Board Members

Interim Chair - Lawrence Conway

Lawrence was born and raised in Cardiff and is married with four children. He joined the civil service in 1968 and had various roles within the Welsh Office, including a secondment to Cardiff Bay Development Corporation in the early 1990s as Assistant to the Chief Executive. Following that appointment Lawrence headed the Welsh Office division of sponsored arms-length bodies including the Welsh Development Agency. He became head of the Cabinet Secretariat and First Minister's Department in 1998 and held that post until his retirement in 2010.  Lawrence was awarded the Companion of the Bath in 2012.

Vice Chair - Pippa Britton

Pippa is the current Chair of Disability Sport and a former athlete. Pippa is a member of the Sports Honours Committee; UK Anti-Doping Board; British Paralympic Advisory Committee and the Archery GB Board.

She has previously served on the UK International Leadership Programme and is a member of the Sport Wales Elite Sport Sub Group and World Archery Para Committee, following her retirement from the sport in 2014.

Richard Parks

Richard Parks is a former Wales international rugby union player turned extreme environment athlete and explorer. Born in Pontypridd and now based in Cardiff, Richard studied at Monmouth School, Michaelhouse College South Africa and Cardiff University. He has represented Wales, Wales 7's, The Barbarians and won the Powergen Cup with Leeds and the Principality Cup with Pontypridd.

Aged 31, Richard was forced to retire from rugby due to a career ending shoulder injury. The brutal blow forced Richard to reassess his direction in life inspiring him to developed the idea of a new world first project - the "737 Challenge". Richard Parks' 737 Challenge was a pioneering 7 month race to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles: the Geographical South Pole, Geographical North Pole and the summit of Mt. Everest. On Tuesday 12 July 2011 Richard made history in completing his project and becoming the first ever person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles within the same calendar year. Richard completed his record setting 737 Challenge in a time of 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, raising over three hundred thousand pounds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care whilst creating an advertising value in excess of £3 million to the cancer charity.

Passionate about sharing and giving back, Richard now works with many schools and colleges across the UK using his experiences to help applied learning on a wide range of topics, and is an honorary lecturer at the University of South Wales. Richard also works with commercial organisations delivering bespoke keynote speeches and training.

On 4 January 2014 Richard recorded the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted expedition from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole by a Briton, and became the first Welshman to complete this historic and brutal journey solo. His time of 29 days and 11 hours, took 9 days from the previous British record.

Richard served as Team Attaché to Team Wales at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games supporting the athletes, staff and corporate partners in Wales' most successful Commonwealth team.

Ashok Ahir

Ashok has a communications and media background. He is the co-owner of a bilingual communications agency working across the private, public and third sector.

He is also the Chair of the organising committee for the National Eisteddfod 2018 and a member of their management board.  He has previously been involved in a Welsh for Adults Review Group and Executive Editor of Politics at BBC Cymru Wales.

Samar Small

Samar grew up in Cyncoed and attended Cardiff High School and Cardiff University,  representing both in netball, hockey,  athletics and basketball. After graduating with a BSc (Hons.) in Business Administration and an international internship in Africa, she returned to Cardiff and achieved qualifications in sports coaching, community nutrition and leisure management,  later founding her own sports, fitness and nutrition company. 

Samar has worked extensively at grassroots and community level, and through her work with minority charities and numerous Welsh and English-medium schools and been actively increasing participation in sport and achieving a real attitude change towards physical activity. A keen linguist who speaks five languages, Samar has worked with the London 2012 Olympics and the Rugby World Cup, as well as, more recently, UEFA, Sport Cardiff and the Cardiff Half Marathon to put Wales on the international sporting map. The combination of her activities and achievements was recognised when she was shortlisted for Sport Wales Community Coach of the Year in 2013.

Ian Bancroft

Ian is the Chief Officer for Organisational Change at Flintshire County Council. Prior to this he was Area Relationship Director at Knowsley MBC, Executive Director at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Principal Policy Officer at Wrexham County Borough Council and Business and Strategy Manager for Nottingham City Council's Leisure Services Department.

He was previously a board member for the Heritage Lottery Fund - North West.

Julia Longville

Julia is Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching at Cardiff School of Sport at Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC).  She was educated at Barry Grammar School for Girls and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School, Barry.  She has a University of Wales MSc coaching Science degree from UWIC and a Certificate of Education teaching qualification and a B.Ed from Barry Teacher Training College.  Julia has been an Estyn independent inspector and education consultant.  She works regularly with colleagues throughout Wales to develop Physical Education and School Sport.

A former Wales netball international with 25 caps, Julia played at European and World Championship level.  She is a former international coach who took the Welsh U21 and senior team to numerous European and World Championships, and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

Johanna Sheppard

Jo currently works for Barclays as Director of Compliance Corporate Bank, focussed on Barclays' international corporate business, cash management, FX and payments (including fintech). Based in London, her role involves working with a global team advising on products, incidents and regulatory interactions. Previously Jo worked for Barclaycard as Director of Compliance for Barclaycard Business Solutions.

Born in Cardiff she attended Corpus Christi High School and then Millfield School, where she was Captain of Netball. Jo went on to play netball for South Glamorgan and Somerset counties, West of England and Wales at various age groups. She also played badminton for Wales at group level.

Jo attended Nottingham University where she obtained an LLB (Hons) degree in English law and American law, spending a year studying at the University of Texas in Austin. Whilst at Nottingham, she was a member of the First VII netball team for 3 years. She holds a Diploma in Legal Practice from Nottingham Trent Law School and is a qualified solicitor.

Prior to joining Barclays, Jo worked as a lawyer for Clifford Chance LLP, in London and New York, and Deutsche Bank AG, in London.  Jo lives in London and stays fit by doing hot yoga, running and cycling.

Christian Malcolm

Christian is the Technical Lead Coach to Team GB Men and Women's 4 x 100 relay team and sprint coach to GB Paralympic and Welsh athletes.

He is also a Welsh Athletics Board Member and director of his own community sports academy. He is best known for his achievements as a former elite athlete, competing at number of major championships, including 4 Olympic Games.

Peter King

Peter is Executive Director of British Cycling, having been Chief Executive from February 1997 until December 2008 during which time the organisation moved from the brink of insolvency, to being one of the most vibrant and successful governing bodies of sport in the UK.

Peter is qualified as a Fellow in both the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.  He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Global Management Accountant.  As well as being in practice as a Chartered Secretary and Accountant, Peter manages a company which he founded in 1978 specifically aimed at introducing high standards of corporate governance and reliable management accounting functions to small and medium sized businesses.  He has a permanent place on the Board of the European Regions Airline Association, and is primarily responsible for their financial affairs.

Apart from Cycling, Peter has competed at local, regional and national level in sports as diverse as Athletics, Table Tennis, Football, Golf, Squash, Badminton and Cricket and he has been involved as a volunteer official, coach or administrator in almost all of these sports.  He still competes occasionally in cycling competitions.

Peter was a Board Member of Cycling England until its demise in April 2011. He was appointed to the Board of England Athletics as Chair in October 2012. He holds no other Ministerial public appointments.

Peter was made a CBE in 2008 in recognition of his services to cycling having previously been awarded one of the sport's highest accolades, The Bidlake Trophy, in 2007.  He was inducted into cycling's Hall of Fame in 2010.

Alison Thorne

Alison is a trustee at Chwarae Teg; a Non-Executive Director of a retail consultancy and ille de Cocos (fashion brand). She is also Founder of atconnect - a business and people development company. She has previously served as trustee at Tropical Forest Trust (sustainable forest management) and the MBA Committee (London College of Fashion).

Her earlier career is in business, retail and people development.

Board papers

Copies of the agenda and minutes from the latest Sport Wales Board meetings are available to view.