The Trust and its Officials

TO CONTACT THE MONTE SAN MARTINO TRUST: EMAIL [email protected]. Correspondence should be addressed to John Simkins (Administrator) Letitia Blake (Secretary) or Christine English

The Monte San Martino Trust is a registered charity operated by MSM Trust Ltd, number 1113897, a company limited by guarantee. Based in London, it has a representative in Monte San Martino in the Marche, Antonio Millozzi, MBE, who co-ordinates activities in Italy and handles applications for study bursaries. The Trust’s students’ organiser in the UK, responsible for the welfare of the Italians awarded one-month bursaries to study at languages schools in Oxford and London, is Edward Gretton.

The Trust’s officials are:

Sir Nicholas Young (Chairman and Trustee)

Former Chief Executive of British Red Cross and knighted for services to cancer care. Nick is the son of Fontanellato escaper Major Leslie Young, who got through Allied Lines near Anzio. He was awarded the Italian honour of Cavaliere Ufficiale in 2016.

Justin de Meo (Treasurer and Trustee)

With an Italian father, he was brought up in Italy and the UK. He is a frequent visitor to Italy from his home in Wiltshire. He has retired after a career in business, specialising in the acquisition and development of residential buildings.

Hon. Letitia Blake (Secretary and Trustee)

Daughter of historian Lord Blake who escaped from Sulmona and reached Allied Lines after nine weeks. Her many duties include selecting the students. Letitia visits Italy frequently and speaks Italian.

John Simkins  (Administrator)

John, a former Trustee, is an Italian speaker and frequent visitor to Italy. He is the son of Anthony Simkins, a PoW at Sulmona, Montalbo and Fontanellato, and in Germany. John handles communications and the website.


Anne Bewicke-Copley

The niece of a Fontanellato PoW, Anne is a lawyer and divides her time between homes in Oxford and the Marche. She researches PoW history and was guest speaker at the annual luncheon in 2014.

Omar Bucchioni

A London-based lawyer, Omar is the nephew of General Bucchioni, OBE, who led a group of partisans.

Christine English

Organiser of annual MSMT/Fontanellato luncheons and daughter of Major Ian English, a PoW at Fontanellato who was the author of Home by Christmas?

Caroline Gavin

Instrumental in getting the Trust off the ground in her capacity as a founding Trustee. She has a house in Tuscany.

Nicholas Gent

Nicholas, who has an Italian mother, served as Treasurer of MSMT for nine years until early 2014, when he stepped down from the post but remained a Trustee. He is a former fund manager with Rathbones.

Ian Laing, CBE

Chairman of several science-based companies and of Stanhope, a property development company. He is a Governor of London Business School and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Son of Anthony Laing, a PoW who escaped from Fontanellato.

Christopher Prentice, CMG

Christopher retired from the Diplomatic service in 2016 after five years in Rome as Ambassador. Formerly he was Ambassador in Amman and Baghdad. He joined the Trust’s board in 2016 and was guest speaker at the luncheon that year.

Miles Skinner

Miles is the first grandson of a former PoW to  become a Trustee. A chartered surveyor, Miles was guest speaker at the 2015 luncheon when he related how he had run from Lucca to the Vatican (the equivalent of 10 marathons in seven days) to raise money for the Monte San Martino Trust.

Vanni Treves, CBE
Chairman of the Trust’s Appeal Committee,  which reached its £1m target in 2015. He was born in Florence, the son of an Italian partisan who was killed in 1944. He came to England in 1946. A solicitor, Vanni’s posts have included non-executive chairman of Equitable Life and chairman of Channel 4 and London Business School. An Italian speaker, he holds the Italian honour of Cavaliere Ufficiale.