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The transformative power of words

About us


Free Word is supported by a Board of Trustees whose knowledge and experience span publishing, law, finance and the arts. 

  • Tim Duffy (Chair)

    Photo of Tim Duffy (Chair)

    Tim Duffy is Chairman of M&C Saatchi (UK) Ltd.

    He has worked in advertising for over 25 years, joining Saatchi and Saatchi in 1986.  In 1995 he was one of the founders of M&C Saatchi which now operates in19 countries, and has specialist expertise in public relations, direct marketing, digital and mobile marketing.

    He has a particular interest in communications strategy and has advised a range of blue chip companies, including British Airways, Procter and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, the National Lottery, Royal Bank of Scotland, Transport for London, and London 2012. He has worked extensively with government, most recently advising the Department of Health on its anti-obesity and cancer strategies.

    His personal interests include political history and literature, and he is a judge for the 2014 Josephine Hart Poetry Awards.  Tim is Chair of the General Media Panel, part of the Advertising Standards Authority.

  • Paul Aggett

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    Paul Aggett has worked in the financial services industry in the UK for over twenty years. Paul has been a finance director of a life and pensions group, a director of a financial services outsourcing supplier, a director of a general insurance broker, a director of a global asset management business and a chief executive of a European-wide property asset management business. He is currently finance director of World Media Rights, a television media production company and finance director of Peters Fraser and Dunlop a literary agency. His other interests include the theatre and assisting charities. He is a non-executive director to a financial services charitable trust and was formerly a director of a theatre company.




  • Isabel Hilton

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    Isabel Hilton is a writer and broadcaster based in London. She is founding editor of, an innovative, fully bilingual Chinese-English website devoted to building a shared approach on climate change and environmental issues with China. She has reported extensively from South and East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. In addition to her writing career, she has made several radio and television documentaries and has presented for BBC Radio Three and Four. A founding trustee of Free Word, she is also a trustee of the British American Project. She has served as a member of the Editorial Board of International Affairs, the Advisory Boards of the Latin America Bureau and the European Movement. She is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British Association of China Scholars, the Society of Authors and the advisory board of the Asia Society’s Arthur Ross Centre. She is a fellow of the Asia Society in New York, the Royal Society of Arts, and the British American Project.

  • Rosamund McCarthy

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    Rosamund McCarthy is a partner of law firm Bates, Wells and Braithwaite. She is also a regular lecturer and trainer on governance, fundraising, philanthropy and funding for the Institute of Fundraising, the Directory of Social Change, OnBoard and Jordan’s. She was the founder and first chair of Poet in the City, and has also worked in a professional capacity as member or trustee of a variety of other organisations and councils, including the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, NCVO Advisory Committees on Terrorism and Campaigning, the Steering Committee of National Poetry Day, the Small Charities Coalition, ACEVO Women's Interest Group.





  • Ursula Owen

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    Ursula Owen has been an influential figure in the worlds of literature and free expression since the 1970s. She was a founder director of Virago Press, for two years cultural policy advisor to the Labour Party, and, as editor and chief executive, revitalised Index on Censorship.

    From 2003 to 2009 Ursula was project director for the Free Word Centre, taking it through from an idea to a concrete reality with premises in London. She is now founder trustee of Free Word. She is on the board of the Southbank Centre and a trustee of English Touring Opera and World Film Collective.

    She was awarded an OBE in 2003 and lives in London.



  • Sue Woodford-Hollick

    Photo of Sue Woodford-Hollick

    Sue Woodford-Hollick is a businesswoman and consultant with wide-ranging experience in broadcasting and the arts. She is a former current affairs producer and documentary maker for Granada Television and a founding commissioning editor for Channel 4. Sue recently retired after nine years as chair of Arts Council England, London. She has chaired and been a trustee of numerous arts organisations including Tate Members, Index on Censorship, Talawa Theatre Company and the Theatre Museum. She is the founder and co-owner of Bringing Up Baby Ltd, a London based childcare company. Currently Sue is a trustee of AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation), Africa’s largest health NGO, based in Nairobi, and a trustee of Complicite Theatre Company. She was appointed OBE in 2011 for services to the arts.