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Living Sport Team Members

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Simon Fairhall

Chief Executive Officer

Telephone: 01487 849928
Email: simon.fairhall@livingsport.co.uk

Simon is Chief Executive, responsible for representing Living Sport with key strategic organisations and partnerships, highlighting the contribution of sport and physical activity to a wide variety of political and local agendas and working to attract resources into sport, with the aim of increasing participation.

Simon has been with Living Sport since its inception, having previously led the Cambridgeshire Active Sports Partnership. Prior to this he was a regional and national Youth Development Manager within the sport of Hockey.

Having started his sports career working for the British Polytechnics Sports Association he remained for many years a volunteer in student sport, chairing the Hockey Management Group and managing English and British Universities hockey teams.

Throughout his career he has been involved in large events, foremost of which were volunteering at the 1991 World Student Games, and taking over Nottingham sports facilities for the BPSA Final in March 1992. He was until recently Trustee of Huntingdon Gymnastics Club and responsible for large elements of the fundraising for the newly opened Gymnastics Hall. He is the founder and a Director of Cambridge Junior Cycling Club set up as a legacy of Cambridge hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, and Trustee and Chairman of Kings Cliffe Active where again he is responsible for fundraising to develop this community sports facility and activity.

“25 years working in sport and I have loved every minute – the community of sport; the fun, passion and energy; the opportunities to develop; the achievement. With Living Sport working at a local level you really see the impact and value of sport and this motivates me every day”.

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Claire Thorby

Deputy Chief Executive

Telephone: 01487 849923
Email: claire.thorby@livingsport.co.uk

Claire has been Deputy Chief Executive since January 2014 and has worked for Living Sport for ten years in a number of roles often having a lead for volunteering and education.

She manages members of the team delivering both Sport England and other programmes/interventions including Sportivate, Coaching, Club Satellites, School Games and Events. Claire works closely with the team to ensure we operate across projects and support National Governing Bodies of Sport and other partners to achieve their objectives locally.

Claire leads on work with the Education sector including schools and Higher Education /Further Education and is a member of the School Games Local Organising Committee as well as being responsible for the operations of the charity. Claire is the deputy Designated Child Protection Officer.

Claire’s first career was as a manager for John Lewis, working at Robert Sayle in Cambridge for about 14 years . The departments she managed included stationery & leather goods and toys. After having two children Claire took on an administrative role for her Church.

“I try to keep fit by running, cycling and swimming – all just for enjoyment although I did run a half marathon to fundraise for Living Sport this year. I have held a number of volunteering roles in sport and childrens/youth work and love to see young people progress and achieve all they can. Over the last few years I have spent quite a lot of time involved with Triathlon as that is my son’s sport of choice. I would say there is a sport out there for everyone – just have a go at things and you will find something you enjoy!”


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Sarah Bateman

Operations Manager

Telephone: 01487 849921
Email: sarah.bateman@livingsport.co.uk

Sarah is the Operations Manager for Living Sport. The main duties for this role include supporting the organisation of Living Sport’s Finance, HR, office administration, programmes, projects and events as outlined in the work programme.

Sarah first joined Living Sport in March 2008 as a Workforce Administrator. She comes primarily from an administrative background after previously working for Xerox Office Supplies before taking time out to raise her family.

Sarah is a keen Netball player and got back into the game when she attended a Back to Netball session at her local leisure centre.  Sarah now plays for Hawks Netball Club in Huntingdon and has further  explored her love of the game by becoming a Level 2 Netball Coach. She is now part of the coaching team for the Junior section of Hawks Netball Club.

“I enjoyed all sports at school and pursued netball into my early 20’s. Working for Living Sport ignited my passion for sport and I now play and coach netball and enjoy all sports again. I also get to witness first-hand what great work Living Sport achieves by showing the benefits of how sport can encourage and engage a wide audience and the many benefits it can offer.”


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Rebecca Evans

Relationship Manager

Telephone: 01487 849929
Email: rebecca.evans@livingsport.co.uk

Rebecca is the Relationship Manager, having been at Living Sport from the start in 2007.  The disability role is dedicated to driving all disability sport projects, working with partners in sport and disability sectors to ensure there are opportunities for all to enjoy sport.

Rebecca has worked in Sport in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough since graduating from University in 2004 (Sport Science and Management). Initially working part-time as county swimming development officer alongside finishing her own swimming career and coaching in swimming. Rebecca then moved into an events role at Living Sport initially responsible for the co-ordination of the Youth Games PLUS the East regions biggest disability sports festival for schools and Living Sport’s annual Sports Awards.

Finally leaving swimming behind Rebecca took up a full time role with Living Sport in 2011 to deliver the Sainsbury’s School Games County events and start the Disability Sport Development role. Rebecca competed in disability swimming for 10 years at national and international level until 2005. Rebecca is also past president of Beds ASA. Before taking up full-time hours at Living Sport, Rebecca spent a lot of time volunteering at club level and is a level 3 coach.

“Quite simply sport played a large part in making me the person I am today. So I am passionate about ensuring other people have the opportunities I was fortunate to have, first as an elite performer, but more recently using sport for fun and fitness”



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Michael Firek

Physical Activity Project Manger

Telephone: 01487 849913
Email: michael.firek@livingsport.co.uk

Michael is the Physical Activity Project Manager; having joined the team in May 2017 he is managing the Let’s Get Moving Cambridgeshire project, working alongside five district councils within Cambridgeshire developing the physical activity pathways to engage children and adults to become more active.

Michael is also coordinating the Let’s Go Girls project with a focus on engaging women and girls across the county to become more active.

After graduating from York St John University in 2006, Michael spent a couple of years working at the Paradise centre in Ely before embarking on a change of jobs and location.

Michael re-located to the North East of England where he worked in sports development for a district council then a leisure trust, with a specific focus on health development.

More recently Michael has been working with the County Sport Partnership (Northumberland Sport) where he was the strategic lead for health and physical activity, and he managed a number of contracts for the leisure trust including exercise on referral, cardiac rehabilitation, Health walks scheme and sustainable travel (active travel) project.

Michael has also been integral to a number of key events including the Kielder marathon, Tour of Britain (Northumberland stage) and Northumberlandia Race for Life. He has developed a number of new and innovative projects to encourage participation in physical activity including Doorstep walks, targeted activity campaigns and a post-partum mother and baby exercise programme.

“Sport and physical activity is a big part of my life and I have been through many of the life events that can often derail your active engagement in sport and physical activity including moving house, change of career, starting a family and other external factors. At a younger age I played football, and then when I relocated to the North East of England I played American football, now I play more golf than any other competitive sport and I also enjoy running and cycling. I understand many of the reasons why a large proportion of people are inactive and I’m excited to be in a position to help develop and implement a pathway to support active engagement in physical activity across Cambridgeshire in the future”

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Roz Fitches

Insight Coordinator

Telephone: 01487 849912
Email: roz.fitches@livingsport.co.uk

Roz joined Living Sport in September 2016 as the Insight Coordinator. This new role will coordinate all monitoring & evaluation and impact work across Living Sport, including building the evidence base, in support of Living Sport’s Strategic Plan.

Roz has nearly 20 years experience working in the health and physical activity sector, across policy, research and practice. Most recently she worked as a consultant which included writing a successful £500k grant application to the Sport England Get Healthy Get Active fund, and authored ‘Actively Healthy’ in 2012, Living Sport’s platform (through its evidence base) for investment decisions to support health gain through physical activity.

Prior to this, Roz was the Regional Lead for physical activity for the Department of Health. She fostered positive working relationships in the East of England to encourage cross sector working to improve health and reduce inequalities. To aid this she set up and coordinated the Regional Physical Activity Alliance in 2008 which still exists today.

Roz also has hands-on experience having worked as a Fitness Manager, Exercise Referral Consultant and as a researcher in Sport & Exercise Science when she gained her PhD.

“I am passionate about sport and physical activity. Every week I cycle, run, walk and do gymnastics, and encourage my little boy to be active too. My work interest lies in the interface between policy, research and practice and how I can use evidence to help people lead the healthiest life they can. I get to help do this in my role at Living Sport.”

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Nina Wright

Events Coordinator

Telephone: 01487 849911
Email: nina.wright@livingsport.co.uk

Nina Joined Living Sport in March 2017 as Events Coordinator after working for 12 years in marketing communications in the public and charity sector, she subsequently started and ran two successful businesses.

Nina’s role will be to organise a series of events for Living Sport, including, the Cambridge Bumps hospitality and networking event, The Greater Cambridge 10k race and the annual Sports Awards.

Outside of work, Nina is a keen runner and regularly takes part in races. In addition to running she enjoys yoga, spin classes and skiing. Nina volunteered for several years as an England Athletics Coaching Assistant, supporting junior athletes at her local club.

Nina is passionate about the positive mental and physical benefits of sport, regardless of the ability or age of the individual.

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Joe Notarnicola

Coaching Development Officer

Telephone: 01487 849922
Email: joe.notarnicola@livingsport.co.uk

Joe joined the Living Sport team in October 2016 as the Coaching Development Officer.

In this role, Joe will be aiming to develop the county’s coaching workforce which includes supporting new coaches into their chosen sport and helping coaches learn the skills to be successful.

Since leaving secondary school, Joe has worked in various sporting roles including a Duty Manager at One Leisure St. Ives and at David Lloyd Leisure followed by part time roles coaching for the local Cricket Board and Football Association.

Joe graduated in the summer of 2015 from the University of Bedfordshire, achieving a 2:1 in Sport and Physical Education where teaching and coaching featured heavily within the degree as well as sociological factors within a sporting arena.

Joe continued to coach various sports to all ages throughout University. Joe has also helped to develop a junior development section of a newly formed Cricket Club and developed their in-house coaches to promote interest, keep sessions fun and engaging whilst learning new skills.

“I am a level 2 Cricket and Football coach that loves seeing improvement in people. Coaching is all about making a difference to other people whether that is sporting ability, social interaction, or confidence. If I can support a coach to become better at what they do, I can say I have succeeded.”

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Chris Whitfield

Coaching HQ Coordinator

Telephone: 01487 849912
Email: chris.whitfield@livingsport.co.uk

Chris joined the Living Sport team at the start of December 2015 to take on and oversee all external coaching activity involved within the organisation and help drive Coaching HQ.

This role is dedicated to providing coaches of the highest quality to organisations, schools and local authorities to promote and deliver regular sporting activity. As of January 2017, Chris took on the role of School Games Coordinator, coordinating his first event in March.

Chris had previously worked for a privately run coaching organisation managing and promoting activity within schools and organisations. This role allowed Chris to see all different parts of business handling, from promotion to forecasting and from staff management to session delivery. Chris has also had experience working for organisations such as Peterborough United Foundation, Cerebral Palsy Sport and the Huntingdonshire Cricket Board.

Chris was in fact runner up for the ‘Sky Sports Young Cricket Coach of the Year 2014’. This award was given to him at the National Coaches Conference in front of professional cricketers and coaches. To be in contention for this award, Chris had won the award in the county and then regionally before being shortlisted in the final 3 nationally.

“Since I was young, I had a drive and a passion for sport. From the age of 3 I was holding a cricket bat and everything else just followed.

I started coaching at the age of 16 and I wanted to try and help individuals be the best they can be!”

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Debbie Longhurst

Programme Manager, Workplace Health

Telephone: 01487 841559
Email: debbie.longhurst@livingsport.co.uk

Debbie joined Living Sport in March 2017, taking the Programme lead for Workplace wellbeing managing the Public health funded projects for workplace wellbeing..

Debbie comes from a number of Employer Engagement roles, where she has worked locally with employers most recently Business in The Community (BITC). At BITC she spent 6 years working across the East of England supporting workplace wellbeing with a variety of Public health teams and around 500 employers. Before joining BITC Debbie worked for the Anglian Water group as Community Investment Manager supporting their CSR program managing their Volunteering and Education projects for some 5 years. Debbie also has worked for Business Link in Cambridgeshire where she supported employers through the Investors in People accreditation.

Debbie has her home locally, and is keen to look at how the wider offer from Living Sport can add value to the Physical wellbeing of staff wellbeing across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough organisations. Her new role is looking to support local businesses to improve productivity, through staff wellbeing and has funding to support mental health training and building internal health champions. The project is underpinned by a number of employer led networks to share best practice and ensure momentum within businesses is maintained.

‘Improving wellbeing within workplaces is vital to helping managing the burden the NHS faces with an ageing population and increased migration. I’ve been working with employers for a number of years around wellbeing, they are often unaware of the support, often free available to improve staff wellbeing, from organisations like Living sport and our partners Public health’

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Tom Harwood

Project Officer - Sportivate

Telephone: 01487 841559

Email: sportivate@livingsport.co.uk

Tom started working with Living Sport in January 2017 on a secondment two days a week from team BEDS&LUTON (County Sports Partnership for Bedfordshire). Tom has worked in Sports & Activity Development for five years, delivering successful activity and volunteering projects in Bedfordshire, as well as developing insight and marketing resources.

Tom’s main role is to deliver the Sportivate programme across Cambridgeshire, working with community organisations and charities to reduce physical inactivity with young people. The Sportivate programme is running from April 2017 – December 2017, and looks to work closely with providers to ensure Sportivate can provide sustainable exit route to remain active.

Tom has grown up playing a range of sports including rugby, cricket, badminton and hockey. Activity now include badminton, running, golf and paddle boarding depending on the weather…! Tom also spends a lot of time in countryside, chairing is local Young Farmers Club, playing instruments and painting the odd picture!

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Jayne Thacker

Projects Administrator

Telephone: 01487 841559
Email: jayne.thacker@livingsport.co.uk

Jayne is Project Administrator for the team. Her main responsibilities include administering a number of projects as well as assisting members of the team with their project administration . She also assists with the management of the charity and its trading companies including financial operations and the customer relationship management system.

Jayne joined Living Sport in June 2017 having come from an administration background working for several large corporate companies over the years. For the last 11 years she worked for a local school where she was responsible for analysis of student data, helping teachers to track student progress to ensure they were reaching their expected targets.

“I have always enjoyed playing sport and have a passion for keeping fit and healthy. I currently enjoy running, walking with my West Highland Terrier, Monty, and dancing for Ouse Washes Molly Dancers. I believe that helping people, of whatever age, to participate in and enjoy sport or exercise is extremely important as it can help them to stay both physically and mentally fit and cope with the many stresses that modern day life can throw at us. I am a qualified Exercise to Music and Pilates instructor and teach a number classes a week. It gives me immense satisfaction to see participants of my classes enjoy taking part in group exercise”.

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Lee Hayward

Lee joined Living Sport at the beginning of December 2015 in the role of a Sports Coach.

In this role Lee will be delivering to a variety of different schools, authorities and organisations throughout the county.

Lee started coaching at the age of 17 in a voluntary role with a local football team to follow his passion of playing. After he completed Sixth Form the oppourtiny arose for Lee to follow his passion into a career as he was offered an apprenticeship role with a coaching organisation. In this role Lee was able to gain vital experience and knowledge into a wide array of sports which helped broaden his horizon and experiences. During this time Lee has been able to work with many different organisations including the Hunts FA, Peterborough United Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Sport. Lee has developed his coaching and is able to adapt from mainstream to SEN delivery; from delivering to ages 3 to 19.

“Sport has always been a passion of mine, when I was younger I would play sport whenever I had the opportunity. When I was younger I played football, cricket and tennis. As I got older, football became my main passion. More recently I have started to play squash/racketball and have also started to enjoy running.”

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Ashlea Smith

Satellite Club Project Coordinator

Ashlea joined the Living Sport team in September 2017 as the Satellite Club Project Coordinator. In this role, Ashlea will be aiming to increase the participation of inactive young people aged 14-19 in coordinating the set up of new Satellite clubs across the County.

Ashlea graduated in the summer of 2015 from Loughborough University, achieving a 2:1 in Sport Management. Her career kick started working as a ‘Disability Sport Development Legacy Maker’ whereby Ashlea worked to increase inclusive club opportunities for all across the County. Following this she worked in the FE sector as a College Sport Maker working across two inner city colleges in Leicester creating a physical activity programme aimed at inactive students for both colleges.

Ashlea plays competitive Basketball in her spare time, formerly playing National League for Ipswich Basketball Club, Loughborough Student Riders and Mansfield Giants. She is a qualified Level 2 coach and a Level 1 Wheelchair Basketball coach; and she a wide range of experience coaching in the community. Furthermore, in her spare time she is an acting board member of the ‘Perfect Day Foundation’ Charity who supports providing children in Zambia with safe sport opportunities such as raising money to build sport facilities in deprived communities.

“Sport has always been a big part of my life. I truly believe in the ability of sport and physical activity to change a person’s life for the better which is why I decided to participate in it as a hobby as well as a professional career. Working at Living Sport provides me with the exciting opportunity to influence young people’s lives, providing them with opportunities to engage in physical activity in order to improve their physical, social and mental being.”

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Sally Gibson

Satellite Club Project Officer

Sally joined the Living Sport team as Satellite Club Officer in March 2017 after working in community youth sports development for over 20 years, leading on many sport initiatives including projects connected to the Olympic Torch Relay and Tour De France, establishment of the Cambridge Half Marathon and Street Games Doorstep Sports Clubs when at Cambridge City Council.

Sally also managed sports development projects in deprived communities within the North West of England, managed sports facilities and established sports opportunities for the students at the University Of Derby, worked as Hockey Development Officer for the Active Sports Partnership in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and helped to develop local inclusive sports participation in Cambridge.

Sally’s role is to support the Satellite Club project by encouraging local 14-19 year olds to participate in local sport opportunities. Her role will include supporting local clubs and organisations through application, delivery and monitoring.

Outside of work, Sally spends her time encouraging her three young children to take part in sport; whilst finding time to cycle and play some recreational tennis and hockey.

“I have always been involved in sport for as long as I can remember, from playing hockey and tennis at school, club and county standard when younger. The real turning point for me was volunteering at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games ; which made me see sport in the bigger picture, shaped my career path and gave me the passion to make a difference to the lives of young people through sport”

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