SUES Committee 2023/2024

Alan Potter

Dr Alan Potter (Chairman)

I have been associated with learning throughout my career, first in schools, then with local authorities and currently, my own business. On early retirement, I took the opportunity to research into understanding quality learning in later life and set up This brought me to SUES, and on to the committee, where I enjoy the programmes on offer and make contributions, particularly using my science background. My other interests include going horse-racing, watching rugby league and overseas travel, with writing poetry and lichenology being particular passions.

Roger Mitchell

Roger Mitchell (Secretary)

I was both born and brought up in East Lancashire and my wife and I now live in Aughton, West Lancashire. In between, I have been to University at Oxford and Bristol and worked in Warwick and Huntingdon. I have been teaching history for more than 50 years – first in schools and then at King George V College, here in Southport, where I was Vice-Principal in the 1980s and 1990s. I have, more recently, worked for Continuing Education at Liverpool University, for The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) and for lots of other groups. I have a particular interest in, and passion for, Country Houses.

Peter Firth

Dr Peter Firth (Treasurer)

Following my retirement after 35 years in the international meat trade, I gained a doctorate in 2011, researching medieval church and papal history. My thesis concerned the formation of the College of Cardinals in the later eleventh century. I went on to lecture to undergraduates at Chester University for one year immediately afterwards. My involvement in SUES stems from working for the University of Liverpool, Centre for Lifelong Learning and I have also given talks to several Newman Association Circles.

Dr Margaret Boneham

I was born in Birmingham and studied Geography at Liverpool University, subsequently teaching in secondary schools. Following a move to Leamington Spa, I undertook a further degree researching the lives of older Sikh women in the town. Since settling in Southport over 30 years ago, I have worked in Higher Education, firstly with the Open University and then at the University of Bolton as principal lecturer and latterly as Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing. I have a passion for travel, studying art and learning new languages.

Jacqui Henshaw

Born in Watford, Hetfordshire, I moved north when I got married in 1969 and later trained as a primary teacher having spent time in the insurance Industry. I taught pupils from 3 to 11 eventually becoming a Headteacher and subsequently an Independent Ofsted Inspector and an educational consultant. I also ran an online and direct sales business selling a variety of puppets to educational establishments and the general public. My great interests are art, drama, history and literature especially poetry. I found SUES by word of mouth and attended spasmodically at first. Now, a regular, I love it – especially the variety of subjects offered.

Dr Chris Nelson

Dr Chris Nelson (Membership Secretary)

I was born in Leeds, grew up in Hertfordshire and studied in Guildford and Southampton. I spent most of my working life studying – and then working to prevent – diseases associated with occupational exposure to noise and vibration. I worked at the Institute of Naval Medicine in Gosport, then as a Specialist Inspector with the Health & Safety Executive in Bootle, and finally provided an expert witness service for personal injury claims until retirement. Alongside all this, I’ve had a life-long interest in folk music and I enjoy singing, playing the fiddle and organising Southport’s famous Bothy Folk Club.

Jill Newsham

Jill Newsham

I was born in Southport where my family was in business but my career has taken me all over the country. However, I remain a passionate Sandgrounder. I initially worked for several hotel groups then moved into management development, principally with the Debenhams Retail. Having always had an interest in art and design, I completed a BA, then an MA, in Antiques and Design at the University of Central Lancashire leading me to teach on the Masters programme until I retired. My specialism is in 20th century glass and ceramics and I am also currently in my second year as joint chair of the Southport Arts Society.

Mary Ormsby

I was born and brought up in Scarisbrick and after studying chemistry at Durham University returned to the area to work in the R&D department at NSG / Pilkington. I spent my whole career there working on things as diverse as contact lens manufacture, organic photochromics and heat reflective coatings for vehicles and buildings. I have a great interest in English history, local history and genealogy and after discovering my great great, great grandmother was a kitchen maid at Scarisbrick Hall in 1841 and her husband was a gamekeeper there I became fascinated in the history of the hall, estate and family. What started as a hobby has become an obsession.

Christine Vasey

Born in Yorkshire, l finally settled in Southport in the 1980s. After leaving Cambridge with a degree in literature, I spent several years teaching English language and literature in further education including English as a Foreign Language. I moved on to become a senior lecturer at Liverpool University then the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. I have travelled extensively and since retirement worked part-time for the English Speaking Board. I have been a member of SUES for many years with an abiding passion for literature, history and art and I also enjoy playing tennis, walking, gardening and trying to improve my Italian.