Strategic Oversight is provided by the Presidents, who each represent their Service, and the Vice-Presidents, who are the current and former Chairmen/Honorary Treasurers. This group meets formally at least twice a year and is kept abreast of current developments by the Chief Executive Officer. The group comprises:

Senior President

Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader KCB OBE ADCClive Loader 300pix

Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader joined the RAF in 1973 and was posted directly to Harrier Force from flying training. Following tours of duty in Germany and the UK, including displaying the Harrier in 1984/85, he commanded the Harrier squadron 1993-96 and an RAF base (Laarbruch) 1996-99. He took part in Harrier air operations over Belize, Falklands, Balkans and Iraq. Staff tours included Personal Staff Officer to Commander-in-Chief Strike Command, Air Commodore Harrier (RN sand RAF), two further Joint services appointments and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Strike Command.

He served his last tour of duty as Commander-in-Chief Air Command (the only remaining Command in the RAF) 2006-09. He was Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire 2012 to 2016.


Richard Ibbotson 300 pixVice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC DL

A Yorkshireman who joined the Navy in 1972, Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson retired in 2011 as Deputy Commander in Chief. He was an underwater warfare specialist who spent much of his career at sea. His achievements included an MSc in Defence technology, the award of a Distinguished Service Cross following mine clearance during the first Gulf Conflict, command of British Forces Falkland Islands, the award of the NATO meritorious service medal for counter terrorism work post 9/11, and command of Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. His current roles include Chairman of South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, engagement with Plymouth University (from whom he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2010) and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon.


Lieutenant General Andrew Figgures

Educated at Loughborough Grammar School, Welbeck College and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Andrew Figgures was commissioned into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1970. In 1995 he was appointed Commander of Equipment Support at HQ Land Command from where he was deployed to Bosnia, for which he was awarded the CBE.

In 1998 he went to the Royal College of Defence Studies and was then appointed Director of Operational Requirements (Land). In 2000 he was appointed as Capability Manager for Manoeuvres and then in September 2003 he was deployed to Iraq as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq. In 2004 he became Technical Director at the Defence Procurement Agency and Master-General of the Ordnance. In 2006 he became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Equipment Capability).

From 2009 to 2016 he was Chief Executive of the British Transport Police Authority.


Dominic Fisher

Dominic served with what became the Light Dragoons from 1984 to 1988 in Cyprus and Germany and then became an investment manager. From 1992 to 2001 he managed the Officers’ Association’s investment portfolio at Mercury Asset Management, where he was also head of the group that invested for charities. After leaving Mercury in 2001 he had a variety of investment jobs and set up Thistledown Investment Management in 2009.
He was a Trustee of the OA from 2002 and Chairman from 2006 to 2015. He sits on the Board of the Armed Forces Common Investment Fund and heads its investment sub-committee.

Captain Patrick Mitford-Slade OBE

Following service in King’s Royal Rifle Corps/Royal Green Jackets 1955-1968, Patrick Mitford-Slade became a stockbroker with Cazenove & Co. He was on the Council of London Stock Exchange 1976-1991, including a period as Deputy Chairman from 1982 to 85. He was Chairman of various City and Stock Exchange Committees, including the Projects Committee for Big Bang in 1986 and also served as non-Executive Director with investment companies and banks 1996-2008.

He was Chairman of Governors at Reed’s School 2002-2008 (now a Joint President), Chairman at St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy 2001-2011 (now a Vice-President), Chairman Royal Green Jackets Regimental Trustees and then Rifles Regimental Trustees 2005 to 2012. He was Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League from 1993 to 2005 and subsequently Honorary Recorder until 2016 (now a Vice-President). He was a member of The Royal British Legion Benevolent & Strategy Committee 1998-2005. He became a Trustee of the OA in 1983, acting as Chairman from 1985 to 2000 and became a Vice-President in 2000.

Alex Spofforth BA FCA

Chairman of the Executive Committee

Alex Spofforth 300pixAlex Spofforth BA FCA

Alex was educated at Bradfield College, from which he was a member of the GB Athelings Rifle Team to Canada; then Durham University (during which time he toured Northern Ireland, entertaining the troops with a Durham University revue group).

A partner at Spofforths LLP, a firm of Chartered Accountants in Sussex, he has a wide portfolio of clients including many property and construction, and media businesses as well as a number of charities (including the Coldstream Guards Regimental Funds for some 20 years, and its Association; also the British Schools Exploring Society).

He has been company secretary of Project Hougoumont Limited, a charitable company raising funds for the restoration of the Hougoumont chateau at the field of the Battle of Waterloo.

Based at Spofforths Brighton office, Alex was Chairman of the Southeast Technical Advisory Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and is now on the Council of ICAEW, sitting on various technical sub-committees and sustainability initiatives. In Spofforths, Alex has also chaired the firm and currently acts as an adviser and mentor to clients on Sustainable Business strategies.




Trustees on the Executive Committee are:

Air Vice Marshal Steven Chisnall

Ben Farrell MBE

Commissioned into the Irish Guards, Ben Farrell held commands during the invasion of Iraq, in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

He was awarded an MBE for his service in Kosovo. He commanded The Irish Guards between 2008-2010.  He then held a variety of strategy roles in the Ministry of Defence for a number of years and led the team responsible for the day to day running of the British military operation in Iraq for two and a half years.  He has a Master’s degree from Cranfield University.

He joined the John Lewis Partnership as Group Head of Operational Risk Management in 2011 and was responsible for developing the John Lewis Partnership’s resilience and awareness of future risks to successful trading. In February 2014 he took up his current role as Head of Operations for John Lewis.

Jonathan Holdsworth

Jonathan Holdsworth was commissioned into The Queen’s Own Hussars in 1992 and served in Germany. He was Group Operations Director for a global media company based in London before getting involved in a couple of start-ups in 2016. He was appointed a Trustee of the OA in May 2012, particularly to support the Employment Department.

Commander John Lea RN

Surgeon Commodore Robin McNeill Love

Dr Robin McNeill Love joined the Royal Navy in June 1981. Graduating from medical school in 1984, he went on to become a Consultant in Occupational Medicine in 2005 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2014.

During his career, Dr McNeill Love has served in several of Her Majesty’s ships, including as Principal Medical Officer in HM YACHT BRITANNIA (1992-4) and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS (1995-7). He was Commanding Officer of the Royal Naval Hospital in Gibraltar between 2002-6. Promoted to Surgeon Captain in 2006 as President of the Naval Service Medical Board of Survey, he oversaw medical employability, or invaliding, of significantly ill or injured RN and Royal Marine personnel. He also served as Deputy Defence Postgraduate Medical Dean (2009-10) and as Assistant Head of Medical Policy at the HQ of the UK’s Surgeon General (2011-13). This role involved policy creation for UK Defence Medicine with strategic implications and he was the UK delegate to the NATO Military Healthcare Committee. In 2011 Dr McNeill Love attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.

In 2013, Robin McNeill Love was privileged to be appointed an Honorary Physician to HM The Queen (‘QHP’) and then promoted to the rank of Surgeon Commodore as Head of the Royal Naval Medical Service.

Since 2015, Dr McNeill Love has been working as a Consultant Occupational Physician advising employers and consulting with patients in the City of London. Since 2016, he has also worked in Occupational and Aviation Medicine for the UK’s National Air Traffic Services.

In December 2016, Dr McNeill Love was elected as the UK’s nomination for membership of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) and in February 2017 he was elected as a Vice-President of the Commission.

Mrs Jocelyn Lynch

Jocelyn Lynch spent over 30 years in financial services; first, building businesses with the military at Strand Insurance and Wilsons Hogg Robinson, both market leaders in offering general insurance and financial planning products to officers in the Army and the RAF. As a company director, she then set up and built the financial planning arm for Horwath Clark Whitehill (now Crowe Clark Whitehill), Chartered Accountants, with branches in Reading, Kent and the City, over 12 years. She specialised in tax and investment planning for high net worth clients, and advised several charities and professional bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers and The Salvation Army.

Now retired, she mentors at The Prince’s Trust, and has been actively involved in their major fundraising scheme. She has also been a mentor and visiting lecturer at Oxford Brookes University’s Business School.

Major General Martin Rutledge CB OBE

Major General Martin Rutledge’s 35 years of Military service included commanding a battlegroup during the Bosnian conflict; a lengthy period underground in the operational headquarters during the Iraq and Kosovo campaigns; several tours in Whitehall; serving as Security Adviser to the Kosovo Government as they gained independence and holding a £2.8bn infrastructure PFI to account as the lead customer. In his last role, with responsibilities for much of the Army across Wales, Central and Eastern England, he was especially engaged in support to Service casualties and their families, and in particular the Personnel Recovery Programme.

He has been Chief Executive of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity since Feb 2012 and sits as a Trustee/Director on the boards of the OA, Cobseo, FIMT, the Armed Forces Common Investment Fund, the Army Dependants Trust and others.

Richard Sankey

After a brief first career in commercial property, Richard Sankey attended RMA Sandhurst and was commissioned into the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, now The Royal Lancers following amalgamation in 2015. He left the army in 1998 and studied for an MBA at Cass Business School before moving into the investment management industry. He has worked for several companies in this field and is currently with Psigma Investment Management advising charities, endowments and other institutional investors on their portfolios.

He is a member of the Drapers’ Livery Company in the City of London and sits on the committee of the Old Tonbridgian Society.

Alastair Singleton JP

Alastair Singleton read Modern Languages at Cambridge, followed by a three year contract with the Royal Hong Kong Police, serving as a Detective Inspector in headquarter units. He spent eight years in HM Diplomatic Service, covering variously Southern Africa, the Far and Middle East, and spent a long period as an Arabist, working out of the Cairo Embassy.  On leaving, he obtained an MBA from INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration).

He became an executive search consultant in 1988, initially as Operations Director in the UK’s largest consultancy, and latterly as a Founding Partner of Hanover Fox International. He has broad experience of interviewing and advising officers leaving the Services, and extensive charity governance/trustee exposure, including with VSO, CleanupUK and Keep Britain Tidy.

Mrs Diana Stephenson

Following a degree in  Psychology and English from Keele University, Diana Stephenson obtained a postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics and  joined Gallahers as a management trainee. After subsequently working for the public relations consultancy, Good Relations, she formed her own agency, Flagship Consulting, in 1994, where she is now Chairman. In 2010 she became a founding Director of Annuity Direct Ltd, a specialist independent financial advisory firm, which was bought by the investment powerhouse Fidelity. She was subsequently asked to stay on to run Fidelity’s retirement marketing and did so until March 2016 when she left the company.

In 1994 she was appointed by the Cabinet Office to Chair the South London Branch of the CEPD (Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities) and appointed to sit on the Strategic Advisory Board of Mencap in 1998. She also runs a specialist interview training service for graduate and senior executives to coach them on interview and presentation techniques.

Mrs Deanne Thomas

Deanne Thomas trained as a chartered accountant, working predominantly in food manufacturing. During a 20 year career working in PLCs, she was promoted from Trainee Accountant to Financial Controller to Commercial and Operations Director.  She then spent a number of years as a consultant providing valuable financial skills during business reorganisations. She has also volunteered with the Prince’s Trust as a Business Mentor for former prisoners.

In 2007 she moved away from industry and joined Sailors’ Children’s Society. As Chief Executive, she leads the team providing financial, emotional and practical support to over 450 disadvantaged children of seafarers throughout the United Kingdom.


Further details on the governance, resourcing and operations of the Officers’ Association are to be found in our Annual Report and Accounts.