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Bringing woodlands to life



John Blessington

John Blessington (Chair)

First elected 2005, re-elected 2008. From Shropshire Woodland Officer with Shropshire County Council, now Arboricultural Officer with the unitary Shropshire Council. Former Board member of the Heartwoods subsidiary company. Member of Personnel sub committee.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams (Finance Director)

First elected 2005, due for re-election 2014. From Wiltshire. Richard Williams has been SWA Finance Director for three years. He is the Credit Manager of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions Limited and has used his experience in finance risk assessment to improve the way in which we report our finances and to contribute some corporate thinking on matters such as legal documents and tenders. Richard lives in Swindon with his wife and family and is a member of the RSPB and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, with whom he has enjoyed doing some coppicing. In 2007 Richard was nominated for the Charity Times Finance Director of the Year Award.

Fiona Tooth

Fiona Tooth (Company Secretary)

First elected 2008. From Sussex. Fiona describes herself as a semi-retired furniture maker and grandmother. She lives in East Sussex and owns woodland there. Since buying the woodland she has gained a foundation degree in Forestry and Woodland Management, enabling her to make soundly based management decisions in her own woodland, and to help others with their woodland. She has experience of running small businesses and is very keen to see the UK’s diverse woodland sustainably managed to provide optimum social, economic and ecological benefits.

Gary Battell  Due for re-election 2014. From Suffolk (Vice Chair)

Gary Battell is the Woodland Advisor for Suffolk County Council. He is also resident conservation advisor at Staverton Park, and manages the National Ancient Tree Nursery.   He has worked in forestry woodland and park management for 30 years, including posts with the National trust and the Forestry Commission. Gary is a director and trustee of the Small Woods Association, The Ancient Tree Forum, the Green Light Trust and Heartwoods.

Graeme McVittie (former chair)  First elected 1988 (due for re-election in 2014). From Devon.

Graeme is a Chartered Forester and Woodlands officer for Exmoor National Park Authority and has worked in Forestry Arboriculture and Countryside Management since 1977. After travelling and working abroad he has been involved with urban and community forest projects and has managed an EU funded woodland project on Exmoor. He has had extensive involvement with owners of all types of woodland, and has provided help, support and advice on topics such as access management to timber marketing. Graeme has served on the Board since 1998, and has supported several sub-groups of SWA, including Personnel sub-committee and Editorial sub-committee.

Phil Burton re-elected 2010. From Herefordshire

Works with the Herefordshire Nature Trust and makes a vital link with the Wildlife Trusts nationally.

 Rod Pomery (First Elected 2010). From Worcestershire

Formerly worked with the National Trust at Dudmaston as Woodland Officer, now dedicates his time to teaching and supporting woodland related organisations. Makes a vital link with the National Trust.

Cathy Howe Browne (Essex)

Woodland owner





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