The five trustees and one committee member are connected through a combination of school, university, location and family.
Niall ‘Max’ Macdonald (Chairman)
Max was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1957. When his family returned to Scotland after independence in 1962 he went to school at Dollar Academy and onto the University of St Andrews where he met both his wife, trustee Belinda, and trustee Liddy.
A long career as a commercial pilot – including 20 years with British Airways (BA) – took Max all over the world, including back to Uganda in 2012. The family moved back Dollar in 2002, so that his sons, Shaun and Calum, could also attend Dollar Academy.
In 2012, Max joined the BA fleet which flew regularly to Entebbe, Uganda. For the next two and a half years his roster included a trip to Uganda every few weeks. The mandatory 2-3 day stopover before the return flight allowed him to explore the country of his birth and make the return trip to the west of the country up to 6 times a year during the charity’s development phase. Max retired from British Airways in 2017.
Max is our strategic thinker and chief liaison officer in a country where man-to-man talk still rules much of the decision making. His ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, is an invaluable asset to the trust.
Belinda Macdonald (Trustee)
Over a career that has included scientific research, independent financial advice, further education teaching, and garden design, Belinda has proved that she can turn her hand to just about anything. Along the way she picked up 2 degrees and 3 further education certificates. As the owner-operator of Shades of Green Garden Design (2007-2021), Belinda juggled garden masterplans, planting recommendations and consultancy advice with the general and financial administration for the trust. Her recent retirement from business has allowed her to focus on the charity and she is now working on development partnerships with local businesses alongside her other trust roles.
H. E ‘Liddy’ Semmens Laird (Trustee)
After a BSc (Hons) degree at the University of St Andrews, Liddy qualified as a Dental Surgeon from the University of Dundee in 1983 and has been running her own dental practice in Dundee since 2010. When not caring for her patients and dealing with the administration of a busy practice, she sings in two local choirs and runs 1st Newport Brownies. Liddy is the trust’s health and hygiene expert, and with the help of the Brownies and her network of patients and friends, is also the lead fundraiser. Liddy hopes to retire from dentistry soon but her work with the trust will continue. Her daughter Catriona designed the Uphill logo.
Max, Belinda and Liddy run the The Uphill Trust on a day-to-day basis and make self-funded visits to Uphill Junior School at least once a year to check on developments at the school and network with local community members.