Meet the team

Meet some of the faces that are working behind the scene on our project.

Jason Leach,

Programme Director

Jason has been working to improve the environment most of his career. He joined as programme director for Unlocking the Severn in 2018. Since joining Canal & River Trust’s predecessor in 2001 he has worked on a diverse range of projects from large-scale canal construction, canal restoration, building, towpath improvements, wetland and biodiversity projects. He secured and delivered extensive third party funding with a large focus on National Lottery Heritage Funding to improve our waterways for people and wildlife. He enjoys working with and motivating teams to deliver more while balancing demanding project delivery tasks with life.

He is committed to environmental sustainability, enjoys the outdoors with his family and keeps fit at his local Crossfit gym. Despite the scale of the challenge of the civil engineering works he is most excited about the education angle, inspiring the next generation to get involved with the environment and perhaps wanting to secure a career to improve it!

Alex Ball,

Senior Project Manager

Alex joined the Unlocking the Severn team in October 2018. She has worked on waterways projects for the last 20 years, most of them on or beside the River Severn. She trained as an architect, joined Canal & River Trust, and soon after moved into a project management role. From 2004 she has worked on National Lottery Heritage Fund funded projects, at Stourport-on-Severn Canal Basins, and on the Montgomery Canal in Powys and Shropshire. Most recently Alex was the project manager for the refurbishment of the National Waterways Museum Gloucester, which included the repair and adaptation of the river barge Sabrina 5 to provide a learning and exhibition space for the museum.
As an outdoors enthusiast, particularly walks with her dog, Alex is excited by the opportunity to work on such an ambitious and exciting project as this on the Severn.

Rich Harrison ,

Programme Manager

Rich has been involved with countryside, community, environment and waterway related projects for over 15 years and has worked on the Unlocking the Severn project since July 2017. Rich joined the Canal & River Trust in 2006, originally managing volunteering projects as part of the Cotswold Canals restoration.

Since 2008, Rich has worked across both contract and project management, managing a wide variety of contracts, projects and programmes across the South West and London waterways. For Unlocking the Severn, Rich manages our programme, reporting, and budgets, as well as our construction works at Diglis.

Passionate about the environment and the outdoors, Rich is relishing the opportunity to bring his project and programme management experience to deliver our hugely exciting environmental project, unlocking the Severn for people and wildlife.

Rosie Croggon,

Education Officer

Rosie joined the Unlocking the Severn team in August 2019 with a background in Geography and education. Rosie graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2015 with a BSc in Geography; and following this she went on to teach A level Geography for four years. Her passion lies in environmental education.

She cares greatly about inspiring young people to connect with the natural world and to recognise their own relationship with it, both on a local and global scale. As the Education Officer for Unlocking the Severn, Rosie is excited to connect children and young people of all ages to the magnificent River Severn and the endangered shad which the project aims to support.
On a personal note, Rosie has her own connection with the River Severn having grown up around it, and she enjoys getting outside through her love of cycling and walking.

Jennie Hermolle,

Communications & Marketing Officer

Jennie joined Canal and River Trust to work on the communications for Unlocking the Severn and has been fully operational in her new role since January 2019. She a wide range of experience developing and managing brand marketing and communications, most recently in the education sector. She is particularly excited by the joint environmental and community engagement elements to this project.
Jennie is looking forward to getting more people inspired by the River Severn and sharing the story of the shad as we work to return this rare fish to its natural spawning habitats.
In her spare time, Jennie loves to be outdoors, often with her active young family.

Steph Wheeler,

Events Officer

Steph joined the Unlocking the Severn team as Events Officer in October 2019. Steph graduated from the University of Exeter with a BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology and has worked in community engagement, outreach and environmental education for the last five years.

Steph is passionate about engaging people with nature and science, and is looking forward to exploring creative and inclusive ways to connect people with the Severn.

She loves to be outdoors, particularly near water, and hopes our events can highlight the positive impact that spending time near blue spaces can have on our wellbeing.

Rachel Davies,

Volunteer Officer

Rachel joined the Unlocking the Severn team in January 2020. Rachel graduated from the University of Chester with an MRes in Wildlife Conservation; and following this went on to work in scientific research. She has a background in biological recording and volunteer management and is excited to start work on a Citizen Science project.

Rachel is passionate about wildlife conservation and helping people to connect with the natural world.

Beth Wilson,

Administration Officer

Beth joined the project in January 2020 with a degree in Geology & Physical Geography, and background in horticulture and the renewable energy industry. She grew up in High Wycombe in the Chiltern Hills, and moved to Gloucestershire after graduating loving the variety that the county and South West as a whole offers! Beth has respect for the natural environment and enjoys being outdoors, either gardening, tending to her allotment, cycling or running.

By contributing to the project, Beth really hopes to connect with the shad, the Severn and its landscapes, and of course the communities that surround it.

Hannah Pasquet,

Events Assistant Apprentice

Hannah joined the Unlocking the Severn team in September 2019. Her apprenticeship is centered around assisting the Events Officer and remaining team with the programme of events for the project. She has an MSc in Ecological Conservation and has experience looking at habitat suitability in wildlife. She has also worked for a variety of charities in a range of roles, including volunteer coordination. She is especially passionate about the conservation impacts that the project will have and how word can be spread through the use of events during the project.

Hannah loves the outdoors especially taking walks and hiking. She was born and raised in the Cotswolds and has a deep fondness for the area, its wildlife and its people.

Pete Savage,

Waterways Environment Apprentice

Peter joined the project as Waterways Environment Apprentice in September 2019 from a background in practical wildlife conservation and grounds maintenance. He has experience volunteering for many wildlife conservation charities, and in his new role will be more involved with delivering volunteer workdays assisting the Volunteer Officer.

Growing up in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, Peter has a love of all things relating to rivers. Fishing, rowing, sailing and walking have all been very important parts of his life and has a keen interest in freshwater fish species. He’s looking forward to monitoring migrating fish numbers and the excitement that will come when the fish passes are near completion.

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