Committee

Shirley Matthews - Chairman

Author of "Thyme & Tide" - The island cook book with over 60 recipes based on over 10 years of volunteering on Skokholm Island as a cook for many of the work parties. It also features some popular desserts and sweets that I have served during the Friends Reunion held yearly in Cheltenham for the past 10 years.

Mark Burton - Vice Chairman

I first visited Skomer when working as the boatman for Dale Fort Field centre in 1994. I then started to work as part of the Skomer Marine Reserve team based at Martins Haven and also work evenings on the Dale Princess. The Islands are a part of my daily life now and being on the Friends Committee has allowed me to help support the Wardens on both Islands and share my love of these very special places with a wider range of people.

Carol Collins - Secretary

My interest in the islands began in the late 1960s when, as a student, I spent a couple of summers helping with research on Skokholm’s house mice. I fell in love with the island, but other aspects of life took over and I didn’t visit again until 2004. By this time I was a librarian and it seemed only natural to get involved with the library and archives. Thus I found myself on the Friends Committee and involved with the Archives Project.

John Walmsley - Treasurer

Having always been a keen naturalist and having visited Skomer since the 1960s, I was delighted to become involved with the Friends when I moved to Pembrokeshire 10 years ago. I became treasure quite soon and have taken part in many work parties on both Skokholm and Skomer.

Anna Sutcliffe

I first visited Skokholm with Steve Sutcliffe in 1977, it was the first island I ‘looked after’ catering for visitors for week in 1979, experiencing the infamous Fastnet Race storm in all its fury. I became a member of the islands committee and during the goat removal from the island Steve and I met John Lewis and the ‘Friends of Skokholm and Skomer’ was created. By then Steve and I then jumped islands on to Skomer where I lived and worked, doing field assistant work and research for Edward Grey Institute and Sheffield University [1986-the end of 1994] as well as bringing up our son Ben. I am an island addict [over 55 islands visited round the World] and am a ringer and ecologist running my own business. I promote ‘our’ islands through lectures and sharing my seabird and island knowledge with love, enthusiasm and by mimicking bird sounds! I am involved in the Photographic side of the Archive Project.

Steve Sutcliffe

My first visit to Skokholm was back in 1962 and I have been more or less obsessed by the Pembrokeshire islands ever since. With John Lewis I was instrumental in setting up the Friends in late 1981 and have been involved ever since. I was warden on Skomer from 1986 to 1994 and have been much involved with the Skokholm restoration work from 2010 to 2014 and continue to organise the annual work parties there. I sit on the WTSWW Islands Conservation Advisory Committee.

John Lewis

Irene Payne

Wendy James

Assisting with deliveries for the Skokholm restoration project back in 2009 started a passion for the island. I helped with the re-establishment of Skokholm as a Bird Observatory and sitting on the Friends committee provides a link between the two. As a bird ringer, my visits to the island are focused on work with the birds so am usually found to be up at all hours and windswept! I am keen to promote the work and fellowship of the Friends so information and pictures to share on social media are always gratefully received.

Renate Thome

I first visited the islands in the 1980s and was a short-term volunteer on Skokholm in the 90s. I fell in love with the islands and have never recovered from my infatuation. The start of the Skokholm renovation coincided with my retirement from full-time work and I was able to join about a dozen work parties. Around that time I was also elected Chair of the Friends. In 2014, I had the privilege to work as a volunteer on Skokholm for three months.

Tim Healing - Editor

I did my PhD on the Skomer Bank Vole, starting in 1971 and have been working on the voles ever since with at least one visit to the island each year (except when Covid intervened!). I am also doing some work on the bank voles on Ramsey. I have been a member of the Friends Committee for many years and am the joint editor of Island News. I am also a member of the WTSWW Islands Conservation Advisory Committee.


Mike Penny - IT

A chance visit to Skomer in the summer of 1969 and a twenty five year pause has kept me visiting as a 'vol' most years ever since the early nineties. As an architect I was pleased to help with advice on building strategies and when repair work started on Skokholm discovered the delights of the 'lower' island too. I am still an amateur when it comes to wildlife, but it is always a pleasure to meet experts from whom I learn more and chatting to all the different kind of visitors. Making wildlife accessible is so important.

Phil Blatcher - Co-editor

I love the Welsh islands. I first visited Skokholm as a guest in 1987 and have now had 40 wonderful visits. I am a keen birder, with a few paintings on the famous toilet wall. During the renovation project on Skokholm I joined 10 work parties. I led digitisation of the bird logs dating back to 1927. In 2016 I had the privilege of working on Skokholm as long-term volunteer for 3 months. I also re-instated the vegetation quadrats on the island. Over the past 5 years I have also enjoyed stays on Skomer digitising the bird logs there and helping build the new hide on North Pond.