BEARR News – about our patrons and volunteers

Farewell to…

Sir Jonathan Miller

The Trust notes with sadness the death in November 2019 of Sir Jonathan Miller CBE, international cultural icon but also a long-standing Patron of The BEARR Trust.

Deborah Manley

Deborah was a founding member of the BEARR Trust, and a strong supporter of our work as a Friend up until her death in January. She was also a prime mover behind the Oxford-Perm link, one of the pioneering ventures that, following the demise of Communism,  supported Perm’s fledgling civil society and promoted a positive change in attitudes towards and care for people with disabilities in the region. Deborah’s emphasis on professionalism in the voluntary sector influenced BEARR’s own development and also shaped the many organisational development projects we ran in the early days. While BEARR’s founders were initially preoccupied with delivering emergency aid, Deborah was an early proponent of building and strengthening networks of NGOs: it was her idea to have the annual BEARR Conference, which has run in London every year since. She would undoubtedly have approved of BEARR’s more recent initiative to hold regional conferences and workshops.

We are delighted to welcome…

Our new patron

Michael McCulloch

The Trust is delighted that Michael McCulloch has agreed to join its distinguished band of Patrons.

A childhood in Kenya, a school emphasising public service, and degrees in History from Cambridge and International Relations from Yale were the foundation for Michael’s career in international development policy and finance.

Joining the Civil Service through the open graduate entry, he spent thirty-two years in a combination of the Department for International Development and/or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

A wide variety of fascinating roles included policy-making and financial management in Whitehall; an overseas posting in Bangladesh; representing Britain at international organisations; serving as Principal Private Secretary to the Minister; and a dream posting, leading a team of specialists based in Nairobi, thus sharing Kenya with his family.

With the collapse of the USSR Michael changed direction, to lead the Know How Fund, a joint aid and diplomatic venture promoting political and economic reform in Central and Eastern Europe. After five intense and exciting years working closely with reformers, he went as UK Executive Director to the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, an engaging and rewarding role to conclude his full-time career.

There followed “non-retirement”, a portfolio of paid, pro-bono, and non-professional activities. Michael was a Trustee and then Chairman of The BEARR Trust over a period of seven years, at a time when it was becoming difficult to obtain funding for projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He guided the charity through a process which enabled it to re-focus and ensured its survival.

Michael’s current preoccupation is leading, with his wife Robin, a group launching a community shop and café in their Cotswold village. Now that it is successfully opened, they look forward to rebalancing their lives and, perhaps, pursuing a long-postponed interest in the three Abrahamic faiths, as well as having more time with family and grandchildren.

Michael McCulloch

Our new volunteers

Nathan Dampier

Nathan graduated with a degree in History and Russian from the University of Nottingham in 2017. He spent a year abroad living in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don, and was last in Russia for the World Cup in 2018 (on the right in the photo).

Nathan has been helping BEARR with fundraising, tweaking the new website and at the annual conference. He also has a keen interest in Russian film and volunteers with the Kino Klassika Foundation, which spotlights Russian language and eastern European cinema.

Nathan (right) at the 2018 Football World Cup in Moscow

Serian Carlyle

Serian became interested in the region when she worked as an EFL teacher in Chelyabinsk, after which she went on to study Russian at SSEES.

Serian researches relevant news items for the BEARR website. She is also Officer for the TB Europe Coalition. And she researches the depiction of gender in Russian and Soviet film.


Eleanor Hemming

Eleanor studied Russian and History at Edinburgh University, and during her degree lived for a year in Kazan, St Petersburg and Kyrgyzstan. This is what sparked her interest in Eurasia and brought home many of the societal issues faced by families she lived with there.

Eleanor has since volunteered with Ukrainian migrants in the UK, with a Kyrgyz woman’s cooperative. She is thrilled to be able to help BEARR with translation work.


And…new horizons for BEARR’s finance volunteers

BEARR relies on professionally qualified volunteers to prepare our accounts and ensure that they meet Charity Commission standards. For the last few years we have been fortunate to have had the support of Carolyn Davis as Honorary Treasurer, and Malcolm Mowat as Examiner.

Malcolm retired after completion of the 2018 annual report. We would like to thank him for his generosity in giving his time, and for his observant and helpful surveillance of our accounts.

We are very pleased to announce that Carolyn Davis has offered to step back from her role as Treasurer in order to become the Examiner. We are delighted that Carolyn will maintain her interest in BEARR, and we would like to thank her for the many hours of work she has already volunteered over the years (not to mention travelling long distances!). BEARR trustee Ross Gill has replaced Carolyn as Treasurer.

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