Nick started his career with Cadbury’s where he held a number of sales, production, marketing, management and operational roles. He then went on to work for Guinness running the on-trade operations, Pepsico where he led the licensed trade function and the home baking side of Whitworths; before becoming part of a management buy-out of a dry dog food division of Dalgety. As the Sales and Marketing Director he created the largest supplier of own label dog food in the UK.
Nick joined the RFU to lead the development of refereeing. He spent 14 years, in a variety of roles, latterly, as a member of the Executive Committee, as the Head of Public Affairs and Operations, generating over £200m of inward investment into the sport for community based activity and facility development.
On leaving the RFU Nick became Chief Executive of one of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales’ charities. He developed and expanded the charity to reach more of its target group of the unemployed over 50s, creating over 2,000 new businesses and 3,000 jobs.
Latterly, he was the Chief Executive of the Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association, where as the Chief Executive, he led the organisation through a period of transformation.
Both Nick’s father and brother served in the RAF, and his sister-in-law was a commercial pilot, so he has a natural affinity for all things aviation.
Outside work Nick has held a Ministerial appointment, several non-executive directorships and acted as a trustee for a range of charities.
Director of Membership
Del Rowlands is the RAF Association’s Director of Membership. He joined the Association in October 2017 after his final posting in the RAF.
Del commissioned into the RAF in 1989 and served all over the world, including tours of Iraq and Kosovo. His final military appointment was as Commanding Officer at MOD Abbey Wood, from 2015 until retirement. Before this Del served in Whitehall for three years on the Future Reserves 2020 programme.
He lives in Cheltenham where most of his time is spent making his Victorian home habitable! Del has two children, Charlie and Ellie, and in any spare time enjoys motorcycling, horse riding and testing his ever-evolving cooking ‘skills’ on friends.
As the Director of Membership, Del is looking forward to the challenge of growing the membership and sustaining that growth, as well as meeting many of the members and employees that work so hard to keep the Association going.
Director of Welfare
Rory joined the Royal Air Forces Association in May 2013 as the Director of Welfare. Rory came from SSAFA where he was responsible for all of the contracted SSAFA Health and Social Care services in Cyprus. He also managed the SSAFA volunteer teams. Previous to Cyprus, Rory managed Primary and Community Health Care services in British Forces Germany. He has a wealth of experience within the Health and Social care sector. Rory resigned from the Royal Navy in 2004 having undertaken a number of tri -service postings and spending much of his service career attached to the Royal Marines. His last posting was to Flag Officer Sea Training where he was heavily involved in the inspection and training of Royal Navy and foreign naval ships preparing for operational deployments.
Director of Marketing and Fundraising
Rachel Huxford was born in Gloucestershire and studied English Literature at University College, Durham, where she was also a member of Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron.
After a holiday job as a wingwalker, Rachel began a public relations career with the team’s parent company, AeroSuperBatics Ltd.
Rachel became Head of Corporate Communications for the Air Cadet Association before joining the Red Arrows, where she headed their PR and marketing team. She was responsible for overseas ambassadorial tours to over 20 countries on behalf of the UK government. Her efforts earned her inclusion in the 2006 New Year Honours List.
Rachel’s subsequent fundraising career has included roles with the RAF Association, the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Woodland Trust. She rejoined the RAF Association as Director of Fundraising and Trading in July 2015.
Rachel lives in Lincolnshire with her partner Ben (an engineer serving in the RAF) and an assortment of animals.
Director of HR and Volunteering
Alyson Hunter was born in South Wales, the daughter of an Army Officer. After attending Moreton Hall in Shropshire, she joined the RAF in 1984 as an Administrative Secretarial Officer. Serving in a range of roles including time in Northern Ireland and as the first female adjutant to the RAF Regiment at Greenham Common, Alyson left in 1992 to manage the Outdoor Leisure Services across Cardiff.
Alyson carried out a number of roles with local government and settling in Leicestershire, where she worked for the Police for seven years as their HR Organisational Development and Change Manager. She studied with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, becoming a Chartered Fellow in 2004.
In 2005 Alyson became the Head of HR for the National Farmers’ Union, a membership organisation, and one of her first tasks was to relocate the staff from London to their new HQ at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. After a spell in 2009 as the Chief Executive of a charity supporting adults and children with learning difficulties, Alyson saw the position with the RAF Association advertised in 2011 and hasn’t looked back.
Alyson is married to Jim, a Chartered Financial Planner with his own pension and investment business in Leicestershire and has two step-daughters and a son. Her hobbies are skiing, yoga and going to the gym.
Director of Finance
Andrew is a qualified Finance professional, with 19 years post-qualification experience. He has held a number of senior strategic positions in his career so far, delivering business targets, with accountability to key organisational stakeholders. He has many years’ experience of monitoring and improving business performance, optimising financial efficiency, managing and leading teams, and working cross functionally and at board level to ensure business success.
Andrew is energetic, focused, innovative and analytical, and enjoys identifying solutions to business challenges. He is a relatively newcomer to the Charity Sector, having left the Commercial Sector in 2014, and whereas culturally he has found it to be very different, there are many parallels that can be drawn.
Andrew lives with his wife and two boys in Hinckley and enjoys most music and most sports.
Director of Governance and Risk