I can’t believe I have been a trustee for nearly 30 years here and during that long time I have seen the charity go from strength to strength from an idea to a well established and respected organisation. Surely it must be time for me to retire but I really want to make sure that I do my utmost to make sure it is in the best possible shape for many years to come. So with this in mind I am hoping to work with the brilliant team in a major refurbishment of the museum, huge improvements to the library and getting the whole charity on a secure financial basis in the next 2-3 years. That’s the tricky bit, as we don’t get any statutory funding and financial sustainability is a constant worry. We have just taken on new fundraisers to help with the task and are putting together our Masterplan for the future of the centre.

 

We are looking for new trustees to join our board to help use their skills to advise on a wide range of things, like finance, HR, retail, museum collections, fundraising and education so if you might be interested please get in touch. The trustee board is really friendly and its great to volunteer for such a special cause.

 

I just love the New Forest so much, having been brought up here all my life and take a huge interest in its people, history and environment. I’m passionate about protecting it and sharing its story and special qualities with everyone. I have two ponies on the Forest and have had four cattle, which I shared with my mother. I love to go out looking for them and making sure they are safe and well. We regularly go walking in the Forest, take little picnics and sit in the glades, hoping to watch the deer. One thing I like is the smells of the New Forest, in particular the Bog Myrtle which is so aromatic in the warm summer evenings. Or the smell of damp leaves and rotten wood in the winter months. We are just so lucky to live here, I often think that I never have to go on holiday anywhere else as there is so much fun right on our doorstep. I like to explore new areas every year as the New Forest is so big, I can’t possibly know it all.

 

Its medieval origins fascinate me and I find it easy to time travel back in my imagination to the Royal hunting scenes of the 13th century. Beaulieu Abbey was founded in 1204, some 125 years after the creation of the New Forest when the land it was built on was just scrub, trees and a beautiful river. No wonder the monks chose to come there, it was Beaulieu, a beautiful place and had all they needed for a remote religious order to thrive. They cultivated the land, reared sheep for wool and lived simple spiritual and healthy lives. We too can continue to learn from their example, healthy minds and bodies through the inspiration and enjoyment of our special new Forest natural environment. Take a walk in the Forest, breathe deeply, be still and listen to the world around you. It is the best cure for a stressful and hectic life and it costs nothing. What a special place this is, how lucky we all are to live amongst it.