Meet Our Trustees

Howard Thomas

I have been a commercial and property finance broker for over 25 years, based in 32 Friar Gate, right next to the bridge. I frequently commented how sad it was that this beautiful structure was so neglected until one day my stepdaughter said “Well stop moaning and do something about it.”


Our office housekeeper gave me a leaflet about a meeting of the original Friends group and two years later here we are.


I came to Derby, care of Derbyshire Building Society, from Chester where historic artefacts have been more highly regarded and cared for. Friar Gate Bridge is unique and should be high on the “must see” list for visitors to Derby. That is what I want to achieve and with determination and support that is what we will realise.


Meanwhile I try to balance family, (retired wife, dog, two sons, two step children, grand children etc.) business and sporting commitments (football referee). No rest for the wicked!!

Elizabeth  Heaton

Hello.  I am a chartered mechanical engineer and a mum.  I've lived in Derby since 1988, mostly in the New Zealand area, so I've walked under Friar Gate Bridge more times than I can count – and thought, “Something should be done about that!”  When I heard that a group of New Zealand residents had started meeting to campaign for the restoration of the Bridge, I couldn't do other than join them.


To my eyes the Bridge is a lovely structure: elegant, and tastefully decorative.  We all need some beauty in our lives!  It is also designed and made in Derby, and belongs to a tradition of fine engineering of which Derby should be proud.  Like many of us, I find my life is very full up with the demands of work and family and other interests, but I have made up my mind to do what I can towards giving Friar Gate Bridge the future it deserves.

Malcolm Holden

Who I am and why involved with FFGB


I am a keep fit enthusiast and keen squash player, have been married to Joan for 43 years, have one daughter and have lived in Derby since 1982. My qualifications are Bachelor of Commerce, Chartered Accountant plus a degree in Business Excellence. Most of my business career (27 years) was with Bass plc – having held positions of Director of Finance, Director of IT, Director of Management Information and Company Secretary in various subsidiary companies and at Group Finance in Burton. Having retired in 1999 I rapidly became bored and set up a Business/Management Consultancy organisation – Six Sigma Limited – that provides highly structured help to organisations of all sizes in all business sectors.


My passion is helping people and companies – and I do a considerable amount of pro-bono work throughout the year for schools and other organisations. I first met Howard several years ago, through a local business group, and when I understood what he was trying to achieve with the Friar Gate Bridge project this sparked my enthusiasm to help. I was delighted to be appointed a Trustee at the Charity’s AGM in 2016 and am now trying my level best to help the Charity achieve its goal of restoring and securing the iconic Friar Gate Bridge for generations to come.

Gordon Inglis

As a social geographer in my heart, I am very interested in securing Friar Gate Bridge for future generations, given the role it has played in the development of Derby for those that have gone before us.


I have returned to the City following a 30 year sabbatical, teaching across the country and parenting my now, three grown-up offspring. In September I will have the pleasure of being the inaugural Headteacher at the new Derby Cathedral School, which although initially located in Midland House on Nelson Street, will take up permanent residency on the former Friar Gate Goods’ Yard site in 2020.


This simply reinforces my desire to see our local history preserved and enhanced, as the City continues to blend our prestigious history with the demands of the 21st Century.

David Cross

I have always taken a keen interest in Heritage and History, even managing to weave it into my Engineering dissertation. Since then, and having worked across several locations for Rolls-Royce on some specialist infrastructure programmes I thought I could combine my interest with my skills and probably help the Friends of Friar Gate Bridge team out.


Derby is in a really fortunate position and has a proud industrial Heritage, one which made us the central to the industrial revolution, the British rail industry and now also the aerospace industry. While the people of Derby have made this possible, unfortunately, we as people have limited lifespans, however the legacy we can leave behind in terms of physical symbols and infrastructure should not. That is why I think it is really important we protect what we have in Derby and especially the unique Friar Gate Bridge.

Cath Feely

From being a child, exploring the mills of Manchester as they were being transformed for other uses, I have had a particular interest in industrial heritage. This fuelled a passion for nineteenth and early twentieth-century British social history, which eventually led to a PhD in History and my move to Derby to take up a lectureship in 2014. Since then, I have not only become enthusiastic about Derby's rich heritage but have designed an MA in Public History and Heritage in which the city's cultural assets play a central part.


Friar Gate Bridge has so many stories to tell - about people, about technology and about space and place - and I plan to help the Friends of Friar Gate Bridge bring those stories to life, and also involve the University staff and students who live and work so close to the bridge in its conservation and regeneration.

Friends of Friar Gate Bridge is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1163174

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