We have five Trustees: Emily, Hugh, Jan, Kirsty and Ruth.

Wren Music is both a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. The Wren Music Board consists of those who are both Directors of the company and Trustees of the charity. We refer to Board Members as Trustees as a reminder that we are a charity for public benefit.

Trustees have two key areas of responsibility. 1. To govern, directing the organisation through collective decision making and scrutiny, and 2. To advise, acting as a pool of expertise, and sharing knowledge and insight with fellow Trustees and staff.


Emily Wallinder, Wren Music trustee

Emily is our youngest trustee, having joined our Board of Trustees in 2022. With experience in marketing, communications, and software, she offers expertise and guidance with Wren Music’s forward planning, development, and growth.

As part of her role, Emily helps us to build our profile across Devon, so that more people can know about the work we do and the groups, projects, and events we run. This helps us to achieve our aspiration to be as accessible to as many communities as possible.

A previous member of one of Wren Music’s choirs, Emily has first-hand knowledge of our work in local communities: “What we offer is different to what anyone else is offering in terms of accessibility and being open to everyone,” she said. “And no-one else is doing what we’re doing in bringing together folk, art, history, and education.”

Hugh Sutherland, Wren Music trustee and treasurer:

Hugh brings a wealth of skills and experience, following a career in the financial and academic sectors. Initially working in insurance, Hugh transferred his skills to education, where he was a university lecturer for a number of years.

A member of our Wren choir community, Hugh was appointed as a trustee in 2019. As treasurer, he draws on his background to help the charity’s finances, and with offering support, guidance, and advice to other trustees and staff. A key part of his role is to help secure Wren Music’s future, both in the short and long-term.

“The work that Wren Music does as a charity working in the community is important because there is such limited provision,” said Hugh. “Therefore, what I find particularly rewarding is being able to help Wren continue to do the work that they do and to deliver the benefits that they do.”

Jan Wingfield, Wren Music trustee

Jan used her mathematical and analytical skills in a variety of ways during her career, starting with number crunching jobs in Bristol University’s medical school.  She became aware of the importance of trade union membership while in Bristol and joined the Association of University Teachers (AUT).  Her involvement in the trade union movement grew alongside her career and she was involved in the National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO), then Unison, at branch and regional level for many years. She became particularly interested in equal opportunities and women’s issues.

In the mid-1990s, Marilyn Tucker from Wren Music sang at a Regional Women’s Day event Jan had helped to organise. This reminded Jan of the power of a song to communicate a political message. It was soon after this that she joined Wren’s Voices in Common choir.  Singing in that choir energised Jan and led to her deciding to volunteer with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO).

Jan has been a Wren trustee since 2020. She sings and plays music with Wren groups and is passionate about Wren’s belief that music, and the opportunity to sing and/or play music, should be available for everyone: “Music – and the opportunity to take part in musical activities – can be life changing,” said Jan. “It unites people from different backgrounds, broadens their horizons and can empower people in a way that they could never have foreseen.”

Kirsty Kay, Wren Music trustee

Kirsty is a researcher and editor. Her work looks at how folk music and dance traditions contribute to cultural identities, memory, and nationalism. She uses participatory methods to engage communities in research, so brings practical skills in data analysis and community impact evaluation to Wren.

She has worked as a postdoc research associate on the University of Sheffield’s Access Folk project, exploring how to increase and diversify folk singing in England, and previously completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow on cultural memory and nationalism in the Hungarian folk dance revival.

Kirsty joined Wren Music as a trustee in 2023. Born in Devon, she recently returned to the county after living in Scotland, Eastern Europe, and Cornwall. She said: “I relish this opportunity to get involved with the community and with the cultural heritage of Devon.

“Wren Music have done a brilliant job in bringing people together over the past 40 years. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I will help to guide the charity, so it continues to adapt to the needs of the communities, while continuing the important work of uncovering and sharing the county’s folk heritage through its work across Devon.”

Ruth Cartlidge, Wren Music trustee

Ruth’s former career in the Probation and Family Court Service has given her an awareness of the importance of Safeguarding with regard to children and vulnerable adults, which has proved useful in her trustee role supporting Wren Music’s policies and practice.

Ruth, who was born and brought up in Okehampton, joined the Board of Trustees in 2020. She works alongside her co-trustees to ensure the efficient running of the charity and on developing our strategic plans for moving forward.

Ruth is also a member of our West Devon Folk Choir, a volunteer with our Sing & Play group for pre-school children and their adults and was involved in our Okehampton Folk Trail project. She said: “Wren Music is a unique organisation, preserving the folk music of this part of the world and making people of all ages aware of the heritage we have. We show that the tradition isn’t just about the past, it’s very much about making folk music relevant to people’s lives now and building a heritage for the future by telling stories of “ordinary” lives and events.”