Ed Stafford -Patron

Ed Stafford is the Guinness World Record-holding first person to walk the Amazon River. In 2011 he was awarded European Adventurer of the Year and the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in recognition of outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge through exploration.

Ed uses his adventures to inspire adults and kids alike to get outside and take some risks. In a world with increasing cases of mental health issues and a general feeling of disconnect, Ed believes passionately that adventures can be catalysts for personal growth and development. Situations where you don’t have all the answers force us to come up with new solutions and new ways of looking at the world, and they are a great antidote to the apathy of the modern, screen-addicted society. 

Ed said He is very proud to be a patron of the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, because this was where he learned to kayak. Ed is also an ambassador for the Scouts Association.

Stuart Fraser

Stuart joined LOPC as Centre Manager in July 2017.  Having spent the past 20 years in Retail, as a Manager for Sainsbury’s, Compass Group, BP & Phones 4U and 2 years as an Editor for a publishing company, he is finally following his passion to work in the Outdoor Activity environment. 

From an Early age, involved in Scouting, Stuart attained his Queen Scout Award and pursued his adventurous spirit completing a 6 week expedition to the Rocky Mountains in Canada with the British Exploring Society, with whom he now hold Life Membership.   Stuart has led 3 successful 3 Peaks Challenges, has travelled solo around the World, climbed Kilimanjaro (photo from above the clouds on Kilimanjaro) & completed the UK Coast to Coast cycle event twice.

Married to Nicola and having 4 children, when he’s not at work or being a dad-taxi, Stuart’s other main hobbies include Karate, Kayaking & Cycling.  With his family, Stuart is a regular participating in different activities at the LOPC even on his days off.

Chris Murnin

Deputy Centre Manager

Chris has worked his way through the ranks over the last few years, starting as a Freelance Instructor, then Land Senior Instructor, now the Deputy Manager. A keen all round outdoors person. “ A bad day on the hill beats a good day in the office”.

His attention is focused on the operational running of the centre, whilst overseeing roped activities. His latest passion is Bushcraft where he currently drives development for the centre's activities.

David Robinson

Corporate Development Officer

David has enjoyed spending time in the outdoors from an early age via Scouting and being dragged on country walks with the parents. After completing a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management he came to LOPC and hasn’t left since. Hobbies include Kayaking, Canoeing, Rock Climbing and the odd bit of Walking and Mountain Biking.

David also enjoys running and adventure running including completing the Leicester Marathon twice.

Katy Groom

Bookings Co-ordinator and Coach

Katy joined LOPC as an Instructor in 2007. She is now responsible for coordinating all the group bookings for the Centre.  

Before joining the staff at LOPC, Katy spent 3 years studying Outdoor Recreation at Bicton College in Devon, including a 5 month work placement out in France which was her introduction to Open Canoeing. This was followed by 3 summer seasons working out in the Ardeche, in the South of France.  Working at various UK centres as well, she finally settled back in Leicester age 24.

Her outdoor interests are Open Canoeing, Rock Climbing, Snowboarding and Running.  Seeing new countries and having adventures would be Katy's dream life.

Aimee Busko

Holiday Scheme Coordinator

Aimee has been at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre for nearly a decade, starting as a volunteer in 2009 assisting instructors, followed by becoming an instructor herself in 2012 and then moving up to Holiday Scheme Coordinator in 2016.

During this time Aimee has completed a degree in Adventure Sports Coaching, earning a first while also having her dissertation published in the Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies.

Aimee also spent 6 months in New Zealand discovering the wonders of the country and has a passion for canoeing.

Cheryl Taylor

Instructor and Business Support

If dreams can come true, some of mine did in December 2009.

The chance to work in the Office, but also to continue as an Instructor was my dream.

I joined LOPC for the 2003 ‘Summer Season’ and I have returned every year since then. During the ‘Winter Seasons’ I worked as a Temporary Teaching Assistant and was PA to a Managing Director. The skills I learnt from these positions will assist me in my new role as I ‘Live the Dream’. (Well, apart from the big lottery win!).

Steve Vincent

Senior Instructor & AAP Manager for Duke of Edinburgh Award

Steve has been a long serving member of LOPC staff, he joined us in 2005 after working in the big mountains of North Wales.

An all round outdoor enthusiast, Steve always brings a smile to the Centre. His hobbies include Rock Climbing and Mountaineering for which he is very passionate about, Steve has climbed in various locations throughout the UK and also climbed in the French Alps and Spain He also enjoys the occasional paddle, if it’s a sunny day!

A family man at heart, Steve loves to share is love for the outdoors with his 2 young boys.

Bhavesh Ramji

Senior Instructor

Bhavesh has been working in the outdoors since 2003. He started with PGL to gain experience and worked for Robin Wood’s in Cumbria where he first came across Rock Climbing, the sport he’s talented at, he’s like a mountain goat, perfectly at home on the steepest of ground.

He has worked as an Instructor for LOPC since 2006 the main thing that drives him now is watching people grow by overcoming fears and facing challenges. He also holds the record for going around the Aerial Trekking course the fastest, his record stands at 33 seconds!!!

Bhavesh is also our resident yoga instructor, sharing his passion for his practice with customers and staff.

Paul Taylor

Lead Instructor

Paul grew up in North Yorkshire where he developed his passion for the outdoors, he started Camping with his parents at the age 4. Paul has been involved with Scouts in Leicestershire since 1991 where he worked with all ages from 6 to 18. Paul is currently a County Skills Instructor. Paul also has a passion for Sea Kayaking in Greece where he has worked over the summer months since 2006. Paul has been involved with the LOPC since 1990, Paul is a Level 3 Coach in both Canoe and Kayak. In 2016 Paul was one of the first Instructors in the UK to gain the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL) Bushcraft Competency Certificate and currently heads up the LOPC Bushcraft Team.

Jacob Maddocks


Jacob Maddocks has been working at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre since 2016, but also worked in the outdoors from 2001 to 2005.

As well as a proud father Jacob is a keen sports enthusiast being able to run 5km in 19 minutes. He also cycles and recently completed the Birmingham Velo – a 100 mile cycle ride. And he combines the two having completed his first Duathlon. Jacob also enjoys racket sports and competes in Ju Jitsu where he recently won bronze in the British Open, for his weight category.

Jacob’s favourite outdoor activity is rock climbing, (aiming to get on a trip to Yosemite) and but has also taken to white water kayaking too.

Stephen Granger


Stephen is very much an instructor who loves to get out into the mountains whenever he can. Whether it’s climbing on a rock face or trekking up the biggest mountains the UK has to offer Stephen will be up there any day he’s not at work.

Stephen started at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre in 2014 as a volunteer, seeing his potential he was then employed as an apprentice. Having completed his apprenticeship he now works as an instructor.

Career highlights include working with the Future Pathways Project and GCSE Climbing. Stephen has also recently discovered the joys of white water kayaking.

Andy Oughton

Freelance Instructor

Andy leapt at the challenge to develop his love of the outdoors following retirement from a career in print and graphic design. Andy has, since an early age, enjoyed the possibilities the countryside offers, particularly for paddling.

Equally, he appreciates the opportunities being active in the outdoors gives to work with groups of all ages, sharing his skills and interests.

Emma Willcox

Centre Assistant & Alternative Education Provider

I started my role at LOPC as Centre Assistant July 2013 as it tailors around an abundance of other commitments which merges with my
studies- Human Psychology at Leicester University where I also acquired the position for student rep.

“To be normal is the ideal aim of
the unsuccessful.” (Carl Jung, 1875-1961) describes my quirkiness, yet, somewhat unique perspective of the world and the determination I possess to reach objectives.

Interests I’m currently pursuing or gained qualifications in involve learning Latin, Scuba diving, Kick boxing, Bikram yoga, Scuba diving, Gymnastics and Running.

Rachel Smith

Freelance Instructor

Working with children and the great outdoors has been a big part of Rachel’s life. She has volunteered with the scouts and guides, and before working here worked as a Teaching Assistant and Duke of Edinburgh Manager at a secondary school. Rachel has also worked in outdoor centres in Scotland and Herefordshire.

Rachel’s achievements include a Masters Degree in Cultural Events and climbing Wales’s biggest mountain Snowdon. She also attended the Danish Scout Jamboree and spent time back packing around Europe.

Rachel’s hobbies include camping, rock climbing and walking, and she has been known to do the odd bit of canoeing too.