Our team

Gary Palmer – Head of Centre

Gary took over the helm at Cobnor in January 2013. He has worked in the outdoor education industry for nearly 20 years. His experience covers many disciplines, including instructing in sailing, paddling, powerboating, climbing and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training. Gary’s two passions are the outdoors and travelling. 

Miranda Powley – Operations Manager

Miranda grew up in Bosham, dinghy sailing in Chichester harbour. Following a management career in the retail and IT industries, she joined Cobnor in 2011.  Prior to returning to Bosham in 2003, Miranda lived and worked in Dorking, where she was a school governor at a primary school.

Alex Evans - Chief Instructor 

Hi I’m Alex Cobnor’s Chief Instructor. I started my career in the outdoor industry at the age of 17 as a Trainee Instructor, at a centre in Shropshire, my home county. I stayed there for nearly 7 years, building my qualifications and experience to become their Senior Instructor. During that time I managed 2 seasons in Nepal working as a safety kayaker on river rafting expeditions. I came to Cobnor four years ago as an instructor, then a senior instructor and even tried my hand at a bit of centre maintenance, before becoming Chief Instructor. You could say white water kayaking was a huge passion of mine. Although now I prefer a slow canoe around the local harbours with my wife and two dogs. I like to be outside in my spare time so if I’m not on the water, I'll be out exploring the countryside, camping, walking with my dogs, or cycling on the roads around Hampshire and West Sussex.

Charlotte Buchanan - Outdoor Education Development Manager 

Charlotte joined us in March 2020 and looks after our schools and youth groups, having previously worked for the Royal Yachting Association in their Sport Development team she joins Cobnor wanting to develop the programs to ultimately create the best experiences for the customers as possible! She learned to sail in Chichester Harbour and is passionate about developing opportunities that young people have to experience outdoor activities. 

Shelly Hamilton - Office Administrator 

I'm Shelly and I am the new Office Administrator and will help you with any questions you have about courses and group bookings. In my spare time I am a Scout Leader, Forest School Assistant and I love to be outside. It is so rewarding to see and help young people push their boundaries and achieve new skills in a controlled environment. This year I have started my paddle sport adventure! 

Tim Burgess - Senior Activity Instructor 

A bit about me, my name is Tim and I joined the team at Cobnor in 2015. This season I have a new challenge being one of the Senior Instructors. I was also a Wholetime Firefighter in Hampshire for 33 years until my retirement in 2020. I enjoy being part of a community that is dedicated to creating a meaningful and impactful experience for young people and adults. I hold the following outdoor qualifications: British Canoeing Coach, Archery GB Instructor, British Schools Cycling Association Leader, DofE Award Assessor, RYA Powerboat and Safety boat and Level 3 Award in Outdoor First Aid. At Cobnor I try my hand at all disciplines so you will find me on the land or the water but always with a smile on my face. I just love being outdoors! When I am not at work you will find me walking my dog “Barney”, driving “Margot” the 1977 VW Camper or buzzing around the garden looking after my beehives

Greg Kies - Senior Activity Instructor 

Hi I am Greg, one of the Senior instructors here at Cobnor Activities Centre Trust. I am back again from last season and love to be out on the water! When i am not out on the water, I play for a local rugby team.  

Jamie Dadswell - Activity Instructor 

Hello, I'm Jamie. I am a Senior Dinghy Instructor and am new to Cobnor this season. I love being out on the water everyday, what could be better! You will find me taking groups and families out sailing in the Hawk 20's as well as running the RYA Youth Stage sailing courses. 

Niahm Sparkes - Activity Instructor 

Hi I am Niamh, I have been sailing for about 9 years now and love it! I progressed from being a RYA Dinghy Instructor to an RYA Senior Instructor last year, this is my first season here at Cobnor. 

Owen Backshall - Activity Instructor 

Hi everyone I am Owen! I am back for the second season now and I love nothing better than taking my groups paddling or building and racing rafts. You will also find me in the archery field or leading activities in the main field. 

Andy Horner - Casual Activity Instructor 

Hello I am Andy! I have worked at Cobnor Activities Centre trust for many years. You will find me running our land based activities such as climbing, archery, problem solving, low ropes, bushcraft, shelter building and orienteering.