The CSRF Community

Board of Directors

Madeleine Alessandri CMG

Chair of Board

Madeleine Alessandri is currently the Chair of the Joint Intelligence Security Committee. She was previously the Permanent Secretary for the Northern Ireland Office.

Before this she was the UK Deputy National Security Advisor and Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Resilience and Security. She joined government service in 1988 and has held a wide variety of positions in the Diplomatic Service and in National Security in the UK and overseas.

She was appointed to the post of Chair in November 2019 following nomination by the Cabinet Office and took over with effect from 1st January 2020.

Michelle Wyer

Vice Chair

Michelle was a teacher before entering government service in 1990. She worked in a number of roles within Inland Revenue and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) during her civil service career.

She is a Past President of ARC (Association of Revenue & Customs) was Private Secretary to the Chairman of HMRC and has served as Chair of HMRC’s Senior Women’s Network and Enforcement & Compliance Women’s Network.

She is currently the Chair of Governors for her local primary school and was appointed to the post of Vice Chair in December 2019 following endorsement of her nomination by the National Trade Union Committee and took up the role of Vice Chair from 1st January 2020.

Mike Hammond CBE


Mike has worked his entire career in the civil service holding posts in both the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development (DFID).

He has led six DFID country offices (including Afghanistan, South Africa and Rwanda) during which time he co-authored the report which launched the concept of country offices which is now seen as a model for development delivery. He brings a strong set of skills to the CSRF’s Board that include a procedural knowledge of development processes including audit, evaluation and accounting requirements.

Mike has a family connection with the CSRF as his late mother was involved with both the CSRF’s Gravesend Branch and Bexhill & Hastings group. He was awarded the CBE in 2017 for services to International Development and was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2019 after being nominated by the Cabinet Office. Mike also sits on the Board Working Group looking at Pre and Post Retirement matters.

Liz Beedie

Director, Group Network

Liz joined the CSRF when she retired and has been a member for over 20 years. For the great majority of her time she has served as a Group Secretary and Chairman for a number of the Fellowship’s groups in the Edinburgh area.

Liz’s Civil Service career was within the Department for Social Security where she achieved the principal grade before retiring. During her time in the service she had experience of personnel and I.T. work.

Liz was elected to the Board of Directors at the CSRF’s Annual General Meeting in July 2018 and was re-elected for a second three-year term of office at the 2021 Annual General Meeting where she topped the postal ballot.

She is also a member of the Group Leaders’ Network (a working group set up by the Board to focus on matters specific to local groups) and the CSRF’s Diamond Anniversary Planning Committee for their 60th anniversary in 2025.

Dame Elizabeth Gardiner DCB, KC (Hons)

CSRF’s Civil Service Champion & Director

Dame Elizabeth has been the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship’s Champion within the Civil Service since 2019 and has regularly attended Board meetings as an observer. Her role of Civil Service Champion was made a Director’s post following a unanimous vote of approval on an Emergency Special Resolution put forward at the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

She has served as the First Parliamentary Counsel since November 2015 and was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2013 Birthday Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to government and the legislative process. She was also appointed an Honorary Queen’s (now King’s) Counsel in 2020.

Professor Martin Hyde

Director, Later Life Issues

Dr Martin Hyde is an Associate Professor in Gerontology at the Centre for Innovative Ageing and the Research Director of the Awen Institute at Swansea University. He has been involved in research on ageing for over 20 years and my work spans several areas including quality of life, work and retirement, consumption and identity, and health inequalities.

His work has been published widely in peer reviewed journals, reports, book chapters and several books. He has been involved in several large-scale studies including the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Early in my career he worked on the Whitehall II study and wrote two papers on retirement among British civil servants.

He is the President of British Society of Gerontology (BSG) Cymru, Chair of the BSG Work and Retirement Group, a Member at Large of the Sociology of Ageing (RC11) committee of the International Sociological Association and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. He also works as an advisor to Welsh Government and Swansea Council on their strategies for an ageing society.

Martin was voted on to the Board of Directors at the 2022 Annual General Meeting and is the Chair of the Board Working group on Pre and Post retirement matters.

Gillian Smyth

Director, Befriending Schemes

Gillian Smyth is our Board Director for Befriending Services.

Gillian is currently Head of Cross Cutting Human Rights Policy and Engagement at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

She has volunteered with the CSRF since 2015 and in that time has befriended three service users on the befriending schemes. Over the years she has undertaken a blend of visits and phone befriending and she is currently a phone volunteer.

Gillian was voted on to the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting in July 2022.

Management Team (Fellowship Office)

David Tickner

Chief Executive & Company Secretary

David is our Chief Executive and Company Secretary. He has worked for the CSRF for just over 15 years joining first as Editor of the Fellowship’s magazine avanti before taking over as Head of Communications. He was promoted to the post of Deputy Chief Executive in 2014 and was made Chief Executive in 2016. Before joining the CSRF he worked as an Editor-in-Chief in magazine publishing for over 12 years with business clients including London City Airport, Harrods Estates and Champneys.

He is responsible for overseeing all the CSRF’s operational activities including engagement with our groups, volunteers, communications & partnerships, providing secretariat support to the Board of Directors, HR and Finance.

David also holds the role of Company Secretary which involves organising our Annual General Meetings, liaison with Company Members and taking the minutes at Board meetings. He has also been an active volunteer befriender on both the CSRF’s befriending schemes and he edits the Fellowship’s newsletter, Fellowship News.

He is also sits on the Board’s Working Group for Pre and Post Retirement Matters and Chairs the Group Leaders’ Network and the Diamond Anniversary Planning Committee for the CSRF’s 60th anniversary in 2025.

Outside of work David volunteers with other charities (he is Company Secretary for We Are Family Adoption and a Trustee of a local Almshouse charity). He also enjoys reading (he co-ordinates the CSRF’s book club), art, culture & museums, history, politics, movies and writing. When he is able to find the time, he also enjoys dog walking and travelling.

Denise Headley

Deputy Chief Executive

Denise is our Deputy Chief Executive and has oversight of Fellowship Office as well as being responsible for our befriending schemes.

She has worked in the arena of later life issues for many years as an Information Officer for Age UK Hammersmith & Fulham.

Denise has also served as a local politician in North London serving as a Ward Councillor in Edmonton and Bush Hill Park. More recently she has begun a broadcasting career and presents a weekly broadcast called ‘Headley Highlight’ which she is developing into a popular bulletin covering topical issues. When not working she enjoys discovering new places and festivals around the UK.

Denise works part-time and is in Fellowship Office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and works from home on Thursdays. She also sits on the Board’s Working Group on Pre and Post Retirement matters.

Currently Recruiting!

Admin Support Officer

Adam Bell

Communications Support Officer

Adam is a Communications Officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and previously worked for philanthropic groups.
He is a musician, who has played the drums since the age of 12 and has also played in bands. He has attempted to play the guitar and piano, but is ultimately not patient enough. Adam loves listening to and collecting music, reading books, cooking and being active outside.

He is looking to carve out a career in writing and journalism, preferably the fields of sports and music.

Jean Anderson

Office Volunteer

Jean is our Fellowship Office volunteer. She helps in the office maintaining and updating records and working on our befriending schemes, including quality control by telephone.

She has been volunteering for the CSRF for over 10 years, starting before she retired from the Civil Service.

Jean is an enthusiastic member of the CSRF Book Club and participates in our Zoom Book Groups, once ironed quilts in a quilt factory for a month and is now trying to get to grips with her new tablet.
Jean visits Fellowship Office on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis but also sits on the CSRF’s Diamond Anniversary Planning Committee for 2025.