About us

TrusteeFemale portrait photo.

Having experienced the pressure and rewards of naval life I feel immensely privileged and proud to be a Trustee of the Naval Families Federation.

My husband was a submariner and I remember very well how it felt to move with him to a new location with a new baby just as he went on deterrent patrol, far away from family and yet to make new friends.

I have worked in the public, private and 3rd sector and am currently the Director of People for an adult Hospice, a role I took on following a period of HR Consultancy. This role is varied with responsibility for HR, Volunteers, Payroll, Pensions, Health & Safety, Non-Clinical Education and Estates.  I am also pleased to have gained an MSc in Organisational Psychology which supports me in my Trustee and Hospice role.

In my spare time I enjoy walking, cycling, sailing, reading, and spending time with the family.

Portrait of Sarah ClewesInterim Chief Executive Officer

Sarah enjoyed a long and successful career in the Royal Navy (1991-2012) and served in HMS Coventry, HMS Invincible, HMS Argyll as well as shore bases in Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Scotland. She gained a BA (Hons) in Business via the Learning at Work partnerships offered by Portsmouth University.

Since taking voluntary redundancy from the Royal Navy, she launched her own Virtual Assistant business offering an outsourcing option to deliver projects, secure funding, produce and deliver communications plans, provide mentoring, and offer flexible business solutions to the Charity sector. Employed roles have included Events, Projects and Fundraising Manager as well as an interim role as the Deputy Director of Operations at Care after Combat, a tri-service charity supporting veterans in the criminal justice system. Sarah has also worked with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) assessing leadership training.

She has contributed to military charities in a number of voluntary roles; as the Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association, Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, and as a panel member for a ‘Through Life Pathways’ funding programme, for the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity.

Sarah joins the NFF from a local Hospice; as Head of Income Generation, she led teams in both Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

Deputy Chair of TrusteesPhoto of NFF Trustee David


David served in the Royal Navy until 1983 and from then on in the Royal Naval Reserve until 2015. His current role within Portsmouth City Council is the Head of Leisure and Sports Facilities, where he has delivered a new type of Leisure Management Contract ensuring greater value for money for sports facilities.  Prior to this he was the Seafront and Events Manager and the project director for D-Day 70 events in Portsmouth.  This entailed detailed engagement with Navy Command operationally and at a strategic level to deliver one of the best events Portsmouth has seen for many years and celebrating the only VIP’s of the year, the D-Day Veterans. Before that he headed up the commercial side of Portsmouth Museums Service, including the D-Day Museum. David has the also been appointed to lead for Portsmouth for next year’s 40th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict and Armed Forces day events to be held in the Portsmouth Historic Naval Base.

A Trustee of the Royal Military Police Museum at Southwick Park since 2008 David was previously a Trustee of HMS Warrior.

Formally he was the Chair of the Portsmouth Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.  Remains an active member of the amalgamated Portsmouth Southampton and Isle of Wight partnership.


Chair of TrusteesMale portrait photo.


Born in the East End of London, Paul was brought up in a family of four boys and one girl, at one time living above his Dad’s shop in Walthamstow. 

Mad keen on the CCF at school, Paul joined the Royal Navy at Dartmouth and studied at the University of Newcastle as an RN Cadet.

He enjoyed a 37-year career in the Logistics branch, serving in six frigates, two minesweepers, the nuclear deterrent submarine force, a hunter-killer submarine and aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. The latter stages of Paul’s career were largely in HQ personnel roles, and he became involved with Naval charities in 2000 as Fleet Commander’s representative on numerous boards. He led on charity merger, becoming a founding Director and Trustee, and eventually Chair, of the  Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. 

On retirement from the RN in 2008 Paul became National Director of the Apostleship of the Sea, placing chaplains in UK commercial ports. 

In 2010 he was appointed General Secretary of the RNA – “eight-and-a-half very happy and challenging years” which included an award-winning project to help digitally-isolated Naval veterans and the creation of the Naval Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. Paul has also been Chair of Governors of a large secondary school, and chairs the parish council in Hambledon, Hampshire, where he lives. 

Paul’s wife Liz trained as a nurse at Guy’s, later becoming a secondary school teacher, and also trained to be a Church of England Lay Minister.  The couple have two daughters and six grandchildren. 

Paul is passionate about the NFF, having been its first RN contact, and is proud of being a Foundation Trustee of the charity.  His particular interests are in improving childcare for Naval families, and recognition of the challenges faced by dispersed families and families in overseas appointments. 

He brings skills and experience of charity governance, marketing and fundraising to the team. 


TrusteeImage of Steve, NFF trustee.


From joining as an Air Engineering Mechanic in 1986 to being commissioned in 2017, my career has often taken me far from the village where I grew up in West Cornwall. 

My amazing wife and three wonderful daughters have supported me every step of the way. The reassurance that organisations such as the NFF are there when our families need them is vital for serving sailors and Royal Marines. 

As a former Warrant Officer of the Naval Service, I collaborated with the NFF on projects to help improve care and support. 

Being selected as a Trustee is an immense honour and enables me to contribute more broadly to the welfare of others again. 

I have a vast experience of the issues affecting our people and a wide network to draw upon. 

Our people definitely are our greatest asset and it is great to be back onboard with the NFF!  


TrusteeImage of Jan Walker, NFF trustee.


I began my career doing research in behavioural psychology before training as a Probation Officer, working with offenders and trying to understand the reasons for their criminal behaviour. 

Since 1985 I have conducted research into family life and relationships, becoming increasingly aware that while all families have their ups and downs, it is the quality of family relationships which is central to our mental health and wellbeing and to children’s outcomes. 

I was privileged to talk to many Naval families about their needs during a recent review for the MOD, and I am passionate about finding better evidence-based ways to support families to remain strong and stable, to ensure that the right help is available at the right time. 

I will bring this passion and my research expertise to the NFF as a Trustee. 

My understanding of the commitment to duty by Royal Navy personnel and their families is continually enhanced as the mother of a serving Naval officer.  


TrusteeImage of Michelle, NFF trustee


Hello, I’m Michelle, and I’ve been a member of the RN/RM community my whole life; as a child with parents in the RN, living in married quarters moving from place to place every few years, and now, as a parent of three and proud wife of a submariner here in Scotland.  

I’ve seen and experienced first-hand the fantastic opportunities and tough challenges we and our families face being part of this incredible community. 

I recall many a teary evening home alone, with the children in bed, waiting for what seemed like a never-ending patrol to finish, so we could be together again as a family, and have also enjoyed amazing opportunities to live abroad, learn about different cultures, make fantastic memories and wonderful new friends. 

I’m incredibly proud to have been asked to become a Board Trustee of the NFF and am particularly passionate about helping and supporting our families more with the impact of devolution, the challenges of submarine life, quality and continuity of our children’s education, and as non-serving partners, our wellbeing and opportunities for employment. 


TrusteeImage of Bryony, NFF trustee


I feel so privileged to have been appointed to the trustee board of the NFF and have this opportunity to represent modern Naval families. 

My husband is currently serving in the Royal Navy and at the moment we are living in Northwood, having been previously based on the South Coast (or at least I was, but that’s another story…) 

I work as a lawyer in the City on high value and complex litigation cases, regulatory investigations and financial crime, and I’m also a trustee of the Military Wives Choirs. 

I’m interested in all of the areas of the NFF’s work but I’m especially keen to get involved in the issues of childcare, dispersed families and support for families of those posted to roles in the joint environment or wider defence. 


Male portrait photo.
Families Engagement Officer (South West England) and OISC Level 1 Immigration Advisor


Pete Hawley joined the team in July 2016 in the role of Families Engagement Officer for the South- West of England, following a 32-year career in the Royal Marines.  The last 13 years of this were spent providing welfare support to the personnel and families of Royal Marines and Royal Navy through the in-service welfare organisations during a busy operational period.

Pete has been able to use his past skills, experience, and networks effectively to ensure that a wide range of personnel and families throughout the South-West of England are able to have their views and experiences heard whilst also promoting the important role of the Naval Families Federation.

In February 2018, Pete volunteered for the additional role of Commonwealth and Non-UK Lead for the NFF which entailed training to become an Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Immigration Advisor.  Pete is now a qualified OISC Level 1 Immigration Advisor which has enabled the NFF to become regulated and authorised by the OISC to provide free timely and accurate immigration advice to our Commonwealth and Non-UK personnel and families.

Pete lives in Exmouth with his wife Julie and has two grown up sons, Josh and Ben. Pete is a keen cyclist and is regularly seen donning his lycra and hitting the Devon roads.


Families Engagement Officer (South West)


Image of Sian

Sian Timms was appointed Assistant Families Engagement Officer South – West for the Naval Families Federation at the beginning of September 2021.  She is also the overseas lead for the Federation, with responsibility for policy affecting serving personnel and their families posted abroad.


Sian served for over 24 years in the Royal Navy in a variety of jobs, including welfare support and operational roles.  She also has first-hand experience of being part of a dual-serving couple and a serving parent.

She is married and lives with her family in the West Country.  Sian is a keen sportsperson and loves being in the outdoors.