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Our External Trainers

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Before working with students, all animateurs must undergo thorough training with activity experts in their respective fields ensuring a high-quality level of instruction and supervision for your group.

Hilary and John Palmer

Hilary has trained the animateurs for the British Orienteering Federation’s Level 1 Coach Award and they have been assessed in the safe and effective teaching of the sport to beginners at the Chateau.

Hilary is a competitive orienteer who has regularly been a member of the England team in the Veteran’s Home International. She teaches the sport to school children in Nottinghamshire and trains teachers and outdoor centre staff as well as coaching her club’s juniors. John’s main sporting achievements were in the sphere of racket sports (county tennis and squash and squash for Wales) but back injuries forced his retirement and the introduction of the family to orienteering. His role at The Chateau was to assess the instructors for the BOF Coach award.

Priscille Lapoutge

Is a qualified Maître d’Armes, Brevet d’Etat 2ème degré (fencing coach). She trained to become a fencing coach at the Ecole Nationale de Maîtres d’Armes years ago. Since the 90’s she’s been working as a fencing coach in France mainly around Paris. When she moved to London in 2006, she worked as a coach in clubs and private schools. She also became a coach educator and trained the coaches for the British Fencing association.

Also she has a long experience as a competitor especially in fencing, golf and gliding.

Ian Wood

Ian Wood lives locally and is involved in all aspects of our training and assessment for canoeing. He has many years of canoeing experience and runs his own outdoor company. Ian holds both UK and French qualifications including the Brevet d’Etat Canoë-kayak, Qualification complémentaire Mer, Homologation H1 which are all French qualifications.

Ian is responsible for training our team on theFFCK (Fédération Française Canoë-Kayak) award scheme. All of our Animateurs are trained for the “Pagaies blanches” award, up to the “Pagaies jaunes” level. A part of the team will also undergo more intensive training with Ian to include two aspects of the “Pagaies vertes” scheme; one on moving water and one on the sea. The most able and confident staff will then work towards taking their “Initiateur” course. We are excited to have Ian on board as one of our assessors and look forward to him developing our staff’s skills in this activity.

Keith Flemming

Keith has a BA (Hons) in Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies, Bangor University. He holds a Mountain Instructor’s Certificate, International Mountain Leader Award and is a level 3 kayak coach.

He has 18 years as a Mountain Leader Training England (MLTE) course provider (no 139, see for the following national qualifications:

  • Climbing Wall Award, Climbing Wall Leading Award, Walking Group Leader Award, Mountain Leader Award
  • Sports Leaders UK course provider for the Basic Expedition Leader Award, centre 7929
  • British Mountaineering Council approved Expert Witness with experience of working for HM Coroner, the HSE and Local Education Authorities in post-accident investigations
  • Training in Industrial Height Safety, and one our team specialises in how the 2005 Working at Height legislation affects outdoor pursuits

Over 25 years of experience providing outdoor activities, including: organising and running activity courses for children and adults all over the UK, the French Alps and further afield, personal skills training for climbing and mountaineering courses, ski mountaineering courses, Scottish winter mountaineering etc.

Over 35 years personal experience climbing throughout the world, including Scottish winter climbing, the European Alps, American Rockies, Patagonia, Australia, Thailand and many years rock climbing thought Europe. Ski mountaineering is a personal favourite.

He is responsible for in-house instructor assessment and technical advice on climbing and high rope activities and other outdoor pursuits for some of the biggest providers in the UK, including High Sports Indoor Climbing Centres, several Local Education Authorities, The Guide association, as well as many smaller private and charitable organisations.

I am a committee member of the Adventure Activities Advisory Committee (AAIAC) and part of the Brighton and Hove City Council Outdoor Advisory Panel. 

Philip Van Buren

Philip van Buren has been involved in archery for almost 50 years and for 48 of them he has been a qualified coach.  During this time Philip has also shot for Great Britain several times, been UK Champion five times as well as winning numerous County, Regional and Open Championships in different disciplines. 

Philip became a GNAS (Archery GB) County Coach in 1975, Regional Coach in 1981, Senior Coach in 1995 & also a World Archery International Coach in 1995 when he was selected to go to Pakistan to set up their National Archery Federation and teach 100’s of archers, organize their first National Champs, select a National Team and train their top coaches.  Philip was also Senior Coach to the GB National Junior Olympic Squad as well as later becoming Coach & Team Manager for the GB Olympic Squad, 2006-08.

In addition to gaining a Professional Adult Education Teaching Degree, being a fully accredited D32/D33 NVQ Assessor and a Level 4 National QCF Verifier, he has been a trainer & an assessor of archery coaches since 1980,  Philip has trained more GNAS courses than any other Senior Coach in the UK and from 2000-2012 coordinated, managed and was Lead Tutor & Assessor of the Senior Coach training Programme and is still their Lead Assessor.

Philip has now re-joined The Chateau team as archery coach and advisor, having originally set up the archery activity when the Chateau first opened.  He has trained and assessed all our animateurs to deliver archery safely and to a high standard as well as advising on our archery range and equipment safety.  He will also be spending time at The Chateau during the season to ensure continued progress in terms of session development.



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