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The OPT team

Debbie Dance OBE, MSc, FRICS, IHBC, RSA


Debbie Dance has been the Director of Oxford Preservation Trust since 1999. She was brought up locally and has spent her career in the built and natural environment working as a chartered surveyor in the commercial market before being awarded a distinction in her MSc Historic Conservation from Oxford Brookes University in the early 1990s and moving into the Heritage world.  She has worked in London, Birmingham and Oxford, and has completed a number of award winning conservation projects including OPT’s regeneration of Oxford Castle. 

Debbie has held a number of honorary national roles, and is currently Chair of the Historic Chapels Trust.  She has been past Chair of the Historic Towns Forum, UK Association of Preservation Trusts and a former Trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund South East and Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust and conservation judge for International RICS Property Awards.  Debbie was awarded an OBE for her services to Heritage in 2013 and made an Honorary Doctor of Oxford Brookes University in 2018.

Debbie is also on the Board of Experience Oxfordshire, the County’s tourism destination organisation and a Trustee of the Oxford Playhouse.

Stephen Dawson
Stephen Dawson

Membership & Development Officer

Stephen joined the OPT Team in 2016 and alongside his colleague Ros, looks after our membership, events and fundraising including organising our annual Oxford Open Doors event.  Prior to this, Stephen worked on various fundraising projects including an endowment campaign for the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.  In his spare time, Stephen volunteers for various Community & Charitable organisations.

Phil Doubtfire
Philip Doubtfire


Phil Doubtfire joined the Oxford Preservation Trust in 2014 as Administrator. Previously, Phil worked in various IT and Operations roles in Rolls-Royce, the Post Office and Card Payment companies.

Rachel Sanderson
Rachel Sanderson

Land Officer

Rachel Sanderson joined Oxford Preservation Trust in 2016, bringing with her a broad range of experience in managing land in an ecologically sensitive way.  She has previously worked for BBOWT, the Chiltern Woodlands Project and the Chilterns Conservation Board.

Helen Wilkinson
Helen Wilkinson

Planning, Projects and Awards Officer

Born and raised in Norfolk, Helen first arrived in Oxford to study History at Oxford Brookes before progressing on to study for an MSc in Historic Conservation at both Oxford Brookes and University of Oxford jointly, which she completed in 2015.

Helen joined the Trevor Osborne Property Group to help run the Oxford Castle site before moving to Oxford Preservation Trust in 2016.