UK board

Charles McGhee – Board Director and Chair

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 a visiting 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.

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.

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. 

Ishbel is currently studying theology at the University of Edinburgh and is considering Church of Scotland ministry. 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.

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. He now runs an independent advisory firm called Leslie Corporate Finance, and works with a range of businesses and individuals.

He is also a Trustee and Board member of Mary’s Meals, a Scottish based charity. David is married to Marion and they have three children, who are all now in their twenties. He lives in Glasgow and enjoys spending time in Arran. His hobbies include walking, climbing and photography in the Scottish countryside, and generally keeping fit.

He is interested in Scottish heritage and culture, plays the bagpipes and sings in a choir. He has been an NTS member for 15 years and is passionate about ensuring that Scotland’s heritage is preserved and maintained for future generations.

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. 

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