Corporation Board

Blackburn College has a board of governors – the Corporation Board. It is their job to oversee the College and to work with the leadership team at College – representing the community, businesses and students of the College. You can read biographies of our governors here, find minutes to their meetings and learn more about the governance structure that operates at Blackburn College.

Phil Watson CBE


Chair of the Corporation Board

Member of the Corporation Board since: 23 September 2005

Former Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council; Local Authority Officer for 38 years and 9 as Chief Executive of a Unitary Authority; Chartered Architect and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Also a former Director of Elevate (East Lancashire housing market Renewal Company) and a member/advisor of numerous local, regional and national boards/partnerships.

Presently the independent Chair of the Joint Committee of the Greater Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which deals with promoting whole service reform and deciding on options for the reconfiguration of hospital services across Greater Manchester to improve patient safety and outcomes particularly in acute abdominal surgery.  Recently appointed as Chair of the Joint Committee of Lancashire and South Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Member of the Public Service Executive Group of the Lancashire Combined Authority which has been set up to help provide strategic direction and oversight to the work of the Lancashire Public Services Board.

Also a former non-executive of the Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust (PCT), and a member of its Governance, Audit and Remuneration Committees.

A former chair of the North West Improvement Network (NWIN), which administered the Department of Communities and Local Government capacity building funds (for sector led improvements) for the whole of the North West.

Recently chair of the Building Schools for the Future Partnership for Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton with Balfour Beatty.

Committee membership: Chair of Governance Panel, Chair of Remuneration

Garth Hodgkinson

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Vice Chair of the Corporation Board 

Member of the Corporation Board since: 31 December 2004

Chief Officer of Blackburn with Darwen Council for Voluntary Services. Has worked in the public sector for 10 years and has experience of working in an FE college and in local authorities. His particular interests lie in regeneration, industry, the community and voluntary sector and in higher education. Graduate of York University.

Committee membership: Policy and Resources, Governance Panel, Remuneration

Governor Champion:  Safeguarding 

Dr Thomas Moore

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Principal and Chief Executive

Member of the Corporation Board since: 25 October 2013

Committee membership: Policy and Resources, Curriculum and Quality, Governance Panel


Mark Allanson

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 11 December 2015

Pro Vice-Chancellor (External Relations) at Edge Hill University.  Former Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Regional Consultant for the North West and held senior university roles including UK and international student recruitment, marketing and external affairs and student services.  Former Director of a Chamber of Commerce.

Committee membership: Chair of Curriculum and Quality, Governance Panel.


Stephanie Anforth

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 16 October 2009

Education Partnerships Manager at BAE Systems.

Committee membership: Policy and Resources. 

Governor Champion:  Health and Safety and Staff Welfare.


David Blacklidge

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 11 December 2015

Business Support Staff Governor – Head of Studies for Engineering in the Centre for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Committee membership: Policy and Resources. 

Harry Catherall 

undefinedMember of the Corporation Board since: 8 July 2016

Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council (appointed in 2012) and also on the Board of Directors of Education Partnership Trust.

An accountant by profession, his career in local government spans more than 30 years. Starting at Tameside Council, he joined the Audit Commission before moving to Stockport as a head of service. He joined Blackburn with Darwen Council in 1997, most recently serving as deputy chief executive delivering health integration, including a pioneering free leisure initiative and its Building Schools for the Future programme.

He chairs the Pennine Lancashire Chief Executive Group which provides a forum for joined up Health and Council initiatives.

Committee Membership: Policy and Resources.

Emilie Cave

Member of the Corporation Board since: 21 October 2016

HE Student Governor.

Emilie is the Student Union President and took up her appointment from 1 November 2016. Emilie graduated from the University Centre at Blackburn College with a BA (Hons) Degree in Applied Psychology.

Committee membership: Curriculum and Quality. 


Mike Cheston

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 6 February 2015

Director of Finance at Blackburn Rovers, Director of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust Ltd. and Director of MC Financial Consultancy Ltd.


Committee membership: Chair of Audit


Lillian Croston

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 17 October 2014

Former Head of Westholme School, Blackburn.   Chair of Governors at Accrington Academy and Lancaster University Court Member. 

Committee membership: Curriculum and Quality

Governor Champion:  Special Educational Needs.

Peter Ford

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 11 December 2015

Head of Studies for Digital and iBusiness at Blackburn College. Has 12 years’ experience as a lecturer in a variety of educational contexts but mainly teaching Technical subjects in the 16 – 19 sector.  Has also taught learners from across the FE and post compulsory sector from NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) up to undergraduates on degree programmes.

Prior to joining Blackburn College, was the Research and Development Director of a technology company based in Manchester specialising in financial software products.

Committee membership: Curriculum and Quality.

Shaheen Gul

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 10 February 2012

Currently employed as a Careers Advisor for Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership Ltd who deliver the National Careers Service, working with young people and adults, and as an Admissions Interviewer at Runshaw College.   Also currently working with Blackburn Integrated Community Engagement Partnership within the community and developing programmes to meet the needs of those distant from training and employment. An active member of the community and supportive to residents with progression into the labour market.

Previous job roles have include outreach service advisor and extended schools co-ordinator for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. 

Committee membership: Curriculum and Quality.

Governor Champion:  Equality and Diversity.


Dr Shah Khan

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 16 October 2009

Dr Shah Khan is a Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist, specialist in imaging of bone and joint diseases and sports injuries, based at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

He has strong interest in research and education and is the recipient of international award, for work carried out in radiology. He is on the Editorial Board of British Journal of Hospital Medicine and pan European journal, Radiological Documents. He works with the Royal College of Radiologists and chaired the standards on 7 day radiology service. In recent past worked with the GMC, helping with performance assessment of radiologist in the country. In recognition for his contribution to excellence in radiology and the NHS, the National Clinical Excellence Committee have bestowed Shah with the prestigious bronze award in 2016. Works extensively with local ethnic minority communities and was involved in the charitable distribution of old medical equipment and ambulances to needy third world countries.

Committee membership: Audit.


Paul Levet

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 10 February 2012

Former Assistant Corporate Director and Relationship Director with Barclays Bank. This involved larger business financing including project finance and public company relationship management. From 2004 until 2011, leader of the Barclays Education Team in the North West – working with a number of large universities and FE colleges and having responsibility for over £300m of lending to the education sector. Graduate of University of Portsmouth – BA in Economics. Other qualifications include Diploma Institute of Management Accounting and Associate Institute of Bankers

Committee membership: Chair of Policy and Resources, Governance Panel, Remuneration

Khalid Saifullah

Khalid Saifullah

Member of the Corporation Board since: 8 July 2016

Managing Director of Star Tissues UK Ltd. Holder of the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion for his role as strategic partnership manager at Business Link North West. Chairman of the Hive Business Leaders Network and member of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Board.

Also helped to develop the Asian Business Federation and launched Enterprise4All, the latter having helped more female and Asian business start-ups.

Committee membership: Policy and Resources


Roger Spensley

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 16 October 2009

Employed as a solicitor in Blackburn. Graduate of the University of Warwick. Active member of the Round Table and local sports organisations.

Committee membership: Policy and Resources, Remuneration.

Leslie Stove


Member of the Corporation Board since: 8 July 2016 

Assistant Chief Executive of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Formerly the Corporate Business Manager at the ELHT.

Former interim Director of Technical Services with the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire having also been a Senior Manager there.

Committee Membership: Curriculum and Quality.

Wiktoria Sych

Member of the Corporation Board since: 21 October 2016

FE Student Governor.

Wiktoria is currently enrolled on the second year of the Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Business.

Committee membership: Audit. 


Professor Mike Wright

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Member of the Corporation Board since: 11 December 2015

University Dean for Academic Quality at Lancaster University where he gives an academic lead to the development and operation of the University’s quality assurance framework and processes.

Committee membership: Curriculum and Quality.

Governor Champion:  Student Experience. 

Minutes of Corporation Board and Committees