Accrington Stanley Community Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees whom have a responsibility for the strategy and direction of the charity’s work. Since the inception of the charity in 2010 the board of trustees have grown from strength to strength in both numbers and experience. Our Trustees represent various sectors within the community including education, sport, health, business and commerce.

Upheld by our Chair of Trustees, Purves Ali and Accrington Stanley Managing Director, David Burgess, the intrinsic link between the football club and charity ensures that there is a clear and constant line of communication between the two organisations.

The current board of trustees are:

Purves Ali:  MIBC MCMI CMS (Chair of Trustees and Business & Fundraising Portfolio Holder)

Purves joined the board of trustees in January 2018 and brings a wealth of expertise. An experienced Freelance Business Advisor and Business Development Consultant, (SFEDI Accredited) with over 18 years experience, delivering a number of enterprise projects in the North West area. Purves has a strong track record in assisting companies in development and growth, as well as driving new projects & initiatives to a high standard to agreed timescales. Key areas of support include project management, business planning, marketing, training & development, advice on grants & funding available. 

He has supported organisations such as the Business Enterprise Trust, Enterprise Plc, Oldham Chamber of Commerce, University of Central Lancashire, North West Centres of Excellence, Burnley College, Bolton Business Support services, Lancashire Care Association, Elevate, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, Growth Lancashire Ltd and Accrington Stanley .

Purves is also the chairman of Whinney Hill Football Club, a governor at Accrington Academy and has been a senior football scout for Manchester United for over 13 years. Purves was appointed Chair of Trustees in March 2024.

John McGregor (Vice Chair of Trustees and Finance Portfolio Holder)

Accrington born and bred, John is a Director of Haworths Financial Services Limited who are also based in Accrington on Eastgate. He joined Accrington Stanley Community Trust in March 2018 as a trustee.

A member of Church and Oswaldtwistle Rotary club, previous President, and Secretary of Accrington Grammar School Old Boys Association his real passion is Sport, particularly Sport and the provision of Sporting facilities in the local area.

Previously a committee member of the Hyndburn Boys League, John was instrumental in negotiating the merger with the Blackburn boys’ league to form the East Lancashire Football Alliance. This is one of the largest leagues in the North West and has received many awards from the LFA and the FA. The highlight of which was a trip to an England game at Wembley as winners of the Respect campaign.

John is now President of the East Lancashire Alliance football league and is extremely motivated to help Accrington Stanley Community Trust achieve their admirable aims. John was appointed as Vice Chair of Trustees in March 2024.


Anne Ellwood (Health & Sport Participation Portfolio Holder)

Anne joined as a trustee in February 2017 and has over 40 years’ experience of being involved in Girls/Women’s Football, achieving major success with Preston North End and Bronte Ladies with whom she won many awards in a successful playing career. During which has seen Anne involved in a variety of capacities, from promoting the game to Coaching, Managing, officiating and administrative roles at Junior Boys/Girls & Ladies Clubs. Anne’s devotion and commitment to the sport saw her rewarded by carrying the Olympic Torch in 2012. She is committed to sport having previously worked within the Leisure Services for nearly 30 years at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council covering roles such as Sports Development /Community work and being an Events Officer.

Anne’s looking forward to using her knowledge and experience, especially to encourage participation and develop grassroots football. Anne was appointed Chair of Trustees in May 2022 and served in this position until the end of her maximum term in 2024. Anne remains as a trustee of the Charity and plays a vital role with her vast experience.

David Burgess (Accrington Stanley Football Club MD)

David joined as a Trustee in February 2016, representing Accrington Stanley FC on the Board. David is the MD at Accrington Stanley, joining the club in January 2016 after 13 years as CEO at Lancashire FA. Involved at all levels of football, David was player, manager and Chairman at Clitheroe FC, a coach at Clitheroe Wolves JFC and manager of the Ribble Valley and Hyndburn District schools team.

Through his role at Lancashire FA, David worked closely with the County FA Football Development Officers to deliver The FA Strategy for football within Lancashire, including participation, inclusion and raising standards. He has a passion for the game and in particular community inclusion, so he has been a welcomed inclusion to the Board of Trustees.

Tom O’Neill (Legal Portfolio Holder)

Tom joined Accrington Stanley Community Trust as a trustee in April 2018 and brings a key skill set to the organisation. Tom qualified as a solicitor in 2005 after completing his LPC at University of Central Lancashire.

A Partner at Farley’s Commercial Law office, Tom specialises in commercial property including acquisitions and disposals, development site preparation and infrastructure, landlord and tenant work, development agreements, option agreements, refinancing transactions and property aspects of corporate transactions.

His clients include developers, a range of business from large companies to small/mid-size companies, individuals and pension trustees.

Tom has a keen passion for sport and is also a director of Accrington Stanley Football Club. He will use his expertise to help develop the Trust further and play a key role in the legalities of the Sports Hub project.

Peter Leatham (Environmental Sustainability Portfolio Holder and Supporters Trust Representative)

Peter was appointed to the board of trustees in July 2020. Born and bred in Bolton with a keen interest in sport, represented Old Boltonians AFC in the LAL for over 25 years as well as being chairman of Eagley Tennis Club for a number of years.

Before taking early retirement at 55 on health grounds worked as a Key Account Director for a major European Building Products manufacturer as well as spending time with TNT and The Guardian in sales roles.

Now Chairman of the recently converted Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Trust and helping deliver a number of projects around the football club, to help benefit the fanbase.

Married for over 38 years with two children and lived in Darwen for all our married life & currently  a member at Rossendale Golf Club.












Carl Ellwood (HR Portfolio Holder)

Carl was born in Blackburn but has resided in Hyndburn all his life and is very proud of his home town. He was appointed to the board of trustees in November 2021 with a focus on HR. He attended Accrington Grammar School and then obtained an OND in Business Studies at Accrington and Rossendale College

Carl has spent most of his working life with Lancashire County Council being appointed in 1980 initially dealing with school employees in Hyndburn Schools. Following a number of restructures/reorganisations Carl was Team Leader with responsibility for HR for all the schools in  Hyndburn/Ribble Valley and Rossendale and then further restructures resulted in him working HR for the whole of Lancashire County Council dealing with both school and non school employees.

Carl has always had a keen interest in all sports and in particular local grassroots football and in 2004 he was appointed to the role of Secretary at Accrington Girls and Ladies FC which he held for more than 12 years. In 2018 Carl was appointed as Secretary of Accrington Stanley Community Trust Ladies and Girls FC a position he held until 2021.

Carl is fully committed to assisting as a volunteer at Hyndburn parkrun which is a free weekly 5k run attracting both local and parkrun tourists held at Wilsons Playing Field each week. Carl is passionate about giving people an opportunity to participate in sport as well as promoting the brand of Accrington Stanley.


















Robert Houseman (Safeguarding and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Portfolio Holder)

Robert joined the board of Trustees for a second time in May 2022 having previously been a trustee for eight years.

He is currently the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Supporter Liaison Officer at Accrington Stanley Football Club.

An Accrington Stanley Supporter all his life, Robert has done numerous paid and unpaid roles at the club, including Director and General Manager.
A qualified Teacher, he also works as a Maths Tutor at a Primary School in Burnley and was previously a Local Authority Education Consultant and Deputy Headteacher in Blackburn.

Robert is keen to promote the work of the Trust, where all participants are encouraged to have fun and succeed in a safe and inclusive environment.

Chris Knagg CFIOSH FIIRSM CFISQEM FCMI MIoD (Health and Safety Portfolio Holder)

Chris joined the board of trustees in July 2022 and has a wealth of health and safety management experience gained from over 30 years of experience in a wide range of business sectors and events.

Chris has lots of experience of managing health and safety in football club and academy settings. A long standing and active member of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health in the Northwest he is the immediate past chair of the Manchester & Northwest Districts Branch and is the current chair of the IOSH East Lancashire District.

Chris is Managing Director and Principal consultant of a small but very busy health and safety consultancy business. A local lad and Hyndburn resident, he is looking forward to  bringing his knowledge and skills to the board and supporting the Trust

John Leaver (Digital Marketing & Media Portfolio Holder)

John was appointed to the board of trustees in September 2023 and is the current portfolio holder for marketing and media.  With over 20 years of experience in a range of marketing roles he brings a wealth of knowledge to the organisation.

John’s current role as Marketing & Frameworks Director at Alliance Leisure aligns closely with the Trust’s vision of improving lives through participation in sport and exercise.  John works across the UK improving the leisure facilities of local authorities and supporting their marketing strategies to get more people, more active, more often.

Currently living in the Ribble Valley John spends a lot of time in and around the Hyndburn borough either playing sport himself or helping with grassroots football as a coach, parent and referee.  He is also a school governor at St Christopher’s High School and a regular user of the facilities at the Stanley Sports Hub.

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