The members of Springbok Co-op are seeking to protect and enhance their local environment and to mitigate the impacts of climate change by supporting the sustainable development of their community.
There are currently 7 unpaid volunteer directors. All are members of the Co-op as only members are eligible to become directors. All are actively involved in the management of the Co-operative on accounting, finance, energy efficiency, billing, day to day operations and maintenance and purchase and procurement of wood chip.
Mike Smyth MBE (Chair): Mike Smyth has lived in the Godalming area for nearly 30 years. Mike is a solicitor who was a partner at Lawrence Graham, a major London-based firm of solicitors, for more than twenty years, where he specialised in corporate and commercial law. He is now the volunteer Chair of Energy4All, a social enterprise that promotes and organises the community ownership of renewable energy. Until 2012 he was the Chair of Friends of the Earth Trust. He is the current Chair of and was one of the founding members of the Wey Valley Solar Schools Energy Co-operative. He is an acknowledged expert on community renewable energy.
Tom Parker: Tom is Head Gardener at a large estate near Turners Hill, West Sussex where he has been closely involved in the installation of a wood biomass boiler. He has a background in horticulture and arboriculture and originally trained at Kew Gardens. He has a strong interest in the management and conservation of native woodland, particularly in relation to woodland butterflies. He was a governor at Turners Hill School where he was responsible for a number of environmental initiatives including solar power, wind turbines , air source heat pumps , rainwater harvesting, LED lighting and the planting of a community woodland for biomass. During this time the school won 3 national awards, including reaching the final stages of the Ashden Awards. He has used biomass to heat his family’s home for the last six years along with solar thermal and solar PV.
Kathy Smyth MBE: Kathy has lived in the Godalming area since 1984. She is a former property and planning solicitor. She is the main author of the Springbok blog on this website. Kathy is also an elected board member of Community Energy England and a non-executive director of Sharenergy. Kathy and her husband Mike jointly own about 40 acres of mixed woodland adjoining the Springbok Estate.
She was awarded an MBE for services to the community energy sector in the 2017 New Years Honours.
Martin Crane: Martin is Managing Director of Carbon Alternatives which provides technical/commercial consultancy on district heating. He is an engineer by profession and he previously worked for SSE on the technical and commercial evaluation of new district heating schemes for long term operation by SSE.
Alison Austin OBE : Alison worked for Sainsbury’s for 25 years in senior management roles in Advertising & Marketing, Buying and Technical holding the environment remit for over 18 years. After she left Sainsbury’s in 2009 she worked for their Property Division for four years as a consultant supporting the development of their carbon reduction strategy and secured a significant ten year investment from the Board. The strategy covered energy efficiency, renewables (biomass, ground source heat pumps, wind and solar) as well as colleague training in the stores. For the last nine years she has run her own consultancy supporting businesses to develop and implement sustainability strategies with clients in sectors ranging from food manufacturing to facilities management and packaging as well as UK and EU trade associations.
Alison has strong connections with Energy4All Co-operatives. As well as being a member of Springbok, she has also been a member of Wey Valley Schools Energy Co-operative since its inception and some other Co-operatives. At her own home she has solar PV and solar thermal installed since 2010 both of which are still going strong.
Alison was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to sustainable development.
Harry Noyes PhD: Harry set up a food buying co-op whilst at Durham University in the 1970’s, from there he became a founder member of Suma Wholefoods workers co-op, which is now the UK’s largest co-op with equal pay for all staff. He spent 3 years in Central America in the 1980’s first in an agricultural co-op in Nicaragua and then with a human rights group in Guatemala. On return to the UK he obtained a PhD in the genetics of tropical parasites from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Since then he has been employed by the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow researching the genetics of both cattle and humans infected with the sleeping sickness parasite in Africa. His current role is as mentor to 6 African PhD students studying tropical diseases in 6 African countries. While working he completed a degree in Computing and Statistics and has extensive experience of analysing large data sets as well as building dynamic websites that present data from data bases and takes inputs from equipment monitors. He first invested in sustainable housing to support the construction of an Eco-house in West Yorkshire in the early 1990’s and in Energy4All when it started as BayWind and then the Springbok Woodheat Co-op. He moved to Alfold in 2012 and has been active with the Parish Council in the preparation of the Alfold Neighbourhood Plan. He has been working with Tom in the maintenance of Park Copse since 2021 where he is beginning a survey of the plant species.