About Us


Nigel Thirkill, Chair Person

I have been running our own business providing engineering services to FMCG producers and global brands. Prior to that a range of senior roles with experience in managing teams, problem solving and business management. I am passionate about maintaining a “heart” for our village that makes CF more than just somewhere to live.

Mike Wright, Vice Chair

Qualified as an accountant my whole working life has been involved in food and catering. Working for THF as the Commercial Director of Little Chef, and later owning my own food retail businesses. I became a Fellow of Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene. My contribution to the group has been to provide advice on the commercial proposal from the prospective tenants and work on the CBS process, prospectus and share issue. I have lived in Church Fenton for 15 years and am an avid Manchester City Supporter.

Sue Babington, Secretary

A founder member of the CFCH Feasibility Group, as Secretary, I am responsible for ensuring all the correct information and documentation is provided to the other members (and other bodies) in order to maintain the smooth running of the Group’s aims and responsibilities.  I am the link between the Parish Council and the Feasibility Group.   

I am a very experienced Executive Personal Assistant, having worked at Asda Head Office in Leeds for 16 years, as Assistant to Logistics Executive Director. Before retiring, I worked as PA to Managing Director of Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance.  

I was born and bred in Leeds, and have lived in Church Fenton 18 years, moving to the village in 2000.  I enjoy all aspects of community and village life.  I am a member of the volunteer team for Church Fenton Community Cafe, making and serving food to the community, and I currently work part time, as an Examinations Invigilator at Tadcaster Grammar School.   I am a passionate team player, and happy to help wherever I can, but my family will always come first!

Helen McHugh, Treasurer

I have lived in Church Fenton since 1999.  Prior to that, I grew up in Barkston Ash, so it is fair to say I know the area very well.  My husband, Dominic, is also a ‘local’ and we have two children who attend the village primary school. 


I have many fond memories of the White Horse and know a few tales too!  It has been a place to make memories with friends and family, and I would like to see it back up and running at the centre of the community.  

I work as Practice Manager for Holmefield Veterinary Clinic.  I feel I bring to the Group my knowledge of running a small business.  Holmefield Vets has just completed major renovation works at its Brayton branch (which I oversaw), so I can bring my learning from that experience too.  As well as being a member of the CFCH Feasibility Group, I have also volunteered as Treasurer on the Friends of Kirk Fenton Committee in the recent past , which has taught me new skills and experience of working with community groups and fundraising. 


I am a founder member of the CFCH Feasibility Group, and have taken on the role of Treasurer.  To date, my main involvement has been helping with the preparation of the Business Plan, providing a lot of the financial information and documentation, as well as actively being involved with the preparation of the tenants’ lease documents, setting up and managing the website and Facebook page and all other financial aspects that is required for the Group.


Lesley Wright


I have lived in Church Fenton for 15 years and I am keen to ensure we have good community facilities that support all demographic groups in a rural surrounding. 

As one of the Founding member of the Feasibility Group and I have used my expertise as a former national Director in the NHS to develop the business case, Prospectus, register the Community Benefits Society and apply for grants. I have been a former Owner /Director of our two food retail businesses based in Leeds.

I am a member of the WI and volunteer in the community shop. Last year I organised the Macmillan Coffee morning in village hall and had amazing support from the community for this.

Mandy Thirkill

In addition to working in the family business, I support small and medium sized enterprises (SME) from start up to continuity planning, by providing business management support.   I have always worked in financial organisations. I bring a well-rounded knowledge of business processes, strong knowledge of how a business runs, and the requirements needed from start up to year on year growth. 

Ross Higham, Parish Council Representative

- 15 years experience in facilities management, managing a number of office buildings across England with the Highways Agency.  

- 10 years experience in Project & Programme Management, project managing a series of large office relocation projects involving the relocation of hundreds of staff in the major cities in England (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds + many others). 

 - 5 years experience in project managing a variety of ground breaking projects that resulted in the establishment of the national Traffic Officer Service on England’s motorway network

- Currently Licensee at The Fenton Flyer, my first pub, for the past 6 years & all the fun, laughter, grief and occasionally despair that goes with the pub trade !!