Meet... Stephen Earl
Trustee since 2010
Tell us about your career
I was the former conservation and heritage manager for Great Yarmouth Borough Council and project organiser for Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust. A conservation officer for 36 years, with 20 years at Great Yarmouth, I was responsible for a number of conservation led regeneration programmes and major capital projects including the Time and Tide, the Museum of Great Yarmouth Life at £5million; the Norfolk Nelson Museum project and the £3.2 million Aspire Young Persons Centre which is part of The Benjamin Foundation. My public service career has been driven by a desire to protect and enhance the historic built environment, develop partnerships and save buildings for the benefit of the community.
I was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to heritage and local government. In 2010 I retired and am now a trustee of Norwich Preservation Trust as well as The Benjamin Foundation.
Why did you decide to become a Trustee?
I led the Aspire Young Persons project at Great Yarmouth, which was designed to break the cycle of homelessness for young people. The Benjamin Foundation provides the staff to support the young people and it is an outstanding outcome for the team that 60 young people have moved to independent living within the first five years. When I retired I was invited to become a trustee and it has been a delight to stay involved with the brilliant staff and volunteers that make the Foundation.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I married Brenda, a nurse and health visitor, in 1977 and we have two sons. We both enjoy offshore sailing and cruise our boat in the Thames estuary and France; it was a great idea to marry your crew! We are both keen walkers and in 2012 I had the opportunity to complete the 192 mile Coast to Coast walk in 13 days.
I was born in 1952; four months after my father died aged 32, his health destroyed by over three years in a prisoner of war camp. My mother brought up two children on a war widows pension and died after a long illness, when I was 22. I had been incredibly lucky to have one outstanding parent and often reflect how different life would have been had I not had that security and the opportunity of a state education.
We all have a social and moral responsibility to change things and create opportunities for people to reach their full potential. Through their skill and commitment, the staff and volunteers of the Benjamin Foundation are creating opportunities and changing the lives of vulnerable people. They should be very proud of their many achievements.