Executive Management Board

Chief Executive, Collette Musgrave

Collette joined AFF from the public sector, where she developed a background in strategic planning, policy development and management. She worked as a civil servant across a number of policy areas in the Ministry of Defence, and in postings to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, before taking a mid-career break to become a commissioned officer.

On her return to the civil service, she developed a focus on operational delivery and business improvement, before completing the Royal College of Defence Studies course with an MA in Strategic Studies. After accompanying her soldier on a NATO posting, she joined AFF, originally as the UK and Overseas Director, and now lives in Wiltshire.

Contact: T: 01264 554004 or 07870 830572 E: chiefexec@aff.org.uk


Policy & Research Director, Michelle Alston

Policy & Research Director, Michelle Alston

Michelle joined AFF in 2013 as the Researcher, became the Head of Policy & Research in July 2019 and the Policy & Research Director in November 2020.

She has a background in analysis, policy and communications in the public sector. She began her career working as a political press officer, followed by a role as a civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, working on parliamentary and policy issues. Michelle has also worked in the higher education sector, in roles encompassing policy, quality assurance and administration, at the University of Leeds and Kingston University. She also trained and worked as a workplace mediator.

She is a Clore Social Fellow 2019, completing the Cobseo Clore Social Leadership course, developing leadership in the Armed Forces charity sector.

Michelle understands first-hand the issues and benefits of Service life as she is part of a currently serving Army family.

Contact: T: 07824 642333 E: policydirector@aff.org.uk


Operations & Engagement Director, Paddy Bleakley MBE

Operations Director, Paddy Bleakley MBE

Paddy has recently been appointed to the team as AFF Operations Director.

Prior to being appointed, Paddy had served 38 years in the Regular Army. Joining the Army at 16, Paddy completed 22 years in the ranks prior to being commissioned in 2007 and finally retiring as a Lt Col this year.

Paddy has completed several tours over the years, including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Married and with two sons, his family have racked up 17 moves into various married quarters in the UK and Germany and certainly understand the good and bad of Service life.

Outside of AFF Paddy has a love for all things outdoors; Running, skiing, sailing and walking with his best mate, Louis the dog!

Paddy was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.

Contact: T: 07795 687930 E: oedirector@aff.org.uk

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