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February 2023 News

News / 22nd Feb 2023
2023 marks the 130th anniversary of the Kew Guild, and what a truly wonderful and remarkable time the Guild has had through all these past years and of course, long may it continue.
Graham and Eira Hayward after receiving their British Empire Medal from Queen Elizabeth in 2021.

Unfortunately, 2023 started with true sadness and shock with the loss of our President Graham Heywood. In the words of one trustee: ‘He was admired by the team and provided a level head during his presidency. He provided sensible counsel and it is a shame he did not get to see his presidency through’. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and this year will not be the same for the Guild in many ways. Our Immediate Past President, Chris Kidd, attended Graham’s funeral, along with Tony Overland and David Hardman.

As Vice-President and now acting President, if I could hope for one thing this year, it would be that we mark the year as a legacy for Graham and deliver all the things he was aspiring to achieve and do.  I therefore hope that the 130th anniversary year will end seeing the Guild stronger in membership, vision, support and mentorship to reflect such ambitions.

So what’s new?

We have relaunched our website, making it easier for members to see what the Kew Guild charity is involved with. One of the main benefits of the new site is being able to join and pay online and to also apply for awards. There is a special login area for Trustees and Officers, making it more secure to share documents and information for meetings and events. Thanks to Trustee Maxine Briggs for her work in getting the new site up and running.

As a first test of the web site, the Annual Dinner applications will be carried out online. (Keep an eye on your email, the information will be sent out very soon). Our Annual Dinner organiser, Tony Overland, has stepped down from this position, and the role was taken on by Graham Heywood. Since Graham’s death, the Trustees and Officers have teamed up to ensure this year’s event will be as successful as it has been under Tony’s guardianship. The Trustees send their thanks to Tony for the enormous effort and amount of work he has contributed to the organisation of the Annual Dinner in previous years.

The Guild Trustees have been working on our educational portfolio for supporting RBG Kew and its wider communities. Supporting students this year by continuing to assist Kew fund one individual as part of the Introduction to Horticulture programme.

And possibly, most importantly, the aim for the coming years is to help members make new relationships, rekindling old ones and provide opportunities for mentorship within the Guild community.

The Kew Guild is a charitable network that does so much. Explore it and help us with this network.

As part of being a member and to make sure you do not miss the opportunities for connections, news and events that are part of the Kew Guild story, we hope that you will visit the website and read the journal. Any suggestions for stories or news would be most welcome.

Awards Scheme

The KG Awards Scheme exists to provide funds to further the objectives of the Kew Guild through supporting the advancement of knowledge and education in the fields of horticulture and botanical and mycological sciences as well as for the improvement, preservation and sound management of places of natural beauty, gardens or lands of special ecological, horticultural, mycological or botanical importance. The closing date for applications is 28th February.

Sad losses

Together with Graham, we have lost some special members over the past few months, these include Peter Bridgman, Prof. Keith Jones, Gren Lucas, Leo Pemberton, John Sales and Tony Schilling. Trustees, Officers and Members sent condolences to the families and our thanks go to each and every one of them for their support of the Guild over the years. Their obituaries will be in the Journal.


Sparkle Ward has stepped down from being the Journal Editor (along with Richard) and a new Editor is in place. Trustees and Officers welcome Ros Whistance who took over the role after a period of handover with Sparkle and Richard. The Ward family – Richard, Wiena, Alexandra and Sparkle - received the Kew Guild medal at the Annual Dinner in 2022 with thanks for all their hard work and excellent journals. If you have anything to contribute to the Journal, please contact Ros – The deadline for copy is Friday 3rd March 2023.

Dates for your diary

Kew Guild Annual Dinner – May 25th 2023, Cambridge Cottage, Kew. (Guest Speaker – to be confirmed)

Kew Guild AGM – 9th September 2023, Lady Lisa Sainsbury Lecture Theatre, RBG Kew. 2.00pm.

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 –

Floreat Kew, Robert Brett, Vice President 2023

Joan and Allan Hart receiving their Kew Guild Medal from Richard Ward in 2022.

The Ward family with their Kew Guild Medal - l-r: Richard, Sparkle, Wiena and Alexandra. 

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