Find out more about the staff of the Rochester Bridge Trust.
Sue Threader is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. After graduating with a B.Eng. in Civil and Structural Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 1988. She worked for several local authorities as a civil engineer and transportation planner before joining the international engineering consultancy, WSP Group plc, in 1998 as a Technical Director.
Moving back to the public sector in 2001, Sue held the post of Deputy Chief Executive and firstly Director of Services, then Director of Resources, for a district council in Surrey. Her elder son, Ben, was born in 2004 and, after returning to her previous post for 6 months, she then worked as a freelance management consultant specialising in procurement and public sector trouble-shooting. She was appointed as the Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) of the Rochester Bridge Trust in January 2006.
Apart from working for the Trust three days a week, Sue regularly gives talks on civil engineering or the work of the Trust to technical audiences, schools and interested groups and has written a book on bridge building for primary schools. She is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Engineers and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Archives Panel. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the University of West London and an Outstanding Contribution Award from the ICE in recognition of her work to promote civil engineering to young people.
Paula Puxty is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Paula graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury with a First Class BA Honours degree in Geography. She then trained as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, gaining her ACA qualification in 2001.
Having worked as an auditor and accountant in a wide variety of industries, Paula also gained valuable charity experience during her time as Finance Manager at Chatham Maritime Trust.
Paula first worked for the Trust in 2014 covering maternity leave, re-joining in 2016 in a permanent role.
In her role as Chief Finance Officer, Paula has responsibility for Finance; Human Resources; Insurance; Archives & Records Management; ICT; and the management and reporting of Health & Safety.
She has two teenage children, enjoys spending her spare time with her family and friends, and going away on holiday.
Responsible for the management of the Trust’s property portfolio, Tim Cathcart brings two decades of property experience to the role of Chief Estates Officer.
Having previously managed the estates for a number of charity clients during his ten years at Savills, Tim already had a good working relationship with the Trust. He is enjoying building on this and learning more about the history of the properties, some of which were part of the original 14th and 15th century endowments. Tim also oversees the archives and the grants programme.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor MRICS and RICS Registered Valuer, Tim has a degree in Land Management from the University of Reading. In his spare time he collects vintage tractors, particularly those with a Kent connection. He is also an enthusiastic amateur church organist, a member of the Lord Lieutenant’s Rural Advisory Group, and enjoys spending time with his family.
A chartered structural engineer, Jim joined the Trust in December 2020, having been part of the wider team as a professional advisor since early 2013.
He is responsible for the administration of the Term Maintenance Contract (TMC) which ensures the bridges are kept in a safe and operable condition on a day-to-day basis. This includes making sure the structures are kept clean and tidy, and that disruption to the travelling public is kept to a minimum. Jim’s work runs parallel to the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project.
Having studied for a degree at Thames Polytechnic, now the University of Greenwich, Jim originally developed an interest in civil engineering because of his (continuing) interest in finding out how things work, usually by taking them apart!
Alison Cable qualified as an archivist in 1991, after gaining a BA in art history. She has since managed a range of institutions, including East Kent Archives Centre and the Medway Archives Centre.
Her role involves looking after the Trust’s historic documents as well as planning for the future by ensuring the current filing systems are managed efficiently. Record management is vital for the day-to-day running of an organisation and to ensure the easy identification and access of permanent archives.
The Trust has a wealth of records and Alison’s aim is to make more material available digitally and to raise the profile of this 600-year-old collection. She also maintains the estate files, keeps up-to-date with current legislation for managing records and takes responsibility for the storage and retrieval of documents. On a personal note Alison is enjoying increasing her knowledge of the history of the Trust
In her spare time Alison is interested in history and modern art. She also spends a fair bit of time in the garden.
Having been part of an external consultancy firm working for the Trust since early 2013, Kate joined the in-house engineering team in December 2020.
From an early age, she knew she wanted to work in engineering to make practical use of her love of physics and maths. She says she was lucky enough to do an A-Level in design and technology (technology), which gave her an unusually wide introduction to electronic, structural and mechanical engineering – she particularly enjoyed drawing bending moment diagrams by hand. This was followed by a degree in civil engineering at the University of Surrey.
Kate’s background is in traffic and road safety engineering, and over the course of her career she has developed her project management skills, which is of particular importance for the management and planning of the Bridge Team’s projects.
In her spare time Kate has a number of hobbies, including taking her family blue plaque hunting.
Caroline joined the Trust as an Education Officer in January 2017. She has a biochemistry degree and a PGCE, but left teaching after more than a decade to spend time with her children.
She believes it is vital for children to be engaged in good, fun, science education from an early age and enjoys widening their experiences, broadening their horizons and improving their opportunities.
Caroline is also a school governor and is studying towards an MA in STEM Education at King’s College London.
Away from work, Caroline and her children are keen dancers, learning at the same school. She particularly enjoys tap and street dance, and taking part in shows.
Starting her career as a Payroll Clerk, Jane Down trained as an ACCA-qualified accountant and worked her way through the ranks in the telecommunications industry. This provided her with valuable experience in all areas of accounting, including group management accounting and cashflow forecasting. A move to the family business in the construction industry gave Jane further experience in accounting and administration, while also looking after her young children.
When not at work Jane enjoys spending time with her family, including two sons and a cat called Max.
Jane joined the Trust in 2016 and her role involves keeping the day-to-day accounting records up-to-date as well as looking after payroll, VAT, quarterly accounts preparation and generally assisting the Chief Finance Officer with all areas of finance.
The new role of Operations & Grants Manager was established when Andrew joined the Trust in August 2017.
Previously manager of Rochester’s Guildhall Museum and Visitor Centre, Andrew already has experience of working in the historic community. This, combined with his previous work in industrial modelmaking, advertising and architecture, mean he was ideally placed to take on this post combining building and office management with the overseeing of external projects. Andrew also manages grants and provides support to funding recipients.
In his spare time Andrew enjoys exploring places of historical interest with his wife, gardening, and supporting his father’s passion for classic cars. He also offers voluntary technical support to the museum.
Andrew is particularly keen to use his position to explore new connections for the Trust and to help worthy causes achieve their aims.
Having supported the Trust in a range of engineering education events for many years, civil engineer Helen became a permanent member of the team in 2023, supporting the Bridge Manager with maintenance project development and management.
Helen, who is in the middle of three generations of civil engineers, graduated from Liverpool University and has worked in both the public and private sectors. She is passionate about bridges and pleased to be able to work with the heritage structures that are part of Rochester Bridge.
Away from work, Helen is completing a 1,000-mile walking challenge that includes long distance trails such as the North Downs Way and The Hadrian’s Wall Path, she also enjoys open water swimming in lakes throughout the year. Helen is a Guide and Ranger Leader and a STEM Ambassador.
Helen had the benefit of more than 20 years’ experience in the banking sector as a secretary and executive assistant when she joined the Trust in late 2016, working as the Chief Executive’s Assistant. In 2023 Helen joined the Management Team, with responsibility for Trustee administrative services and meetings, and the management of arrangements for all external events.
She spends her free time with her husband and two children – a daughter and son who take part in a great many clubs and activities! The rest of her time is spent meeting up with friends and enjoying holidays.
James is responsible for the administration of the bursaries, scholarships and small education grants offered by the Trust, as well as helping to deliver the education programme.
Having joined the Trust in 2023, his previous role was as a Learning Support Assistant working one-to-one with neurodivergent students, before that he worked in the television industry for companies such as BBC, Channel 5, Discovery and ITV. He is now looking forward to helping young people become interested in engineering.
James is also working towards a degree in Arts & Humanities, specialising in Art History, with the Open University.
In his spare time, James is a keen reader and collector of books, as well as enjoying painting, sculpture and castings as, in his own words, “I’m trying to find my niche as a bad artist” – all good artists have to start somewhere.
Debbie joined the Trust in January 2022 as Office Administrator. In 2023 Debbie became the Chief Executive’s Assistant. Her role involves supporting the Chief Executive and all aspects of the Trust’s work.
Previous experience includes 18 years of legal secretarial and PA work in London, before moving to more local, part-time roles in 2014 when her fourth child was born.
Outside of working life, Debbie’s husband and their children keep her busy, with most of her spare time spent at the stables looking after their horses.
The focus of Sarah’s role is to provide facilities management for the Trust’s operational premises, making sure they are presented to the highest standards and that visitors are well looked after.
Before joining the Trust in January 2022, she was the Reception Manager at one of the UK’s largest residential police firearms training centres. Prior to that, Sarah worked in the Highways Department for both Medway Council and Kent County Council as a highways liaison officer.
As a local resident, she says it is a pleasure to be part of the current team of custodians of Rochester Bridge and the Bridge Chamber and Chapel. Sarah says the latter two structures are particularly impressive following their refurbishment and lend themselves to a wider range of activities than before.
Outside work, her interests include travel – in particular, visiting her father, who is lucky enough to live in southern Spain, near Cadiz – music and West End theatre. A keen cook, she also enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as walking her pet Border Terrier.
Having spent more than a decade in the property management sector, Jacky Marchant joined the Trust in 2021. Prior to this she had looked after portfolios for various charities and organisations – including the Trust.
Jacky’s role involves providing administrative support to the Chief Estates Officer, the Operations & Grants Manager and the finance department. She enjoys working with such a friendly team, carrying out a variety of challenging and interesting tasks. In particular Jacky comments that “it’s lovely to be involved in looking after some very characterful buildings”.
In her spare time Jacky enjoys live music and a range of outdoor pursuits, including golf and cycling. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially her two grandsons.
Vivien has worked as a travel consultant for Lunn Poly, an office administrator with the Security Service MI5, a duty manager and receptionist for Virgin Leisure, and more recently as the reception co-ordinator for BACTEC International.
Vivien joined the Rochester Bridge Trust in May 2013 and now ensures the smooth running of the Bridge Chamber, as well as setting up for meetings, supervising special functions, greeting visitors, and cleaning the historic fabric and furnishings.
When not at work Vivien enjoys swimming, reading, and travelling. Holidays usually include a European city break and attending scout camp with her husband, a leader of the 30th Strood (Cuxton) Scouts.