People

Baroness Anelay of St John's - President

Prior to her appointment to the House of Lords, Lady Anelay held a number of senior posts in the Conservative Party organisation. She was Chairman of the Conservative Women's National Committee from 1993 to 1996. She was made OBE in 1990 and raised to Dame Commander in 1995. She was made a life peer as Baroness Anelay of St Johns in 1996.

Cllr Melanie Whitehand, Chairman

Melanie was elected Chairman in March 2017 and was previously Deputy Chairman Political. Melanie has lived in Woking for twenty years. She is married with two girls who both now live and work away from home. Melanie was brought up in Bethnal Green in East London and she attended Spitalfield’s Girls Grammar School located in the City of London. Upon leaving school she joined Barclays Bank in their Head Office also in the City. Later in life she worked in the health sector in various administrative positions. She had the opportunity to live in Germany for some years as a result of her husband’s position within his company.

Steve Dorsett - Deputy Chairman Political

Steve has been our Deputy Chairman Political since March of 2019, after serving as our Election Strategy Officer. Steve grew up in the Woking area, going to school at Fullbrook in New Haw, has lived in West Byfleet and Pyrford and now resides in Knaphill. He has spent most of his career as an actor and musician, performing in shows in London, national tours of the UK and in international European Tours. His "claim to fame" is that he appeared on a singing reality game show back in 2014 and ended up winning the series! He still performs with his band "In Deep" around the South East. He entered the political world in 2016 and has slowly climbed the ladder, running for borough council in St. John's Ward in 2018. He is a school governor and also manages our rapidly growing Facebook pages.

Mike Hopgood - Treasurer

Mike has been a member of the officer team for a number of years having previously served as Deputy Chairman (Fundraising). He has responsibility for raising the money the Association needs to carry out its activities.

Cllr Simon Ashall - Constituency Agent

Simon Ashall trained as a journalist before moving into public relations. He joined the Association in 2009 and stood as a candidate in Horsell West in 2010. The year after, he became Deputy Chairman of the Association.A member of Jonathan Lord's campaign team in 2010, Simon has focussed on improving voter communications and literature and was appointed as the Association's Agent in 2013. In 2018 he was elected as the borough councillor for Heathlands

Charles Croker

Charles is a professional accountant having been a financial director of a large manufacturing company. He has set up his own software company and managed software companies for other international organisations.

Jonny Cope - Election Strategy Officer

Jonny is our Election Strategy Officer responsible for assisting the Deputy Chairman Political with our preparations for election campaigns.  Away from politics, Jonny works as a solicitor and is a big Fulham fan.

Ayesha Azad

Ayesha was elected for Mayford and Sutton Green in 2014. She has been vocal in her defence of the Green Belt and support for Mayford Village Society in its attempts to keep land off Saunders Lane free from development. 

Saj Hussain

Saj Hussain was elected for Knaphill and Goldsworth West division of Surrey County Council in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017. Saj also serves Knaphill as a borough councillor.

Ben Carasco

Ben Carasco is the Surrey County Councillor for Woking North. He serves the interests of residents of Sheerwater, Maybury, Horsell East (of Cobham Road) and Woodham plus a few streets adjacent to these areas. He is happy to hear from residents either to listen to their views on local issues or to hear about problems that he may be able to assist with.