Meet the team

At Great Northern Classics we are all passionate about classic cars, find out more about some of our team below. Need more information or would you like to join the team?
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Iain Fox, Experience lead

From aged 10 Iain has had petrol running through his veins. His first experience of the world of combustion at this early age was via his Yamaha TY80 trials bike, leading to many more bikes, thrills, and spills before switching to the road at age 16.

Cars are undoubtedly however Iain’s ultimate passion, and he has driven and experienced well over 50 classic, sports, prestige and super cars. He also avidly collects 1:18 scale models which adorn his garage walls.

Iain will be highly visible on the GNC site serving the operations side of the business whilst supporting in all areas, be that helping at events, curating displays, liaising with specialist tenants, and meeting our visitors.

Abigail Whitt, Marketing & Sales Lead

Abi was born into the motorsport through her father and has always had a love for cars. Her previous experience included working for race teams, launching new cars, working at motorsport events such as Goodwood Revival, and is also an ARDS racing instructor. In her spare time, she is usually seen at a racetrack competing in the Classic Sports Car Club. To name just a few tracks, she has raced at Brands Hatch, Anglesey, Magny-Cours, and done a 24hr race at Spa.

Abi is so passionate about the classic vehicles industry, and unfortunately the skills to maintain them are dying. She couldn’t believe that Great Northern Classics was based near her home, and saw it as an amazing opportunity to work here. 

Bradley Haywood, Operations Lead

Having been car mad for as long as he can remember, Brad followed an academic path to achieve a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University, then going on to beginning his career on a graduate scheme at a world-renowned automotive engineering consultancy.

As a Development Engineer, Brad worked with manufacturers such as JLR, Bentley and Aston Martin, whilst indulging his passion for classic cars by maintaining various modern classics and attending as much historic motorsport as possible. He is currently turning an unloved Toyota HiAce into a go-anywhere adventure camper and returning a BMW 318iS to its former glory.

At Great Northern Classics, Brad will be leading the operations side of the organisation, maintaining the wonderful building (in which his grandma worked for Rolls-Royce in the Light Alloy Foundry) and looking after our tenants.

Rachael Clegg, Creative Director

Rachael Clegg has classic motorsport running through her blood. Born into a family of TT racers and motorcycle dealers, Rachael was raised in among the racing ‘circus’, travelling from circuit to circuit most weekends. She has retrained as a journalist and now specialises in classic cars and motorcycles. She has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers, including Octane, The Classic Motorcycle, The Daily Telegraph and Classic Bike Guide.

This is in addition to Rachael’s creative practice, for which she creates surreal art photography. Her images illustrate the history of various subjects, including motorsport circuits such as the Isle of Man TT and the Nürburgring. Her limited edition photographic prints are collected across the globe.

Shaun Matthews, Director & Co-founder

Shaun is a time-served engineer and former Divisional Managing Director of DEB Group Ltd’s dispensing companies in the UK and North America – the company responsible for that most historic of motoring products: Swarfega.

Hands on, when not restoring his 18th century Farmhouse with partner Sharon, he owns and regularly exercises the cars and motorcycles from his own collection.

Shaun was fortunate to be one of the last broadly-trained apprentices under the post war Industry Training Board (ITB) levy-funded system which was abolished in the early 1980s. This precipitated the ongoing chronic lack of training places for young people. This has resulted in today’s acute skills shortages, manifesting in the classic vehicle restoration world so Shaun conceived of a solution: Great Northern Classics.

Mike Copestake, Director & Co-founder

Mike is a highly experienced corporate Lawyer having been a former senior partner of Freeths Derby Office. He has a keen interest in regenerating old buildings and has redeveloped several dilapidated churches for commercial use including restaurants, student apartments and antique centres. Out of work Mike has many hobbies such as tennis, cricket, skiing and his recently acquired a Bentley Turbo R so enjoys those country drive round the Peak District.

Mike is founder of Marketing Derby and is a longstanding member of the Derby business community. He is concerned about the lack of careers education and aspiration in many of our young people which is why he has got involved with Great Northern Classics. Until 2021 he was chair of Enterprise for Education which is an organisation dedicated to getting businesses into schools to help them with their careers.

Derek Latham, Director & Co-founder

Derek is an architect, planner and Landscape Architect whose award winning practice, Lathams, specialised in the creative re-use of land and buildings. Derek now chairs the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust and is passionate about the rescue of heritage buildings and the retention of heritage building skills.

Derek responded to the opportunity of Great northern Classics to creatively re-use the former Eastwood and Swingler Victoria Iron Works (which has had a significant history of alternative uses) to enable the retention and training of related heritage skills for veteran, vintage and classic vehicles by becoming a founder investor and the Director responsible for the buildings conversion.

Rob Jones, Director & Co-founder

Rob Jones is a qualified accountant and was formally Group Finance Director and shareholder at VSG before selling to Compass Group plc. He is now CFO of Europa Worldwide Group, chairman of Turning Point Business Angels and a non-executive director of several organisations including Nottingham Rugby Club.

Rob and his family successfully converted an old village school into their family home, winning the 2016 East Midlands LABC award for “Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion”.

As a fan of British supercars, Rob is excited by the prospect of the Great Northern Classics project and believes passionately in the training and development of aspiring young mechanics.

Wendy Morrall, Investor Director 

Wendy has a background in training, human resources, operational management and start-ups both in large blue-chip companies and latterly running her own businesses.
Her late father was an engineer and motorsport enthusiast. He was a member of the Rolls-Royce Engineering Society for decades attending as many of the events in Derby as he could.

As someone hugely interested in cars and motorbikes, because of her late father’s influence and a shared hobby with her husband, Robert, when asked to become a director she jumped at it. Wendy Said ‘it’s a privilege to be involved and create a destination venue with a mix of skilled trades in the classic car industry, accommodation for car storage enthusiasts and a training facility to skill up a new generation in Derbyshire. “It’s my opportunity to put something back.”

Simon Woods, Director & Chair of the training school

Simon has always had an interest in anything mechanical. On leaving school he took on a Mechanical Apprenticeship going on to study Engineering at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic. Being involved with various businesses during his career he recently sold his Educational Products Business to the employees of TecQuipment Ltd via and Employee-Owned Trust model.

Simon remains supporting the business as Managing Director. During his career Simon has been fortunate to progress his career through design, management, directorship to ownership. Along the way travelling all over the world to install, sell, and train the engineers of tomorrow.  He is also owner of a Motorcycle Frame Company and supports new business start up via the Turning Point Business Angel group with Rob and Mike. Simon is passionate about manufacturing, local business support, training, and classic vehicles. When asked why did you invest and support the GNC project Simon replied, its ticks all the boxes and I get to work with some exceptional people.