Board & trustees


Councillor Jeremy Benstead

Jeremy has served as a Councillor on the Cambridge City Council, for the ward of Coleridge since 1992 and was Mayor of Cambridge for 2016-2017.Jeremy was born in Cambridge, and has lived in and around the City all of his life, and is old enough to have been a regular visitor to the Corn Exchange for the Thursday night wrestling. Educated at Impington Village College, most of Jeremy's working life has been spent in the construction industry, as well as working with the Chinese community having travelled extensively in China. He also likes football, boxing, horse racing, modern art and modernist architecture, which he feels is due a re-evaluation. Outside of work and local politics, Jeremy is a big fan of sixties and seventies soul music, and is a regular attender at the Folk Festival and the Corn Exchange.

Mark Boon

Vice Chair

Mark Boon is CEO of La Playa, an insurance broker that specialises in the creative sectors: media, performing arts; fine arts and technology – a company he co-founded in 1999. Having lived and worked in Cambridge for 30 years, Mark is an experienced and successful entrepreneur and businessman and that rare breed that has successfully managed to combine a passion for the performing arts with building a business. Mark is also one of the very few insurance professionals both licensed in New York State and an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute in London. A regular attender of the Corn Exchange and the City's major events such as Bonfire Night and The Big Weekend, he has a passion for the arts to the point where he even finds time to play bass in a rock band in his spare time.

Richard Brookes


A chartered accountant, Richard Brookes was born and brought up in Glasgow. He has two children and has lived in Cambridge since 1990.

Prior to that he lived in London and worked previously with Arts Council England, Island Records, EY and Samuelson Group PLC before moving to Cambridge to be Finance Director at Laserpoint Communications and in 1991 he co-founded a professional services business, which grew to be the leading provider of flexible Finance Director services in the UK.

Additionally, Richard has been a presenter and mentor at entrepreneurship workshops in low resource countries; Chairman of iMEdTrust a medical education charity; member of the advisory board of the London Chamber Orchestra and a director of PraxisAuril, the educational not-for-profit organisation supporting innovation and commercialisation of public sector and charity research for social and economic impact.

Richard has had an interest in music since childhood - learning classical guitar, attending and teaching on the Dankworth National Music Camps for Children, volunteering for the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, helping to start a classical guitar society in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, supporting the Cambridge Sinfonia and London Chamber Orchestra. He is also a regular at the Cambridge Folk Festival and other live music venues.

Valerie Holt

Cambridge City Councillor for Castle Ward

Professor Lester Lloyd-Reason

Lester Lloyd-Reason is Professor of International Enterprise Strategy and founder and Director of the Centre for Enterprise Development and Research (CEDAR). Lester has more than 190 publications in the field of entrepreneurial management and SME internationalisation and his research has been judged to have World Leading impact. He has developed numerous projects for the European Union, has been in receipt of personal research grants from the British Academy and the Soros Foundation has developed policy papers and reports as Expert Academic Advisor to the OECD and for numerous governments and other organisations including South Africa, Romania, Singapore, the Philippines, Nigeria, Brazil and Uruguay. He is a member of the International Council for Small Business, served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) in the UK and is a member of the Institute of Directors East of England Advisory Board. Lester is a Principle Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (FIOEE). Outside of the academic world, Lester mentored many startup businesses including the Queens Young Leaders programme, he was Chair of the Board of Trustees of Menagerie Theatre Company for many years, is a semi-professional musician, a published playwright and joint-founder of the Cambridge Floating Wine Company.

Brian Whitehead

Brian has worked in the arts and cu ltural sector for thirty years in private, local authority and charitable cultural organisations before launching an arts publishing and consultancy business in the late 1990s. Prior to this, Brian was Director of Marketing for nine years at Derngate in Northampton, which went through the process of transfer from local authority control to charitable trust status successfully in the early 1990s. He is publisher of the leading trade journal, ArtsProfessional ( and provides occasional consultancy services in the sector, having worked with numerous arts organisations across the UK and Ireland since moving to the Cambridge area 16 years ago. He is a keen sailor, traveller and amateur family tree sleuth.