National Trust appoints new Northern Ireland Chairman

DR Bob Brown OBE Northern Ireland Chairman
Published : 10 Jun 2016

The National Trust today announced the appointment of Dr Bob Brown OBE to the Chair of its Regional Advisory Board for Northern Ireland.

Dr Brown is an internationally renowned conservation expert and lecturer, particularly on coastal management. He travels regularly, conducting natural-history tours in the Arctic, Antarctic and South America.

Originally from Sussex, he has a strong connection with Northern Ireland. From 1981-1991 he managed the National Trust’s Strangford Lough Wildlife Scheme and wrote a widely acclaimed book on the area’s unique wildlife. He later became Director of RSPBs Northern Ireland operation and Chair of the NI Biodiversity Group. In 2004 he was awarded his OBE for services to nature conservation.

Speaking about his appointment, Dr Brown said:

‘It’s giving me a curious mixture of trepidation and delight. There are such opportunities across the Trust’s amazing landscapes, gardens and historic houses. The radical improvements to the demesne and mansion house at Mount Stewart and a new visitor centre at Florence Court are just some of the most exciting, recent developments.

‘But there are challenges too – including fundamental changes in the NI government and planning system that may affect our best-loved landscapes; climate change and its big impacts on our coast; and the continued loss of wildlife.

‘In facing these challenges, the biggest resource the Trust has is its members. Our 72,000 members in Northern Ireland are an enormous force for quality of life in this little corner of the world. Many of those members give extra – last year, the Trust benefited from almost a quarter of a million of volunteer hours in Northern Ireland, and we simply couldn’t do the vital work we do without it.’

Director for the National Trust in Northern Ireland, Heather McLachlan said:

‘I am delighted to welcome Dr Brown to his new position and I very much look forward to working alongside him. He’s got a massive range of knowledge about conservation but he also has experience of working with the Trust – both as a ranger and as a member of our Regional Advisory Board, so he’s got the rounded experience that will be so critical in leading the Trust into the future.’

Dr Brown takes over from Roy Bailie OBE who is stepping down after six years as Chair of the Regional Advisory Board, Northern Ireland. A former Chairman of the NI Tourist Board, Mr Bailie will still be involved with the Trust as a volunteer.