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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.

Ros Connell

Membership Officer

Ros joined OPT, first as a volunteer for Oxford Open Doors 2018, and then to work with Stephen on membership and events. After 10 years working as Development Officer for Linacre College and 20 years in academic publishing, Ros will be in the office 3 days a week, leaving her time for gardening and taking her Morris Minor to historic houses.


Rowena Creagh

Assistant Heritage and Planning Officer

Rowena joined the OPT team in 2019 as Assistant Heritage and Planning Officer. She has just completed her MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) from the University of York and is excited to begin her career in heritage working for the Oxford Preservation Trust. Rowena is interested in Climate Change and the Environment and is in the process of joining OPT up to the newly launched Climate Heritage Network.

Stephen Dawson
Stephen Dawson

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.

Hywel Edwards

Finance and Governance Officer

Hywel has recently joined OPT as part-time Finance & Governance Officer. An accountant, he has spent the last 30 years working for Housing Associations in London and more recently in Witney. He is treasurer to two organisations based in Eynsham, where he lives, one working for a fossil fuel free future and the other being a charity running an orchard. 

Lindsay Priddle

Interim Land Officer

Lindsay joined OPT in August 2019, initially to support the organisation of Oxford Open Doors and then as the Interim Land Officer. She has a background in agriculture, having been brought up on a working livestock farm where she continues to lend a hand when not working at OPT. Prior to OPT, Lindsay’s career has primarily been in education, teaching for 15 years and latterly as a primary school headteacher. She brings enthusiasm for developing positive attitudes to the outdoors as well as furthering educational opportunities into OPT’s green spaces.

Laura Warden

Senior Planning Officer

Laura joined the OPT Team at the start of 2019 as their Senior Planning Officer.  She has over 15 years of town planning experience having previously worked for both the public and private sectors, including West Oxfordshire District Council, RPS, Kemp & Kemp and Edgars Limited.  Laura’s experience covers development control issues, in addition to working on behalf and alongside local community groups and assisting them with the general planning process.  When away from the office, she is kept busy by her young family and when possible likes to get involved with a number of local groups where she lives.