Meet Our Team

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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

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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

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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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