The Team

Steve Coombes

Steve Coombes co-founded the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival in 2013.  His enthusiasm and energy ensured we are still going today.  We lost him to cancer at the end of 2020 but the festival continues in his memory.

Sue Austen – Festival Producer and Bayguide Director

Sue co-founded Bayguide CIC with Jason Hollingsworth in 2012 with a mission to bring new arts projects to Herne Bay and promote the town as a cultural destination.  She helped to organise the Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay festival in 2013 and ran the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival for six years with her late husband, Steve Coombes.

Prior to this, Sue had worked in independent film and television production since 1982. Her career began at the now legendary Goldcrest Films, where she worked for four years on programmes produced for the new Channel 4.  After Goldcrest’s collapse Sue spent a short time as a freelance script editor, before joining Granada Films as Head of Development.  Whilst there she worked on a number of feature films including David Hare’s STRAPLESS and Aisling Walsh’s first feature, JOYRIDERS.  Sue left Granada to co-produce the medical thriller, PAPER MASK, co-funded by Film 4 and British Screen, released in over 70 territories and selected as the closing film in Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990. 

Sue then spent 5 years working at the European Script Fund, part of the MEDIA (Creative Europe) organisation and returned to production in 1997 with her first television film, VICIOUS CIRCLE, developed and produced for BBC Films and Irish Screen. This was followed by the BAFTA nominated comedy drama DONOVAN QUICK starring Colin Firth. Over the next twelve years she produced more than 50 hours of primetime television drama for BBC1, BBC2 and ITV and received a second BAFTA nomination.

Since 2014 Sue has been a full time academic, tutoring and lecturing on the MA Filmmaking programmes at the London Film School and Goldsmiths University of London.  In 2019 her book Producing for Film and Television was published by the Crowood Press.

Jason Hollingsworth

Jason is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience across the private, public and third sectors.  He has worked extensively for blue chip organisations both as a consultant and in senior operational roles.  His work within the public and third sectors includes the development of commissioning strategies, business plan development, investment option appraisal and value for money assessments. He has co-founded a number of community and not-for-profit ventures including – a website designed to take the effort out of ethical and environmentally friendly living; Broadband Collective – a rural initiative that established one of the first community-owned and operated broadband networks in the UK; as well as Bayguide (

From 2009-11 he was a Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of the Herne Bay Pier Trust, a registered Charity.  During his tenure, the charity’s revenue grew more than tenfold and he oversaw the development of a long-term overview business plan (  From 2003-8, Jason was a core member of the team behind the multi-million pound public arts project, Aluna, a proposal for a four-storey high, forty metre wide, tidal powered moon clock (

Mandy Troughton

One of the three founding Directors of Beach Creative in 2012 and responsible  for the gallery bookings, and day to day running of the Beach Creative  building and our sister gallery, Bay Art Gallery.  

Since gaining her fine arts degree at the Kent Institute of Art and Design (now UCA), Mandy have worked chiefly as a sculptor with a specialism in Perspex and plastics.

David Cross

David studied Fine Art at St Alban’s College of Art and the West of England College of Art between 1967 and 1971, successfully avoiding any idea of a career in favour of a life of serial enthusiasms. Including: printer, furniture maker, graphic designer, illustrator, exhibition designer, shop owner, builder and decorator and finally exhibition officer for Canterbury Museums.

A founder member of the steering group for Herne Bay’s Duchamp Festival 2013, curating all the exhibitions during the award winning three-week event. Over the years, David has appeared in various group shows both in Kent and Cornwall (UK). He has work in a number of private collections.

Des Buckley

Des moved to the Kent coast from London and now lives in Ramsgate.  His work has appeared in numerous publications including Private Eye and Punch.  In addition to being an illustrator he is also qualified occupational therapist and his varied work experience range from incarnations as a bank clerk, youth work overseas and four years in the Royal Air Force. Living locally means Des is an important member of our festival team and over the years has run cartooning workshops during the festival and helped us hang many exhibitions.

Royston Robertson

Born in Catterick, North Yorkshire, in 1968, Royston Robertson has been drawing cartoons for about as long as he can remember. At the age of seven, he wrote to the TV show Jim’ll Fix It to ask if he could edit The Beano for a day. Jim never fixed it.

Between school and university, instead of going to work on a kibbutz, Royston ran the comic DoodleBug with a group of friends. Part fanzine, part Viz, it built up a strong following in the North East.

Royston started submitting regularly to magazines in 1997. He has since been published in Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator, Prospect, New Statesman, The Oldie and many other publications throughout the world. He has also drawn cartoons for Oxford University Press, Children’s BBC and Scholastic Children’s Books.

He has exhibited cartoons at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London and at the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival. He has also been a regular participant in the latter and at The Big Draw.

Royston was part of a team of cartoonists that took on the house team on the BBC TV quiz show Eggheads and stormed to victory. One of the Eggheads described it as “the most comprehensive defeat we’ve ever had”.

Cartoonist and illustrator Royston Robertson

Kasia Kowalska

Special thanks to Kasia Kowalska for taking many photos for the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival.