Green Plant

Our Trustees

Dr. Neill Pillai

Chairman & Healthcare

Dr Neil Pillai is a GP from Ivy Court Surgery, Tenterden. He has been trained to teach Mindfulness based courses at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Oxford University. He is an enthusiastic Mindfulness teacher who is keen to bring the benefits of Mindfulness to the widest possible audience, and has led Tenterden Mindfulness Group as the Chairman since its inception.

Jeremy Cooper

Vice Chair & Legal

Jeremy lives in Tenterden. He is a retired tribunal judge. Between 2010 annd 2016 he was Director of Training for Tribunals in the Judicial College, London, where he was also Joint Dean of the Faculty. He sat as a Tribunal Judge in both the first-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal and was for several years Southern Regional Chairman of the Mental Health Review Tribunal. He is an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Universities of Kent and Middlesex. Prior to becoming a Tribunal Judge he was Dean of the Law Faculty at Southampton Institute. Jeremy currently works as a consultant to the United Nations and the European Union on Judicial Integrity Projects.

Naomi Benson

Children & Young People

Naomi is a trained primary school teacher with over 20 years experience working in both the maintained and private sector in London and locally to Tenterden. She has worked for many years as a volunteer with a range of both local and national charities in her immediate and wider community, supporting children and young people to access a range of services.

She is particularly keen on promoting the practice of mindfulness amongst children and adolescents in order to empower them to cope with the stresses and strains of their everyday lives, at school, at home and in their relationships with friends.

Derek Roger

Free & Assisted Places

Derek spent his professional life in academia, initially in Psychology but then in Neuroscience. He is now retired from academic work but, together with his wife, runs the Work Skills Centre, a training consultancy established to provide a vehicle for the Challenge of Change training programme developed from the research.

They also offer evening meetings in a system of practical philosophy they developed called Enlightened Living, described in a recent book (Enlightened Living: A Book of Being; Austin Macauley 2019).

Julie Stones

Children & Young People

Julie lives in Appledore and has 4 grown up children. For the last 25 years she has worked in education, early help, public health and community services, most recently working as a consultant, coach and trustee to a number of charities.

She has a passion for self-care in the community as the most sustainable solution to emotional well being. Since 2017, she has been leading a national lottery funded programme, introducing Mindfulness across over 70 Kent schools and completing an inspiring Breathworks MBSR programme.

Les Etheridge


Les is a retired Actuary who spent his career in the financial side of Life Assurance with the last six years as the Chief Executive of a Kent based Mutual Insurance Company. He also spent 9 years as a non-executive director of a major life assurer.

He was a Governor of his local Primary School for 25 years including 18 years as Chairman of Governors. Les has volunteered for The Inland Waterways Association, a national charity which aims to protect and restore our inland waterways, for nearly 20 years. He was a trustee for 12 years with four years as National Treasurer and five as National Chairman.

Anna Hegarty


Anna is a qualified Chartered Accountant who spent the first 12 years of her career working for PwC, a global professional services firm. She subsequently joined the HSBC Group where she held several roles; her last being Global Chief Financial Officer of their insurance business.

More recently, Anna has taken a career break to be a stay at home parent to her young son. During this time she has served as Treasurer and Trustee for a small local charity; volunteered at her son’s school; and, in 2020, established a mentoring programme at a local school focusing specifically on supporting female students in their sixth form years - a role which she finds particularly fulfilling.

Anna is a strong believer in the benefits mindfulness can have on the wellbeing of individuals and is enthusiastic about using her experience to support Tenterden Mindfulness Group in broadening its reach to the widest possible audience.

Emma Isworth


Emma is a physiotherapist with over 40 years of clinical experience in the NHS. Her work has been mostly with children where she developed an interest in young people who suffer with chronic fatigue and pain, anxiety and unexplained medical symptoms.

Having gained a Masters Degree in Medical Humanities at the University of Kent as a mature student, Emma took her first course in Mindfulness. She developed a regular personal practice, attended further courses and Retreats and in 2017 was supported by TMG to train to teach Mindfulness to children and now teaches in primary schools. She is also trained to teach The Present course for Adults.

Emma acts as the link between the Teacher’s and the Feedback and Focus Groups and the Board of Trustees.