Meet Our Team

Beth Hooper

Project Manager

As HMS Leigh’s Project Manager, I have loved learning about the forgotten history of Southend Pier.  During WW2, my grandparents lived in Westcliff; my grandfather was an Air Raid Warden, and my grandmother was a Land Girl. My father at the grand old age of 6, was evacuated to Derbyshire and wasn’t to see his family for the next 3 years.    It has been an absolute joy to meet so many people in Southend and the wider community who have generously shared stories, time and resources.  I am also the Creative Director for Blade Education and I love working within communities to support effective partnerships and unusual alliances.

Email me - Beth@blade-education.org.uk

Alastair Deacon

Project Officer

I’m HMS Leigh’s Project Officer, and as well as keeping everyone on track, I have really enjoyed working with all the original photographs, artefacts and archive footage that have been generously given to us. I am very proud of the work the team are doing on the HMS Leigh legacy database.  I was a freelance press photographer before joining BBC Radio News where I learnt to edit with a razor blade and sticky tape, as well as shoot news footage.  As Blade Education’s Technical Director, I’ve been responsible for building a national multi-lingual media platform for schools, as well as making sure that we respectfully collect people’s World War 2 memories for the future.

Email Me - Alastair@blade-education.org.uk

Charlie Evans

Digtal Output Manager

As HMS Leigh’s Digital Output Manager, I have learnt a great deal about WW2 and the history of Southend.  I have been really surprised to find out exactly how crucial Southend Pier was in major events like D-Day and Dunkirk in 1939 to 1945. I use my knowledge of technology and digital development to create a platform for us to share this astonishing history with a wider audience and help peoples stories live on.  It’s has been great to be challenged while working on this project which has helped me to improve my skills while also maintaining the digital elements of this remarkable project. 

Email me - Charlie@blade-education.org.uk 

Ali Ward

Lead Artist 

I graduated from St Martins School of Art in 1990 and has worked as an illustrator and  costume accessories maker. In my own work I uses textiles, wood and print. I created and run the Art Stories Project at Kingsdown Special School, which makes art accessible to children with a wide range of needs. I truly believe that anyone can make art and I have a passion for inclusion and community art. I have been working with Blade Education on their projects for a while and am really excited to take part in this HMS Leigh event.

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Main image courtesy of Dean Trotter

© 2020 Blade Education

Blade Education is a not for profit company registered in England and Wales. Company No. 06228254. Registered office 43/SS93DT.