Graham joined SIFT in September 2004 after going out on a SIFT trip as part of his gap year. He now heads up the work of the SIFT office in Seaton, Devon. Graham has a background in mathematics and computer science and is involved with music and youthwork at his church.
After serving for five years as SIFT Trustee, Ruth stepped down in 2013 and now concentrates on liaising with the sponsors of our education programme, sending out annual reports, and assisting administratively in the office when needed. Ruth is retired and lives with her husband in East Devon. They are both active members of a large Anglican Church, where they enjoy involvement with marriage preparation and pastoral ministry. An ever growing family also keeps them busy.
Jacobo Sanchez has been SIFT’s official representative in Nicaragua since 2016, taking responsibility for the finance and local administration of our projects. Jacobo is a qualified lawyer and committed Christian. He lives in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua.
Dr Sandra Villagra
Sandra Villagra comes from Jinotega, in the north of Nicaragua. She qualified as a doctor at the UPONIC university in Managua and has a particular interest in biological medicine. Sandra worked for some years as a tutor of internal medicine at UPONIC and at the Martin Luther University, before being approached by SIFT in 2003 to head up their new medical work on the island of Ometepe.
Sandra is married to Pablo Sandino and they live to the south of Managua. She commutes every other week to the island of Ometepe to work in SIFT’s clinics on the island, and has trained up seven local nurses to work alongside her.
Margaret Storey has had a heart for mission work for many years and since 2000 has volunteered in a number of underdeveloped countries – Kosovo, Nicaragua, China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Kenya – although Nicaragua was the one which affected her the most.
She met the SIFT team on her fourth trip to Bluefields in October 2008 (after she had retired) and was impressed with their work. Knowing her availability in a voluntary capacity, SIFT invited her to represent them in Bluefields, providing support for their sponsored children. So Margaret joined the SIFT team in October 2009 and lives in Bluefields for eight months of the year.
Mark Catley, Chair of Trustees
Mark Catley is a chartered surveyor and agricultural valuer with over thirty years post-qualification experience and has recently retired from Government service as a Group Valuation Officer in the East of England. He now works part-time in the private sector in Cambridge as a Consultant Surveyor. Mark is married to Julia and has three grown-up children, Anna, Laura and Jonathan. They live in Cambridgeshire. He is a deacon of a vibrant local Baptist church. Mark is active in several charitable causes across the world.
David Langmead is a Christian of 30 years and salesman of 12 years from Hampshire. David’s first visit to Nicaragua was in 1995 on a Latin Link project, where he helped to build the Verbo school in Bluefields. He has subsequently returned to Nicaragua on a variety of trips. Over the past years he has helped with the homeless of Southampton on a regular soup run and has also been involved in a prison outreach ministry into HMP Winchester, Albany, Parkhurst, Camphill and Guys Marsh. David is married to Belinda and they have two children, Esther and Joshua.
Matthew Farrer joined SIFT at the end of 2013 having become involved in housing design for SIFT’s Finca El Rayo project. Matthew lives in London and works as an architectural designer focusing on residential projects. Time spent in Kosovo looking at housing solutions for marginalised communities helped spark a calling to engage with the built environment in developing communities. Matthew attends a large and vibrant evangelical church in London where he is involved in homeless shelters and social outreach in east London.
Freja Brown became a Christian at a local Baptist Church in East Anglia. She spent a year living in Nicaragua, working as an architectural assistant to a Scottish architect, between her first and second degrees in architectural design at Oxford Brookes University’s School of Architecture. She now works as a Part 2 qualified Architectural Designer in private practice in London. Freja believes that ‘God is in the design’ and has a real passion for the people of Nicaragua.
Andrew Selous is a committed Christian and has been the Member of Parliament for South West Bedfordshire since 2001. He currently serves on the Ecclesiastical Committee and since January 2020 he has been the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Andrew qualified as a chartered insurer and worked as a reinsurance underwriter before being elected to Parliament. His firm helped many of the world’s poorest communities recover from natural disasters. Andrew was also a Territorial Army officer for twelve years and served in Germany, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States of America.
Andrew is active in his support for many charities especially in South West Bedfordshire but also nationally. In Parliament Andrew has a keen interest in matters relating to sustainable relationships, fatherhood and human trafficking. He is married to Harriet and they have three daughters.
Dick Bell spent 20 years in the RAF. He was RAF Training Command aerobatic champion 1968 and has 5000 plus hours flying experience. He joined Upcott Christian Conference Centre as Bible Teacher and while there participated in hovercraft expeditions to Peru, China, Papua New Guinea and Nicaragua.
He and his wife Eileen set up SIFT in 2002 for the relief of poverty in Nicaragua. Dick served as SIFT’s Executive Director until 2010 and has remained involved in Nicaragua since then, in particular running a horticultural project to benefit the people of Ometepe island.