James Kearns

Managing Trustee

James is the Founder, and Managing Trustee.

James is currently Chief Executive of BUILD - a Norfolk based charity providing social, leisure and learning opportunities for people with disabilities. He is also the lead Director of MaDGiraffe Training and Development - a management consultancy formed in 2003 and working with public, private and voluntary sector clients.

James serves as a current Trustee of Red House Youth Trust, and Vice Chair of Community Action Norfolk (CAN) and a former Chairman of Momentum Norfolk (an infrastructure organisation for supporting voluntary youth organisations), and previously Chair of VCS Together- supporting community groups in North Norfolk.

As a volunteer, he also held a number of senior management, and community roles within the Scout Association in Norfolk and was a former Trustee of Norfolk County Scout Council, and one of the original founding Directors the Eaton Vale Activity Centre. James is a member of the Norwich & Norfolk Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, (CAMRA) an active member of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club and a keen supporter, and enthusiast of National Hunt horseracing. 

Alex Kearns

Vice-Chair and Trustee

Alex is the third generation to be involved in the Foundation. He brings technological skills, as well as a younger person's perspective to the Foundation's work.

Alex currently works at ubisend, an exciting startup specialising in artificially intelligent chatbots following the completion of a first class  BSc degree in Computer Science at the University of East Anglia. Alex has previously been involved in Scouting from Beavers through to Sea Scouts as well as helping as a Young Leader and Group Assistant more recently.

Alex provides the web solutions for our beneficiaries as part of our Community Support services. Alex built and manages The Kearns Foundation website as well as providing graphic design services for our advertisements.

Will Kearns


Shirley Sinclair


Shirley is a highly experienced Special Educational Needs and Disability Manager at the Eaton City of Norwich School and brings those skills, as well as over 20 years experience as a volunteer, project and training manager within the Scout Association to the Foundation.

She feels strongly that all children, whatever their need or ability deserve the chance of support and encouragement to overcome any barriers they may have in order for them to achieve their true potential.and that each individual should be offered equality of opportunity and be given the best chances that life has to offer.

When not working she enjoys relaxing in the company of friends, outdoor activities, camping, gardening, watching motor sport as well as a wide variety of music and literature. She takes pleasure in spending time with her four children and five grandchildren.

Andrew Copelin

Chairman and Trustee

A Sales Manager for an international plastics and packaging company, Andrew has had a long association with the Kearns family.

A former District Commissioner for Scouts in North Norfolk, and part of the County Development Team, he was also a Training Presenter and Facilitator, and a regular member of project and training teams. He has also worked as part of a number of teams supporting international Scout Jamborees in Norfolk within logistics and marketing roles.

Andrew also worked with fellow Trustee, James Kearns to set up a project sharing good practice in working with young people in England and Finland with drug and alcohol problems. 

Active within the Norwich and Norfolk branch of the Campaign For Real Ale, and a keen football, cricket and horse-racing fan, Andrew is also a member of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club.

Mike Tingley


Mike is currently enjoying early retirement after more than 30 years as a full time youth worker with local authorities.

His most recent position was as the Development Worker with Norfolk Council for Voluntary Youth Services which became Momentum in 2010.

He has been a volunteer RYA qualified sailing instructor with Norfolk Schools Sailing Association for the past 16 years and has recently become a volunteer with the Nancy Oldfield Trust.

He has been the secretary of his local football club for over 12 years and secretary of the local playing field management committee since 2010.

Sarah Diver


Sarah Diver is now working as a Theatre Nurse at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, having qualified as a nurse in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, and worked in both general day surgery and neurology theatres.

Sarah is a former Venture Scout and Brownie Guide Helper in Roughton, Norfolk and is now an Assistant Cub Scout Leader close to her home at Soham in Cambridgeshire where her daughter is also a Scout. Sarah was one of the Founding Trustees in 2007, and now acts as an Adviser to the Board of Trustees.

Cathy Corneille


Cathy Corneille is semi-retired after a varied career.

Although originally a scientist in the food industry, Cathy spent nearly twenty years working for British Telecom in management, in accounting, sales, call centres, shops, complaint handling, installation and maintenance for residential and small business customers and as Quality Manager for London. Her last job was on the board for Personal Communications Customer Service as Change Manager to the team that handled 60million plus calls per year.

Since then she has been a mum, magistrate, school governor, National Trust volunteer, horticultural student and part time garden consultant. She is currently studying for a Diploma in Garden History (RBGE) after completing an MHort (RHS).

Chris Willett


Chris recently formed his own gardening and landscaping business after spending the previous 40 years in various other areas of the horticultural industry. Starting as an apprentice with Luton Borough Council and attending Askham Bryan College, York. Much of his work life has been spent managing MOD contracts and Local authority, Parks and Gardens, with the odd venture into the commercial world. As well as working in horticulture, Chris has a keen interest in this area on a personal level and enjoys gardening & growing.

As well as serving as a trustee with The Kearns Foundation, Chris is a Lead Volunteer with The BUILD Charity, leading the Grow & Go (Allotment) club and also helping with adventurous activities such as hill walking.

Chris has been a member of the Scout Association since he was a Cub Scout, he is currently Assistant Group Scout Leader with a Central Norfolk Group, but has held many posts in his 40 years, including District Training and Management roles, County Development roles and been involved with most of the Youth Sections in one way or another.

Chris has been an active member of Pelicans Hockey Club for 30 years and is currently a Norfolk County Umpire.

Chris is the Chairman and Founder of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club

Karen Willett


Karen started her work career in the travel industry, training at Mander College, Bedford, and progressing through various companies to become a Manager and a very experienced travel consultant. Following a break to start a family she moved into logistics and transport with a couple of local well-known businesses. For the past 10 years Karen has been PA to the directors of a large local business.

As well as serving as a trustee with The Kearns Foundation, Karen is a Lead Volunteer with The BUILD Charity, leading the Grow & Go (Allotment) club.

As a young person Karen was a brownie and Queen’s guide, and has been a member of the Scout Association for many years as a Cub Scout Leader and Beaver Leader, she is currently Group Treasurer with a local Central Norfolk Scout Group and a key player in fund raising for the Group.

Karen is a keen crafter and enjoys finding ways of raising funds for the organisations she supports.

Karen is a member of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club