Trustees of the Aros Park Historic Walled Garden SCIO.
Elected at the Annual General Meeting, 19th January 2022.
Lauren Fraser (Trustee and Chair)
Lauren graduated from the University of Exeter with a first class honours degree in English Literature, beginning her career writing for Britain’s leading bridal magazine, before embracing her passion for plants while putting her writing skills to good use in an events and marketing role at Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton, Somerset. Spanning 50 acres with a grand landscape garden, as well as a formal garden created in partnership by Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, Hestercombe was restored some 20 years ago following a long period of neglect. Now on Mull, Lauren works for a local business as an Administration Manager.
Lauren brings expertise in the conceptualisation, budgeting, marketing, administration and delivery of a broad calendar of revenue generating, year-round events, at Hestercombe Gardens, increasing footfall and supporting membership acquisition.
In addition, being a keen gardener and regular participant in the local Tobermory Flower Show, Lauren brings an essential passion for horticulture to the project, growing a wide range of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers at home and enthusiastically achieving Highly Commended for Tobermory’s Best Garden in 2021.
Richard West (Trustee and Treasurer)
Richard has a background in engineering and project management in the oil and gas industry. As a project director he has experience in the control of multi-million dollar development projects and extensive experience in international oil field developments. Having retired to Mull Richard became the finance director of the Tobermory Harbour Authority and was instrumental in helping the organisation develop a corporate business management system and steered the company through the application process to become a harbour authority.
Mike Shilson (Trustee)
My vision for the Aros Park Historical Wall Garden is that it’ll be a dynamic community attraction ~ offering a focus for learning about plants and gardening, a venue for cultural functions, and a re-creational space of serenity.
I have been actively interested in organic gardening since a teenager, and was inspired by Lawance D Hills, director of the Henry Doubleday Research Association, the forerunner of Garden Organic.
I studied microbiology at Dundee University, and after graduating I joined the Marine Laboratory, Plymouth and carried out conservation work in the Mosquito Coast Rainforest in Honduras. Later I taught biology for 26 years at Bell Baxter High School, Cupar, Fife.
I am a former Director of Tobermory Harbour Association and was an influencer in developing the Aquarium. I was Chair of Mull Community Council and am currently Chair of Dervaig Community Orchard, and Vice-Chair of Mull Native Woodland Group.
Anne West (Trustee)
Anne has over 30 years experience as a social worker and counsellor. Working with individuals, families and groups in both local authority and voluntary settings to provide a therapeutic relationship. She has a wide experience of working with children, students and the elderly.
Susan Wood (Trustee)
Susan Wood moved to Tobermory in 2018 from the United States, where she is a professor of public health and now teaches online remotely from Mull. She has experience in research, government policy, grants and program management, and evaluation. She has been active in the MullHealth response to the Covid pandemic, and has volunteered for Island Castaways and the Tobermory Producers Market.
Richard Payne (Trustee)
Richard Payne is the former Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland, USA, where he was responsible for grants management, education and safety in a large department with specializations in plant and animal science. His personal research was in the field of invertebrate neurobiology. He is a former president of his neighbourhood association near Washington DC, where he lived prior to moving to Mull. Since moving to Mull he has provided guidance to the community concerning the Covid pandemic through contributions to the MullHealth.com website.
Rebecca Kennedy (Trustee)
I moved to Mull last June with my husband Fraser. Together we run a small online business. I’m a life-long gardener with a passion for nature. Previously we lived in Fleet, Hampshire for over 30 years.
Our house in Tobermory is a new build overlooking Aros Park and so the garden is a blank canvas. This is providing me with new challenges, working with a completely different climate, soil type and of course, an ongoing battle with the deer.
I completed a HND in Amenity Horticulture (Landscape and Recreation) in 1989 at Writtle Agricultural College. I’ve mainly worked in garden centres, although spent a brief period working for Hove Council parks department. I have however, always kept alive my deep interest in horticulture and as every gardener knows, you never stop learning and adapting.
I was immediately drawn to the ambitious and inspiring plans and I hoped that the project would be something that I could become involved with and hence my interest in joining the committee as a trustee.