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Following approval of the merger of Colne and Greenfields Community Housing, we are pleased to announce the Board of our new co-created organisation Eastlight Community Homes. Savills and Trowers have supported us in these appointments.


Sara Thakkar

Sara Thakkar
Chief Executive

Sara joined Colne as Chief Executive in February 2015. Sara has worked at Executive and Chief Executive levels in the public sector since 1998; during that time leading both resident led housing strategy and a number of successful Housing Associations.

Sara has played an instrumental role in governance cross domain throughout her career including Chairing TPAS, Local Strategic Partnership’s in Surrey, Member of the London Mayors Housing Panel and has held active engagement and influencing roles in the National Housing Federation. Sara is currently the Chair of the East Region Leadership Forum and Chair’s Colchester Business Enterprise Agency.

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David Hart

David Hart
Finance Director

David joined Colne in 2019.  David brings both commercial and housing association experience to the organisation. He has held senior finance positions at CHP, Catalyst and Moat and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Association.

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Non Executive Team

  • Andrew Hill

    Andrew Hill

    Board member

    Andrew brings extensive experience of corporate finance from over a decade in senior treasury roles, most recently as Group Treasurer of Devro plc. He has led projects to raise funding on capital markets in the USA and UK, and also brings significant expertise in the management of risk in an organisation.

    In his spare time Andrew is a parish councillor and takes a particular interest in delivering affordable housing in his role as treasurer of his local Neighbourhood Plan.

    Andrew is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers, and is a member of Colne’s Audit and Treasury Committee.

  • Hattie Llewelyn-Davies

    Hattie Llewelyn-Davies


    Hattie Llewelyn-Davies is well known in the housing sector and was awarded an OBE for services to homeless people in 2004. A highly-experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director, she joined Colne in September 2017.  

    Hattie started her career working with homeless people sleeping rough and firmly believes everyone has a right to have a home. Hattie is Chair at PA Housing.  She has been Chair of Viridian Housing Group and is the Chair of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

  • Malcom O’Brien

    Malcom O’Brien

    Vice Chair

    Malcolm is the Executive Director of People and Communications for Swan Housing. He brings 20 years experience in HR and ten years in the housing sector to the Board.

    Malcolm also has significant experience in leading business and cultural change by selling ideas, motivating and influencing senior colleagues, board members, staff and trade unions. Malcolm sits on the Appointments and Remuneration Committee.

  • Alison Inman

    Alison Inman

    Board member

    Alison Inman is a prominent member of the affordable housing community. She is a Vice President of the CIH, the professional body for housing.

    She is also  Vice Chair of TPAS, the tenant engagement experts, and was previously Chair of Colchester Borough Homes. Alison is a magistrate a school governor and a prolific and inluential Tweeter. She sits on the Audit Committee and is our Board Champion for housing management. Alison is also Chair of Colne's Audit Committee.

  • Phil Purkiss

    Phil Purkiss

    Board member

    Phil joined the Board in 2016.

    An Associate Director for pod LLP, Phil brings a wealth of experience in developing and maintaining financial viability and other excel based models, financial modelling, undertaking options appraisals, new business and project management, co-ordinating bids, research and report writing to Colne's Board. management.

  • Julia Thomas

    Julia Thomas

    Board member

    Julia is a solicitor who has worked in private practice, the not for profit sector and local government.  She now works for Ofsted as an advisory lawyer, specialising in education law and public law. She has been a governor at a local secondary school for more than 20 years and is an active member of her local church. She joined the Board in 2016.

  • Chris Ellison

    Chris Ellison

    Board member

    With over 25 years' experience in housing, Chris joined our Board in 2018. 

    For ten years he has been a member on a range of Boards and chaired a number of sub committees. His focus is growth, regulatory and health and safety compliance, governance and risk management. 

    He brings to Colne a wealth of strategic experience including a comprehensive appreciation of financial and business models.