The Executive Team
Here are some of the executive staff at Commonwealth Games England working as the team behind Team England for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
- Paul Blanchard
Paul has 25 years’ experience in the sports industry. He has worked in Cricket at The Oval, in Premier League and Scottish Football and also the NFL in Europe. Most recently he was CEO at Harlequins Rugby League and prior to joining Commonwealth Games England was CEO at The Surrey Sports Park, an elite athlete training and event venue based at The University of Surrey.
He has also served on the Advisory Board of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) and was Chair of The County Sports Partnership, Active Surrey.
Paul joined Commonwealth Games England in August 2015.
- Don Parker
Sports Director/Deputy Chef de Mission (Sport)
A former International Table Tennis Player who represented England over 200 times, Don joined Commonwealth Games England in 1997. Don graduated from Loughborough University in 1978 and was appointed National Coach by the English Table Tennis Association.
He worked within the Governing Body for 18 years in a variety of performance related positions. In 1995 he took up the position of Deputy Technical Director at the British Olympic Association, and was involved in the 1st BOA Holding Camp in Tallahassee.
In his time with Commonwealth Games England, Don has undertaken a senior role at all four Commonwealth Youth Games as well as the last five Commonwealth Games.
Pivotal to the roles undertaken by Don has been his relationship with the Governing Bodies, his sports knowledge, his relationship with athletes across all the Commonwealth Sports and his understanding of the multi-sport environment.
In recognition of his achievements, Don was voted on to the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Sports Committee.
- Louise Bell
Operations Director/ Deputy Chef de Mission (Operations)
Louise has worked on international sport events since 2000, where she worked as a sport volunteer at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Following the Sydney Games, she worked for one of Australia’s leading Event Management companies, project managing events across Australia for client’s such as Swimming Australia and Surf Life Australia – two of the country’s most followed sports.
Australian born, Louise moved to the UK in 2007. She worked with the London Olympic Organising Committee, initially responsible for the logistics operation of the Aquatics Centre, before moving in to Venue Management, were she oversaw the Games Time operation.
Louise was Team England's Chef de Mission at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
Louise joined Commonwealth Games England in January 2013.
- Sarah Winckless MBE (Bahamas 2017 & Gold Coast 2018)
Sarah Winckless MBE (Bahamas 2017 & Gold Coast 2018)
Chef de Mission
Sarah Winckless MBE came to us with a background in elite sport and a passion to create great teams to support today's athletes as she led the team through the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games.
As an Olympic rower she competed in three Olympic Games and six World Championships, gaining an Olympic medal and being World champion twice.
Sarah has worked with Team GB through the London, Sochi and Rio cycles, in the time taking the role of Chef de Mission of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.
She currently sits on both the UK anti-doping and British Bobsleigh and Skeleton boards. She balances her work in sport with developing teams in businesses through leadership and mentoring programmes.
Sarah was appointed in April 2016 to lead Team England through Bahamas 2017 and Gold Coast 2018.