top of page

SVR (Holdings) PLC

SVR (Holdings) PLC (Company number 01046274) is a Company with Shareholders, although no dividend is paid, with all profit used to support the running of the Railway. It owns the infrastructure and assets of the SVR, employs the paid staff, and is responsible for the operation, finance, governance, planning, customer service and management of the SVR.

Mike Ball



Mike was elected to the position of Deputy Chairman of the Company in 2011 and was elected as Chairman in 2021. Mike joined the Railway in 1986. He was Chairman of the Operating Committee for seven years and was heavily involved in the fundraising following the storm damage of 2007. Mike worked for Honeywell of the USA and for Bull of France in a career spanning 35 years. Prior to taking early retirement Mike’s role was Bull’s Director of Customer Services for the UK and Ireland, a multi-million pound business with a staff of some 800 people.

Di Malyon 225x300.png

Diane Malyon

Chairman, Guarantee Board.

Director, Holdings Board.

Trustee, Charitable Trust


Diane joined the Trust board in 2021.

Diane became a director of Guarantee Board in 1993, taking over as chairman in 2020 and becoming a director of the Holdings Board at the same time. She joined the Trust board in 2021.

Diane became a working member at 16 on the Severn Valley Limited and on Bridgnorth based buffet cars in 1978. She moved to the Plant & Machinery Department, assisting with trolley and diesel shunter maintenance, passing out as a shunter driver in 1980, before joining the station staff, concentrating on booking office and station gardens. She also helped found the Severn Valley Venturer dining service and continues as part of its management team and is a regular cook. She was co-ordinator for the vital Santa operation from 1995 to 2019, retiring from the role in January 2020. Diane is chair of the Staffing Committee, which focusses on volunteers, in partnership with the Volunteer Liaison Office and she sits on the Accommodation Forum - a group committed to trying to improve facilities for volunteers on the SVR..

In her "real life", Diane worked as a Primary School teacher for over 30 years and, for the five years before taking early retirement, became an Acting Headteacher raising the attainment of failing schools. She makes use of her professional skills and knowledge in supporting the development of educational and people centred activities.


Graeme Bunker-James



Graeme has been a Director since September 2018, as Commercial Director. Graeme grew up in Hertfordshire, his enthusiasm for railways fostered by his father who grew up with the Nine Elms’ turntable at the end of his road. His railway career includes periods with Railtrack, Virgin Trains, the Strategic Rail Authority and Arriva Trains Wales. He has been Chief Executive of rail tour promoter Steam Dreams, a Trustee of the A1Steam Locomotive Trust, Vice Chairman of The Gresley Society Trust and has developed his own consultancy business. He has volunteered at the NYMR and the National Railway Museum’s main line support crew.  In 2002 Graeme passed out as a main line fireman with West Coast Railways. 

Chris Walton



Chris has been actively involved with the Railway since 1969. Chris is a Chartered Management Accountant and, after holding various roles at senior management level across several leading automotive companies, is currently the Project Manager for Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc.

Chris Thomas



Chris has been a volunteer with the Railway since 1970. With the formation of the Project Team in 2009, he was appointed estate manager, charged with overseeing site tidying and restoration of visitor areas. The Railway is a family hobby for Chris, with his wife and sons also being involved. He is Bridgnorth Stationmaster. By profession Chris is a Chartered Electrical Engineer, running a successful consultancy.

Nick Paul C.B.E.


Trustee, Charitable Trust


Nick joined the Company’s Board in 2002 and was appointed Chairman in July 2011. He stepped down from the chairmanship in 2021. In the past he has been Deputy Chief Executive of IMI plc, a FTSE 100 international engineering group, Chairman of Advantage West Midlands, Chairman of Tricorn Group Plc, Chairman of the West Midlands CBI and the Chair of the Governors at the Downs School, Colwall Malvern. He has also been Non-Executive Director with John Laing Homes plc, SIG plc and Worcester Warriors Rugby Club

Jonathan 'Gus' Dunster

Deputy Chairman


Gus is married with two sons, and has been involved in railway preservation since 1988, joining the Railway in 1991 and having been an active volunteer ever since. Jonathan is a career railwayman, having joined British Railways straight after leaving college in 1987. A Member of the Institution of Railway Operators, in his career to date Jonathan has held a number of operational management positions and in 2022 retired as Avanti West Coast Trains' Executive Director of Operations and Safety, to take up the role of Director at  R09 Consulting Ltd.

Helen Smith.jpg

Helen Smith

Managing Director

Helen is Managing Director of both SVR(H) and the Guarantee Company and became a director in 2020. Helen was born in Yorkshire and was previously Deputy Director at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset. Her earlier roles were as General Manager at The Fusilier Museum in Bury and Operations Director at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. She graduated from the University College of Ripon and York St John as a Bachelor in Communication Arts, and obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of Huddersfield. 


Michelle Bevon

Director (Holdings & Guarantee Boards)

Michelle is an SVR volunteer with a wide range of interests in the Railway. Her desire to volunteer at the Railway grew after many happy childhood memories of spending time around Bridgnorth station and many journeys on the SVR, leading to her wedding reception being held on the SVR where they chartered a train.
After this she had a desire to give her time back to the Railway, to ensure the future of Bridgnorth station as a key feature of the town, so she started as a Booking Office Clerk in Bridgnorth. More recently she has also taken on additional responsibilities as platform staff at Bridgnorth station, a role that builds on the skills and knowledge she has gained within the Booking Office, it continues to enable her to be public-facing, ensuring the safety of our passengers, helping with any queries and promoting the Railway. She can also be found at Arley over Christmas since she started as a volunteer; this is a role that she really enjoys, as she feels it isn’t really Christmas until her elf hat has been put on.
Michelle is always keen to find new volunteers and soon recruited her husband to the Bridgnorth Station Maintenance Team (WWCC) and persuaded him to become a Guard.
Outside the SVR Michelle lives in Bridgnorth and is a Senior Management Accountant for a global logistics company; her background in this profession lead to her joining Rob Whattons' Finance Committee, one of four sub-committees set up by the SVR G Board in recent times. Sh
e is one of the three Guarantee Company representatives on the Holdings Board

Peter Pearson.png

Peter Pearson



Peter grew up near Stourbridge. He joined the Railway in 1967 later becoming a guard. Absent for some years through family commitments, in 1998 he re-joined the Bridgnorth team, then re-qualified as a guard. Joining the Board in 2013, he has chaired the Audit Committee since then. A barrister, Peter is now retired following a prosecuting career, starting in the Director of Public Prosecutions Department, London, and finishing with over seven years as Legal and Technical Advisor to the Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi. He was a governor of an NHS Foundation Trust, and a local councillor.

Andy Barr O.B.E.



Married with two grown up children, Andrew has been a director since 2014. He assisted the former General Manager with the high level Safety Documentation for Incident and Emergency Management and also reviewing the safety case documentation. He worked for for London Underground for 50 years where he led the 150th Anniversary celebrations, running steam trains in service through central London tube stations. He also headed Heritage Operations for the London Underground and London Buses.

bottom of page