The North Yorkshire Rural Commission is made up of 8 commissioners.
The Dean of Ripon, John Dobson, was appointed as the chairman to oversee the North Yorkshire Rural Commission ahead of its launch in November 2019.
After a quarter of a century of ministry in the Diocese of Durham, he was appointed as the Dean of Ripon in June 2014. He is glad to be ministering in his native Yorkshire at a Cathedral that has been important to him since his childhood and which serves a vast rural area as well as the whole of West Yorkshire – all within the Diocese of Leeds. While at Ripon, he has led the Cathedral community in an envisioning process that has resulted in the strategy ‘Growing God’s Kingdom’. This is shaping the growing and nurturing of the congregation, the development of the Cathedral as a centre of heritage, pilgrimage and tourism and the mission extended through the Cathedral to the people and communities of the region. In 2018 the Cathedral created the Ripon Cathedral Rural Forum under the Dean’s chairmanship. He has much experience in growing congregations, building developments, community engagement, diocesan strategy and committees, and partnership working with all sectors. John is married to Nicola who is the head teacher of a North Yorkshire C of E aided primary school. They have two children who, as young graduates, are establishing their careers in London.
Martin Booth is an experienced community worker, project manager, trainer and social entrepreneur. He has worked for both local authorities, housing associations and also in the voluntary sector. Apart from two years volunteering in Rwanda,
Martin has lived in the rural North Yorkshire Village of Hudswell for the past 16 years where he was instrumental in setting up Hudswell Community Pub Ltd. HCP owns the village pub and provides a village shop, allotments, an apiary, orchard and wood. He is also the secretary of Hudswell Community Charity, which manages six units of social housing in the village, three of which were constructed in 2017.
Prior to and alongside this work most of Martin’s regeneration and community work experience has been in urban settings, where he has managed community work teams, project evaluations, consultancy contracts and major regeneration projects in Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hartlepool. Martin currently works, on an occasional basis, for the Plunkett Foundation, advising on rural community enterprise and part time for Justice First Ltd, who support asylum seekers.
Chris Clark and his wife, Fiona, owned and managed 420 acres of land at Nethergill Farm at Oughtershaw, near Skipton.
The couple built an eco-hill farm business with a sustainable meat venture, an educational and field study facility and eco-tourism holiday lets, and have recently moved to another farm in Devon where they are involved in conservation schemes for ancient woodlands and hay meadows as well as creating wildlife ponds.
He is a Partner in Nethergill Associates, a business management consultancy which is assisting with the management of farming in the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale, the North York Moors, the Lake District and Surrey.
A former farm tenant and farm manager, Mr Clark has 30 years of business management experience.
Heather Hancock was a member of the North Yorkshire Rural Commission until late last year, when she took up a new position as the Master of St John’s College in Cambridge.
The executive director of the former regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, and a former chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, she was also a founding member of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. F rom 2003 to 2010, Mrs Hancock chaired the BBC's independent Rural Affairs Committee, and in 2014 she was commissioned by the BBC Trust to report on bias and impartiality in the corporation's rural affairs output. Heather was the chair of governors for Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire from 2013 to 2019, having been appointed in 2007, and is a Vice President of Upper Wharfedale Agricultural Society. In addition to her public sector career, she has extensive business experience as a former Managing Partner of Deloitte, the global professional services firm.
With a journalism career stretching back more than 40 years, Jean MacQuarrie has spent the vast majority of her time in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire.
Up until April this year, she was the editor-in-chief of JPIMedia Yorkshire's 18 weekly titles in the Harrogate and Scarborough districts of North Yorkshire and in Wakefield, Pontefract, Dewsbury, Halifax and across Calderdale in West Yorkshire.
She was also an editorial director on the editorial board for JPIMedia, which also owns The Yorkshire Post.
Ms MacQuarrie is from a farming background in North Yorkshire, and is a former trustee of Saint Michael's Hospice.
A leading voice in academia specialising in rural affairs, Professor Sally Shortall took up the post as the Duke of Northumberland’s Chair of Rural Economy at Newcastle University in October 2016.
Her studies on rural development policy and practice, the role of women on farms and in rural development, and social changes in farming practice have been widely published.
Professor Shortall has carried out research on women in agriculture for the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.
Her current research considers rural proofing, the lived experience of English rural communities, and the role of women in English farms. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
With a scientific career spanning both sides of the Atlantic, Dr Debbie Trebilco has held senior business roles in Teesside and then in the United States.
She served as the chief executive officer of a US-based, global electronic materials company, and has travelled widely in Japan, China and Korea working with leading firms in the development of LED lighting technology, smart phones and automotive control systems.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
With her husband, Mike, she shares a passion for renewable energy, and their home dating from the 1850s now runs on sustainable energy. They also helped to develop the community owned hydro-electric turbine near Whitby.
Dr Trebilco serves as a director of Community Energy England and of the North York Moors National Park Trust.
She is a lover of music and sings with the York Musical Society.
William Worsley is the Chair of the Forestry Commission and of Hovingham Estate. He is President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and was until recently the Government’s National Tree Champion and Chair of the National Forest Company. He is a Lay Canon of York Minster and a member of Chapter. He is Chairman of the Howardian Hills AONB Joint Advisory Committee and is a former member of the North York Moors National Park Authority. He is a member of the Court of the Merchant Taylors Company in London and Chairman of its property committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and of the Royal Agricultural Societies. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. He is a former President of the CLA, the Country Land and Business Association, the representative organisation of the rural economy, a former Chairman of the Scarborough Building Society and a former director of the Skipton Building Society, The Brunner Investment Trust plc and the Private Banking Board of Merchant Bank Guinness Mahon. He is also former Honorary Colonel of the Yorkshire Squadron of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry.