Brontë Birthplace

The Committee

The Brontë Birthplace committee is a dedicated group of individuals who are committed to restoring the Brontë Birthplace building and preserving its legacy.  Through their efforts, they have already raised significant funds and have exciting plans for raising more, engaging Brontë-lovers both locally and worldwide.  Architect’s plans for a sympathetic renovation of the building have been drawn up, and plans to purchase the building are underway.

The committee’s work has focussed attention on the significance of the Brontë Birthplace, and it’s hoped that it will play its part in Bradford City of Culture 2025.  It has also fostered a sense of ownership and involvement among supporters, uniting them in the shared goal of safeguarding this important cultural landmark.

Our Story & Mission

At the heart of our campaign lies a deep desire to honour the remarkable legacy of the Brontë sisters. These extraordinary writers have left an indelible mark on the literary landscape, captivating readers with their timeless works. By acquiring and safeguarding this building, we aim to pay homage to their invaluable contributions and create a lasting tribute to their brilliance.

The Management Committee

Mazhar Ellahi

Treasurer Management Committee Brontë Birthplace Ltd.

Mazhar has a background in finance having worked for the BBC in London The Halifax and both Jewsons and Magnet.  In the last ten years he has developed a number of social enterprises working primarily with older people around issues dealing with isolation, loneliness and dementia including Green Communities Network and Bradford Community Cinemas (in partnership with Bradford’s Unesco city of film).  He is also currently the manager of the Lidget Green Healthy Living centre and a Trustee at South Square Arts Centre. 


Sarah Dixon

Chair Management Committee Brontë Birthplace Limited

Professor of Strategic Management, former Shell International Business Executive, Business School Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor. Former Chair of Emmaus Bradford and of Sapgate Gardens, Thornton. Thornton resident and volunteer (organised Thornton in Bloom 2022-2023 and Thornton Open Gardens 2020-2023).

Sue Hayton

Sue Hayton

Secretary Management Committee Brontë Birthplace Limited

Consultant to Centre for Cultural Value at University of Leeds, 30 years’ experience in cultural and creative sector. Established the Cultural Institute at University of Leeds. Evaluation of national £ multimillion creative programmes. Helped to secure over £20 million in grants for research and cultural programmes. Thornton resident and volunteer.


Steve Stanworth

Vice Chair Management Committee Brontë Birthplace Limited

Tour guide and local historian, Brontë Bell Chapel Site coordinator and fundraiser.  Former Chair of Birthplace Trust and Thornton in Bloom

Nigel West

Nigel West

Management Committee


Christa Ackroyd

Management Committee - Media & Press

Yorkshire journalist and TV presenter who was born in Bradford and developed a passion for the Brontës as a teenager. To see the birthplace rejuvenated to inspire other young people as she was is a project she is proud to be part of.

Thomas Haigh

Management Committee - Marketing & Creative

Thomas founded his freelancing agency, VISCO Agency during the pandemic. Now a recent local resident to Thornton, Thomas offers his services in marketing, strategy, creative, digital and social media management.

Ann Disdale

Management Committee

Ann Dinsdale is Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth. She lectures and writes on aspects of the Brontës’ lives and social conditions in mid-nineteenth century Haworth.

Cathy Boyden

Management Committee

Born in Thornton, with two children and two grandchildren who all still live here, Cathy is the current Centre Manager at the Thornton Village Community Centre. She is the vice president of Thornton in Bloom, a serving Magistrate on the West Yorkshire Family Bench and an active member of the Magistrates in the Community. SShe brings a host of skills from bid writing to community engagement; she has a passion for improving Market Street and building a brighter community in Thornton.


Jenny Horton

Management Committee

Jenny has lived in Thornton since birth. Four generations of her family currently reside in the village. Upon leaving school in 1991 she started working for Robinson and Co, Accountants, on Market Street. Over 30 years later she is still there, now as the Senior Partner. Her excitement in the Brontë Birthplace project stems from the community building opportunities she feels it will bring.

The Advisors & Support Group

Sue Gaffney

Sue Gaffney


Sue has lived in Bradford since 1983, and Thornton since 1987. She worked for and co-owned a local archaeological surveying company for many years and worked as editorial assistant on the journal ‘Archaeological Prospection’. She now volunteers in the local community library, at Sapgate Gardens, and on the Sustrans trail. She also chairs the Topic Folk Club committee.

Sue Duffy

Councillor Sue Duffy


Lead Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Labour Councillor for Thornton and Allerton.


Jess Russell


Jess is a writer and English language teacher.  She is creative and engages in a wide range of arts and crafts. She is Brontë Birthplacelished author, textile artist, musician. She is a resident of Thornton.


Lorraine Dalton-Thacker


Lorraine is an Operations Manager at Maximus. She has worked in Welfare to Work for over 30 years and is a resident in Thornton. She is passionate about increasing opportunities for Bradford’s residents and helping to transform their lives, giving them skills, confidence and support to be able to engage in sustainable employment.

Heather Wallis


Heather Wallis is a writer and educator with a deep-rooted connection to the landscape of Brontë country, where she has lived for 26 years. In her teaching career she worked with film students at Leeds Arts University and The University of Leeds, running short film writing and documentary research and development courses, and mentoring many student films. She has made short films and educational documentaries and is currently researching a documentary project on Emily Brontë.


Adrian Tingle

Management Committee - Planning & Infrastructure

Adrian Tingle is a property developer with vast experience of the construction industry. He is a Thornton resident. His early career was in corporate finance with positions in Nat West and then Credit Lyonnais. He is a Thornton resident.