The members of the Executive Committee and the years they were appointed are:

  • J.E. Mills appointed 1977 CHAIRMAN
  • R.P. Baber appointed 1982 SECRETARY
  • M.W. Elliott appointed 1995
  • A King appointed 2002 TREASURER
  • M Bear appointed 2002
  • Mrs. L. Erith 2003
  • Mrs. S Fuller 2004
  • Paul O'Connell 2013





John Mills

Time Appointed








His formative years were spent in both the countryside and London, the latter during the Blitz, and retains his interest in both rural and urban life. Served as an officer in the Royal Air Force on a short service commission and started his own practice as an architect in 1960 absorbing subsequently a number of other practices, and gradually expanded his work internationally. The first practice he took over was Brewer Smith & Brewer, founded in 1840 and thereafter retained the name for historic reasons. Remains in practice as Managing Director of the Brewer Smith & Brewer Group. Member of the Committee of the Association since 1977 and Chairman since the early 1980’s.


Keen to see old fountains restored wherever they can be put to effective use and to the promotion of drinking water being available particularly to children.

A member of several City Livery Companies. Interested include painting, sculpture, cycling and sailing.




Ralph Baber

Time Appointed








has BSc(hons) degree, is a qualified Chartered Accountant and is a Member of the Securities Institute. He has served on a number of regulatory panels including the SFA appeals tribunal. Ralph was a manager at Price Waterhouse until he left to join a client, CAL Futures Limited, first as Finance Director and then, from 1987, as Managing Director. The company was a futures and options broker and a hedge fund manager. In 1995 the business was sold to Union plc where Ralph initially became an executive director. In 1997 he was promoted to Chief Executive. In 1998 Union plc bought WorldInvest, which had £1.6 billion of equity funds under management. In 2001 Union plc was acquired by a private group.

Ralph founded Slater Investments with Mark Slater in 1994. He initially served as a non-executive director and now acts as Chief Operating Officer.


Sir John Smith

Time Appointed








St Slaves

St Savours Grammar School 1950 – 1955

Guards 1959 – 1962

Married Joan 1960

Met Police 1962 – 1995 as Deputy Commissioner.

Now involved in various charities.

Director of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.




Mark W. Elliott

Time Appointed









Mark Elliott is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He was a partner in a leading firm of Chartered Accountants until 2000 when he joined a private investment bank. He now manages the private equity operations together with certain specific investments.

He has been Treasurer of the Association from when he became a Trustee in 1995. He is an active Liveryman with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and when not with his family is usually to be found on a golf course. He was Captain of Tandridge Golf Club in 2005.



Alistair King

Time Appointed








An English qualified solicitor, Alistair King, was previously a senior associate at the international law firm Baker & McKenzie, where he specialised in major domestic and cross-border merger and acquisition transactions, initial public offerings and debt issues.

 From 1999 to 2002, he held several senior positions with a leading venture capital company.

 He gained substantial experience of natural resources transactions with Baker & McKenzie while based in Central Asia and then in London.


He is a member of the Court of Common Council of the City of London.



Michael Bear

Time Appointed









BSc (Eng). MBA, C.Eng, MICE


Michael Bear is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 25 years experience in International Construction and Property Development.  He has worked on water supply, irrigation, energy and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia.  Michael is currently the Chief Executive of the Spitalfields Development Group and the Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Property Limited.

Michael's other appointments include serving on the Court of Common Council at the Corporation of London, past-Governor of the London Metropolitan University, Member of the Workshipful Company of Paviors, past-Chairman of Bethnal Green City Challenge, as well as being a founder director of a number of regeneration of companies in the fringe area.



Laura Catherine Erith

Time Appointed








2002 – Enfants Terribles – Fancy Dress Clothes.  Selling to toys shops, fairs etc


1995 – 1999

Lived in Malaysia and Singapore


1992 – 1995

Sotheby’s, Tribal Art Expert



University East Anglia, BA Hons Art History Wycombe Abbey School, 3 A’ levels, 9 O’levels

 Married in 1996 and has three children.



Sophie Fuller

Time Appointed









1992-1995 Newcastle University : BSc Hons Agriculture & Animal Science


1995-1999 Royal Veterinary College, London : BvetMed


Sep 1999 – Jan 2000 : She covered a four month sabbatical in this small animal and cattle practice.  It gave her a good opportunity to try out mixed practice and gain experience of working life.


Feb 2000 – Jan 2000 : A.  Bartholomew Veterinary Surgery, Oxford

This is a 4 person mixed practice where she did the majority of the horse and LVI cattle work.  She also was involved with the Oxford Greyhound Stadium and she still holds a GNRA Licence.


She worked as a locum in London from January 2002 to June 2003, mainly for 3 practices; Hope & Davies in New Malden, Piere Andre in Richmond and Trevor Farrell at Pet Care in Chiswick.  These are all small animal practices; 2 of which she worked along side other vets, at Pet Care she had a sole charge.


She currently works for Hope & Davis in New Malden, Surrey.  This is a 5 vet busy small animal practice.  She also work as a consultant for More Than Insurance.



Matt Nation

Time Appointed








Originally from Bristol but moved to London in 1987 to attend Goldsmiths College, where he obtained a BA(Hons) in Art and Art History. An interest in sculpture and architecture led to a Postgraduate Diploma course at Bournemouth University in Architectural Stonework Conservation. Since 1992 has worked for Taylor Pearce Ltd, who specialise in sculpture conservation and restoration, and became a director of the company in 1999; clients include: The Royal Collection, English Heritage, Victoria & Albert Museum, Palace of Westminster, The Royal Academy, Royal Parks amongst others.

He restored several original Victorian drinking fountains and this has led to becoming a trustee of the Drinking Fountain Association.






Paul O'Connell

Time Appointed 








Helped to co-found the Find-A-Fountain website and iOS app which allows users to locate drinking fountains.





Apply for a Grant

The Drinking Fountain Association welcomes applications for grants to help fund projects to provide clean drinking water. We provide grants for the supply of School Drinking Water Fountains, the Restoration of Existing Drinking Water Fountains and for various Overseas Projects.

If you would like to apply for a grant, download an application form

Submit or locate a fountain.

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