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Meirion HughesMeirion: A Gentleman of warmth, wisdom and wit

Following the sudden passing of our chair Meirion Hughes, tributes quickly came pouring into our offices such was Meirion’s standing amongst older people and those who worked on their behalf.

There were several common themes within these tributes. First and foremost people highlighted Meirion’s warmth as a human being. The impression he gave of himself was that of a real gentleman who had time to talk to everyone who came into contact with him.

Nearly all of the tributes referred to Meirion’s wisdom and how he was the ‘go to’ person when advice was needed before making important decisions. Many were aware of the positions of responsibility that Meirion had held in the past and were eager to take advantage of his experiences and expertise.

There were quite a few references to Meirion’s wit and in particular his warm smile that he brought to every occasion. It came as no surprise that every photograph captures him filling the room with a broad smile.

Within the ageing sector in Wales Merion had many friends. His commitment and passion to improving life for older people was evident to all of us and he will be sorely missed by everyone connected to Age Cymru.

Keith JonesKeith Jones - Deputy Chair

Keith was born and educated in South East Wales before gaining a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. He has experience of working in tourism, housing, and learning and development. He is a former CEO of a charity supporting older people, a former Non-Executive Director in NHS England, and is currently a Trustee of two charities in Wales.

Sian Callaghan

Sian Callaghan

Sian was born and brought up in Cardiff. Now semi retired, she worked for many years in the fields of marketing, public affairs, public relations and media relations. Sian spent almost twenty years with Centrica plc, the parent company of British Gas. Much of her professional life has been focussed on developing communications programmes designed to enhance reputation in complex, highly regulated organisations. She has also worked as a senior civil servant at the Office for National Statistics, and in the third and public sectors, and is a former committee member of Shelter Cymru and a Cardiff based housing association.

Sian is currently a Wales Committee member for the Big Lottery Fund, and also sits on their UK funding committee. She is passionate about good governance and is very interested ensuring the third sector in Wales is as effective as possible.

Peter JW Hamilton

Peter JW Hamilton

Born in Scotland Peter joined the Royal Air Force and following a distinguished career joined the Financial Services sector in London. In 1999 Peter set up his own business in Head Hunting and Corporate Search in London. The business was sold in 2008 when Peter moved to Wales and appointed as Head of Fundraising and Strategic Planning at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Peter is also an international panel consultant for Gerson Lehrman Group Research Inc and a senior member of the Marketing Society of Great Britain and the Royal and Commonwealth Society. Peter was Chairman of Talking Newspapers for the Blind and Vice Chair of Careers Springboard. Also past President of Cefn Sidan Rotary Club, currently Assistant Governor for Rotary International in Wales and an active volunteer at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Hugh IrwinHugh Irwin

Hugh was born in Northern Ireland and moved to Wales in 1994 where he completed a social work degree. Hugh has worked in the health/social care/supported housing sectors for several years working initially at the service delivery level before moving to senior and strategic roles. He currently heads up the specialist housing and support arm of United Welsh Housing Association (called Thrive). He has experience of working with a wide range of service user groups including older people with frailty challenges, disabled adults, people with substance dependencies, people with mental health problems and homeless people. Hugh has a long track record of working successfully on a cross sector level to develop new and remodel existing services as well as influencing policy direction locally and nationally. Hugh has written and presented evidence to the Welsh Government on areas that relate to the care and accommodation requirements of older people and previously sat on a cross party working group on dementia. Hugh was formerly a trustee of Cymorth Cymru. He is currently a trustee of Drive – an organisation for people with learning disabilities. Hugh’s passions include music and sport. He lives in Taffs Well with his wife and three children.

Lyn JamesLyn James

Lyn lives in Chepstow and he is a Chartered Public Accountant.  He recently retired after some 46 years, full time and part time service in local government around the Severnside area. Lyn’s former posts include Treasurer of South Wales Police Authority, County Treasurer of Mid Glamorgan County Council, Deputy County Treasurer of Avon County Council in Bristol and Deputy Chief Executive of Bridgend Unitary Authority. For some years he was a Council Member of the Accountancy Institute, Chair of the Local Government Policy Committee and a participant in national local government funding groups. Lyn is currently Treasurer and a Trustee of Age Cymru Gwent. Photography and travel are his passions and he is kept increasingly busy with his four grandchildren.

Owen was raised in Cardiff and studied law at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He is a solicitor and associate at Cardiff-based law firm Darwin Gray LLP, specialising in employment law. A fluent Welsh speaker, he regularly appears on national television and radio in both English and Welsh, as well as in the written press, commenting on aspects of employment law and HR. Owen is also registered with the Football Association of Wales to act as an agent for football players in the UK and abroad. In March 2015, Owen founded the website, a first-of-its kind Welsh language legal service. He also sits on the board of a Cardiff-based housing association.
Owen enjoys playing and watching sport, particularly football and cycling, and has, in the past few years, run the Snowdonia, Paris and Dublin marathons.


Desmond PerkinsDesmond Perkins

Extensive experience of Chairing many organisations and well informed on matters relating to public bodies. A founder member and former Chairman of Newydd Housing Association. Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Community Health Council for 8 years and Chairman for 2 years. Also Chairman of Welsh Association of Community Health Councils.

For 20 years Desmond represented Wales as a lay member of General Optical Council U.K. Whilst there at times chaired their Disciplinary Committee. Initiated an Internal Audit Committee and member of their Finance and Admin Committee.

Supporter of Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern and active in resolving and campaigning on numerous issues. Desmond is currently the elected Chair of Age Cymru’s Consultative Forum.

Hilary WisemanHilary Wiseman

Hilary was until her retirement, Head of Diversity UK and Europe for HSBC Bank plc. She then set up a management consultancy. She was a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with an MSc from the University of Portsmouth. She is a JP and a former Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve and was awarded the Reserve Decoration.

A keen scuba diver, Hilary lives in Mold, Flintshire.

For more information: Contact us 029 2043 1555

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