UK board

Charles McGhee – Board Director and Chairperson

Charles McGhee is a former editor of The Herald and Evening Times with 40 years’ experience in the UK media industry. Now an independent communications consultant, Charles is also an honorary professor in Media and Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University and a founding board member of the new UK press regulatory body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

He has previously held senior editorial executive roles on national newspapers in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow and spent his early journalism career with the BBC.

Charles first became associated with Mary’s Meals through media projects with The Herald. His interest in international development began as a VSO volunteer in Papua New Guinea, where he managed a media and literacy project for two years. Alongside supporting Mary’s Meals, Charles has also worked on media development projects in China and Nigeria with the Thomson Foundation.

His enthusiasm for the charity’s work and understanding of the UK media landscape are invaluable to Mary’s Meals as the movement grows.

John Fulton – Board Director

John, Managing Director of Claremont Centre Limited, has 30 years’ experience in sales and logistics, with specific expertise in the office furniture supply industry.

His career began as a teenager when he was offered his first job in a stationery supply shop, based in his home town of Greenock. As the business expanded to incorporate office furniture and open new branches, John’s changing role and travel requirements led him to move from Scotland to London. 

His interest in the work of Mary’s Meals goes back to the very earliest days of the charity’s mission.

Keen to see the school feeding programme in action for himself, John travelled to Malawi in 2010, where he visited schools and met children who receive Mary’s Meals each day. The experience was to have a profound impact and John returned with an even deeper commitment to the organisation.

A father of five, and doting grandfather of two, he is settled in Bedfordshire with wife Amanda and their two youngest children.

John enjoys the extensive international travel that comes with his role as MD of Claremont Centre Limited and, away from work and his Mary’s Meals commitments, he is a keen follower of Scottish football. 

David Leslie – Board Director

David is a Chartered Accountant and was a Corporate Finance Partner in PwC for 20 years. He has extensive experience in advising companies in relation to strategy and financial matters and now runs an independent advisory firm called Leslie Corporate Finance, which works with a range of businesses and individuals. 

David was first inspired by the work of Mary’s Meals when he met the charity’s founder, Magnus, 15 years ago. He has also spent time in Zambia and Malawi, experiences which reinforced his determination to get involved.

“I’ve seen the poverty faced by so many families and children, and I am privileged to have visited a school in Malawi, where I met children receiving Mary’s Meals and the volunteers who were serving them. Feeding children in school is so simple and effective,” says David.

Married to Marion and with three grown-up children, David lives in Glasgow and enjoys spending time in the Isle of Arran, where he walks, climbs and photographs the Scottish countryside he loves so much. 

David is a keen bagpipe player and sings in a choir. As a board member and trustee for National Trust Scotland, he is passionate about ensuring that Scotland’s heritage and culture is preserved and maintained for future generations. 

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow – Board Director

Magnus has lived in Argyll, Scotland, since the age of nine and began his career as a fish farmer. However, when the Bosnian conflict was making headlines in the early 1990s, Magnus and his brother Fergus were moved to help.

He was named one of 2010's ‘Top 10 Heroes’ by broadcaster CNN and received an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list. Magnus has also been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University of Stirling, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Hull.

Before Mary’s Meals, Magnus played shinty for Glenorchy Camanachd Club and was capped four times by Scotland at senior international level.

Magnus is married to Julie, a trained nurse from Inverness. She became his co-driver on some of the first deliveries of aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993, and has been devoted to the charity ever since. They live in Dalmally with their seven children.

Mary Anne MacFarlane-Barrow – Board Director

Mary Anne was born in Cyprus but has spent most of her life in Scotland. She trained and worked as a physiotherapist in London before marrying her husband Calum in 1962.

She and Calum have five children, of which our founder and chief executive Magnus is the fourth. She was deeply involved in Mary’s Meals during the first 10 years and remains passionately interested in the impact of our work.

Mary Anne helps run Craig Lodge Family House of Prayer and retreat centre, working with young volunteers who live in the lodge for a year and help with running the retreats.

A grandmother of 18, she adores gardening and can often be found tending to the plants at Craig Lodge. She feels blessed to be surrounded by a loving, growing family.

Ishbel Smith – Board Director and Company Secretary 

Ishbel worked as a commercial lawyer for nearly 20 years, but left the profession to look for a way of using the skills she’d developed in a more personally rewarding and enriching way. 

During her legal career, she advised organisations in a wide range of disputes on anything from tobacco litigation to a court action about a forest eaten by rabbits! Ishbel now enjoys volunteering within the operations team at Mary’s Meals, helping with legal queries across the global organisation. 

Since leaving law, Ishbel has completed a second degree in theology at Edinburgh University and is active in the life and work of the Church of Scotland. Passionate about the power and importance of communication, she has established her own business as a presentation skills trainer, working with a huge variety people from the voluntary and faith sectors. In her spare time, she enjoys running and has an excellent pacemaker in her cockapoo, Skye. 

As company secretary for Mary’s Meals UK, Ishbel finds it satisfying to know that the time she dedicates to the charity is making an impact on the lives of so many children and their families.

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