Current Directors & Advisory Members of Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society

Being a Director of Reading Hydro is a voluntary role, but one that requires a serious commitment and belief in the goals of the project. Our Directors come from across the Reading area and represent a variety of different backgrounds. They apply their passion and expertise in carrying out their roles, and aim to build a lasting sustainable impact for Reading’s community.

As part of the project delivery, Reading Hydro invite a number of advisors from the membership to attend Board meetings. These advisory members hold specific skills and interests, and provide help and assistance with a range of duties and topics. Anyone can offer their support to become an advisory member – some have even gone on to be Directors.

There are currently no vacancies on the Board. If members are interested in taking on a more proactive role within the Society, or wish to speak about any matter with a Director, please do get it touch – we are quite the friendly bunch!

Current Board of Directors

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 25 years and has a background in hydrogeology, IT development, governance and strategy. In addition, she has 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. Now retired, she spent a large part of her career in sustainable energy and international development. A large part was 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 of 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‘. He also built his own very low-energy house.

Michael Beaven


“I’ve seen new turbines start generating renewable electricity elsewhere on the Thames, and am inspired by the work that has been done to make this happen in Reading too.”

Michael has a background in finance and fundraising in the voluntary sector, and works for Our Community Enterprise, an employee-owned company based in Maidenhead.  He is also a Director of MaidEnergy, a renewable energy co-op that has installed 100kW of solar panels on community buildings, financed by a Community Share offer to the public.

Andy Tunstall 


“It’s great to be involved with something that will have so much benefit to the community of Reading on so many levels

Andy has a background in oil, water and energy in posts ranging from finance, IT, sales, marketing and strategy.  He has recently completed the MSc in Renewable Energy at University of Reading and is also a director of The Green Group UK Ltd.  He joins Reading Hydro CBS to help advise on business strategy, partnership development and the all-important share raise to make the idea into reality.  

David Whipple 


David’s whole career has been working with water.  Now retired, he previously worked for a big Reading-based engineering consultancy as a hydraulic specialist on both large dams and hydro-electric projects and numerous smaller dams, weirs, river training works, flood defences and fish passes overseas and at home.  He still enjoys helping his grandchildren to dam streams on the beach while on holiday.


Chris Brook

A civil servant and Geography graduate of the University of Reading, Chris has considered Reading his home for the last 10 years. With a keen interest in clean, sustainable energy, Chris offers both administrative and project management advice to the hydro project, as well as taking on graphic design projects on behalf of the Society.

John Brunnen

As a chartered accountant interested in creating a more sustainable environment for the community of Reading, John is crucial in assisting with the financial aspects of the Reading Hydro business model and day-to-day accounts.


Accounts and company info here