Meet the Team
The Middle Marches Community Land Trust elected its first official Board at its AGM in January 2021.
Sara Braune – Board member
I am a Rural Surveyor with over 30 years experience, mainly working with the conservation charities the RSPB and the National Trust. I am currently employed by the RSPB as Senior Rural Surveyor in North Wales, mainly based at Vyrnwy where we have an over 4,000 ha upland in-hand farm though I also cover the various reserves and interests stretching up to South Stack on Anglesey.
Jonathan Brown – Board member
Janet Cobb – Board member
I’m currently the Parish Clerk in Edgton village and on the board of Restoring Shropshire’s Verges (RSVP) Board and interested to combine this with MMCLT board activities in order to extend the rewilding of South Shropshire using my experience of being a RSVP pilot site in Edgton Village.
My background is in Health/disability work and running national networks and event organisation.
In particular, I’d like to contribute to:
- Supporting Shropshire Council to move to a more conservative and restorative management of Verges, Ditches and Hedges.
- Assisting with the capture all the initiatives on Climate Action being developed all over Shropshire.
- Helping MMCLT harness all the latent expertise and volunteer time available across South Shropshire.
- Help to explore the use of bio-digesters across South Shropshire.
- Initiating a South Shropshire schools programme on rewilding, restoration and meadow making.
- Help to identify potential partner organisations, businesses and donors.
- Help with public speaking events and media briefings.
Anne-Helen Harding – Board member
After 17 years working at the Health and Safety Executive’s Science and Research Centre in Buxton, I retired from my role as Principal Epidemiologist. I was the principal investigator for HSE’s three national cohort studies. While in Buxton, I also volunteered as an expert member of an NHS Research Ethics Committee. Before this I had a variety of research roles, including seven years at Cambridge as an epidemiologist, and four years working as the biometrician on an agricultural research centre in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. Although my career did not involve ecology or conservation, with a first degree in Environmental Sciences, I have had a lifelong interest in these issues, and for years I have been a member of many national nature and wildlife conservation organisations.
I spent the first half of my life based overseas, mainly in the Far East and Melanesia, but also in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. This is probably why I enjoy travelling and seeing new places, but I particularly like travelling by train. I’ve been lucky enough to have been on a number of the world’s longest train journeys, more often than not with two young children in tow. I love walking and I’m learning lots about gardening as we try to restore variety to our previously neglected, bramble-infested garden in Church Stretton.
Nigel Jackson – Board member
Nigel has many years IT experience, mostly with merchant banks Schroders and Flemings including in investment management software development, project management, systems architect, business continuity / disaster recovery planning, change management and business process re-engineering also garden design and account management with landscaping companies.
Nigel is also interested in fine art and has submitted successful applications for arts council grants, he is also a director and occasional company secretary for flat management association limited company, Including liaising with accountant on preparation of annual accounts.
He has 20 years’ experience regenerating a small unimproved upland meadow outside Ludlow with wide range of species including 3 species of orchid
His interests include plants gardens and landscapes especially meadows, art, music & literature of many eras & genres, walking and history of many periods
Richard Keymer – Board member (Chair)
Previously in the east, I was involved in founding another independent body, the Langdyke Countryside Trust which celebrated its 20th birthday in 2019 and has six nature reserves extending to nearly 200 acres near Peterborough. Their efforts are centred on Helpston, which also happens to be the birthplace of the poet John Clare who is now seen as a leading poet of the natural world. I believe that the arts can play a key role in getting the environmental message across to the wider community.
I have a background in farming and for twenty years or so I kept a small herd of Dexter cattle and latterly Wiltshire Horn sheep as well, in part because extensive grazing is an important component of managing many wildlife habitats.
In my view, an independent CLT can play a key role in bringing people and organisations together to facilitate change and to be able to act quickly to safeguard important wildlife sites, unhindered by bureaucracy. It is also a great way to give local communities more of a say over the future of the environment in which they live.
Rob Rowe – Board member
I have lived and worked in Shropshire for 42 years. Most of that time I have been involved in wildlife conservation in some way or other. I worked for Shropshire Wildlife Trust for two years and since then I have been self-employed. I am currently involved with several local wildlife groups.
My main love is native plants, the preservation of their habitats and sharing that passion with others.
I think my main attribute as well as local ecological knowledge is the network of contacts that I have built up over the decades both among the conservation and farming communities.
Richard Small – Board member
I have lived at Hill Cottage, The Bog since 2011. In 2012 I retired from lecturing at Liverpool John Moores University where I had been leader of the Wildlife Conservation degree course; my academic interests encompassed ecology and its application to conservation of habitats and species. I have advised on management plans for conservation sites e.g. Mere Sands Wood, a Lancashire Wildlife Trust nature reserve, and I am familiar with writing conservation management plans. I specialised in conservation grazing – the use of grazing animals for management of habitats for conservation.
In part that interest derived from keeping a flock of Hebridean sheep, a breed widely used for conservation grazing. Sheep-keeping also led to my involvement with the Rare Breed Survival Trust, a national charity. I was an RBST Trustee and Boardmember from 1999 to 2019 (re-elected three times) and chaired its Scientific Development Committee and later its Conservation Committee.
At Hill Cottage we manage 10ha (25 acres) of hay meadow and hill grassland for both our flock and for its wildlife interest. As a smallholder I am familiar with the intricacies of claiming support payments, including agri-environment schemes, and hence with dealing with the Rural Payments Agency, albeit on a small scale.
Our hay meadows encouraged us to join Marches Meadow Group at its foundation in 2015, since then I have been MMG’s secretary. In that role I have prepared successful grant applications e.g. to the Shropshire Hills AONB Conservation Fund and helped deliver externally funded projects. I am also an active member of Upper Onny Wildlife Group.
In summary, I bring an academic and practical knowledge of habitat conservation, Trustee and Board member experience, familiarity with RPA and an involvement with other local community groups.
Rosie Wood – Board member (Vice Chair)
I was born in Staffordshire but grew up in Southern India before returning to the UK for primary school.
I have worked in conservation and for wildlife for most of the last 40 years including voluntary, private, academic and public sectors.
Ranging from BTCV and Friends of the Earth in the late 1970s and what was then a radical shift to involving people in their local environments at the start of the 1980s (with the predictable complaints from the then old guard of conservation) to the new old guard of the statutory sector in more recent years.
Living in south Shropshire since the mid 80’s, I have held leadership roles in strategy, policy, governance, delivery and organisation. I worked at Natural England in national roles, including Policy Principal, Head of Functions, and with Defra in policy and later in casework resolution. Newly retired, I am now volunteering for a couple of local and national charities, including MMCLT.
Mike Watkins – Admin support
I was a project manager for 30+ years, most of them with the Foreign Office, where I was a Principal Project Manager, before joining Hewlett-Packard and, finally, finishing my career as a self-employed consultant.
I have lived in South Shropshire for 20 years and, as well as Middle Marches CLT, am involved with many groups, including BC Sustainability (the group that drafted the BC Climate Action Plan), Marches Community Benefit Society, Lightfoot and others.
Get in touch
Enterprise House, Station Street, Bishops Castle, SY9 5AQ
01743 891492 (Dr Richard Keymer)