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The Book Stop Trustees

Brian Leyland


Brian grew up in St Helens and was educated at West Park Grammar School and Manchester University.

He spent 10 years as an Inspector of Taxes before jumping ship to Price Waterhouse (now PwC). He worked as a tax partner in Liverpool, Manchester, Düsseldorf and London before retiring in 2010. Since then Brian has been active doing community revival work and has also written a book “St Helens: The Great and The Good (and a few of the not so good!)”.

He has been a member of the St Helens Ambassador Programme since 2017.

Janet Hale


Janet grew up in St Helens and her first ‘proper’ job in the early 1980s was with St Helens Council.

She holds degrees in Psychology/English and Human Resource Management and is a Fellow and Past President of the Chartered Institute of Housing.  She was founding Chair of a housing group in Merseyside and WISH NW.  Janet retired last year as a housing consultant and as Chair of a NW based housing group.

A former performance poet, she has loved words, language and books from a very early age.

Steve Davies


Steve is a born and bred St.Helens man, educated at Cowley Grammar School.

He is a retired Retail Manager with 35 plus years of experience managing both small and large Fast Moving Consumer Goods stores. Steve has also worked as a retail advisor in the charity sector and trained as a retail auditor for Barnardos Charity.

He is passionate about books.

Mike Gaskell


Mike grew up in St Helens and attended West Park Grammar School and Liverpool University, graduating in Law in 1977.

He was admitted as a solicitor in 1980 and practised with firms in Liverpool, Birkenhead, Preston and Manchester, spending his last 12 years as the managing partner of the Manchester office of Trowers & Hamlins LLP before retiring in 2019. He is currently a trustee / board member of 3 housing associations and 2 other charities.

He is passionate about reading and literacy forming the basis of a happy and rewarding life.

Nigel Wimpenny


Nigel was born in St Helens where he attended Rivington Junior School and then Cowley.

He studied History at Durham University before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with a large firm in Liverpool. He held senior Finance positions at Whitbread, Boddingtons and Burtonwood where he was Finance Director. More recently he ran a holiday park business in the Lake District and spent three years working in Barbados.

Since his father took him to Wembley in 1966, he has remained a staunch Saints supporter.

Cathryn White


Cathryn was born in St Helens and was educated at Rainford High School, St Helens College and Liverpool John Moores University.

She has 20 years’ experience working across the public sector, developing positive and productive partnerships to improve outcomes for local people.

Cathryn has a background as a Project and Programme Manager, specialising in change and transformation. She is a full member of the Association for Project Managers and the Chartered Management Institute. She holds a degree in Strategic Management and Leadership and is currently studying an MBA at LJMU Business School.

She is passionate about raising aspiration and ambition for young people in St Helens, giving them a voice at every opportunity.

Jessica Evans

Jessica was born in St Helens where she attended Blackbrook St Mary's Primary School and St Augustine of Canterbury High School.

She studied Business and French at the University of Chester, during which time she spent a year living in France attending University and teaching English. She now works for a large retailer as a Project Manager and has also run a gender-based Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

She is passionate about giving a voice to the most marginalised in our community and encouraging a love of literature in the younger generation.

The Book Stop Team

Laura Goodchild


Laura went to school at Allanson Street in Parr followed by Haydock High school and then Carmel College.  She has a degree in Creative Writing from Edge Hill University and joins us from Waterstones in Wigan where she was Lead Children’s Bookseller.

Caitlin Lowe

Assistant Manager

Caitlin went to school at Hope Academy in Newton-le-willows, followed by Carmel College and now has a degree in English Literature and Film Studies from the University of Salford.