Kew Guild

Ireland 2022

Monday 30th May to Saturday 4th June 2022

Led by Dave Simpson Logistics: Brian Phillips

Back in the normal days of 2019 we put together a detailed itinerary for a visit to the west coast of Ireland, based in Galway, for 4 full days (5 nights) in June 2020.

Naturally this all got cancelled.

Being ever optimists we rebooked the hotel for the same period in 2021. Well that of course also got cancelled.

So here we are again. We have rebooked the hotel and they have held the prices that were agreed back in 2019. I have contacted the proprietor of the coach company and was very relieved to find that they are still in business.

The excursions being planned are the basically the same: to the Burren, Connemara and the Aran Islands. We are now also fortunate to have an expert geologist with us to help explain all the exceptional formations of the areas we will be visiting.

Last time we arranged for the package to start from Shannon Airport with members making their own plans to fly into Shannon. With members coming from various parts of the UK, Shannon proved less than ideal with many logistical issues. We are, therefore, going to start the package this time from Dublin Airport. Dublin has many more flights (even now) from more parts of the UK and the prices are more competitive

The package will include:

  • Luxury coach to and from Dublin Airport
  • 5 nights Bed and Breakfast at Jurys Inn Hotel
    • Situated in Galway town centre
    • Garden on banks of River Corrib
    • Walking distance to many cafes and restaurants
  • 3 Coach excursions to gardens and areas of botanic / geological and scenic interest
    • Burren area
    • Connemara area
  • Boat excursion, this time direct from Galway Harbour, to the largest of the Aran Islands (Inis Mór) with its unique flora / geology and many walks – long and short. The return will be via the Cliff of Moher back to Galway Harbour.
  • Guides
  • Tips to coach drivers
  • Dinner on last evening
  • Entrance fees to gardens

The arrangements would be as follows:

  • Own travel to Dublin Airport
  • Programme as set out above
  • Own travel from Dublin Airport

For those wanting to stay longer:

  • All the major car hire companies are located at Dublin Airport. A hire car could be picked up on Saturday after returning to the airport by coach.

Assistance can be provided with recommending flights and options.

Budget price: £650 / person (2 sharing) (subject to exchange rate variation)

In the next few weeks I will be contacting the various organisations in Ireland to get firm prices for 2022.(the hotel price is fixed with no change from 2020). Unfortunately, the hotel has a significant single persons supplement. The size of that will depend on the ratio of double to single rooms (double rooms can be double or twin beds). I hope we can keep the supplement to a manageable number.

As before there will be an initial deposit due before Christmas, another payment around February and the final instalment in first week of April. You can cancel anytime up until the middle of March.

We have given first refusal to those who were booked for 2020. Three couples feel they cannot now make it, so we have moved up the first three reserves.

Brian Phillips:

We want to restrict the numbers to about 40, but there is no hard and fast number. However, we need to have at least a minimum of 30.

The Kew Guild Medal

David F. CutlerDavid F. Cutler

It is hard to believe it is 15 years since I first suggested to the Kew Guild Committee that we should consider having a medal struck to recognise people of outstanding merit in topics close to the interests of the Guild. The Committee set up a small working group to develop the idea. On the basis of their report it was agreed to go ahead because the initiative was seen to ‘raise the profile of the Guild, to recognise personal achievements and spend the money of the Guild in a wise and constructive manner.’

The initial criteria devised by the working group have been revised since they were first set out, and the most recent revision, in 2018, states them as follows:

“The Medal is awarded for outstanding merit in the furtherance of one or more fields of interest of members of the Kew Guild. For example: Scientific or amenity horticulture, Plant systematic research, Plant or habitat conservation and Horticultural Education. Other relevant fields of interest can be considered. The recipient need not be a member of the Guild.”

It was agreed that the Medal should be presented at the Annual Dinner or the Annual General Meeting unless the recipient or their representative is unable to attend, when other arrangements can be made. It was also agreed that normally the Medal should be awarded every two or three years, and exceptionally on consecutive years. However, as you can read below, there was no shortage of suitable candidates and after 2014 a medal has been awarded in each of the following years. Kewite Anthony Ross was invited to design the medal, and although somewhat taken aback by the request, consulted a medal die and engraving specialist company in Twickenham about practical matters and put his considerable skills to producing the exquisite medal. A first batch of ten was struck. The medal is silver gilt, weighs 50g, is 50mm in diameter and 2.5mm thick. The 2006 Journal cover showed the Medal, together with a short article by Anthony Ross on page 78 of same.

Initially the nominations for the medal were made by a Medal Awards Sub-Committee. This consisted of the President of the Guild with John Simmons, John Edmundson, Prof. Gren Lucas, Dr. Thomas S. Elias, David Hardman and David Cutler (Secretary). This functioned very effectively, but in due course the members of the Kew Guild Committee decided that they should take full responsibility for receiving and deciding on the nominations and the Sub-Committee members were thanked for their work and the Sub-Committee was disbanded. I continued to be responsible for seeing the process through the Guild Committee until I retired from this role in 2019.

Nominations are most welcome from all members of the Guild and should be sent to the Kew Guild President. It is very important that when making nominations you shouldn’t tell the nominees! Medalists up to the time of writing are as follows:

2007 Roy Lancaster, 2009 Raymond Desmond, 2010 Alan Barber, 2012 Noel McGough, 2014 Sir David Attenborough, 2015 Christopher Brickell, 2016 Alan Titchmarsh, 2017 Christopher Beardshaw, 2018 Martin Duncan, 2019 Laurie Olin.

I would like to add my thanks to Richard Ward for his help in gathering data for the article.

Peter Styles – We have recently received ten new medals. We used a mint through our Welshpool printers so thereby keeping things in house so to speak and making it easier for ordering.

Spec is: Design and Development – 50mm Obverse @ £940.00, 50mm Reverse @ £780.00, 10 off H M Silver, 2.5mm thick Collar Medal, gilt finish, in a standard presentation case 50mm @ £196.00 each. These were provided by Toye Kenning and Spencer Ltd, London. They are by Royal Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen and the medals were cast in their factory in the  Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.


2008 – Roy Lancaster

Guild President Rebecca Bower presented the first ever Kew Guild Medal to renowned plantsman Roy Lancaster at the Kew Guild buffet dinner at the Coach & Horses Hotel, Kew Green on 19th May. See 2008 Journal p 298.

2009 – Ray Desmond

Awarded ‘in absentia’ at the annual dinner on 23rd May. ‘Ray has been driven to work tirelessly for the benefit of Kew and the Guild. During his tenure on the staff he helped place the Kew Library on a more secure foundation. He also established the Kew archives as we know them today. All his many publications are reference works of great value, and have been central to increasing interest of how Kew has developed over its 250 year history. His latest, the second edition of the history of Kew, is an especially valuable contribution of increasing public understanding of the mission of Kew.’ Together with Nigel Hepper Ray co-authored a celebration of the Kew Guild in their book ‘A Century of Kew Plantsmen’ published in 1993.’ See 2009 Journal pp 398/9.

Photograph © RBG Kew, originally published in ‘Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens’, by Ray Desmond.

2010 – Alan Barber

Awarded at the annual dinner on 22nd May. ‘Simon said he was always proud of his achievements while he studied at Kew Gardens in the 1960s and achieving the Kew Certificate and was always mindful of his distinctive service as Secretary of the Mutual Improvement Society. Alan has devoted his working life to the improvement of Parks and Open Spaces and campaigning for their improvement and development. Alan’s career spans over 50 years and served in many positions and is well known as a commissioner for architecture and the built environment. He is the author of numerous publications and articles and is much sought after for advice on management of urban parks and green spaces and has been consulted on management of green spaces of cities in the United Kingdom and overseas and is a worthy recipient of The Kew Guild Medal.’ See 2010 Journal p 500.

2012 – Noel McGough

Noel joined Kew in 1988. Apart from the line management of the Conventions and Policy Section and of the UK Overseas Territories and Conservation Training teams, Noel’s role at Kew involves advising the UK government on the application of international biodiversity related conventions to plants. This role also includes conservation governance and negotiation, packaging scientific advice for government policy makers, inter-governmental decision-makers and for international negotiations. Noel is often found leading for the United Kingdom and European Union Presidency in international negotiations.

His day to day job involves managing Kew’s role as UK Scientific Authority for Plants under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and supporting the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity at Kew and in partner countries, the investigation of trade in wild plants and the assessment of possible detrimental trade and the effective application of the CITES Non-Detriment Finding process.

Noel is often working with partner countries to identify methods to correct detrimental trade, in particular through the CITES Significant Trade process and the CITES Plants Committee. This can include developing tools and building capacity to help countries fulfil their obligations under international conventions and building global partnerships through the mechanisms of international biodiversity related conventions.

Noel is a member of the CITES Plants Committee, Chair of CITES Plants Committee Significant Trade Working Group, and Co-Chair of the CITES Advisory Panel for the Evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade. In addition, he is a member of the European Union CITES Scientific Review Group, a member of the CITES Standing Committee Working Group on the use of Taxonomic Serial Numbers, a member of the Defra Advisory Panel for the Methodology for Assessment of Priorities for International Species Conservation and a member of the UK CITES Officers Group. A further significant role is as a UK Government delegate for CITES meetings of the Conference of the Parties, CITES technical committees, European Union meetings and in negotiations.

Projects Noel is involved with include CITES checklists, listed timbers, trade research, Climate Change Science Policy, Plant Diversity Challenge: The Official UK Response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and Significant Trade in CITES Plants.

Noel has not only been instrumental in building capacity and expertise in the Conventions and Policy section but is recognised by Defra and other international bodies as a key player in the arenas of CITES and latterly of the CBD. He has made a significant contribution to help Kew maintain and enhance its collections legally, to train numerous staff and relevant external people in most aspects of CITES implementation and has been an effective ambassador for Kew.

Biography originally contributed by D. Hepper. Also see 2012 Journal p 168.

2014 – Sir David Attenborough

‘The President then introduced Sir David Attenborough to whom he then presented the Kew Guild Medal. In accepting the Medal, Sir David expressed how much Kew meant to him and how his attachment to Kew, cemented as a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens for 10 years, began at a much earlier time when he was married in St Anne’s church on Kew Green where the Hookers are buried. His wife’s family are from the area and as a resident he became a frequent visitor to the Gardens in the days when they charged just 1d.’

As published in 2014 Journal pp 420/21.

2015 – Chris Brickell

At the 2015 Annual Dinner the Kew Guild recognised Christopher Brickell for his outstanding contribution to international horticulture and botanical science, awarding him the Kew Guild Medal. Through his initiatives and involvement in garden management, plant conservation, taxonomy and publications he has provided knowledge, interest and encouragement to a large audience, both professional and amateur to fully appreciate all types of plants and their care.

See further details in 2015 Journal pp 581/582.

2016 – Alan Titchmarsh

35 Kewites assembled on 15th June for a lunch at the Coach and Horses Hotel, Kew Green. The event was arranged by the Kew Guild to mark its award of a Kew Guild Medal to Alan Titchmarsh for distinguished work as a horticulturalist. In welcoming Alison and Alan, Guild President Tony Overland mentioned Alan’s career and particularly his work as President of Plant Heritage, Perennial, and a Trustee of Gardens for Schools, and President or patron of approximately 35 charities and organisations.

Alan, in turn, thanked the Guild for the honour and expressed his pleasure in returning to Kew and meeting up with old friends. He recalled his digs on the Mortlake Road in Kew, and five happy years beside Kew Green; how he had met his wife through Barnes Operatic Society, how he valued the Kew Diploma and the fact that he is in touch with plants every day – he will always be a gardener.

See 2016 Journal p 79.

2017 – Chris Beardshaw

President Jean Griffin presented the Award at the annual dinner on 25th May. Multi Chelsea Gold Medal winner and TV personality Chris provided an entertaining review of his work and gardening experiences.

‘As a landscape designer Chris has been responsible for many attractive planting schemes including the RNLI commemorative feature at the National War Memorial at Alrewas (Staffs) along with many imaginative award winning plantings that have supported important charities at RHS Chelsea. Along with many contributions to radio and television he perhaps is best known as ‘the Helicopter Gardener’ as he ‘dropped in’ to view many top ranking UK garden landscapes. All of the UK’s major horticultural events have benefitted from his expertise, often adding an appealing and captivating touch of humour along the way. Chris uses his natural skills to encourage any age group seeking to pursue an interest in growing plants whether it be for colourful amenity planting, productive cropping or the natural landscape.’

See 2017 Journal pp 142 & 202.

2018 – Martin Duncan

Jean Griffin presented the medal to Martin at the annual dinner on 23rd May.

‘Martin Duncan, Head Gardener at Arundel Castle owned by the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, who attended the dinner in support of Martin. From horticultural training in Ireland, National Parks work, farming, coffee plantation and advisory work in Africa to Jordan working for King Hussein, titled people in Bermuda and landscape designing in the UK; Martin now manages the ornamental and organic vegetable garden at Arundel. He is a firm believer in developing and making history, not keeping to strict historical layout or features as his work at the castle testifies.’

See 2018 Journal pp 285 and 322.

2019 – Laurie Olin

Awarded ‘in absentia’ at the annual Dinner.

‘Laurie is a distinguished American teacher, author, and one of the most renowned landscape architects practicing today. Born in Wisconsin and raised in Alaska, Laurie studied civil engineering at the University of Alaska and pursued architecture at the University of Washington, where Richard Haag encouraged him to focus on landscape. He practiced in Seattle and New York before travelling to England on a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972-1973 and to Rome as a Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome in 1974-1976.’‘He is currently Practice Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught for 40 years, and is former chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University.’

See 2019 Journal pp 401 and 454. 

  • Winner of the 2008 Kew Guild Medal, Roy Lancaster
  • Winner of the 2008 Kew Guild Medal, Ray Desmond
  • Winner of the 2010 Kew Guild Medal, Alan Barber
  • Winner of the 2012 Kew Guild Medal, Noel McGough
  • Winner of the 2014 Kew Guild Medal, Sir David Attenborough
  • Winner of the 2015 Kew Guild Medal, Chris Brickell
  • Winner of the 2016 Kew Guild Medal, Alan Titchmarsh
  • Winner of the 2017 Kew Guild Medal, Chris Beardshaw
  • Winner of the 2018 Kew Guild Medal, Martin Duncan
  • 2019 Laurie Olin

Precied for the Kew Guild website by Sparkle and Richard Ward in December 2020.

Coronavirus update

In view of the exceptional circumstances brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve decided, very reluctantly, to postpone our spring/summer events programme. Unfortunately this includes the annual dinner and, most likely, the Ireland trip. I’m really sorry that we’ve had to take this action but the safety and welfare of our members is paramount and this cannot be assured for the foreseeable future.

All being well, we aim to re-arrange these events to take place either later in the year or in 2021; we’ll email you regularly with updates. For those booked onto the Ireland trip we’ll be in touch with you separately.

Once again, apologies. Please stay safe and well.

All the very best, Dave Simpson, President.

The Kew Guild AGM 2022

Save the date…

The Kew Guild AGM 2022 will be held at RBG Kew on Saturday 10th September 2022. More information will be available nearer the time.

The Kew Guild Annual Dinner 2022

On behalf of the Kew Guild, as its President, I request the pleasure of your company at the Kew Guild Annual Dinner to be held at Cambridge Cottage, 37 Kew Green, TW9 3AB on Thursday 26th May 2022.  

We are delighted to announce that we are very honoured to have our Patron HRH Princess Alexandra attending this year’s Kew Guild Dinner.

The Dinner provides the perfect opportunity to renew old friendships, make new friends, catch up on news, and meet the current Kew Diploma students and Guild Committee members.

The Guest Speaker will be Richard Deverell Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In addition to this special occasion all day free admission to Kew Gardens has been agreed for all applicants. Cambridge Cottage will be open from 5.30pm with a pre-dinner drinks reception from 6:15p.m with carriages at 11:00p.m.

Tony Overland has once again arranged a menu with an excellent selection for you to choose when applying for your tickets. There will be a cash bar to purchase drinks throughout the event. The current students will organise a cash raffle / auction to help support student travels. There will be no reserved seating.

Any member requiring financial assistance to facilitate attendance at the Dinner should contact Maxine Briggs, Awards Scheme Secretary, in confidence by email by Thursday 31st March.

We look forward to meeting you all at what will be an excellent occasion for the Guild. Please complete the attached application form to reserve your place[s].

You can apply by completing the form here.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Kidd, President 2020-22

Car Parking Information

Please note that 24 hour parking restrictions apply to all roads around Kew Green, and only paid for parking is available.

Alternative parking is available at the Kew Ferry Lane car park with access, during the day, to the gardens through the Brentford Gate.

Free parking will be available for members and guests in the Herbarium car park from 6.00pm until the end of the event.

Kewite-mail, December 2021

Dear Kewites and Friends,

I am delighted to report that we are rounding off 2021 as a stronger organisation.

The year has seen the Kew Guild repositioned as an inclusive organisation within The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and externally via our charitable outreach.

Affiliate Membership

Our new Affiliate Membership is now available to anyone working or volunteering at Kew. This enables the Guild to engage directly with our colleagues. All new members will receive a copy of our latest journal during their free membership year, which highlights the fellowship we offer and the charitable work we do within Kew and within the horticultural industry.

This is the biggest push for membership growth the Kew Guild has seen for many years. The Affiliates programme will become part of an induction into Kew in the future. To quote, RBG Kew Director, Richard Deverell; “we should have done this years ago”.

Supporting education – Discovery Days

The Kew Guild supported a ‘Discovery Day’ held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 14 October 2021.  The event was a joint initiative between the Royal Parks Guild and the London Legacy Development Corporation in partnership with The Tree Council, supported by WCOG including its Livery Schools Links initiative and other organisations.

As a major sponsor, the Kew Guild enabled involvement by school-aged participants for the first time, and thus extended the reach of this initiative. A key aim was for apprentices and trainees to meet each other and discover places and topics they may not encounter day-to-day.

Attendees heard from experts in the field and those starting out in their career, behind-the-scenes tour of London Stadium, and networking lunch, then join a guided tour of the Olympic Park gardens and landscapes.

The final figures were impressive. Around 200 horticultural/environmental apprentices and trainees, from London and beyond, attended the event along with school children, teachers, speakers, training officers, employers and volunteer supporters, making the total over 250. 

The event was a great success. A full report of the event is being prepared, including comments from participants, along with a video of the day which we will upload to our website.

Supporting education – Introduction to Horticulture Programme

Pictured clockwise from top left, Muhammed Ismail Moosa, Aneel Odhwani, Florence Akanbi-Guei and Stephanie Li, who will combine their time working hands-on on-site at Kew Gardens with study days at Capel Manor College.

This year also saw a very positive contribution from the Guild, as we supported The Introduction to Horticulture programme, by fully funding one student’s position. 

Head of School of Horticulture at Kew, Tim Hughes said; “To open up the fantastic world of horticulture to people from ethnic minority backgrounds, who are under-represented in the sector, and enable them to pursue horticulture as valid career option”.

Students will graduate with the qualification The Maintenance Gardener (Level 1), equipping them with experience, skills and knowledge, required to take the next steps in their careers.

With so much activity, and more eyes than ever looking at what we are doing, the Kew Guild will continue to develop with exciting plants to relaunch our website in early 2022, enabling the Guild to share our success stories and allowing for easier membership navigation.

The Kew Guild Awards Scheme

The Awards Scheme application process will also be a much easier journey. The site will be an online version of our esteemed Journal with up-to-date news and video content. Of course, our Journal will continue, with a new editor coming on board to take over from the Ward family, as they hand over after a generation of greatly appreciated support.

The Annual Dinner

Our highly anticipated evening dinner is confirmed on 26 May 2022 at Kew and this will be our first annual dinner since Covid restrictions were introduced. We will shortly be confirming all the exciting details and hope to see you on the day.

COVID stories

Sparkle Ward and Richard Ward are asking you to send in your COVID-19 stories – how it has affected you, your work life, your student life, your business or your retirement. Given impact this has had on all of us we believe that this should be recorded for posterity in the ‘Events of 2021’ Kew Guild Journal. Please email very soon.

Your views and comments on the Guild and its activities are always welcome, contact Sara –

Not forgetting News of Kewites – we always want to hear from you, no matter what your story, contact Pamela –

Direct Debits

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to pay subscriptions by Direct Debit. We apologise if you have incorrectly received the reminder letter to sign up – we are working to correct this gremlin.

Floreat Kew. Chris Kidd, President 2020-22.

Join our Facebook group:

Follow us on Twitter: @kewguild

Hermann Krumbiegel

Sparkle and Richard Ward have followed and documented the story of past Kew student Hermann Krumbiegel in the Kew Guild Journal over the past few years.

Late last year they were invited to participate in a film about him, at very short notice. The film’s premier was in India on 30th. November 2021.

We are pleased to have obtained agreement from Inner Eye World Films to include the link below:


We have now clarified that closed captions should be turned OFF when watching the film on Youtube (due to the large number of spelling mistakes). We hope this will be rectified at some point.

AGM 2021 Summary

Cambrige Cottage, RBG Kew, 6th September 2021. Copyright Graham Heywood 2021.

The continuing President, Chris Kidd, welcomed everyone to the Annual General Meeting of the Kew Guild CIO and explained to members that the Guild are required to hold an Annual General Meeting. This was the first face-to-face meeting for nearly 18 months. The surroundings of Cambridge Cottage on a pleasantly warm sunny day was refreshing.

  • There were seven Trustees, seven Officers (two non-voting) and 16 voting members present.
  • The Secretary was happy to say there have been no deaths of members to report during the year. The President led a minute silence for those who may have passed and we are not aware, and for all those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Past President Dave Simpson requested the inauguration of Chris Kidd be brought forward on the Agenda, as this should have been carried out at the 2020 AGM (which was held on Zoom). Dave presented Chris with the President’s Ribbon.
  • The Trustees and Officers of the Kew Guild met four times on Zoom during the Presidential year 2020-21 and all meetings were quorate in accordance with the CIO.
  • The annual accounts have been prepared, approved and signed.
  • The appointment of the Independent Examiner for the annual accounts of 2021 was approved.
  • Finances are on an even keel and investments remained steady.
  • Membership as at 11th August 2021 was 323, with a reduction in paying members. The net increase of one member on last year is due to membership structure changes.
  • 121 members have signed up for the Direct Debit scheme.
  • The Events of 2020 Journal was published on time and on budget.
  • The long-standing Editor, Sparkle Ward, submitted her formal resignation and the President and members present thanked Sparkle and the whole of the Ward family for their input to the Guild over many years. They will be sorely missed.
  • The Award Scheme has extended the deadline further for awards to be taken up to September 2022.
  • The President attended Prize Day and the Kew Guild was not mentioned. Chris Kidd will urgently address this issue.
  • Anthony Ross has been nominated and approved for the 2021 George Brown Memorial Award.
  • The Kew Guild Medal for 2020 was awarded to Peter Holman, who has at last received his medal, along with the 2021 awardee, Professor Mark Chase, FRS. The 2022 Kew Guild Medal was awarded to Barry Newman.
  • Members present voted unanimously to update the Kew Guild Constitution, byelaws and handbook as per the documents supplied with the Notice and Agenda prior to the meeting.
  • Subscription rates will remain at £27 for Ordinary Members and £15 for Students.
  • Members present voted to accept the Five Year Plan the trustees have been working on this year. This plan was distributed with the Notice and Agenda.
  • Jean Griffin, Tony Overland and Peter Styles retired as Trustees. The President thanked them for all their hard work over many years of involvement with the Guild. They will be missed. Members gave them a round of applause.
  • Maxine Briggs, Brita von Schoenaich and Sylvia Phillips were approved as new Trustees.
  • Members voted unanimously to ratify Officers as distributed on the Agenda.
  • The President extended thanks to retiring and new Trustees and looks forward to putting the five year plan into action. Special thanks were extended to Jennifer Alsop who is stepping back from her advisor role in the very near future.
  • Cambridge Cottage has been booked for 26th May 2022 for the Annual Dinner.
  • The date of the next AGM is Saturday 3rd September 2022, venue to be confirmed.
  • The meeting was closed at 3.02pm.

Our Honoured Trustee

Congratulations to our Trustee Graham Heywood and his wife Eira, who have both been awarded British Empire Medals in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for their services to Autism.

Graham and Eira founded Bolton Adult Autism Support (BAAS) in 2013 to provide support for autistic adults after their son, Julian (now 50) was diagnosed in later life.

Coming as a complete surprise to both Graham and Eira, Graham said “We wouldn’t be here without the support of many organsiations and people… We are also celebrating as we have been given National Lottery funding for our befriending service.”

Well done Graham and Eira, we are proud of you.

Your Journal

Despite the Covid-19 lockdown our printers have come up trumps, your Editor practised self-distancing, and your Journal has been posted!…

Sparkle and Richard Ward preparing the Kew Guild Journal for posting - practising social distancing of course!
Editor Sparkle Ward and her Executive Assistant Richard, preparing the journals for posting.

Queries about non-receipt of Journals should be addressed to Secretary Sara Arnold.

Kewite-mail May 2021

Dear Kewites and Friends,

The Kew Guild has supported education from its inception, having grown from the Kew Mutual Improvement Society, members of which shared knowledge of horticulture and plant science in a regular formal way under the guidance of Hooker.

The following century-plus has seen the Kew Guild grow from these beginnings and is soon to embark on the support of a new initiative, the ‘Introduction to Horticulture @ Kew’ programme.

The aim of the programme will be to encourage greater ethnic diversity in horticulture by targeting ethnic minority groups. This will be a twelve-month programme running from August 2021-2022 in the first instance. The content will be familiar to many of us with hands-on practical work at Kew. Participants will rotate through the two main garden departments, Glasshouses, Nursery & Display Horticulture, and Arboretum, Gardens & Horticulture Services.

The Kew Guild has agreed to fully support one of these positions. Further funds have been secured for another two positions, so a cohort of at least three will be ready to begin this autumn. The financial support from the Kew Guild has been essential to enable this programme to commence, we will meet the participants as they begin and will follow their experience with regular reports.

Frustratingly, it is evident that ethnic minority groups are not attracted to horticulture as a career option, there are many reasons behind this, the following article provides some background information on the topic:

A new beginning for the Kew Guild

This autumn will see Trustees work towards extending our alumnus to include all present staff, students and volunteers in a new category of membership. It is appropriate here to outline more fully the proposal to widen our alumnus role.

The alumnus, which we hope to become live in September 2021, will be offered to the full workforce within RBG Kew and Wakehurst place, include volunteers and the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Membership of this alumnus endures for free for the period of engagement with Kew. We hope that on leaving the organisation (if not before) the alumnus member would wish to join the Kew Guild as a fully paid member – inspired by the actions they have seen the Kew Guild take during their time at Kew. When this goes live, each person outlined will receive a copy of our Journal. They will not receive another until they join fully. New arrivals in the capacities listed above will receive a copy of our most recent Journal.

This “front loading” alumnus will give good opportunities to the Kew Guild to create dialogue which may best be via electronic means. I hope that closer linkage to RBG Kew will enable us to work in partnership with RBG Kew IT to facilitate this; Richard Barley has agreed to look into this. As the Kew Guild increases its support for Kew a clear case can surely be made for some reciprocal support.

We have printed an extra run of Journals ready to distribute in autumn, we hope to see this coinciding with the beginning of the Introduction to Horticulture programme, a new chapter for the Kew Guild. Discussions are ongoing and we will bring you more news as it happens.

The success of the Award Scheme

The most direct form of charity work of the Kew Guild is our Award Scheme, which has been operational throughout the pandemic, supporting applicants where restrictions allow. Easing of these strictures will now allow projects already supported to go ahead, travel overseas for study will be possible once again and reports made available online and in our Journal.

The Award Scheme was able to make an award in March 2021 for a career changing proposal, and has held applications for the July meeting by which time their viability will be clearer. A most interesting nomination was wholeheartedly supported for the George Brown Award, to Anthony Ross for his work in designing the Kew Guild Medal. I’m pleased to say Mr Ross had accepted and will receive the Award at our next Annual Dinner. The Trustees of the Kew Guild have also made a financial contribution to the Vicky Schilling Bursary, managed by The Tree Bursary. The Vicky Schilling Bursary will provide others who have a passion for trees to share the pleasure she enjoyed by travelling around Britain and Ireland, visiting parks and gardens discovering our rich tree heritage.

The Kew Guild has made some impressive financial commitments so far in 2020/21. These should continue within the themes we have begun (clarity on our plans will be given in the five-year plan currently being worked upon) but growth is of equal importance. Our commitments thus far have come from existing reserves; we should now be seeking to expand significantly not only to recover financial outlays but also increase in scale. Trustee Harvey Stephens has agreed to lead on this item and will report at each Trustee meeting. Harvey has proven success in developing support partnerships, and will chair a working group dedicated to bringing funds into the Kew Guild. Our most recent financial report shows the Kew Guild in rude health in the broadest sense. Covenants have given us restricted funds, we also need working capital from unrestricted funds to support our growing activities.

The AGM – Monday 6th September 2021, Cambridge Cottage

The AGM will be different again this year. We have booked Cambridge Cottage on Monday 6th September, to include a bring-your-own picnic in the garden from 12:30pm. More details and booking will follow soon – and of course, it all depends on any Covid restrictions in place at the time.

The EXCEPTIONAL Annual Dinner 2022

Plans are continuing for our ambitious annual dinner in 2022. Having missed two years of this event, there is an appetite for a dinner on a scale exceeding that even of the centenary dinner held in the Natural History Museum.

We are proposing a date in early May in the Temperate House at Kew, with up to 200 people in attendance – watch this space!

COVID stories

Sparkle Ward and Richard Ward are asking you to send in your COVID-19 stories – how it has affected you, your work life, your student life, your business or your retirement. Given impact this has had on all of us we believe that this should be recorded for posterity in the ‘Events of 2020’ Kew Guild Journal. Please email very soon.

Your views and comments on the Guild and its activities are always welcome, contact Sara –

Not forgetting News of Kewites – we always want to hear from you, no matter what your story, contact Pamela –

Kew Guild Journals

We have had a request from the Secretary General of the European Orchid Council looking for hard copies of the first five volumes of the Kew Guild Journal (1900 – 1940). Would any member be prepared to part with their copies? Contact Sara if you can help.  


Thank you to everyone who has signed up to pay their subscription by Direct Debit. DD is a much safer way to pay and also helps the Guild with the administration of payments. For those that haven’t changed their standing order yet, we urge you to do so asap. Please contact Sara if you have any questions or need assistance.

Wishing you all a very safe return to normal life as restrictions continue to be lifted and we hope to see you sooner rather than later. 

Floreat Kew. Chris Kidd, President 2020-22.

Join our BRAND NEW Facebook group:

Follow us on Twitter: @kewguild

Join our Facebook group

We have a new private facebook group:

Run and moderated by our Secretary, Sara, this is a great place for members to connect and share experiences. We hope you will find this engaging and useful.

Members only, see you there!