Trustees & Council

Young Explorers' Trust


Sir Chris Bonington

The Young Explorers’ Trust is delighted to have mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington as its patron. Sir Chris has had an illustrious career in mountaineering since the 1950s, including notable ascents of Annapurna, Changabang and Kongur. Nineteen expeditions to the Himalayas have included four to Mount Everest. His work in the field has been recognised through multiple decorations: in 1974 he received the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal and he went on to be honoured with a CBE, knighthood and CVO.

Trustees, Officers and Council

YET Board of Trustees

The YET is overseen by the Board of Trustees who ensure that the Trust is administered and run in line with its constitution and in keeping with the articles of the Charity Commission. Without exception the YET Trustees each have extensive influence and experience in the world of outdoor education and expedition work with young people. Current Trustees are:

Mike Cross

Mike’s professional career was in the RAF holding a range of junior to senior officer operational, command and staff posts and attaining the rank of Group Captain. In 1993 he was appointed Chief of Staff (CEO) of the Air Cadet Organisation, a national youth organisation of some 45,000 young people aged 13 to 19 and circa 10,000 adult volunteer supervisors. In this role he had oversight of policy development and implementation of ten specialist administrative and activity fields, including adventurous activity, overseas expeditions and two adventure Training Centres. He has extensive experience as manager of a Trust Fund and Governor of two Secondary schools.

Mike has organised and led expeditions in North Borneo (Sabah) jungle plus an ascent of Mt. Kinabalu (1964); some 15 expeditions in the Great Thar, Arabian and Saharan Deserts (1974 to 1991, and 2009); 8 expeditions to the Indian Himalayas (1982/85); Everest (four times), Makalu and Kanchenjunga Base Camps, Mustang and Upper Dolpo in Nepal (post 2004…and still going!); UK coordinator and Deputy Leader – Trek to South Pole (2002/03); and a Participant on expeditions to Peru, Nicaragua and Norway.

Mike became part of the YET Evaluation Service team in 2010 and undertook and passed the BSI ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course in 2011. He has been a Council member of YET and is currently a Trustee with oversight for Awards & Grants.

Bob Schroter

Bob is Emeritus Professor of Bioengineering at Imperial College (notionally retired) and has a vast experience of expeditions and fieldwork abroad. As well as being a current Trustee of YET he has over the years supported the Mount Everest Foundation, BS8848 initiative, Imperial College Exploration Board and Gino Watkins Memorial Fund. He is a member of both the Antarctic and Arctic Clubs and a Fellow of the RGS.

Haydyn “H” Tanner

Vice Chair, FRGS, ML(S), AJSMEL(S), Level 2 SRA White Water Raft Guide, BSAC Dive Leader, involved with the Air Training Corps from youth up and expedition leader for the ATC, Coral Cay Conservation and World Challenge. A qualified ISO 9001 lead auditor and Police Inspector in London, he is also a previous leader of the Princes Trust volunteer programme in Barnet. Co-owner of Pants Rafting, he has rafted in many countries.

Dick Griffiths

A retired Chartered Accountant, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Churchill Fellow 2004, and a member of the Arctic Club. he has spent his life developing young people through the Scout Movement using adventurous activities in remote areas. Early years were in Mountain Rescue, becoming a Searchdog Handler and Team Leader of Derby MRT, of which he is now a life Member, and with two colleagues running a Search & Rescue Management Project in Jordan in 2004.

A member of the Scout Movement almost all his life, Dick is currently Deputy County Commissioner for West Lancashire County Scouts and holds a national appointment as the APR Global Adviser. Over the years he developed an adventure programme for West Lancs and along with taking young people’s expeditions to NE Greenland he has encouraged a culture of overseas travel within the County. In recognition of his services he holds the highest adult award in Scouting: the Silver Wolf.

For over 40 years Dick has organized and led many expeditions in the Arctic to Greenland, Svalbard and Norway and continues to work with a logistics support organization in NE Greenland. Having taken early retirement, Dick became a freelance expedition leader and led expeditions to many other countries as well as enjoying personal overseas travel.

Will Close-Ash

Will is an international mountain and expedition leader and Fellow of the RGS. He has led expeditions to Peru, Bolvia, North and South Africa as well as many mountain areas in Europe. He is also a member of his local mountain rescue team and in 2008 was awarded the Life Saving Medal of The Order of St John for his part in a rescue in the Pyrenees. He has spent 22 years as a volunteer with the Air Cadets, running expeditions, and assesses and runs Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions.

Clive Burgess

Bio to follow

Al Hakan

Al first started venturing outdoors as a young teenager with the RAF Air Cadets, taking up any opportunity to try out the various adventurous activities offered. This passion took his on expedition to the likes of Borneo, Mongolia, Ghana, Ecuador, travelling around the Far East and completing the Mongol Rally in 2014.

He’s been instructing young people for 15 years in navigation and hill walking and dozens of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions as a leader and assessor. In September 2019, he took his professional qualifications to the next level and qualified as a Mountain Leader on the stunning Isle of Rùm of the Inner Hebrides.

He is still active as an Adventure Training Officer with the RAF Air Cadets in North London, Navigation Training lead for a Search & Rescue team and a National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) course director.

YET Council & Officers

The Council of YET is the “working arm” of the Trust and the powerhouse of activity. Trustees attend Council along with a number of elected members to fulfil a representative role for a sector of youth organisations and/or have specific responsibility for at least one area of Trust business.

Members of Council

Mike Blakey representing Air Cadets
Richard Walton representing Army Cadets
Alistair Cole representing Expedition Providers Association
Charlotte Makanga representing Guide Association
Ian Wainwright representing Field Studies Council
Oliver Blomfield representing Outward Bound
Honor Wilson-Fletcher representing National Exploration Societies
Clive Burgess representing Regional Exploration Societies
Jess Kelly representing Scouts
Luke Fairchild representing Young members


Roger Miller FRGS (Company Secretary)
Dick Griffiths
Gemma Wardle (Grants & Awards)
Bob Schroter (Evaluations)
Luke Fairchild (Membership)
Tony Land (Publications)
Paul Rignall (Web Editor)


Shaun Mockett (Insurance)
David Williams (Legal)