The Council consists of a maximum of fifteen Trustees, including a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Hon Treasurer. Six Trustees are elected by virtue of being an NGS Regional Chairman, the others are selected by Council on merit with the aim of fulfilling specific skills requirements.
Trustees are elected for a period of three years, renewable by Council approval for a further three years after which time Trustees must stand down for at least one year. The current Trustees are:
Martin McMillan OBE
Sir Richard Thompson KCVO
Chairman Martin McMillan OBE
Martin McMillan is a Cheshire entrepreneur who lives in Sutton near Macclesfield, Cheshire. He built his own business in Publishing and Advertising sales. He sold the Company in 2005. Martin enjoys shooting and playing golf. He is a long established fund raiser, formerly NSPCC Chairman of the North West Full Stop Appeal, currently Deputy Chairman of Halle Concerts Society. In 2011 he became a trustee of the Cheshire Community Foundation. Martin is married to Pat McMillan, Chair of the Cheshire Ladies Philanthropy Club and Deputy Chairman of Lyme Green Settlement.
Martin and his wife Pat have opened their garden for the NGS since 2003.
Deputy Chairman Heather Skinner
Heather was elected Deputy Chairman in January 2011 and has been County Organiser for Berkshire since 2007.
Heather is a Business graduate from Oxford Brookes University, from where she developed a professional career in Human Resources. Heather worked in the UK, Europe and USA with multi-national companies, notably 3M and Imation, and became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Whilst living in Minnesota she was also a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Heather's interest in gardens stems from her childhood in Hull, where she spent many happy hours helping her father in their garden and allotment. Since losing her mother to cancer, Heather has been an active supporter of healthcare charities and is proud to be the NGS Link Trustee with Help The Hospices.
Hon Treasurer Andrew Ratcliffe
Biography to be added soon.
Miranda is Regional Chairman for the South West. After a career in the city, first in stock broking and then as a systems analyst in the data processing department of a financial institution, Miranda left London for Devon to bring up her family and to acquire a bigger garden. This was first opened for the NGS in 1998, initially as an individual garden and for the last 11 years with another as a group which is regularly the second highest NGS earner in Devon.
Miranda became Assistant County Organiser for Central Devon in 2000 and in 2007 County Organiser with her husband. They now have overall management of 150 gardens and the net garden income for the county has risen by 42% during their time in charge.
From a young age Peter Clay wanted to be a farmer. However, after completing his HND at Harper Adams Agricultural College, it became clear that there was not yet a vacancy on the family farm. So Peter decided to have a go at something else. Advertising looked like a lot of fun, so he joined London agency BMP as a Graduate trainee in 1983. 16 years later, by which time he had progressed to being deputy Managing Director, he was looking for a new challenge and started Crocus in April 2000 with Mark Fane. In 2011 he was invited to become a trustee of the NGS.
Susan trained as a teacher at Liverpool University in the 1960’s and then pursued a career in education for 30 years. In 1997, she chose to take early retirement and re-trained as a garden designer at Writtle Horticultural College, Essex. This became the foundation for her own garden design business which she ran with her husband, Doug, a chartered surveyor.
Susan first opened her garden for the NGS in 1996. In 2007, she was asked to join the Essex NGS county team as an Assistant County Organiser. She became the Essex County Organiser in 2008. Since taking on this role the number of open gardens has increased, trebling the net garden income. In November 2014, Susan was appointed Regional Chairman for the East.
Rosamund is Regional Chairman for Wales. Prior to marriage in 1981, Rosamund was a teacher in Performing Arts and sat on the Dance Panel of the Welsh Arts Council. For a time she was also a property buyer for the BBC.
After marriage Rosamund became fully involved in her family’s organic farming business in the vale of Glamorgan. At the same time, for ten years she taught dance at the local comprehensive school and for another seven years ran a programme of gardening courses from home. Rosamund has opened her garden for the NGS since 2004, when she was invited to become County Organiser for Glamorgan.
Born in Yorkshire, educated at Wycombe Abbey, trained as a nurse at St Thomas’s Hospital prior to settling in Yorkshire after marrying Roger in 1967. I became a county organiser for the NGS in 1987, having been involved with NADFAS for 12 years and Chairman of YORKDFAS. We have lived at the Old Vicarage, Whixley for 45 years, the garden evolving slowly as our boys grew up. As a keen gardener I pursued two years external studies at Askham Bryan and have made many friends through the NGS some of whom were famous Yorkshire horticulturalists during the 1990s. I am creative director for our family textile business, Walton and Co. Our garden featured in the book, Dream Gardens of England.
Born, bred and educated in Colchester, Essex, Colin’s first job was with the Meteorological Office at Stansted Airport. After 6 years Colin redirected his career towards Information Technology. In 1986 he moved with work to Leicestershire, and acquired a large garden that was very much a greenfield site. Over the years Colin and his wife Verena developed this, and in 2002 opened for the NGS. When Colin retired in 2004 he was able to take a more active role in the NGS and in 2008 became County Organiser. In late 2013 Colin was nominated as Trustee for the Midlands region, and this was confirmed in February 2014.
Sue spent 30 years working in magazine publishing, initially on the advertising side and later as Publisher on a range of women’s and lifestyle magazines including Sainsbury’s Magazine and The English Garden. For the past three years Sue has spent her time working for charities in the gardening, education and HIV fields and she has been involved with the NGS since 2000 when she first opened her garden in Clapham.
Having been at Ampleforth and then read Rural Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Patrick joined Knight Frank in 1976. He started in their country department and ended his career running their Global residential business. He comes from a family of keen gardeners as well as being married to one so can only claim to play a supporting role in his garden. He joined the council of the NGS as one of their independent trustees in the spring of 2012.
Sir Richard Thompson KCVO
Sir Richard Thompson was educated at Worcester College, Oxford and St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, and after research work at King’s College Hospital and the Mayo Clinic, was a physician and gastroenterologist at St Thomas’ 1972-2005. He was physician to HM the Queen, and served on the Boards of King Edward’s Fund, the British Heart Foundation and the Institute of Psychiatry.
From 2010 to 2014 he was President of the Royal College of Physicians. He is an honorary fellow of Worcester College and an honorary associate Nightingale. He was a trustee and now is a patron of the social and therapeutic gardening charity Thrive. He lectures on the benefits of gardening and green spaces on health, stressing that the benefits of gardening, trees and green spaces to mental and physical health are now scientifically established, and should be promoted as a useful and inexpensive treatment to individual patients and prevention to the general population.
Rupert Tyler is Head of the London Office of Brewin Dolphin. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Securities Institute. He graduated from Oxford with Honours in Classics and Modern Languages. He is a Trustee of the Jerwood Charitable Trust on whose Finance Committee he sits, and he chairs the Finance and General Purposes Committee at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. He sits on the Investment Advisory Panel of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Rupert is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and an Assistant at Court. He has opened his garden in London for the NGS since 2009.