Meet the team
Travel Advisor is a friendly website run by a team of mature travel industry
professionals with more years of experience than we care to number! Our backgrounds are
diverse, but we are all united by our passion for travel, and our aim is to
gather and offer impartial advice, information and recommendations which can be
The team includes ...
Debbie has over 30 years travel experience including Crystal Holidays and Jetsave (where she was Managing Director until 2001), and from 2004 until 2010 at the helm of the award-winning villa specialist CV Villas and its sister company Ski Verbier. She launched Silver Travel Advisor in 2011 after a dinner conversation with a group of her father’s friends, when she was surprised to discover how much time retired people were spending on holidays; she realised that there was an opportunity to create an information, reviews and advice website especially for them! A keen skier, walker (read her Kilimanjaro Blog) and adventurer, her favourite destinations include Switzerland, France, Corfu, the Caribbean, the Dolomites and Alderney. She is a non-executive director of Real Holidays and Bailey Robinson, and is on the '60 for 60' influential women list at the Association of Women Travel Executives. A finalist in the 2018 Everywoman Travel Awards, and at the 2018 and 2019 AWTE Business Impact Awards, Debbie is also a Trustee for Dementia Adventure, which offers supported holidays for people living with dementia.
Website Content Developer
Taki, is of Greek origin and has spent many years
working in the travel industry developing reservations systems and websites. He
looks after everything to do with the website and has endless patience! His
favourite destinations are those with architectural and historical significance
such as Istanbul, Epidaurus and Granada (besides London, Paris and Rome of
course). He also enjoys visiting the Greek Islands and his native Princes
Islands in Istanbul, as well as touring & trekking in national parks &
nature reserves including Jasper in Canada, Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica and Wilderness National Park in Western Cape, South Africa.
Creative and Communication Director
Jennie, a member of BGTW, writes our newsletters, edits the bi-annual magazine, The Silver Traveller and is a radio broadcaster and podcaster. She creates content for the website, commissions writers and produces articles for external publications. Jennie really enjoys meeting our members and partners, speaking at travel events and exhibitions as well as interviewing travel industry leaders. She joined Silver Travel Advisor just a few months after it began.
She loves islands and her challenge is to equal Ben Fogle, The Teatime Islands. Her favourite quote: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page", St Augustine.
Partnerships & Promotions Director
Gill has over 30 years experience in the cruise industry, resulting in her being a dab hand at Trivial Pursuit blue questions so long as they are about coastal geography. After learning the ropes with Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises, Gill led the marketing team which launched the Ocean Village brand (‘the cruise for people who don’t do cruises’) and as head of global PR, masterminded Cunard’s 175 anniversary celebrations when the fleet performed a ‘riverdance’ on the Mersey. Gill’s favourite destination is South Africa where one of the highlights was climbing trees to avoid an approaching rhino. A keen skier, mountain biker and windsurfer, Gill loves the great outdoors. Still on the wishlist are canoeing the Great Lakes in Canada and swimming with manta rays in the Maldives.
Head of Partnerships (non cruise)
Lynn has over 30 years’ marketing experience in the travel and cultural tourism industries. Travel business lessons were first learned at Lunn Poly, British Airways and Hertz Europe. A wide range of tourism development projects followed for such iconic venues as Somerset House, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Chelsea Physic Garden. Most recently Lynn has enjoyed several years’ rambling (and ambling), leading the marketing team for Ramblers Walking Holidays and Adagio. Thanks largely to business trips and conferences, Lynn has been fortunate to travel extensively including to most of W. Europe, USA, French Caribbean, Egypt, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. This past year or so, Lynn has enjoyed puffin-watching on Skomer, hiking in the Austrian Tyrol, canoeing the Charente near Poitiers and yet more culture-vulturing in New York. Hurrah for holidays!
Social Media Manager
Carole worked as a Senior Manager and Consultant in Education before taking early retirement to become a writer and award-winning photographer, and to indulge her passion for global travel. She loves exploring new destinations on foot and finds the best adventures and photographic opportunities are often away from the beaten track. She is a keen runner, hiker and bird/wildlife watcher, regularly seen trekking, splashing and skidding along the hilly footpaths around her home on the edge of the Peak District. Carole looks after Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Silver Travel Advisor and is supported by Steve Newman.
Business Development Manager
Penny has enjoyed over 35 years working in the travel Industry, starting out as a humble travel agent selling dreams, through to heading up a sales team at Avis Budget group. Penny’s main passion in life is travel. She has been lucky enough to have seen much of the world and is always planning her next adventure. Her favourite trips have been to Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Chilli, Argentina, Thailand, the Philippines, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. Penny also loves the fresh air of the ski slopes, as well as waking up every day to a new destination when on a cruise.
Social Media Support
Roger is one of the UK's longest serving travel journalists and former Chair of the British Guild of Travel Writers. A veteran skier and hiker, he is a former travel editor and aviation correspondent of the Evening Standard. He has contributed to major newspapers including the Financial Times, the Guardian and Mail on Sunday and has his own blog. Roger has covered major news events in travel and aviation over three decades, winning recognition for his special contribution at the Travel Press Awards and as Best Travel Writer on France.
Veteran TV presenter John Carter has been our patron since the very early days of Silver Travel. A familiar face from the days of Wish You Were Here and The Holiday Programme, John is a much-loved and respected member of our team. These days he still be found globetrotting, although at a slightly slower pace, ambling rather than rambling. His popular 'Now and Then' compilation of amusing articles about his latest travels can be found in our Features section. Read more about John.
Research and Training
Jane (MA Marketing) is a CIM Chartered Marketer and senior marketing professional, who has worked in marketing, branding and publishing for over 23 years. She is an acknowledged expert on how to engage with the older generations – for many years she was director of Mature Times newspaper. She is frequently called on by national and local media as a key representative of her audience.
Some of our Silver Travel Advisors
Our Advisors are a very special team of vastly experienced and wise travellers, who between them have visited an impressive list of countries and enjoyed a whole range of different experiences, from cruising to elephant riding. They have contributed some fascinating reviews to our site, and are happy to share their experiences with you and to answer any questions that you may have to assist with planning your next trip.
Alan is a passionate ‘cruise ship’ expert and travel journalist, with over 100 cruises completed, sailed and visited nearly 70 ships of 22 cruise lines. He has travelled all over the world from the Arctic to Australia, USA to Russia, Asia, Baltic, Caribbean, Middle East, South America and most Mediterranean ports. Sailed several oceans plus the Arabian, Black, Baltic, Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Alan who is a member of The International Travel Writers Alliance says "There is something magical about stepping aboard a beautiful cruise ship, visiting multiple countries and ports but only unpacking once". Alan, a regular contributor to Holiday and Cruise Magazine, Your Holiday TV and several newspapers, has appeared on television travel shows and delivers talks on cruising at various national venues. He enjoys answering questions from Silver Travellers.
Boutique Hotel and Luxury Specialist
Gillian writes about a wide variety
of destinations, but is known as a specialist on France. She studied at the Institut Français in
London and says that whilst her French is still fluent, her French shorthand is
a tad rusty! A freelance writer for nearly
40 years, Gillian wrote parenting articles when her two children were small,
moving on to personality interviews as they grew up. In
2018 she celebrated 20 years as a travel writer by winning the Best Cultural
Article in the French Travel Media Awards. A regular contributor to France
Today magazine and a variety of women’s weeklies and customer magazines,
Gillian travels to France regularly, and particularly loves exploring on foot,
both on city streets and rural tracks. Favourite
part of France? "Usually where I’ve just
been!" she says.
Enjoy Gillian's French Collection, an eclectic and fascinating mix of cultural and destinations features which showcase her love of la belle France.
Sally has worked in travel industry since the age of just 16 in her local travel agent, followed by some happy years working for Pan Am & Continental, and then ten years at Tropical Places, travelling throughout the Caribbean, Far East and Kenya. Away from work she developed a love of walking holidays in the Pyrenees and Mallorca and European city breaks. The USA also became a firm favourite; especially the quiet side of Florida that often gets overlooked. In 2003 came the chance to source holiday prizes for Take A Break magazine. This led to writing and researching travel features and in 2006 she won the Visit USA award for best consumer magazine feature.
Andrew may have spent a lifetime working with numbers, including spending most of the 1980s in a rum-induced haze in Bermuda, but he is now enjoying a second career combining his real passions of travelling, writing and reading books. He gravitates towards mountains and adventurous activities when travelling. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, skiing around the pistes of Europe and flying above the cloud forest canopy in Costa Rica on zip wires are just a few adrenaline-fuelled highlights. But he is equally happy exploring the quieter corners of the world, meeting local people and trying to understand their history and culture, whilst enjoying authentic food and drink. Andrew has a longstanding association with our friends at TripFiction and still enjoys drinking rum!
Dinah spent the first few years of her working life in France and Italy. Her first job was with Thomas Cook and then followed several years in Italy, France, Austria, Greece and Switzerland, returning to the UK in 1974 where became Product Director for Italy. Now retired, Dinah has more time for travel, and has visited both polar regions, dog sledged in Norway and Sweden (sleeping in a tent in -5C), been horse riding in Mongolia, in the Sahara in Tunisia, Wadi Rum in Jordan, Mexico, Costa Rica,the Thar desert in Rajasthan, India and across the Andes. She also enjoys small ship cruising in the Indian Ocean, Indonesia, French Polynesia and the South Pacific islands.
David has been an editor and travel writer for regional papers and magazines for over 20 years. He travels regularly and loves short breaks both in the UK and abroad. He visits Europe regularly and has taken well over 80 cruises. He loves both ocean and river cruising and reporting not only on the latest amazing mega cruise ships, but also the more intimate smaller ships. A member of the team since the start, David's many reviews can be easily found and read by typing his name in the search box. He hopes you enjoy his travel features and videos on Silver Travel Advisor!
David has been a professional journalist all his working life, starting as a provincial reporter, then moving to national newspapers (18 years with the Daily Mail in Manchester), national Sunday newspapers and the Manchester Evening News for 20 years and has been fortunate enough to travel widely. A keen skier, his favourite spots are in Switzerland and Austria. He and his wife Dorothy - she ran their home in the Pennines as a thriving guest house for many years - have two daughters, one who specialised in travel and worked in Majorca and the other lived in Greece, both providing a perfect excuse to spend as many weeks a year as possible in the Med.
Steve retired from his job as an IT Programme Manager some years ago and decided it was time to indulge his love of travel with his wife Linda: cruising (big and small ships), trekking, camping (mobile home), city visits, finding things off the beaten track. They have been to the Maldives, Bahamas, Thailand, Malaysia (including Borneo), USA, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Greece, Turkey, France, Germany and many other countries. Steve has written about many of his travels and his series about Malaysia achieved recognition when he won the award for the Best On-Line Media at the Sabah Tourism Awards 2013.
Editor - Silver Travel Book Club & Cook ClubPetra Shepherd
Petra Shepherd is a freelance travel writer with over 30 years’ experience in television, 19 of which were with Travel Channel International, the leading global travel broadcaster, where she was responsible for award winning documentary style travel programmes. Prior to this Petra was a celebrity booker and has met everybody from Dame Edna Everage to Donald Trump! She's visited over 100 countries, has lived in Hong Kong and Italy and is a great advocate of solo travel, in 2013 she spent six months travelling alone around South America. Petra is a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and combines her love of travel writing, books and food as Editor of the Silver Travel Book Club and Silver Travel Cook Club.
Film & VideoCathy Bartrop
Cathy has spent her entire career in the travel industry, starting out as graduate trainee at Saga Holidays in 1983 before becoming Sales & Marketing Manager for Thomas Cook Faraway Holidays in 1986. A few years later she set up her own media and promotions company, initially focused on print and radio but eventually moving in to video production. When video finally became accessible online (only 13 short years ago), everything changed. Cathy saw an opportunity to create her own online TV channel, www.travelguru.tv which, like Silver Travel Advisor, is focused on the more mature traveller - it's a natural partnership! Cathy's passion is to take full advantage of the latest compact camera technology, creating videos that share genuine first hand experiences and trusted travel advice. When she is not travelling, she can be found on the golf course, seeking out wild swimming locations and enjoying the delights of her home county, East Sussex.
Other regular and valued contributors to Silver Travel Advisor include Eleanor Wasley, Glynis Sullivan, Paul Brown, Maria Meredith, Pamela Walker, Jacqueline Jeynes, Jeannine Williamson, Bob Lyons, Louise Hudson, Dave Harcombe and Kay Wiseman. Put their names into the Search box and you can enjoy reading their wide-ranging and varied articles, or visit this page.
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