Current Directors of Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society

Our Directors are voluntary and add different backgrounds and expertise to Reading Hydro, united in their passion to build lasting sustainable impact for Reading’s community! The Directors are a friendly bunch, so do get in touch.

Sophie Paul 

I delight in the smell of the water going over Caversham Weir, along with the sight and sound of power in that water.”


Sophie has lived in Reading for 22 years. She has a background in hydrogeology, IT development, governance and strategy, in addition to many years of involvement in a wide range community projects in the UK and abroad. 

Anne Wheldon

“Since retiring, Reading Hydro is an exciting extension of implementing energy efficiency and solar in my own home, alongside helping others. We really need to have more hydro to give a balanced sustainable energy supply mix, and where better to do it than in Reading.”


Anne started life as a physicist, quickly steering this towards the environment with a PhD in environmental physics. She spent a large part of her career in sustainable energy and international development with a large part at the University of Reading, running the MSc in Renewable Energy and the Environment. More recently, she worked for 12 years for the sustainable energy charity Ashden as technical director and adviser. With a love numbers, a main theme of her career has been encouraging people to look critically at numbers and ask questions about them. 

Tony Cowling 

” Passions of mine are both renewable energy and driving forward sustainability through Education. Originating from The Reading Sustainability Centre the Hydro project combines the two!”

Tony graduated from Reading University in the seventies with a PhD in chemistry. Inspired by sustainability, he’s been involved in a variety of initiatives in Reading and beyond,  including, Reading Energy Pioneers and the DraughtBusters project initiative of ‘Transition Town Reading. 

Sarah Rigby

“Reading has a long history of using its rivers for power and it would be great to continue that with a community owned hydro scheme here at the weir.”



Sarah’s long standing love of renewable energy saw her follow a degree in Engineering with a masters in Environmental Technology & Energy Policy. Her experience of asset strategy and innovation roles in the water and electricity industries meant that she jumped at the chance of getting involved the Hydro community energy project.

Anthony Simpson

“I am very excited to join such a well organised, community-led initiative we can all be proud of!”


Anthony recently moved to Reading from Oxfordshire, where he led the development of 25 community funded solar projects on local schools. He has an MSc in Renewable Energy, and currently works for the University of Reading, on the smart grid integration of electric vehicles, to minimise system carbon emissions and costs. You my have seen his recent talk on this at Reading Geek Night.

Erica Purvis

“I enjoy finding my thoughts and re-energising on runs and walks out in nature (often over Caversham Weir), you can really see the potential energy in the water as you cross”

Erica has a background in Design Engineering and Sustainability, with experience in strategic insight and development in this for businesses, NGO’s, students and startups. She works as TechnicalNature. This has led her to act as a connector between Product, People and Policy based approaches to drive sustainability forward creatively. From strategy and visioning to practical action and getting stuck in. She’s found that communication between different stakeholders is vital for this!