Maxine Birch (Chair of Trustees)

MBMaxine initially trained as an Occupational Therapist in Oxford and worked in both mental health and orthopedic services. Over the last 20 years she has been involved with the education of health and social care practitioners and currently Maxine works as a Senior Lecturer for The Open University. Her interest in research methods and health and well-being, informs her enthusiasm for promoting community singing groups as an activity that meets a wide range of health and social needs. Maxine has found participating in such community singing groups particularly helpful for her own health problems.


Paul Lewis (Treasurer)

PLAfter taking a music degree, Paul went into corporate publishing, working for Macmillan, Penguin and Heinemann. While with Heinemann he spent five years as managing director of their Australian school publishing operation before returning to the UK to set up Reed Elsevier’s educational electronic publishing division. After leaving publishing Paul completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Music and Health, at UWE in Bristol, and has volunteered in various roles relating to adult mental health. A keen singer, Paul is currently a member of Oxford Pro Musica Singers and is passionate about the health benefits of singing. Paul has three adult sons and five grandchildren.

John Pearce (Secretary)

JPJohn has lived and worked in Oxfordshire for many years, working as a practitioner and manager in mental health services. He is currently enjoying a spell commissioning services for the County Council Social and Community services where he is in frequent contact with older people and their families, often concerning caring matters and dementia. How arts in general and singing in particular can contribute to wellbeing has been a personal passion and professional interest for many years.


Paul Cann (Trustee)

Paul Cann joined Age Concern (now Age UK) Oxfordshire as its Chief Executive in April 2009.  Age UK Oxfordshire works at grassroots level to help older people and their families live in comfort, with support and enjoying opportunities to live life to the full. Paul read English Literature at King’s College Cambridge, also holding a Choral Scholarship.  After teaching for five years, he joined the Civil Service where he held a range of postings at the Cabinet Office, including working as a Private Secretary to successive Cabinet Ministers, including the Minister for the Arts.  A subsequent  spell in the private sector included working for ‘The Independent’ newspaper.  He joined the charity world in 1992 as Director of the British Dyslexia Association and subsequently of the National Autistic Society.  He was a Trustee of the disability charity  Contact a Family for five years, a charity which supports carers and people with special needs or disabilities. In 2008 Paul was awarded the medal of the British Geriatrics Society for an outstanding contribution to the well-being of older people.


Jeni Wood (Trustee)

Born in Yorkshire, Jeni has worked in a variety of different fields including banking, libraries and for a well known newspaper before opening her very own playschool in Leeds where she took a number of child care courses. Jeni really found her lifelong career when she re-trained in TOPS and became a double entry book-keeper. She has acted as both Town Councillor and District Councellor and was the Mayor of Henley in 2010/2011. Jeni is currently a Parish Councellor, a Trustee of the Henley Municipal Charities, a Governor at Henley College and volunteers at her local library as a reader. Jeni has also acted as Treasurer on the board of her local church for 5 years. Jeni enjoys singing and is a member of her local choir.