Who Are We

Who Are We

Ptolemy Dean (President)
Ptolemy Dean FSA OBE was born and schooled in Canterbury and runs an established firm of architects that specialises in the repair of historic buildings and the creation of new structures in sensitive locations. He became familiar to viewers of the BBC 2 television programme ‘Restoration’, and is a committee member of SAVE Britain’s Heritage. He has been Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey since 2012 and has been President of the Canterbury Society since 2019.

Jan Pahl (Vice President)
After a career spent in social policy research, in 2009 Jan began to work with a group of local people to revive the Canterbury Society. The aim was to provide a voice for all who care about our city and to campaign to improve the quality of life. Jan's particular interests are conserving our historic built environment, protecting our green spaces, enhancing the quality of life for everyone and creating a more sustainable future. For ten years she was the Chair of the Society. Now as Vice President her aim is to champion the activities of the Society and support its committee.

Richard Scase (Vice President)
Richard Scase has devoted a career to writing and researching on social, economic and technological issues and giving talks on these to professional, practitioner and academic bodies. He is an Emeritus Professor at Kent University. He has always been actively engaged in local matters. He set up Invicta Radio ( now Heart FM) in the 1980’s. He is a regular studio panelist for BBC Radio Kent and KMTV. He has been writing a monthly column for the Kent Messenger group for more than twenty years. He became Chair of the Society in January 2020 having been one of the original founders in 2009. His aim is to uphold the values of the Society, contributing to enhancing the quality of life for all Canterbury citizens.

The Committee

Hilary Brian (Chair)
On my daily walks around our city during the Lockdowns, I fell in love with Canterbury, its history and heritage and am pleased to contribute by chairing the Canterbury Society although this is very much a case of my standing on the shoulders of giants. We are blessed with highly committed and experienced teams on the various working groups and I look forward to working with them to stimulate public interest in our city, improve the quality of life here and above all - to have some fun along the way! I hope to help to make The Canterbury Society an even more attractive organisation to belong to and to create events that are interesting.


I look forward to seeing you there!


A little bit about me:
I trained as a nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and moved many times with my RAF husband. This was a very enriching experience as I worked in different roles in different places, at one point running a Refuge for Battered Wives (as it was then called) in Lincoln.
My whole working life has been rather eclectic ranging from running a nursing agency, project management of major contracts with NHS and being Director of Care Services at Strode Park Foundation. I undertook some postgraduate education, although I hadn’t been to university and for me, education had indeed been wasted on the young! My last position was managing a clinical IT system in the NHS.
Outside the workplace – I have been Chair of Trustees at Kent MS Therapy Centre, a school Governor at Kent College, Canterbury and a founder Freeman of the Company of Nurses, a fledgling City of London Livery Company. I belong to Rotary International with whom I have carried out voluntary work in India and Tanzania.

John Walker (Vice Chair)
John has a business background with over 35 years experience as a residential and commercial property developer. He was a founder member and Deputy Chair of the Canterbury Society from 2010 to 2020. Until October 2016 John was a Trustee and Deputy Chair of Civic Voice, the national organisation for civic societies in England. His special interests are the quality of the public realm, good design and strategic planning.

Martin Vye (Secretary)
Martin Vye taught at The King’s School, as head of modern languages , and then as housemaster. He was an elected councillor on both Canterbury City and Kent County Councils. He is a past Lord Mayor of Canterbury,and an honorary alderman of both Canterbury and Kent. His special concerns as a member of the committee of the Canterbury Society are threats posed to the quality of life of residents of Canterbury by poverty, and by the damage caused by an increasingly unsustainable transport system.

Kim Parker (Treasurer)
Kim is a retired Statistics Lecturer and has lived in a village near Canterbury for over 35 years. You may hear him from time to time playing with “Jazz Omnibus” at various charitable events and in residential homes. Kim is now Treasurer of the Canterbury Society.

Mehri Holliday
Dr Mehri Holliday is a retired academic and artist. The study of societies internationally and civic activism with a focus on education, culture and gender, together with the process of art making, have been central to her research and publications. She is passionate about Canterbury’s architectural heritage as well as protecting its biodiversity.

Carole Wells
Carole has worked in the public & private sectors and brings skills in Social Enterprise and Marketing. She has experience of setting up and running small businesses involved in Hospitality, Recruitment, Training & Careers Guidance. Prior to moving to Canterbury, she set up the first Community Interest Company (CIC) in the London Borough of Bromley and for over 15 years has been actively involved in the Volunteering & Community sectors, including 4 years as a Trustee with Community Links Bromley. She is presently working at the Canterbury Volunteer Centre, helping to promote a creative project in the city and taking a strong interest in green issues.

Clive Bowley
Clive Bowley is an Architect and was formerly the City Conservation Officer but now runs a local Architectural practice. He enjoys living in the City centre and has a particular interest in the history and topography of Canterbury and Architectural conservation more generally. He has been a member of the Canterbury Society for many years and helps by offering advice on planning and design matters that affect the City.

Hubert Pragnell
Hubert Pragnell has been on committee since inception of the re-founded society in 2009. Holds an MA Kent, and Ph.D from York. Trained as Historian and Fine Artist . Has written on architectural topics. Was a teacher at The King's school Canterbury for 29 years and latterly, a tutor in architectural history for the University of Oxford department for continuing education. He is particularly interested in the architecture and fabric of Canterbury.

Comments are closed.

  • Supported by