The Team

There are many who make Cobra & Mongoose projects happen, of special mention:

Michael Symons


As a 19 year old l started travelling overseas and in reality have never really stopped. Travelling in developing countries made me realise how lucky l was to be born in a wealthy nation and not to take my good fortune for granted.

Back in 2003 I started the Cobra and Mongoose Charity. We now have completed or currently run projects in Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Rwanda. There is nothing more satisfying than changing peoples lives for the better. Breaking down barriers and making strong friendships on the ground is the key to our success. Now as a 60+ year old l look forward to the next journey.

Richard Gay

President & Public Officer

Richard Gay cobra and mongoose

Richard has worked as a Chartered Surveyor for his British commercial property company, London & Regional Estates, since 1991, as well as working for the Australian company, GDI Pty Ltd from 2006-12.

Having previously been involved in charity work in Cambodia, Richard got involved with Cobra & Mongoose in 2011. He was instrumental in funding and developing the C&M project in Banderban, Bangladesh.

He has also helped fund projects in Ethiopia, as well as leading the running of the administration of the charity in his role as Public Officer.

Paul Westcott

Vice President

Paul Westcott

Paul joined Cobra and Mongoose in 2024 as Vice President. Paul’s professional experience as a Mining Engineer has taken him to many developing countries where he was involved with feasibility studies; due diligence and strategic planning with exposure to the many complex issues associated with projects in remote places. A particular strength is his ability to grasp the ‘bigger picture’ by comprehending the key social, environmental, technical, and economic issues that impact on a project.

For the last 10 years of his career, he was Chairman of a Consulting Company and has undertaken the Australian Director’s course. He is a keen sailor and has spent 10 years on the local Sailing Club Committee. He therefore brings experience in Governance in addition to his professional engineering background.

Stephen (Steve) Ford


Steve enjoyed a 30+ year career in the insurance industry, setting and up and leading his own business for the final 10 years of what he now look backs on as his “corporate days”. Since stepping outside of that corporate world Steve is really interested to experience some different walks of life and obtain some different perspectives on the world. A long-time supporter of C&M Steve is excited by the opportunity to be part of the management board and to get more hands-on involved in our efforts to assist in improving the lives of some of those who have been less fortunate than we have.

Ben Porter


Ben had a background in corporate IT when he started his own online retail business in 2007 which he continues to run today. He is grateful for all the oppurtunities life has had for him and  joined the Cobra and Mongoose team to give a helping hand to those who have not had the same opportunities.

Priscilla Devigan

Board Member

Priscilla Devigan

 Priscilla is a mother of two young children and comes with a background in insurance coupled with the experience as the owner of a well established online retail business. Known for her organizational skills and a genuine passion for helping others, she is now keen on taking on a more active role in the charity.



A huge thanks to our previous board members for their service & contributions:

Michael Symons
Tish Robinson
Trish Wingfield
Liz Treloar
Heather Macorison
Michael Jarvis