“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart .”

– Elizabeth Andrew

Behind every charity there is a Board of Trustees. These Trustees are the unpaid – and often unsung – heroes of the charity sector. Our Trustees are so passionate about supporting the military community, that they voluntarily give up their own time to oversee the running of The Ripple Pond. They all work incredibly hard, making hugely important decisions about how we operate, and about the services that we provide to our Members. Theirs is a vital role, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them.

brigadier andrew wood


Brigadier Andrew Wood has served in the Armed Forces for 40 years, having begun his military career with the Royal Naval Reserve during the Falklands campaign in 1982.


After an initial four years served in mine countermeasures as a seaman, Andrew transferred to the Territorial Army, in order to conduct bomb disposal training as a sapper in the Royal Engineers.

Andrew commissioned as an officer at Sandhurst in 1992, and shortly after qualified as an Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operator. Andrew saw active service commanding the EOD detachment in Bosnia in 1997, and subsequently served on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. His final role was as Deputy Director Land Warfare.


Speaking of his appointment as Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Ripple Pond, Andrew said:


“My time spent in the ranks has served me well – it has shaped me as an officer over the last thirty years, allowing me to better understand the pressures facing young service men and women. Whilst service personnel and veterans face numerous challenges, their service families are often facing challenges of their own. It is for this reason that I am passionate about taking on the role of Chair of Trustees, in order to serve more service families.”



Rachel is our human calculator!

She’s an accountant with a public sector background, so has a passion for getting the numbers right when it matters most.

Having worked directly alongside a mix of military personnel within each service, supporting operations and deployed personnel, Rachel understands how essential The Ripple Pond is.

The support families dually provide and need is typically out-of-scope in military planning; an overlooked essential. This is what inspires Rachel to work with The Ripple Pond on continually developing and growing a secure support space for those who need it. The collective work of TRP is driven by small actions providing real change.

When she’s not working, Rachel spends her time running races and being bossed about by her dogs.



David is currently the Director of Fundraising for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, having previously held roles with City of York Council, Cancer Research UK’s National events team, St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield and, more recently, as Head of Supporter Fundraising at Help For Heroes.

David had no hesitation in applying for the role of Trustee at The Ripple Pond, and hopes that his 20 years in fundraising will be of benefit to our team, supporters, and beneficiaries.

One of David’s proudest achievements was being part of the 2012 Olympic Games organisational team, and having responsibility for key stages of the men’s and women’s cycling and outdoor swim. Strangely enough, David’s appearance on the Channel 5 remake of ‘It’s a Knockout’ doesn’t feature on his list of proudest moments…!

Outside of work, David is a big ice hockey fan – playing, coaching, and watching. When he’s not driving up and down the country to play in freezing buildings at ridiculous hours of the day (and having people hitting compressed rubber at almost 80mph at him!), David enjoys nothing more than spending time with his partner, three children and their Labrador, Ashbee.


Media and Communications

Jess has over 15 years PR, Communications and Marketing experience, working with a variety of consumer, corporate and third sector brands including McDonald’s, Jaguar Land Rover and Age UK. Having started out in London, Jess then moved to Wiltshire to join Help for Heroes when it was in its infancy and spent 10 years working within their Communications & Marketing team. There she had a particular focus on encouraging veterans and their families to seek help and also led the charity’s rebrand and brand development work.

Jess’s career to date has given her a passion for people and brands with purpose. She believes in the power of a team and is inspired by people achieving things they never thought possible.

Coming from a military background with her father, grandfather, uncle, aunt and husband having all served, Jess joined The Ripple Pond in November 2020 as she wanted to combine her passion for the Armed Forces Community with her Marketing & Communications experience.

Outside of work, Jess enjoys spending time with her 3-year old daughter, running, good food and getting to see the rugby when she can.


Simon is a serving member of the British Army, and was very seriously injured in 2010, during his first of two tours to Afghanistan:

“Having got married in the months after injury, I have first-hand experience of the recovery pathway, and the impact that the process can have on the loved ones of the injured person. Critically, my experiences also exposed the gap in support available to adult family members of injured personnel.

I saw how such a service can improve the ability of these loved ones to care for the injured person, and to cope with the complex and stressful situations within which they can find themselves.

When the opportunity to join TRP came up, I jumped at the chance to help drive positive change on this issue. I am determined to keep highlighting the importance of supporting those who support current or previous members of our Armed Forces who have sustained physical injuries or mental ill health due to their service – you’re an inspiration.”

Jackie Watts

Jessica Cheesman

Member Representative

Jessica Cheesman has been a Ripple Pond member from the beginning. She is a mother of severely brain injured Serviceman who was injured in 2007 in Basra Palace, Iraq. Jessica has three other children all of whom were deeply affected by their brother’s injury. She is a civil servant working for the Home Office in Westminster and worked closely with the MOD in early 2000 until 2010. She has experience of working with Ministers and challenged the Veterans Minister to review the compensation payment to injured Servicemen and women. This was subsequently increased.

She is passionate about the quality of care currently provided for veterans and access to NHS services.   Juggling work, home, challenging the after care for her son, volunteering to run the canteen for her local Little League football teams every Saturday, and looking after her family takes a bit of organisation but she still finds time for orienteering, fitness and exercise, reading, cooking, and being positive.

 Jessica looks forward to being a Trustee and helping veterans and their families.