It was our Patron HRH The Prince of Wales’s long-held concerns for the future of Britain’s rural areas that led to the idea of raising funds to help them become more sustainable. He challenged the business leaders that comprise his Rural Action Programme at Business in the Community to see what they could do about it. The idea of The Prince’s Countryside Fund grew from this group and it was established as a charity in its own right in 2010.

The Prince's Countryside Fund Trustee Board

Lord Curry of Kirkharle CBE and Chairman of The Prince's Countryside Fund

Lord Curry brings a wealth of knowledge about agricultural issues to the Trustee Board. He has been a board member of the NFU Mutual Insurance Company since 1997 and was Chairman from 2003 until the end of 2011. In 2009 he became Chair of the Leckford Estate Management Committee – the Waitrose Farm. He chaired the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food reporting to Government in January 2002 and was responsible for overseeing the Government’s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food until March 2009. Lord Curry was awarded a CBE for his services to Agriculture in the 1997 New Year’s Honours list, a Knighthood in the Birthday Honours in 2001 and ennobled in 2011.

Rob Collins, Managing Director, Waitrose and Vice Chairman, The Prince's Countryside Fund

Managing Director of Waitrose, the supermarket division of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership. Rob joined the Partnership as a graduate trainee in 1993. He started in the John Lewis Oxford Street store and progressed to a number of roles, including Managing Director of Aberdeen and Cribbs Causeway (Bristol) stores. Rob was John Lewis Director of Selling Support from 2005 until 2007 when he moved to Waitrose as Director, e-Commerce. After three years he was promoted to the Waitrose Management Board as Personnel Director in 2010. Rob was Retail Director in 2012 and became Managing Director in April 2016.

Mark Allen, Chief Executive, Dairy Crest

Mark has been with Dairy Crest for over 24 years. During this time he has progressed from business unit Managing Director to Chief Executive. Formally with Shell UK, he joined Dairy Crest in August 1991. He is a Non-Executive Director of Howden Joinery Group Plc, sits on the Dairy UK Board and is a Director for The GLF Schools Board.

Sara Bennison, Chief Marketing Officer, Nationwide

Sara recently joined Nationwide as Chief Marketing Officer and also sits on the Executive Committee. Prior to Nationwide Sara joined Barclays from BT in 2007 where she was head of marketing and communications. Prior to that she’d spent her time in agencies, spanning senior roles across the likes of JWT and Grey, where she was managing partner. Sara lives and works in London and has four children. She also has a ‘second life’ in a rural community in Wales where she and her husband have spent the last 10 years bringing back to life a farmhouse that had languished uninhabited for 30 years.

Edwin Booth DL, Executive Chairman, EH Booth & Co

Edwin is the Chairman of E H Booth & Co Ltd who are proprietors of Booths in the North of England. Edwin represents the fifth generation of the family that has operated Booths since 1847. He entered the business immediately after school and quickly discovered a hunger for retailing. The purchase of wine became his speciality for many years, enabling Booths to gain national recognition for this important area of the business. Subsequently he developed a successful marketing function prior to becoming Executive Chairman in 1997. Edwin was an HRH The Prince of Wales Business Ambassador for the North West in 2005 and a finalist for the Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year (North).

He has also been awarded the Institute of Directors Director of the Year for Lancashire and the North West and been recognised for his business pursuits by the North West Society of Chartered Accounts and as the Lancastrian of the Year in the Be Inspired Business Awards 2009. In 2010 Edwin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Lancaster University for his services to the region and his industry. Edwin has worked with the Lancashire Universities in the areas of leadership and business change programmes and is presently chairing the Business in the Community (BITC) Advisory Board for the North West. In addition, Edwin is also Chairman (Non-Executive) at Symingtons in Leeds, Chairman of Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, Vice Chairman of the Harris Charity and Patron of Myerscough College.

Elizabeth Buchanan CVO, Consultant and Farmer

Elizabeth was, until December 2009, the Private Secretary to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. In addition to managing Their Royal Highnesses’ public life, she was also responsible for His Royal Highness’s work on the environment, agricultural and his relations with the business community. She worked for Their Royal Highnesses for over ten years.

Prior to that, Elizabeth worked at Bell Pottinger and as a special adviser to two Secretaries of State for Transport. Elizabeth is now a consultant to Waitrose, Chime Communications Group, Dairy Crest and Nyetimber. The remainder of her time is spent managing the family’s organic farm in East Sussex.

Mark Duddridge,‎ Managing Director, Rodda's Creamery Ltd

Mark is a Director of Rodda’s and Chairman of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP. Between 1998 and 2015 Mark was a Director of Samworth Brothers and Managing Director of a number of its operating companies, most notably Ginsters. Mark has worked in the chilled food and biscuit markets since leaving university in 1984.

He joined Samworth Brothers in 1997 and has managed a number of the company's sandwich and pastry businesses. In 1999, Mark took over as Managing Director at Ginsters at a time when the business was facing a very tough trading period. Over the years that followed, he built a very strong and committed team at the company and the Ginsters’ brand sales have grown from £90 million to over £200 million during the past ten years. Ginsters is now a Brand leader across the UK and one of the top 10 chilled brands in the country. Mark hopes that Ginsters success has helped show other local companies that being located in a rural area can be a competitive advantage, rather than a weakness.

Lord Jamie Lindsay, Chairman, UKAS

Jamie Lindsay is currently Chairman of UKAS (the UK’s National Accreditation Body) and BPI Pension Trustees Ltd., Non-Executive Director of Brockwell Energy Ltd., Advisor to 3R Energy, and a member of the House of Lords EU Committee on Financial Affairs.

Jamie’s career has included a number of senior Public, Private and NGO sector appointments.  He is a former Government Minister, at the Scottish Office with responsibilities that included agriculture, forestry, the environment and rural affairs, and has since advised governments of all political hues in roles such as Deputy Chairman of the Better Regulation Commission, Joint Chair of the Risk & Regulation Advisory Council and membership of the Better Regulation Strategy Group.  He has served as a Non-Exec Director at BPI plc, Scottish Resources Group (SRG) Ltd and UA Group plc, and as Chairman of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and SAC Commercial Ltd, Elmwood College, Scottish Quality Salmon and Assured British Meat.

Jamie is currently President of the Chartered Quality Institute and Vice President of the International Tree Foundation, RSPB and the Trading Standards Institute amongst other NGO roles.  He is a former President of the National Trust for Scotland and the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland, and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture & Fisheries, Marks & Spencer plc

Steve became Head of Agriculture & Fisheries Sourcing at M&S in April 2012, and has overall responsibility for agricultural and fisheries supply chain sourcing and supply chain sustainability across the M&S Food business.

He initially joined M&S in September 2008 as Agriculture Manager responsible for ruminant livestock supply chains and has worked extensively with the M&S supply base around the world on the M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ sustainable agricultural production programme.

Prior to joining M&S, Steve was Chief Executive of the Texel Sheep Society and the Business Director of BASCO Data Limited, a collaboration between the UK’s three largest beef & sheep breed societies that managed performance and breed society data. Before that he worked as Lamb Marketing Manager at the ANM Group based at Thainstone in Aberdeenshire. Steve’s family background has its roots firmly in the Scottish fishing industry, where his brother continues the tradition from the Scottish port of Gairloch on the North West coast. He lives with his wife and two children in rural Oxfordshire, where his wife is a partner in the family livestock farm.

Paul Murphy, CEO, Jordans & Ryvita

For the last four years Paul Murphy has been the CEO of the Jordans Ryvita Company. Before that he was responsible for the Twinings business in the UK, North America and Australia. Before his time in Associated British Foods he worked for Bacardi Ltd and Reckitt Benckiser. He began his career in the marketing function. He has lived and worked in both France and the US, and has had both local and international roles. For the past six years, Paul has been a Non-Executive Director on the board of St Georges NHS Trust, in South West London. Paul is married and has four children.

Mark Pendlington DL, Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Anglian Water Group

Mark joined Anglian Water Group from BAA Stansted, where he was a Board member with responsibility for business development, communications, marketing and public affairs. Previously, Mark was Chief Executive of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), a national membership organisation dedicated to the economic health and social well-being of the diverse rural economy.

He was a leading member of the task force of Government and other agencies that worked to help farmers and rural communities recover from the Foot and Mouth outbreak. This included projects on social inclusion, business diversification and economic regeneration. His background also includes senior appointments in the environment, transport and energy sectors.

Mat Roberts, CEO, Shetland Amenity Trust 


Mat Roberts it the Chief Executive of the Shetland Amenity Trust. Previous roles have included Group Sustainability Strategy Director at Interserve PLC and Head of Sustainability at Landmarc Support Services Ltd, where he looked after one of the UKs largest rural estates. Mat was the Superintendent of Epping Forest, helped the Scottish Government establish its first National Park in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and was the Chief Ranger on The Gower AONB.

Mat is a fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and a founding member of the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers. He is also a Trustee of The National Association of AONBs and Cynnal Cymru (Sustain Wales) and an advisor to the Cabinet Office on Social Value.

Mat studied Environmental Studies at the University of Hertfordshire, holds an MBA from The Glasgow Caledonian Business School and Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability leadership where he is now a Senior Associate. He lives in the Shetland Isles with his wife and two daughters

 Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agrifoods for HSBC Bank plc

Allan Wilkinson is the Head of Agrifoods for HSBC Bank plc. He took up the role in 2010 and is only the sixth Head of Agriculture in the 45 years the Team has been in existence. Allan, a dairy farmer’s son, was born and raised in the North East and has been involved with farming throughout his career.

Having obtained a degree in Agriculture from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; he worked as a farm management consultant in Leicestershire for three years before joining HSBC Bank in 1988 as an Agriculture Banking Manager in Shropshire and Herefordshire. He was appointed Senior Agriculture Banking Manager for Cumbria and the North East in 1994 and Divisional Agriculture Manager for Northern Counties, Northern Ireland & Scotland in 1998. From 2003, he has held a number of senior leadership posts in HSBC's retail and commercial network in Northern England, before taking on his current position.

Andrew Wright, Executive Director, The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation

After graduating in Engineering Science from Exeter College, Oxford, Andrew qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen in London where he worked in the small business practice.

On leaving the profession, Andrew held a number of senior financial roles at leading investment and universal banks including Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers and most recently UBS, where he was CFO of the Global Investment Bank based in London.

Andrew is now the Treasurer to Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.   He is Executive Director of The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation.

 Our Impact

The Prince's Countryside Fund Impact Report 2016-17