Meet Our Board
Brogdale Collections work as a charity to help the public access the National Fruit Collection by working to provide guided orchard tours, special education days aimed at Key stage 1 & 2 school groups, our new educational weather station and special event days.
We want to share the knowledge, value and work of the National Fruit Collection and its research by DEFRA with the public both young and old so that we will have a sustainable fruit filled future for everyone. We are now seeking to strengthen our Trustee board in particular for people with an interest in finance, commercial activity fundraising and education.
Ben and his family moved to Faversham from South East London in 2018. With family in the Canterbury area they were drawn to Faversham partly because of Brogdale Farm, where they had been regular visitors for some years to the orchards and the fruit related events laid on by Brogdale Collections.
Ben qualified as a solicitor in 1997. He has enjoyed a varied career as a company commercial solicitor both in private practice and in-house; most recently with a ten year stint as a commercial contracts lawyer advising the Department for Business. The Department for Business is one of the largest grant giving departments in Whitehall (with partner organisations such as the Research Councils and the UK Space Agency). Through this work Ben has gained a good understanding of the challenges involved in grant funding (both from the point of view of the grant giver and the grant recipient).
As well as being an avid consumer of almost all fruit (but particularly apples), Ben has tried his hand at growing trained fruit trees on a small plot in South East London. To assist in this enterprise he attended summer and winter pruning courses at Brogdale.
Ben is very enthusiastic about the charity’s mission to educate future generations about the country’s unique fruit growing heritage. By joining the trustees he hopes to be able to offer practical commercial experience, with a particular emphasis on raising grant funding to further the charity’s aims.
Tom La Dell
Tom is a landscape architect and ecologist with over forty year’s experience as a consultant in his own practice and in the public sector. My degree was in Botany (now Plant Sciences) and I studied landscape architecture after that to discover how to design places and habitats which are great for both people and wildlife. This took me away from my original interest in breeding crop plants but this then eventually drew me to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale some thirty years ago.
I prepared proposals in the 1990s for a series of gardens to tell the story of fruit history and fruit diversity with the pomologist and fruit historian Joan Morgan and these were published in The Garden in 1994.
I started what became Brogdale Collections with my wife to ensure continued public access to the National Fruit Collection at a time of crisis for the long term future of the NFC and public access to it. The public involvement included the education programme to tell the stories around the NFC. These include fruit and food for the future, the importance of genetic diversity in a world of environmental change (the NFC is a genetic resource for breeding future food varieties), the origins of crop plants, the importance of fruit in our diet and health and just the joys of eating fruit. We are working to bring this to reality with our education programmes and gardens.
Rowena was brought up in Sussex and then studied teacher training for Secondary Schools in Dress and Design at Colchester Institute of Further Education, St Osyth’s College.
Her first teaching post was in Romford where she also qualified as a food Teacher. She moved on to become an Advisory Teacher for Barking and Dagenham working across all school ages to help instigate the new Technology National Curriculum that was introduced. From here Rowena went on to become a faculty leader at the Abbey School in Faversham and moved into the town with her husband. There she had their two children.
After 10 years Rowena moved to become Head of The Vocational Faculty at Dover Christ Church Academy.
Now she is retired and living in Whitstable and enjoys, travelling, playing badminton, aqua aerobics, walking, gardening, entertaining, baking, theatre and concerts. She still works hosting foreign students attending schools in Canterbury for A level courses and being the area representative for a small company.
David Josephs has a wealth of experience supporting a number of important charities and also a passion for food and drink. He is a big fan of Brogdale Collection’s heritage fruit which he has sourced for his London food retail business. He is also involved in a fledgling food trade apprenticeship scheme.
As a highly successful business person, a supporter of educational initiatives, and with his passion for and extensive knowledge of the food and drink industry, he will be an enormous asset to Brogdale Collections.
Michael is a Partner and Solicitor with Gill Turner Tucker and has specialised in all forms of civil litigation and all aspects of employment law, claims and disputes.
Michael grew up in Middlesbrough. He graduated from Leeds Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law and also completed his Legal Practice Course there.
Michael qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 after training with a London firm. He worked in London for a while before joining Gill Turner Tucker in 1987 and becoming a Partner in the Firm in 1989.
In his spare time, Michael enjoys country walks and real ale (usually combined), reading, films and football (which is not easy being a “Boro” fan).
Chris Lane lives near Sittingbourne in Kent where he runs Witch Hazel Nursery, growing small numbers of woody plants, mostly produced by grafting. There are five National Plant Collections, maintained on the nursery: Hamamelis, Wisteria, Flowering Cherries, Amelanchiers and Parrotia.
Chris has worked in professional horticulture all his life, in nurseries as a propagator and at management level. He taught nursery sock production at Hadlow College in Kent, firstly as an instructor and then as a lecturer.
Chris served at committee level for the Great Britain and Ireland region of the International Plant Propagators Society, becoming President in 1992.