About us

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)


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.


Image of Rania.
Marketing & Digital Manager


Rania was born in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, one of the many Islands of the Caribbean that is part of the Commonwealth, and from which many recruits come to the UK to serve in the Armed Forces. One of these recruits is Rania’s Mum who is currently serving as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy.


Rania’s experience as the child of a serving person is incredibly helpful in terms of her understanding the lived experience of Naval families and the challenges that they may face.  She spent much of her upbringing in the Portsmouth area and attended Portsmouth University where she studied Marketing with Psychology.


Rania is now putting her degree to excellent use as the NFF’s Marketing and Digital Manager, which she says she is loving to bits!


Image of Jennie
Families Advocate


Jennie joined the NFF in March 2021 beginning in a job share role with another Family Advocate and, together, they hit the ground running.   After a few months the position of Secretary to the Board of Trustee’s opened and Jennie was delighted to take on that challenge too.

A former Royal Navy Medical Assistant, Jennie served for nearly 10 years. She worked in medical centres across the UK and at the Royal Hospital Haslar. After leaving the Service Jennie has worked in the hospitality and service industry, for the NHS as a medical receptionist and in retail.  She has also volunteered at her daughter’s school as Secretary and Chair of their PTA and helped out with local and national council elections as a poll clerk.

Jennie is married to a Royal Navy Marine Engineer, and currently lives in service family accommodation with their two daughters.  She is an avid shoe collector and loves music and books.


Image of Natalie
Families Advocate


Natalie is a Naval spouse – her husband has served in the Royal Navy for almost 20 years as a rating and an officer, clocking up plenty of sea-time and weekending.  The couple have two school-age daughters, the younger having just started school.

Natalie’s background is in hospitality, having taken on various roles within a national hotel chain over 15 years, including helping to open new hotels and acting as a trouble-shooter on behalf of hotel management teams.

When Covid-19 hit the hospitality industry Natalie found herself looking for a new job and hoped to find one within the Naval community as she had carried out voluntary work in that area.

Proving the worth of the jobs and training platform, Natalie found her current role with the NFF through Forces Families Jobs.

Natalie said she particularly likes the collaborative way in which the Federation works, with colleagues pooling expertise, experience, and skills to achieve better outcomes for Naval families, and she also likes the fact that everyone’s opinion is valued – “it’s nice to know that no question is a silly question!” she said.