Heather Thomas lives in Bakewell, Derbyshire, where she has raised a family and worked for many years as a Local Government Officer. In 2008, she had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda as one of four leaders accompanying a group of 15 - 19 year olds. It was a life-changing trip for Heather, and upon her return, she decided to raise funds for the people of Rwanda. In 2009, she set up the Goboka Rwanda Trust with the help of a few friends - who are trustees to this day - and obtained UK Charity status in 2011.
Heather takes small groups of interested people to Rwanda to see for themselves some of the projects which the Trust has supported, and how life-changing these can be, as well as meeting the people of Rwanda in their own environment. Many of these travellers return home to continue supporting the work of the Trust - hence its success in a relatively short period of time Aside from activities associated with Rwanda, Heather's interests are reading, cinema, music, travel and entertaining, and she runs a weekly keep fit group. A divorcee of many years, she has three grown up children, and one grandchild.
Tony Brennan has lived in Bakewell for 20 years and after many years as a manager in the extractive
industries he now works in research and commercial archaeology. He travelled to Rwanda as part of
a group visit in 2012 and having seen first-hand the profound impact that the projects supported by
the Trust has on local communities he got more involved in fund-raising. He has been the Trust’s
Treasurer for the last four years and has worked with our partners in Rwanda to develop a
structured approach to project identification, prioritisation and delivery.
Following a few early successes from submitting applications for funding support to grant-making
trusts he is particularly keen to develop this aspect of fund-raising activities further.
Married with two grown up children he enjoys the outdoors activities offered by living in the Peak
District National Park, including cycling and paragliding.
Ann Webster has been closely associated with the Trust since its inception. A friend of Heather
Thomas for many years Ann employs her skills as a professional Cook to many of the Trust’s
fundraising events where food is concerned.
Ann is one of our many supporters who has no particular desire to visit Rwanda, but who is very
keen to lend her support to the work which the Trust is doing to help the people of Rwanda – some
of whom Ann has met over the years – and by whom she has been personally thanked for her very
The Trust value the independent opinion of someone who may not be quite so closely involved as
those who travel to Rwanda, yet has worked closely with the Trust since its formation and has
always taken a keen interest in the way it continues to develop.
Ann lives in Bakewell, is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren – and away from child-minding
duties and work, is a very keen gardener.
Phil Bramhall first became involved in The Goboka Rwanda Trust when he overheard a conversation about the work Heather Thomas was doing to support Rwandans and their rural communities. Phil had been looking for an organisation that he could get involved with that was working in Africa delivering practical grass roots projects; an organisation whose projects were driven by people's expressed needs and local community involvement, and where there were demonstrable and sustained benefits.
After meeting Heather Thomas at one of her talks about Rwanda to a community group in Derbyshire and hearing about the projects she had been developing, he decided to visit the country with the next group of volunteers. That was in 2011. Since that date Phil has visited the country on a number of occasions along with volunteer supporters of The Goboka Rwanda Trust.
Phil was instrumental in helping establish the Trust as a UK registered charity, and in 2013 he was invited to become a volunteer trustee. Phil is involved in promoting the charity and developing fundraising initiatives. He co-organised Ride for Rwanda, a charity ride out for bikers to support the building of a health centre in the west of Rwanda and he competed in the Isle of Man 85 mile in 24 hours challenge walk to raise funds for a youth community centre in Rukumbura, a remote village in Rwanda. He is aiming to compete in the challenge walk again in 2018.
Phil lives in North Yorkshire with his family and pet cat. In his day job he manages a social enterprise providing supported work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
Chris worked as a teacher of the deaf, supporting deaf students in colleges throughout Derbyshire before training Communication Support Workers at Derby University. Following several years as Director of Standards for a sign-language examination board he became an editor for an on-line education company, developing programmes to keep children safe on the internet. Just before taking retirement in 2009 Chris spent a year with Village Aid working in schools to bring an awareness of the needs of children in Africa through drama.
Chris visited Rwanda in 2014 with the Goboka Trust and has since supported the group by organising the Safari Supper with his wife Daryl and helping Nick and Eve with the website.
Lesley works as a Teaching Assistant at Bakewell Methodist Junior School and became involved with the Trust after the school's twinning with Kibimba Primary School in Rwanda. She travelled out to visit the children of Kibimba in 2010 and since this life changing experience has become a committed fund raiser.. As well as assisting at events, she organises the Cafe Rwanda and Craft Fair held monthly in Bakewell Town Hall.
Married to the Trust's Treasurer and fellow Trustee - Tony - Lesley too enjoys the Derbyshire countryside and is a keen walker and cyclist.