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The Team

Lyndsey Young, The Friendly Bench Founder and CEO

Lyndsey Young

Founder & Director

Lyndsey is the Founder and Director of The Friendly Bench CIC and created The Friendly BenchⓇ after experiencing loneliness herself. Lyndsey has worked in marketing, communications and design in the public, private and charity sectors. She has also created and brought to market award-winning products which have captured the public and press attention worldwide. In her spare time Lyndsey loves painting, designing, gardening and photography.

Suzie Rees

Assistant Director

Suzie Rees is a Co-Director of The Friendly Bench CIC, and has been involved since before the first The Friendly Bench was installed in Bottesford in 2018. In her ‘day job’ she is an award-winning grants fundraiser - for small international development charities since 2016, and for 6 years before that in the Wildlife Trusts movement. She’s a big fan of gardening, horses and running.


Rob Fitzsimons

Company Secretary

Following a background in consultancy, Board Secretary Rob Fitzsimons was CEO at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for 5 years and is now Governance and Risk Manager on The Wildlife Trusts national team. Rob brings expertise in strategy, governance, business management and fundraising to The Friendly Bench CIC. He lives in Derby and has a Jack Russell puppy called Eddie. 

Chris Hines MBE Hon.D.Sc.


Chris has been working and campaigning for the environment for 30 years and revels in inspiring positive change. He was a Co-founder and then Director of Surfers Against Sewage from 1990 till 2000.

In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for “services to the environment” and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Plymouth. Surfers Path Inaugural Green Wave Award winner (a global award). 

Chris works on strategic planning, communications, leadership and embedding sustainability principles as part of a profitable business, and strongly believes that business can be a force for good in a challenging world. Oh and he still gets plenty of surfing in!

Chris Hines
Carla Gill

Carla Gill


As part of The Friendly Bench, I provide guidance and advice on all things charity! Having founded the charity, Play Action International, my passion lies very much with play for all, not just the children! The Friendly Bench facilitates play through space for conversation, friendship, relaxation and belonging.

James and Geoff

Installation team

James and Geoff are responsible for installing and planting our The Friendly Bench. James is a joiner by trade and has 30 years experience working on commercial and domestic projects across the UK. In his spare time he enjoys walking and spending time with his family.


Geoff is now retired from the electrical trade, when he's not working alongside James installing The Friendly Bench he enjoys birdwatching, cycling and get out and about in nature.

James and Geoff
Jason Young

Jason Young

Jason Young was there right at the beginning of The Friendly Bench story. Without his hardwork, expertise, dedication and support The Friendly Bench CIC would not be here today. The loving husband of Lyndsey, Jason sadly passed away in March 2021 after a short illness. Jason will never be forgotten by those who loved, knew and met him and his legacy will live on forever through every The Friendly Bench. 

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