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Chris Kidd

1969 - Today
President of the Kew Guild 2020-22
Liz Walker and Chris Kidd at the Kew Guild Annual Dinner 2020

Chris had a vision to regenerate the Kew Guild utilising its new abilities within the framework of a CIO whilst retaining the core elements of the organisation. When elected President, and with the help of colleagues amongst the Trustees, the Secretary Sara Arnold, advice from retired presidents and Kew Guild grandees, he built a new Trustee group and wrote a five year plan for the organisation.

Chris was born in Portsmouth in 1969 to a family of horticulturists, and followed his father into an apprenticeship for Portsmouth Parks Department. He joined Kew as part of Kew Diploma course 28 in 1990, and in 1991 received £250 from the Kew Guild to travel to Gothenburg Botanic Garden and further into the Arctic circle to study alpine plants. The generosity of the Kew Guild inspired him to repay the award with service and finance, the former coming immediately as student representative and member of the Kew Guild Awards Committee, later Secretary. When Ian Leese, Supervisor of Studies, passed away prematurely, he offered his services to the Awards Scheme again, and travelled twice yearly from the Isle of Wight to attend meetings. When David Barnes retired as its Chair in 2012, Chris took the role on the proviso that he didn't have to attend main committee meetings: preferring to observe them and report on Awards at the AGM. In 2016 Chris was impressed with proposals to transfer the Kew Guild into a CIO, and made a special journey to the extraordinary Committee meeting in 2018 to vote to close the Old Guild and open the new CIO. As a historical note, and insight into the Kew Guild at that time, without his presence the meeting would not have been quorate. In response to this he decided to dedicate more time and resources, and became elected one of the original Trustees of the new CIO.

Upon retirement as the Kew Guild President, Chris remained at the helm of the Awards Scheme, helping both the scheme and the charitable work of the organisation to grow by a factor. He became the first Kew Guild President in a century to take a second term, then becoming Past President and taking the role of both Membership Secretary and Secretary - briefly - until a far better Secretary returned. He was awarded the George Brown Memorial award in 2020, for which he considered himself far from worthy, doubling efforts thereafter to be a more justified member amongst such company. He continues as a Trustee for a third consecutive term, as Chair of the Awards Scheme (and its acting Secretary) and donor to both the Kew Guild and the Awards Scheme fund.

Chris has been signalling his retirement from Kew Guld business since 2022, and hopes one day to carry the promise through. He lives on the Isle of Wight with his long suffering partner Liz.