Meet The Team
ALAN GODWIN, our Director, was fortunate to have travelled extensively during his childhood (for example, flying around the world at age nine and spending a Christmas in Cambodia pre-Pol Pot), which instilled a deep interest in the world, its diverse people and especially its natural history. In 1989, after a late gap year and a further year working for a London tour operator, Alan founded Reef and Rainforest Tours as a one-man-band from his flat in west London.Alan’s love of wildlife photography and scuba diving, his degree in English and his previous career in printing and publishing have all proved invaluable when writing, designing and producing our brochures. Further extensive travels in the last decade with Caroline and their children have provided a keen insight into what makes a perfect family holiday. Alan studied biology at ‘A’ level for a year, but had to abandon it due to a complete inability to understand chemistry – however, Alan’s knowledge of, and fascination with, nature and wildlife has continued to develop with each new trip he has been lucky enough to enjoy. When not working or travelling, Alan likes to ride his classic 1979 Triumph Bonneville Special, play pool and tennis, take walks on Dartmoor and around the scenic South Hams, and swim in pools and (in summer) in the sea off Devon’s coast.
CAROLINE GODWIN In her past career, Caroline worked as a chartered surveyor in London where she met Alan (who lived two streets away) just as he was starting up the company. Following their move to Totnes, she is now the Company Secretary and director in charge of all things financial. Having initially travelled far and wide within Europe, especially France and Italy, Caroline has since accompanied Alan on various exploratory journeys, and within the last decade on numerous trips together with their two children, Tom and Tilly, to investigate the family holiday potential of various destinations and locations. Caroline divides her time between the office, the school run and trying twice a day to exhaust Ziggy the sprocker (half cocker, half springer spaniel), who seems to possess boundless energy and an inconvenient desire to make friends with pheasants and sheep. She also enjoys practising Pilates, playing squash and tennis, and riding horses and her bicycle.
JONATHAN MORRIS Jonathan followed a degree in Environmental Biology from St Andrews with a PhD in Marine Biology from Exeter University. We were lucky enough to persuade “Dr Jon” to join us in 2000, just before he was due to train as a teacher – education’s loss was definitely Reef and Rainforest’s gain. Working for Reef and Rainforest has allowed Jonathan to combine two of his great passions: wildlife and travelling. Having explored much of Africa, South East Asia, Canada and Eastern Europe prior to joining the company, Jonathan was able to add Borneo, Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Ecuador & Galapagos, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Peru while working with us (it's not a bad job some say!) He holds the office record for jaguar sightings: a remarkable seven in three days. In addition to his role as General Manager, Jonathan is also a specialist consultant in a number of our destinations (as above), looks after all our website implementation and solves the many computer and IT problems we daily encounter. Jonathan’s interests include scuba diving, wildlife photography, surfing, walking and mountain biking: he often arrives at the office covered in mud after pedalling through green lanes from his home just outside Totnes.
JOHN MELTON After obtaining a degree in Humanities followed by a Masters in Environmental Assessment and Management, John's passion for wildlife eventually led him into a much-enjoyed guiding job in the Peruvian Amazon. Following a year spent revealing the wonders of the Amazon to visitors from around the world, John became manager of a pioneering lodge, the Manu Wildlife Center, in the fauna-packed Manu lowland rainforests of Peru. To this day he still holds the record for the number of tapir sightings in a 24-hour period at 19. John went on to work as a tour leader and location scout for wildlife film crews from the UK and USA. During his seven years based in Peru, John also travelled extensively throughout South America, taking in Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. He has also carried out wildlife consultancy work in Gabon and Cambodia, and visited Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. When not working, John likes to play football and squash, and explore Dartmoor.
HELEN COX Being very active and adventurous with a passion for the natural world, Helen spent many years exploring the planet, travelling within all seven continents and even spending one Christmas in Antarctica, surrounded by penguins. Utilising her degree in Zoology, previous work has taken Helen to the savannahs of Kenya to study the behaviour of gazelles, to Nicaragua where she ran biodiversity surveys and set up a sea turtle protection programme, and to Madagascar where she ran conservation expeditions in the forests of the remote southwest. All these wonderful experiences allied to Helen’s passion for travel, terrestrial and marine wildlife and helping others to enjoy the world’s rich diversity have served her well in her years at Reef and Rainforest, where Helen is our chief consultant for Madagascar, South Africa and Namibia, and she's enjoying getting to know Botswana and Mozambique (lucky girl!). Her other specialities include Borneo. In her leisure time Helen likes to go rock-climbing, hiking and camping in the UK countryside, sailing and kayaking on Devon’s beautiful rivers and coastline, practicing Shotokan Karate, honing her evident photography skills as well as having a giggle as part of a belly-dancing troupe!
CLAIRE POTE (nee ROUGHLEY) Claire started with Reef and Rainforest as a University placement student for a year during 2001. She did so well that, on completion of her degree in International Tourism Management, she was invited to rejoin us in 2003 and we were all delighted when she accepted. Since then she has travelled extensively within Belize, Papua New Guinea, India and Madagascar and now occupies a combined sales and administrative role, with the former starting to overtake the latter. In her spare time, Claire enjoys rock climbing (with Helen), and martial arts in which she has excelled. She currently holds a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo and had the honour to compete for Great Britain at the ITF World Championships in 2007, in which she creditably reached the quarter final. In view of her pugilistic achievements, we have no compunction in sending Claire to wild, far flung lands as we know full well that she can look after herself very capably.
SUSAN STOKES Before joining us in 2008, Sue, our chief administrator and accounting guru, worked within the travel industry for many years. During that time she was fortunate enough to travel to Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Dubai, South Africa, Mauritius, The Seychelles, Barbados, USA and Canada. More recently, Sue heroically completed a 700km cycle ride through the mountainous north of Vietnam for Macmillan Cancer Support, raising just over £3,300 for the charity and 2 years later raised a further £3,300 by cycling through Panama, Costa Rica and into Nicaragua. She is very excited by the prospect of another charity cycle ride later this year - back to Vietnam in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. When not freewheeling down some exotic road in aid of charity, Sue enjoys fine wining and dining, entertaining friends, cooking, spinning classes and going on more relaxing holidays!
"Having never been on a tailor-made holiday we were extremely impressed with how smoothly our holiday went and it made our honeymoon much more enjoyable not to have to worry about the transfers. However, what impressed us most about your company was the helpfulness before we booked. Jonathan Morris was extremely helpful and suggested what we could afford on our budget and sent us a sample itinerary. . .This contrasted with a few other companies we contacted who told us that we could not afford a tailor-made Galapagos trip and would not even discuss it further. We had many emails and telephone conversations with Jonathan and were extremely impressed with the information and assistance he gave us."
Dr R M — Berkshire