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Burnley College Governing Board

Governors make an important contribution to the life of Burnley College and its students, helping to ensure it is run well and serves the needs of local people.

Clerk to Governors – Simone Lomas: [email protected]


David Meakin

  • Governing Board Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Vice-Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Finance Committee Member

David Meakin has been a Governor of the College since 2007. He is Chair of the Governing Board, a position he has held since 2014. A qualified Accountant, David holds a BSc(Hons) degree in Mathematics and enjoyed a 35-year career within the NHS, working in Nottingham, Birmingham and Aylesbury before arriving in Burnley. On his retirement in 2005, David held the position of Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive.

David Brown

  • Governing Board Vice-Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Audit Committee Member

David Brown has been a Governor at the College since 2005. Prior to his retirement, he held the position of Burnley Borough Council Director of Environment, with responsibility for Planning and Environment, StreetScene and Markets Services.

Karen Buchanan

  • College Principal
  • Chief Executive Officer of Themis at Burnley College

Karen Buchanan was appointed as Principal of Burnley College and CEO of Themis in 2017. She was previously Deputy Principal of the College appointed in September 2011. Karen has worked in Further Education since starting as a part time Computing Lecturer at Burnley College in 1986. Prior to this Karen worked as a Computer Programmer and then a Systems Analyst at The Prestige Group PLC, British Aerospace and at Leyland DAF.

Burnley College Principal Karen Buchanan

Jim Sutcliffe

  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Human Resources Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Search & Governance Committee Member

Jim Sutcliffe has been a Governor at the College since 1998, after being impressed by the high quality of education received by his sons who are former students. After leaving Burnley Grammar School, Jim Sutcliffe joined Burnley Building Society as a computer specialist and Audit Manager, transferring to the National and Provincial Building Society, Bradford, as Mergers and Acquisitions Planner and Integration Manager. Before his retirement, he developed his own management consultancy business.


Richard Thorley

Richard Thorley

  • Finance Committee Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Member

Richard Thorley has been a Governor of the College since 1993, when he was Managing Director at Smiths Aerospace. Richard is a retired Director of Kaman Aerospace Group, with headquarters In Connecticut, USA, having had responsibility for Worldwide Business Strategy and Development. A Chartered Management Accountant, Richard also holds a degree in Production Engineering and Management from Loughborough University.


Anita Wright

Anita has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and is an Accomplished Senior Manager with proven results in Housing, Higher Education and wider Public Sector. Her current role is Head of Analytics and insight at Onward Homes. Anita’s expertise is in strategy development and performance analysis.

Philip Turner

  • Human Resources Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Member

Philip Turner has been a Governor at the College since incorporation in 1993. Philip who has been a solicitor since 1980 and retired as Senior Partner of Waddington and Son Solicitors after 24 years in the partnership. He specialises in Criminal Law and continues to work for the firm on a consultancy basis.

Gillian Bardin

  • Finance Committee Member
  • Search & Governance Committee Member

Gillian Bardin has been a Governor at the College since 2018. She was formerly Managing Director of Taylor Patterson, a financial services group based in Lancashire, where her key responsibility was the strategic direction of the business until its sale to an AIM Listed plc. Gillian is a Chartered Accountant and former President of ICAEW Lancashire & South Lakeland. She is currently a NED at Puddleducks Franchising Ltd and an Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University.

Dr Gerald Griggs

Dr Gerald Griggs

  • Curriculum and Standards Committee Member

Gerald Griggs has been a Governor at the College since 2019. Gerald is Dean of Etihad Campus at UCFB. He has worked in education for over two decades, with a majority of this time spent in the Higher Education sector. He is a globally renowned scholar in the field of Primary Physical Education and has published extensively in this area. Gerald is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood and co-founder of the Primary Physical Education Assembly. Gerald is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Paul Henderson

  • Finance Committee Member

Paul Henderson has been a Governor at the College since 2014. Paul is owner and director of his chartered surveying practice. His areas of expertise are in architecture, project management and facilities management. Roles have included that of client Project Manager, responsible for the new build at Burnley College and consultant to large public organisations including Manchester City Council and Lancashire County Council. A former GNVQ Building Studies student at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre, Paul graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a BSc(Hons) in Building Surveying and has completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Fiona Lugiano

  • Curriculum and Standards Committee Vice-Chair
  • Human Resources Committee Member

Fiona Lugiano has been a Governor at the College since 2018. Fiona is Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Ascentis, an educational awarding organisation which she joined in 2002. Fiona has managed a number of areas throughout Ascentis, including Operations, Marketing and Sales, Risk, Compliance and Governance and currently holds specific responsibilities as Company Secretary, Responsible Officer and Director of subsidiary companies. Fiona obtained a degree in Psychology and has continued her interest in both this subject and education by previously teaching at the Open University and more recently having completed an MBA.

Annette Weekes

Annette has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and is Managing Director of a group of Lancashire-based companies including world record-breaking Nelson-based PDS CNC Engineering Ltd, a precision engineering firm and leading aerospace supplier who worked extensively on the Thrust Supersonic car and rebuilt Donald Campbell’s Bluebird. Annette is a Non-Executive Director of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is a Director of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Robinson

  • Audit Committee Member

Richard Robinson joined the College’s Governing Board in 2017. Richard is a Director at a local firm of accountants – McMahon Leggate. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Guy Thomas

Guy Thomas

  • Finance Committee Vice-Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Member

Guy Thomas has been a Governor at the College since 2014. Guy left aerospace manufacturing group Kaman UK in 2014 after six years, initially as Group Finance Director and then as Group Managing Director. He is now a self-employed consultant providing specialist support services to small and mid-sized businesses. Guy is a qualified accountant with many years’ experience both in practice, at Ernst & Young, and Industry with Metrotect Industries plc and Brookhouse Holdings, where he was Group Finance Director.

Steve Wilkinson

Steve has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and brings with him over 25 years’ experience across varied business environments, specialising in manufacturing sectors. Steve is Manager of the Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund at The Growth Company, focusing on supporting the growth and competitiveness of Lancashire’s SME manufacturers. His ethos is embracing innovation and creating sustainable relationships which inspire, influence and initiate positive change.

David Tomlinson

A Director at Uniac, a shared internal audit service for the Higher Education sector, David is Head of Internal Auditing at a range of niche education providers from large metropolitan universities to a Russell Group university. His career spans 18 years, mainly within internal audit working at Liverpool City Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers and TalkTalk with 12 years’ experience in the Higher Education sector. David’s public sector experience was  enriched with experience within in the Telecommunications sector, where he was part of the Cyber Security Leadership team overseeing the Technology and Security Risk function; a Security Compliance function and a Vulnerability Management function.


Our Staff Governors

Curtis Wilson

Curtis is Apprenticeship Recruitment Officer for Themis at Burnley College. As a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice, his project on sustainability raised the College’s green agenda and promoted the Global Goals with impressive results. His position as an Apprentice gives him the empathy required in his day to day role, understanding and helping future Apprentices begin on their path to success.


Our Student Governors



Benji Crampton

Benji is the first Vocational Student to become Student Governor and joined us from Unity College. He is studying Uniformed Services and is a Lancashire Volunteer Police Cadet and a Sergeant in the Cadets. In Summer 2022 he travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia as part of a world challenge 30-day expedition where he helped to rebuild a school. Already an active part of Burnley College life as a Student Rep and Student Councillor, Benji brings a strong sense of teamwork to this role, recognising the important of the Student Voice. He plans to take away vital learnings from this unique experience, developing his leadership skills. His area of focus as a Governor is to dedicate himself to making the College even better and vows to make a difference in his role.

Eshan Bilal

Eshan has a track record of making things happen; from setting up a Medical Society at his high school to being a UK Youth Parliament member. His devotion to youth activism and improving the community, particularly for young people has led him to sit on numerous councils and panels including Burnley and Lancashire Youth Councils, British Youth Council Voice Communications Group and is launching a north west Regional Youth Climate Assembly. Eshan is in the Burnley College Medical Society and Dissection Club, with the aspiration to go onto medical school. He will proudly be a voice of his fellow students and work together with management to improve the College environment for everyone, recognising that making things better is listening to our learners but also being the link between staff and Students.


Governing Board Minutes and Documents

The Governing Body of Burnley College keep a full record of all meetings held, to view the minutes, click on the links below (paper copies available on request)