The people who influence HRGS...


Chair & Research Project Co-ordinator - Richard Emmett

I have a background in Emergency Planning, but seemingly always had a passion for history, particularly military-history.  Most recently, I  have been involved in taking part in a variety of archaeological excavations, such as the Randall Manor project at Shorne, the Thames Discovery Programme and the Digging Dad's Army project.  Although, my main interest area is 20th century conflict archaeology, which allows a fresh interpretation on events. If you would like to know more about me check out this link - Get to know your Chairman

I would be pleased to hear from you: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vice Chair - John Beaumont

John is actively involved with various archaeological groups, including Bredhurst, Shorne, and Wychling. John is never happier than being in a test pit!

Treasurer - Theresa Emmett

The Treasurer's role is to ensure the smooth financial affairs of the organisation. Paying bills, and balancing the books with our membership fees, donations, book sales and fund raising monies, to enable the accounts to be signed off by the HRGS accountant.

I have a banking background, previously working for Lloyds Bank for 18 years. Whilst I enjoy playing with spreadsheets and looking at investments, my real passion is for history. I have been involved with projects such as MOCO (Mass Observation Communities Online) as well as Digging Dad's Army which gets my hands dirty and involved in conflict archaeology. My interest in history is far reaching, and any kind of view into the past which helps us make sense of the present interests me.

Events Secretary & Assistant Treasurer - Jenny Kearney

Jenny became a member of the group in 2014 - through the Bredhurst 'diggers'. She enjoys the outdoor archaeological opportunities the group offers, as well as getting involbed with the WW1 memorials project by researching the background of fallen men. Jenny has been the Assistant Treasurer since 2015.


Secretary, Editor, Printer, and Researcher - Pat Robinson

Pat was known as Dr Bellingham when she wrote her book 'An Illustrated History of Sittingbourne and Milton' and has always been interested in the history of the town in which her mother was born and where she was also brought up. She has been actively involved with the group since 2013, and is currently involved in the WW1 Memorials Project. In 2016 she wrote 'A Town at War', published by HRGS, which tells the story of Sittingbourne and Milton during the First World War. She now holds several jobs on the committee and has previously been the Membership Secretary.

Membership Secretary - John Weeks OBE

John has been a member of HRGS since 2009, and a committee member since 2015, and is very interest in Aviation History, and local history. He is an avid model airaplane flyer and a past president of the Sittingbourne branch of Probus. John was awarded an OBE for his services within the Civil Service before he retired.

Archivist & Chronicle Keeper - Janet Halligan

Janet has a wealth of knowledge about Sittingbourne and Milton Regis, as she and her family have lived in this area for many generations, and has her own personal Archive records which are very useful to our researchers.

Webmaster - Peter Hudson-Paige

Peter became the HRGS webmaster from September 2015 taking on the responsibility of its maintenance and the publishing of 'the fallen' names in remembrance of all those that lost their lives during WW1, on the centenary of their death.  A keen history enthusiast since his youth in the 1960's, he spent 13 days experiencing his first archaeological dig at York in 1974 - whilst on holiday with his parents!

Although never far from his mind, his involvement in all things historical ceased when he married and had a family.  Now with less family commitments, he is again immersing himself in the world he most loves.  Peter is now an active member of the group and became a committee member, also in September 2015.

Peter is a serving councillor for both Bobbing and Borden Parish Councils, and a former Executive Member to the Kent Association of Local Councils.

Media and Press Officer - Tony Gray

Tony re-joined the group in 2016 and offered to help with administration for the Heritage Lottery funding feedback; and then offered to become the Press Officer when the position became vacant. Tony has expanded the role to include social media and has been instrumental in moving HRGS into the world of Twitter.

Heritage Hub Support - John Cockrell

John has been a volunteer in the Heritage Hub before HRGS took over the running of the exhibition. John will turn his hand to anything from painting the walls to dressing the windows. He joined HRGS committee in 2015, and volunteers for many other organisations as well. John has been nominated for the Swale Volunteer Awards in March 2017 (Good luck John!)

Heritage Hub Shop Managers - Don & Jacky Harris

Don and Jacky have both served on the committee of HRGS, and have volunteered and been involved in various projects, so were ideal to be the Shop Managers in the Heritage Hub. They organise the various volunteers who help us keep the Heritage Hub open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm all the year round....enabling over 7000 visitors to visit each year.

 IT Support - John Townsend

John has been a 'digger' at Bredhurst for the last 6 years and enjoys both the delicate work as well as the 'harder digging jobs'.  He has a technical engineering background, which has meant that he was able to build his own resistivity meter to help identify potential archaeological areas on site. He has been the Chairman, Membership secretary and Treasurer for his radio club.

HRGS' Honorary President  - Bill Croydon CBE

"I feel honoured to be invited to become the President of the HRGS. Since arriving in Swale I have been aware of the wealth of heritage in the area and astounded by the lack of knowledge about it. There is a great story to tell about this part of our County and I believe that the Group can play a substantial part in discovering our past and bringing it to public attention. This work can contribute strongly to the success and standing of the district and bring it pride and respect.

I look forward to playing my part in the work of the Group and I wish it great success."

- Bill Croydon. (2004)

Before arriving in Swale, Bill served in the RAF. Conscripted for National Service at the age of 18 he trained as a pilot and decided to stay for a full career. He served in the Far East and in Germany on fighter squadrons and then as a flying instructor. After Staff College and tours in Germany and Belgium, he moved to transport aircraft, commanded FAR Brize and Norton and served in the Ministry of Defence. During his service he was awarded the OBE and was later appointed CBE.

On retiring from the RAF in 1988 he became Chief Executive of Swale Borough Council, a post he held for 8 years. Here he began to pursue the early history of aviation, in particular, its links with the Isle of Sheppey.

He was Chairman of the Brogdale Horticultural Trust (The National Fruit Collection) for several years and was co-founder of the Sheppey Heritage Trust, the main purposes of which were to conserve the heritage of Sheerness Dockyard and to create a centre to commemorate pioneers who established aviation in Britain on that island.

He is the president of the local ATC and RAF Association. He is married to Anne and they have four grown up children. Bill and Anne live at Newington in a late medieval farmhouse.


And click here to see all our valuable volunteers