James Kearns

Managing Trustee

James is the Founder, and Managing Trustee.

James is currently Chief Executive of BUILD - a Norfolk based charity providing social, leisure and learning opportunities for people with disabilities. He is also the lead Director of MaDGiraffe Training and Development - a management consultancy formed in 2003 and working with public, private and voluntary sector clients.

James serves as a current Trustee of Red House Youth Trust, and Chair of Community Action Norfolk (CAN) and a former Chairman of Momentum Norfolk (an infrastructure organisation for supporting voluntary youth organisations), and previously Chair of VCS Together- supporting community groups in North Norfolk.

As a volunteer, he also held a number of senior management, and community roles within the Scout Association in Norfolk and was a former Trustee of Norfolk County Scout Council, and one of the original founding Directors the Eaton Vale Activity Centre in Norwich. He is a keen supporter, and enthusiast of National Hunt horseracing. 

Andrew Copelin

Chair and Trustee

A Sales Manager for an international plastics and packaging company, Andrew has had a long association with the Kearns family.

A former District Commissioner for Scouts in North Norfolk, and part of the County Development Team, he was also a Training Presenter and Facilitator, and a regular member of project and training teams. He has also worked as part of a number of teams supporting international Scout Jamborees in Norfolk within logistics and marketing roles.

Andrew also worked with fellow Trustee, James Kearns to set up a project sharing good practice in working with young people in England and Finland with drug and alcohol problems. 

Andrew is also a keen football, cricket and horse-racing fan.

Alex Kearns

Vice-Chair and Trustee

Alex is the third generation to be involved in the Foundation. He brings technological skills, as well as a younger person's perspective to the Foundation's work.

Alex currently works at ubisend, an exciting startup specialising in artificially intelligent chatbots following the completion of a first class  BSc degree in Computer Science at the University of East Anglia. Alex has previously been involved in Scouting from Beavers through to Sea Scouts as well as helping as a Young Leader and Group Assistant more recently.

Alex provides the web solutions for our beneficiaries as part of our Community Support services. Alex built and manages The Kearns Foundation website as well as providing graphic design services for our advertisements.

Mike Tingley


Mike is currently enjoying early retirement after more than 30 years as a full time youth worker with local authorities.

His most recent position was as the Development Worker with Norfolk Council for Voluntary Youth Services which became Momentum in 2010.

He has been a volunteer RYA qualified sailing instructor with Norfolk Schools Sailing Association for the past 16 years and is also a volunteer with the Nancy Oldfield Trust.

He has been the secretary of his local football club for over 12 years and secretary of the local playing field management committee since 2010.

Will Kearns


Appointed in August 2021, after two years as an Adviser to the Board, Will gives a young person's perspective to the working of the Foundation. A former Explorer Scout, Will has recently completed a carpentry course at City College, Norwich and is now working for a Norwich based joinery company. He has his own woodturning business, and plays a key role in the maintenance of the Trimingham Log Cabin.

Chris Willett


Chris formed his own gardening and landscaping business after spending the previous 40 years in various other areas of the horticultural industry. Starting as an apprentice with Luton Borough Council and attending Askham Bryan College, York. Much of his work life has been spent managing MOD contracts and Local authority, Parks and Gardens, with the odd venture into the commercial world. As well as working in horticulture, Chris has a keen interest in this area on a personal level and enjoys gardening & growing.

As well as serving as a trustee with The Kearns Foundation, Chris is a Volunteer with The BUILD Charity, leading the Grow & Go (Allotment) club and also helping with adventurous activities such as hill walking.

Chris had been a member of the Scout Association since he was a Cub Scout, he is currently Assistant Group Scout Leader with a Central Norfolk Group, but has held many posts in his 40 years, including District Training and Management roles, County Development roles and been involved with most of the Youth Sections in one way or another.

Chris has been an active member of Pelicans Hockey Club for 30 years and is currently a Norfolk County Umpire. He is the Chairman and Founder of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club.

Karen Willett


Karen started her work career in the travel industry, training at Mander College, Bedford, and progressing through various companies to become a Manager and a very experienced travel consultant. Following a break to start a family she moved into logistics and transport with a couple of local well-known businesses. For the past 10 years Karen has been PA to the directors of a large local business.

As well as serving as a trustee with The Kearns Foundation, Karen is a Volunteer with The BUILD Charity, leading the Grow & Go (Allotment) club.

As a young person Karen was a brownie and Queen’s guide, and was a member of the Scout Association for many years as a Cub Scout Leader and Beaver Leader, she was previously Group Treasurer with a local Central Norfolk Scout Group and a key player in fund raising for the Group.

Karen is a keen crafter and enjoys finding ways of raising funds for the organisations she supports and is a member of the Michael Mouse Mountaineering Club.