Our Board and Staff

The companies listed below have generously subscribed to the Society’s funds in the year 2018/2019   As a result, they have been awarded Corporate Membership in the categories shown.

Belhaven Brewery/M. Pubs Matthew Clark Wholesale Ardagh Glass
Diageo G.B.  Edrington Group Carntyne/Russell Group
Wm. Grant & Sons Eurostampa Graphic Packaging
Heineken/Star Pubs Edrington Beam Suntory Guala Closures
Pernod Ricard/Chivas MCC Labels McLaren Packaging
Tennents/Wm. Magners Ltd. Molson Coors Punch Taverns
XPO Logistics Multi Packaging Solutions Saica Packaging
  Smurfit Kappa Group  
  Whyte & Mackay  



Accolade Connect Appointments Montpeliers
Allied Glass  Croxson O-I Sales
A.G. Barr Plc. John Dewar & Sons Rescu Solutions
Best Cellars  Distell Shepherd Neame
The BIG Partnership Dunns Food and Drink Signature Pubs
Brightwork Recruitment  H.Erben Simply Cartons
Caledinian Heritable  Halewood   D.S. Smith Packaging
Carlsberg Inverarity Morton TLT Solicitors
CCL Labels Inverarity Morton UCP
Cellar Trends  IPL International Vassi Group
Coca Cola Jeagermeiser  Gavin Watson Ltd.
Loch Lomond Group Winter & Co.  



Alliance Wine George Hotel, Inverary NSD
Bacardi  Glenhaze Plastic Keg Company
Beamglow Gordon & MacPhail  Procurus Scotland
Beam Suntory J.W. Gray  Rankin Bros.
Bluefin Holdfast Entertainment Ramondin
Brewers Assoc. of Scotland Iggesund Reprobrand
Broughton Ales International Beverage Brands Saverglass
Cairngorm Hotel Lisini Pub Group S.L.T. News
Ceader Ltd. Mediaworld Stoelzle Flacconage
City Refrigeration Iain McLeod & Co. Strand Paper & Board
Contact Holdings Miller Brands  Suburban Taverns
Elanders Moet Hennessy  Tomatin Distillery
Fenner Paper  Nixon Consultants Thomas Tunnock
J.W. Filshill Ltd. North British Distillery TRM Packaging
Van Genechten Packaging West Brewery  



These categories do not include donations to raffles, prize draws etc. and Directors’ time which is given on a voluntary basis.

Platinum – Over £10,000, Gold £5,000 - £9,999, Silver £2,500 - £4,999, Bronze £1,000 - £2,499, Member Up to £1,000


Warren Paul Appointed 2020

Paramount Creative UK

“Delighted to be given the opportunity as Vice President for this amazing charity. Having worked in the Hospitality industry for the past 21 years, I feel its time to give a bit back especially during these very difficult times. At this time everyone’s help and support is essential in order for our grants to continue to reach the most in need”  

Warren Paul


VICE PRESIDENT             

Catherine Conaghan Appointed 2018

Edrington Beam Suntory

I have worked in the industry for  25 years  all of which have covered Scotland within the remit. I have spent 23 years with Diageo and the last 2 years with Edrington-BeamSuntory  both working in Commercial or Sales functions. I have been a Director of the Ben since April 2018 and this position is one of the most important roles I have had in my career, the nature of the industry does unfortunately see lots of people needing support, in many different ways, my role is to endeavours to help as many people as possible. I am forever grateful for the career I have enjoyed in the industry and its important that I can give something back.


Catherine Conaghan      



Steve Annand AGM Appointed Inverarity Morton

Steve has worked in the drinks industry for over 20 years. Following University he worked on the "other side" of the bar before taking his first sales role in the industry with Anheuser-Busch as a Territory Sales Manager cover the North of Scotland.  He moved to Tennent’s in 2007 as a Key Account Manager progressing through the ranks to Sales Director for the On-trade.

In 2011, with C&C Group’s acquisition of Tennent Caledonian Breweries he was appointed Commercial  Manager Director and, after a period of 18 months, was appointed Head of On-trade sales, UK, for sister brand Magners.  In 2015 he left to start up his own drinks consultancy business, Glasshouse Drinks Ltd. Steve joined Inverarity Morton in March 2017 as Sales Director.  He is married with two children and as a keen golfer & supporter of the Ben hasn’t missed a Ben golf day in 20 yrs ! Throughout his career in the trade he has covered every area of Scotland and as such is a strong advocate for the role hospitality plays in our communities. As a consequence he is passionate about the work of the Ben and ensuring the charity is able to step in and help when people need us most.

Gareth Cooper AGM Appointed Diageo

Gareth has worked in the industry for the past 8 years and has loved every second of it, no two days are the same. He has spent all 8 years with Diageo GB working in a host of Commercial and Sales functions roles in both On and Off Trade, As current Head of Field Sales for North of England and Scotland. Previous the joining Diageo I was a lecturer at University of Lancashire of which he spent 6 years.Gareth is delighted to be joining the BEN as a Director, this Charity plays a pivital role in supporting people in our great industry and the current climate highlights the importance and the need for the BEN. 

George Kyle AGM Appointed Diageo

Alison Johnstone AGM Appointed Molson Coors

Ali Johnstone is currently Regional Account Manager for Molson Coors Brewing Company in Scotland primarily looking after the Belhaven Brewery account. Ali has worked in a variety of roles in the licensed trade with Molson Coors including Regional Sales Manager, Commercial Excellence Manager and Field Sales Executive.

Ali has had variety of roles in her career. Working in pubs and clubs whilst selling holidays then running 25 Going Places/First Choice retail travel stores in her 20’s, working for Buzzworks Group & then managing a sales team for Coca Cola in her 30’s, she believes this has given her a true understanding of customers needs and what it takes to run a successful business.

Ali is married with two grown up children Ellie & Ben and loves travelling and making the most of life, she is a keen fundraiser and team player at work, and looking forward to making a difference as a Director on The Ben.

Mike Phillips AGM Appointed Pernod Ricard

Mike has 17 years’ experience in the drinks industry, 7 with Scottish & Newcastle/Heineken and a further 10 with Pernod Ricard UK, working in a range of Marketing, Category and Commercial roles. His most recent role is that of Regional Business Manager in Scotland, Tyne Tees and Yorkshire, where he looks after the Field Sales team in both the on and off trade market. This is his second year with the Ben and an important one given these uncertain Covid 19 times, which are presenting us all with huge challenges. This is a great industry to be involved in, he is thankful for all experiences here, but it needs real support at this time and he is very keen to be able to give something back.

Stephen McGowan AGM Appointed TLT Solicitors

Stephen McGowan is a licensing solicitor at TLT LLP and represents a large number of licensed businesses across Scotland. He joined the board of the Ben in 2010 and is a Past President, having served in that role from 2018 to 2020

Jason Cockburn AGM Appointed Heineken

Jason has been involved in the trade for over 25 years, and is currently the On Trade Sales Director for Heineken’s business in Scotland. After starting work with the  Scottish Licensed Trade News in his early career , Jason moved to London with Sky resulting in him heading up the sales function of Sky business in the early 2000s. After a few years away from the trade to take a job pairing business leadership with one of his passions. skiing, Jason returned to Scotland 14 years ago and joined S&N which later became Heineken. Having been aware of the Ben for most of his working life and attending his first Ben dinner over 25 years ago  Jason is delighted to be in a position to help continue the great work done by our predecessors in promoting and supporting the work of the charity.

Fraser McLwraith AGM Appointed Dark Art Drinks

Fraser McIlwraith is a bars and drinks specialist with 24 years’ experience in hospitality. His rise from glass collector in Vodka Wodka Paisley to his current role as company director was developed by working for key companies such as Caledonian Heritable, Mark Warner, Hilton Hotels, Buzzworks Holdings, G1 Group & DRG.

From early on in his career, he was taught the importance of giving back. From on the job coaching and training, to charity work which benefits the communities around the workplace.

Fraser runs Dark Art Drinks a specialist liquor purchasing consultancy, Vodka Wodka Ashton Lane party bar, Glasgow Cocktail Collective cocktail delivery service, HOSPO recruitment a hospitality recruitment agency. Dark Art Drinks also produces and wholesales cocktails such as Panther Milk for on and off trade.

Fraser is a family man and loves cooking and spending time with his wife and two girls. He runs, cycles and works out most days.

Paul Hastie AGM Appointed Caledonian Heritable

Paul has been working in the hospitality industry for 26 years. After graduating with a BA in Communication he took a stop gap part time role as a barman, waiter & KP. The buzz and energy of the industry struck a chord and he has never looked back since. Working through various management roles at Caledonian Heritable Ltd, he has worked as a Trainee, Assistant, General Manager, Events Managers, Multi Site Manager, Area Manager for CHL’s YPV venues and has been the groups Procurement Manager for the past six years. He is still heavily involved in all aspects of operations within the companies managed estate.

Over the course of his career Paul has been a proud supporter of the Ben and a regular attendee at their annual events. Paul is both humbled and delighted to be joining the BEN as a Director and hopes his knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry can bring real value to the charity and more importantly to those who rely upon it.

Euan Bain AGM Appointed Signature Group

Euan has worked in the licence trade in Scotland since 1990 in various operational and project roles. Most notably Operations Director at Belhaven. Since then he has owned and operated a number of bars, restaurants and a hotel.

He currently is part of the senior team at The Signature Group and heads up the Cold Town Brewery at Scot Brew.

Euan also volunteers with Equip Mentoring, a program that delivers mentoring for young people aged 15-18 in Clackmannan through the Mentoring Matters program. He has also worked on a number of projects with Springboard to encourage people of all ages to consider the licenced trade as a career.

Euan comments “ the industry has been a great friend and motivator to me over many years. It has given me the opportunity to travel the world and meet some fascinating individuals. It has played a significant part in my development as an individual and it is now time for me to repay the debt. I look forward to making a positive contribution to people’s lives through the Bens charitable work”

Ian Mcpherson AGM Appointed Matthew Clark 

Jenny Karlsson AGM Appointed Adelphi Distillery




Paul Waterson  AGM Appointed 2019

Paul Waterson has worked in his family’s long established licensed trade business for over 45 years. During that time he has ran the family’s Pub and Hotel Estate as well as Nightclubs, Off Sales and a Wholesale Wine, Spirits and Beer Company. 

 He has been a member of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association for more than 40 years. He was elected National President of The S.L.T.A. in 1996 and in 1998 he was re-elected for an unprecedented third term.  

 He is a Past President of the Strathclyde Licensed Trade Association and a Past Chairman of the United Kingdom and Ireland L.T.A.

 In 2002 Paul Waterson became the first Chief Executive of The SLTA in its 138 year history. He stood down in 2018 but continues to be The Association’s media spokesman.    

 He is a Past President of the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland; Past Visitor (Chairman) of the Incorporation of Maltmen in Glasgow; he is a past Director and Executive Committee Member of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Scotland’s National Alcohol Charity.

Paul has sat on a number of committees at the Scottish Parliament looking at licensed trade issues including, The Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership, The Ministerial Tobacco Control Committee and The Age Restricted Products Group; Paul was a member of the Expert Reference Group which looked into the White Paper on Licensing Reform before the new Licensing Act in 2005.

 He is on the Executive Committee and Board of the Best Bar None Scheme and in 2014 was asked to sit on the VisitScotland Thistle Awards Industry Panel. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Industry Achievement Award by The Scottish Licensed Trade News at a ceremony in Glasgow.

 He became a Director of The Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland in 1992, was elected President in 2010 and in 2017 was very proud to be invited to become The Patron of The BEN.

Paul is a current member of The East Kilbride Licensing forum and sits on The Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership and he continues to run the family business. 



Chris Gardner CEO The Benevolent Society Scotland                  

The Chief Executive, Chris Gardner, provides administrative support for the BEN pensioners, records of visits and payments together with organising the biggest events in the licensed trade.  She is also solely responsible for the management of the charity and the annual accounts.

Chris has worked for the BEN for 31 years and if you call the office, she is the one who answers the phone.  The advantage of having just one person in the office is that applications for assistance get actioned immediately, as speed is essential when dealing with desperate situations.

Chris Gardener



79 West Regent Street, Glasgow G2 2AW

Telephone: 0141 353 3596

Fax: 0141 353 359

E-MAIL chris@bensoc.org.uk

Website www.bensoc.org.uk




R. MACSWEEN Glasgow and West Of Scotland
J. GRIERSON  North Scotland
A. MOORE Glasgow and West Of Scotland
P. BURNS East of Scotland
G. REDDINGTON Southern Scotland
A. BARNET North of Scotland
H. McKAY  Central Scotland
S. MILLAR Edinburgh and Borders
J. CAMERON Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Southern Scotland




The Ben Visitors

All visitors have either worked in the trade or husband’s worked in the trade, they visit beneficiaries two to three times a year to make sure they are keeping well and for some social contact with some of our  beneficiaries who are sometimes lonely. 

R. MACSWEEN Glasgow and West Of Scotland
J. GRIERSON  North Scotland
A. MOORE Glasgow and West Of Scotland
P. BURNS East of Scotland
G. REDDINGTON Southern Scotland
A. BARNET North of Scotland
H. McKAY  Central Scotland
S. MILLAR Edinburgh and Borders
J. CAMERON Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Southern Scotland


Our Staff

The BEN’s Chief Executive is Chris Gardner, who is the only full time employee of the charity, the Trustees give their time on a voluntary basis.

Fiona Ritchie works with The BEN part time as assistant to the CEO

Chris has worked for the BEN for 31 years and if you call the office, she is the one who answers the phone.  The advantage of having just one person in the office is that applications for assistance get actioned immediately, as speed is essential when dealing with desperate situations.


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