Our Directors

Our Directors

The founding Directors of the Association are Karen Mitchell and Frank Arico.

The Articles of Association stipulate a requirement of a minimum of 2 directors and a maximum of 9 which includes a Director from each Region.

Regional  Directors appointments were confirmed at the 23.8.19 AGM. 

Karen Mitchell

Karen retired in 2014 following a 35 year career with American Express.
Her background is in Marketing, New Product Development and Business Development.

She was part of the Senior Management Committee for her business organisation and has led large global teams.

Since retiring Karen has been the Booking Secretary for her local village hall. She is an active participant on the Committee and has additional responsibility for their website and data privacy.

Karen took up pickleball in 2015 and introduced her husband Chris to the game later that year. Karen & Chris started Pickleball in Eastbourne (PIE) in 2016. They now have 3 drop in sessions a week. In early 2018 they both got Level 1 IPTPA Certification so that they could reassure new players they were qualified to teach them how to play. Karen & Chris are both regular attendees at European Tournaments.


Karen was encouraged by players to establish pickleballEngland to increase awareness of pickleball and drive growth of the game. She decided to accept the challenge when Frank indicated he was happy to partner her in the goal!


Frank Arico

Originally from South Africa, Frank moved to the UK in 2005 after living in Chicago for 4 years.
Frank is a retired entrepreneur with a Finance, Accounting and IT background.
In 2008 Frank sold his business interests in the international software company he owned.

Frank has had a lifelong involvement in sport both as a player and administrator achieving National colours for Clay Pigeon Shooting in 1985 for South Africa and in 2016 for England.

As an administrator, Frank has served at Club, National and International level, currently being a Director of the National Skeet Shooting Association in the USA which is the world governing body.

Frank started playing Pickleball in 2016 at Runnymede Royals and started the Camberley U3A Pickleball Group in 2017. In 2018 he won Bronze medals in the Mixed Doubles in Amsterdam, the Men’s Doubles Outdoor tournament in Ramsgate and the World SSIPA Championships in Denton, Texas.

On the strength of Karen’s enthusiasm and commitment to the challenge of setting up an NGB for Pickleball, Frank decided to volunteer his time and energy to the success of this project.

Frank’s goal, through instruction and coaching of our players, is the promotion of our sport through the reported success in the media of our teams and individuals. This will generate the desire in others to take up Pickleball, whether it be just as a social pastime or to be a top performer.

Meet our Regional Directors

Elaine Shallcross - North West Region

Worked in sports sector for over 30 years, teaching as a coach and in sports development. Introduced pickleball to the North West of England, setting up numerous clubs and sessions. Set up the North West Pickleball Festival and NW Restricted Tournament. Tournament Director & Organiser of the Inaugural Thailand Open. Played in pickleball tournaments in Asia, Europe and USA. Career Highlights: Chaired Lancashire Sport Development Forum; Supported Manchester Olympic bid, then Commonwealth Games bid, particularly focussed on volunteer recruitment and training. Experience of lottery funding applications, accessing community funding; creating sports pathways, partnerships, sports research.

Stan Johnson - North East Region

Held the title of Durham County Badminton Singles Champion for 10 years and represented the County 1st team for over 10 years. Two years ago while in the USA l discovered the great sport of Pickle ball which resulted in me finally hanging up my rackets. In the USA l play in Grand Lake, Colorado with a membership mostly of 4.0 level, and in the U.K. Plays at North Tyneside Club and currently establishing a new club in the city of Sunderland working in partnership with City Council to expand. Career Highlights: Wide and varied career working in the public and private sector and finally retiring as Managing Director of inspiredspaces Ltd in 2013. This company was responsible for the delivery of multi million pound national Government projects through the procurement of Government funding and private sector finance.

Sam Basford

Sam Basford - West Midlands Region

Sports Knowledge & Experience: - Played Pickleball for 2.5 Years; Competed in Europe & America winning multiple medals. Currently organising the English OPEN & Completing IPTPA Level II Teaching Course. Played Tennis & Table Tennis at County level. Set up and run Warwickshire Pickleball Club. Career : Student at University of Nottingham Working at PWC over next 3 years Experience of working on Boards and/or as a Director: - Co-Director of English OPEN - On PEC UK Committee which runs Milton Keynes Pickleball Festival & Young Persons Championship.

Jeff van der Hulst - East Midlands Region

Originally from Netherlands, Jeff spent 25 years in the hospitality industry on cruise ships, in hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs and managing dive operations. He has a strong training background with effective communication skills and driving actions.
Jeff played Judo, Tae Kwondo, football, tennis and many other sports. He is a Padi IDC Staff Instructor (Scuba Diving) and has been playing pickleball for 3 years of which 2 years as an IPTPA Level 2 instructor. Jeff has experience in refereeing at Pickleball tournaments and is now an IFP Ambassador. Experience of working on Boards and/or as a Director: Jeff worked as Cruise Director in Malaysia on a small diving vessel. He is currently part of the management committee of the local sports hall.
Jeff wants to help develop pickleball in the right way to communities of all ages which promotes fair play and community spirit within a recreational and competitive outlook.

Roberto Rospo - South West Region

Originally from Italy, Roberto has lived in Bristol for the last 10 years. He was an avid tennis player until his friend introduced him to pickleball about 2.5 years ago taking him to Cwmbran in Wales to play. He says that he was hooked after 5 minutes and in May 2019, Alan and Roberto set up a club in Bristol. Roberto has visited many clubs in the UK and Europe to play. Career: Currently works for Nationwide Building Society as a business analyst. He is introducing pickleball into the organisation which has 18,000 employees! Prior to that he worked in local government for 5 years; the organic food industry for 5 years and in academic sector for 2 years. Experience of working on Boards and/or as a Director:-Collaboration and decision making in relation to Bristol club covering costs, funding, scheduling, marketing, etc ​

Sue Harris - South East Region

Sue plays a variety of racket sports including pickleball, badminton (league level), tennis (league level), paddle tennis and table tennis. In her younger days she was a competitive swimmer and springboard diver and junior badminton player in Scotland. She now enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, swimming and hiking as well as pickleball. She is a level 1 IPTPA Coach and is playing in 6 European tournaments this year! Sue was an executive director in the pharmaceutical industry with particular experience in general management, business development and licensing, marketing and senior level recruitment. Sue has lived and worked in the UK, France, Germany & Norway and can speak the languages of all 4 countries! She has a Bachelor of commerce Degree and a Law Degree. Sue was a committee member of Wentworth Tennis and Health Club for 5 years and was an active and engaged Lady Captain in 2014. Sue has served on a number of boards of companies in the UK, Norway and Germany and was also a main Board Director of a publicly listed company in the UK. With her legal background and business experience, so has a good knowledge of governance issues.