Great Dixter has 12 Trustees who meet every quarter and manage the governance of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust. Each Trustee brings a unique set of skills and some serve on additional committees within the Trust including finance, education, house and curatorial, health safety, and environment and development. Staff report to the trustees at the meetings.

Geoffrey Dyer, Chair (appointed 2007)

Geoffrey Dyer is a well-respected private client tax lawyer based in Toronto with over 45 years of extensive domestic and international experience. For much of the past 30 years, he has also undertaken extensive community work. He led a heritage conservation project for the South Rosedale area of Toronto and over 10 years served on the Board of Toronto Botanical Garden, including almost 6 years as its Chair. In the course of his law practice, he was instrumental in establishing the True Patriot Love Foundation for the support of Canadian Military Families.

Geoffrey met Christopher Lloyd and Fergus in the spring of 2001 and worked with them and a number of others in establishing the Great Dixter Charitable Trust. He has been on the Board of the Trust for many years and serves as its Chair. 

Geoffrey is a recipient of a City of Toronto award for his contribution to parks and public spaces. In 2013 Geoffrey was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his community efforts.

John French, Finance Director (appointed March 2003)

John has worked as a Chartered Accountant for over 30 years and is based in St Leonards-on-Sea with over 30 years of experience offering a full range of services that are tailored to professional partnerships, businesses, and private individuals, specialising in property vendors and developers, and charitable, not-for-profit and community organisations.  John was Christopher Lloyd’s accountant and continues to be closely involved in the finances for the Trust.

John chairs the Finance Committee at Great Dixter.

Charles Hind, Chair of House Committee  (appointed March 2003)

Charles Hind is a Life Trustee and as Chairman of the House Committee has a particular responsibility for the buildings on the Great Dixter estate and their contents.  Professionally he is an architectural historian and since 1996 he has worked at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), where he is Chief Curator and H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings.  The RIBA holds the Edwin Lutyens’ archive of drawings, letters and models.  He attributes the development of his interest in architectural history to Nathaniel Lloyd’s History of the English House and he has been involved at Dixter since the mid-1980s, writing a new guidebook in 1995.

John Massey VMH MBE (appointed December 2012)

John is the owner of Ashwood Nurseries in South Staffordshire.  He is a Chelsea Gold medallist, plant breeder, plant collector and, above all, a passionate gardener. He is also one of the UK’s leading experts on Hepatica, travelling to Kyrgyzistan, China, Japan, Korea, USA and Europe to see them in the wild.

Under his guidance, Ashwood has become world-renowned for its specialist crops including hellebores, hepaticas, cyclamen, snowdrops, lewisias, salvias and hydrangeas. A well-known exhibitor at RHS shows, John is the proud recipient of numerous awards from the Royal Horticultural Society including 53 Gold Medals, the Veitch Medal and, the highest honour of all, the Victoria Medal of Honour. He is also a long -serving member of The RHS Woody Plant Committee.

His greatest passion now is his private garden ‘John’s Garden’, recently featured in Channel 5’s TV series ‘Great British Gardens Season by Season’, which he opens annually to the public for charity on selected dates. 

Thomas C. Cooper (appointed January 2009)

Tom is an editor and writer based in Watertown, Massachusetts. He has held senior editorial positions at Boston College MagazineThe Gardener, Country Journal and was the editor of Horticulture magazine for 22 years. Tom served as the general editor of a collection of 11 gardening books published in association with Macmillan Publishing and as editorial consultant to Lyons Press for another series of books called Garden Classics. He is the author of Odd Lots, a collection of his essays about life in his city garden and has also contributed to a number of gardening books including The Gardener’s AlmanacRoses, and My Favorite Plant. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, House Beautiful, The New York Times, and Hortus.

Tom met Christopher Lloyd while editing the Horticulture magazine and went on to commission many pieces from him; he was also instrumental in promoting the first Symposia at Dixter to American gardeners. 

Henrietta Norman (appointed July 2013)

Following an initial career working in politics and as a television producer Henrietta re-trained as a gardener and Landscape Architect and founded Tulip Landscapes, a London based design and garden maintenance company which she now runs with her husband Jason.

She fell in love with Dixter on a midsummer’s evening in 2006 and has remained involved ever since, initially volunteering in the garden and then joining the Development Committee and then the Board. Henrietta is also a member of the Futures Group at Great Dixter.

Olivia Eller (appointed November 2014)

Olivia is an art historian based in Strasbourg and has worked for French Heritage in Alsace as well as in museums. 

She worked as a textile technician for 3 years at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at the Centre for Restoration in Virginia. On returning to France, she was employed for many years at the Museum of the History of Strasbourg working on the conservation and inventory of a big textile collection, military and civil-wear, as well as becoming curator’s assistant. 

Now retired she continues to research French 18th-century costumes, and other costumes such as the Dirndls which her Grandmother (Daisy Lloyd) enjoyed wearing. Olivia sits on the House Committee and as well as providing professional input to that group she provides valuable insight into the Lloyd family history.

Gyr King (appointed November 2014)

Following a degree in Fine Art and History of Art at Sussex University Gyr spent two years as a potter before teaching Sculpture and History of Art for several years. He co-founded King & McGaw in 1982, a business specialising in publishing artist’s works, artefacts, and objects to the museum and heritage sectors, both in the UK, Europe and the Americas.  The company provides specialist consultation and products to many of the world’s most prestigious galleries and heritage venues.

Gyr says “As a native and resident of East Sussex, Great Dixter has always been a ‘world class’ but ‘local’ venue that I loved to visit, so some years ago when asked to join the Board of Trustees I was honoured if overwhelmed. A novice but enthusiastic gardener, with a passion for the environment, art and heritage conservation, growing and cooking food and creating heritage products… it ticks lots of boxes for me and arriving at Dixter is always the greatest pleasure and thrill”.

Gyr also chairs the Futures Group which aims to promote fundraising at Dixter.

John Wotton (appointed February 2019)

John is Chair of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Kent Branch and owns a garden which opens for the National Gardens Scheme: Goddards Green, Cranbrook, Kent.  John was formerly a Partner in the international law firm Allen & Overy LLP; President of the Law Society of England and Wales, and Master of the City of London Solicitors’ Company. John was a Council Member of Fauna & Flora International and  also a Governor of Latymer Upper School. Currently he sits on Cranbrook Conservation Areas Advisory Committee and is Chair of CPRE Kent’s Historic Buildings Committee.  John has been visiting Great Dixter for many years, drawn there by close friendships with former trustees and staff.

Pascal Garbe (appointed July 2019)

After studying landscaping and related subjects, Pascal took a course in garden architecture in Belgium. He then worked for several consultancies both in France and abroad. An acclaimed garden designer in France, Pascal is also considered one of the best Garden Tourism experts in the world and was awarded the “International Garden Tourism Person of the Year” in 2011.

His love of gardens and small spaces later led him to work with many gardening experts. One particular collaboration was when he spent over a year working alongside Princess Greta Sturdza.

Pascal Garbe is also on the panel of judges for the International Garden Festival in Chaumont sur Loire, the Singapore Garden Festival, and the Johannesburg International Flower Show. He regularly contributes to gardening magazines both in France and abroad and is the author of around twenty books on gardens and plants.

Judy Cligman (appointed October 2022)

Judy is a former director at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), where she was responsible for overseeing an extensive portfolio of heritage projects across the UK. She graduated in History and History of Art from University College London, has an MA from Courtauld Institute of Art, and a PgDip in the conservation of historic gardens and landscapes.

With previous positions at English Heritage and Essex County Council, she has over thirty years experience of in heritage conservation and funding. Her involvement with HLF projects, including Great Dixter, inspired a great love of historic gardens and an appreciation of their significance for biodiversity. Judy is a keen gardener, living in East Sussex and a Trustee of the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill. Judy is a member of the Finance and Management Committee and the House Committee.

Jonathon Ringer (appointed March 2023)

Jonathon is a Senior Partner of Bain & Company, the international management consulting firm where he has worked for 25 years.

He advises retailers and consumer facing businesses in the UK and overseas supporting them on topics such as growth strategy and performance improvement.  He has served on Bain’s Board of Directors, Compensation Committee, and Nominating Committee.

Jonathon lives in East Sussex with his wife and three children.  He has a keen interest in heritage and conservation – his wife is the gardener in the family!  Jonathon is a member of the Finance and Management Committee     

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