trek through the mountains with ease.
Joyce Hilton
Joyce HiltonVice President
Ever since working my first summer season as a leader in Scotland, HF Holidays has been a huge part of my life. Fast forward to today and I've served 28 years on the board and have been enjoying HF Holidays for over 60! While I’ve walked in incredible places all over the globe (including a trip to the Himalayas), there’s something special about the Scottish Highlands. My husband and I love Glen Coe and our country house, Alltshellach. When leading walks in the area, it was always a pleasure to see the delight and sense of achievement guests felt when completing a summit of Ben Nevis.

Our Values

Our Board live and breathe our Values as part of the way they work.

Company values