Meet the Judges

Our 2024 Judging panel

The role of the judge:

Being a judge of the Wiltshire Life Awards is a privilege and also enormous fun. There are two highlights in the year. The first is when a huge file of papers arrives with all the nominations. Far from being a chore, I find reading all the stories of endeavour commitment and talent most uplifting, often humbling and always a joy. Everyone on the judging team supplements their reading with ‘secret shopper’ visits and much Google and internet research.

When we meet for our long judging day, which always promises a great deal of passionate discussion and debate, we are sustained by delicious food and drink samples, marvellous feasts for the eye and tummy; and for the accountants among us, lots of statistics and numbers. The second highlight is, of course, our extremely elegant awards dinner. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet many of the people we have read so much about and to hear their stories. Wiltshire is a very special county and there are many extraordinarily good and talented people getting on with doing great things, often behind closed doors and little known about. This is a chance to celebrate the brilliant things that happen in Wiltshire and the amazing people that do them.

Caroline Hole-Jones, Chairperson

Caroline founded boutique communications agency Splash Communications, in 1996, specialising in food, hospitality, retail and employment, winning industry accolades. Following its acquisition in 2016, she formed The Word Consultancy, and The Canny Group specialising in food, hospitality and public affairs marketing. She is a ‘hands on’ investor in Spanish fine food company, Mevalco, supplying products to leading UK chefs and restaurants.

Colin Elwell

Colin is a partner of Evelyn Partners and manages private client, trust and charity portfolios which he has done since 2000.   Colin served in the Reserve Army for 25 years including two years attached to the Regulars after university before starting his career in investment management in 1998 at NCL Investments, which merged with Smith and Williamson in 2002 and became Evelyn Partners in 2022. He is chairman of the Yeomanry Benevolent Fund.   He lives in Newton Tony with his wife Victoria and their three children.

Georgie Green

Wiltshire Life editor, Georgie Green was born in Malmesbury and having spent a brief time in the west of the county, she now calls south Wiltshire home. She worked at Salisbury Playhouse and then for the BBC as a journalist, presenting a daily news programme from the heart of Salisbury. Georgie has a true understanding of Wiltshire and the people who make up this wonderful county.

Nicky Alberry

In 1991 Nicky came to work at GWE in Swindon on secondment from HSBC supposedly for 12 months. Almost 30 years later she is still here and still involved in the Company now known as Business west as a Non-Exec director. Nicky has sat on many Boards and Partnerships, including, Wiltshire Community Foundation and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership and is currently Chair of SWA Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service. Nicky is a Deputy Lieutenant,and was also High Sheriff in 2018/19.

Ram Thiagarajah

Ram, a retired civil engineer, is passionate about helping those in need. He has been president of the Swindon Tamil Association since 2006, and has been instrumental in helping the Tamil community integrate into Swindon. He is a trustee of Voluntary Action, Swindon, and the Swindon Hindu Temple Trust. He has been a trustee of Breakfast Plus, a homeless Charity, and Wiltshire Community Foundation. He is a retired Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

Victoria Nye

Victoria worked in the investment management sector for over 30 years, when she also co-founded a charity so that pupils can learn personal finance at school and set up Investment20/20 to encourage diversity and inclusion.  She now runs an organic livestock farm near Chippenham and Cadenham Garden, which she opens for local charities.  She is a Deputy Lieutenant, a trustee of the Wiltshire Gardens Trust, a school governor and sits on the Wiltshire Community Foundation Community Grants panel.

Louise Hunt Skelley

Louise is a retired Paralympic wheelchair tennis player, who at the peak of her career was ranked 10th in the world in both singles and doubles. She is now a commentator at Wimbledon and the Paralympic Games, as well as an international tournament director. She also works weekly for two local charities , one supporting young people manage their mental health, and the other helping adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues find and sustain mainstream employment. She is also a mentor, working in schools to help young people reach their full potentials. Louise also delivers inspirational talks to various places, as well as offering consultancy support to ensure inclusion is at the heart of any business.

Russ Tunney

Russ is a theatre director and playwright. He has been Director of Pound Arts in Wiltshire for the last 9 years. Prior to this he was Associate Director of the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton for ten years where he wrote, produced and directed over 40 plays. His career has seen his work produced by many theatres in the UK including Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatr Clwyd, Chester Gateway Theatre, Yvonne Arnaud Guildford and the National Theatre as well as touring or being produced internationally. He is published by Nick Hern Books. He specialises in family work and magic & the supernatural. Russ also is part of the team for Wiltshire’s TEDx events – TEDx Salisbury & TEDx Corsham.

Mills Jackson

Mills Jackson is a director and head cook of the The Baraka Catering Company, which she established more than 20 years ago when she moved to Wiltshire. She has been in the food industry for more than 30 years honing her food knowledge and catering skills in both London and New Zealand. Ingredients are very important to her and she believes it is important to support local, seasonal and sustainable produce and food producers. She is a huge supporter of City Harvest a charity who distribute food around London to refuges and school projects, as well as many Wiltshire based charities. She lives in Bremhill with her husband and three children.