• by Dave Bakes 1
  • by Dave Bakes 2
  • Orchard in May by Dave Bakes

Who We Are

Trustee Profiles

Phil Crabtree – Chair

Phil became a trustee in 2015 following his retirement as Chief Planning Officer at Leeds City Council. He took over as Chair this January. Phil is a qualified Town and Country Planner with over 40 years of experience. He worked in Co Durham, Birmingham and Leeds. His expertise includes planning, regeneration and economic development. At Leeds his responsibilities included planning,  control , conservation and design, landscape ,ecology and sustainable development.

Phil is committed to the further development of the Walled Garden as a tranquil and historic  place which plays an important role in well-being, sustainable gardening and as a visitor destination.

Lucy Allen

Lucy is an arts graduate with over 20 years’ experience in marketing, events and PR. Her career started at the Royal Armouries where she worked across the PR for HM Tower of London, The Royal Armouries Leeds, and Fort Nelson.  She has since specialized in PR, marketing and events for leisure and tourism organisations such as Welcome to Yorkshire, Harewood House, Cumbria Tourism and Malton Food Lovers’ Festival as well as consumer brands such as ASDA, Morrison’s, Clip ‘n Climb, Trinity Leeds and Friends of Ham. 

Alongside her work, Lucy is also a director of Real Food Ilkley, a CIC which established a market in the centre of Ilkley for local and speciality food producers and community initiatives.  This is now in its 4th year and growing.

She has been a regular visitor to Helmsley Walled Garden for over 10 years and finds peace and tranquillity within its walls.  The vegetable beds in particular give her great inspiration and hope for her own plot at home in Harrogate.

Stephen Barstow

Stephen has been a volunteer at the garden since August 2015. Originally starting out with the other volunteers Stephen quickly moved into doing maintenance work on the buildings, as well as building new things for the garden. These days he does a mixture of gardening and maintenance.

Stephen has also kept a weekly diary of what all the volunteers have been doing each week since 2016, and in doing so has gotten to know all the volunteers and what they all do.

Stephen has been a Trustee since 2019 as a representative for the volunteers and hopes his working knowledge of the garden, its buildings and its volunteers will help in the future of the charity.

John Batty

John is the Group Chief Financial Officer for a Leeds-based commercial property developer, St James Securities Group Limited and has worked for the company for over 30 years. He has gained wide ranging financial and property experience in all areas of property development from building new offices, retail parks and residential buildings to renovating listed buildings and mills. He works closely with banks, financial institutions and grant providers; forecasting, modelling and monitoring large development projects.

John has recently moved to a house that he has been renovating on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. He fell in love with the area because of its unique beauty and the tranquillity of the surrounding countryside. As a keen gardener, John has already begun renovating his gardens and looks forward to creating something he will be very proud of.

From personal experience, John has found gardening to be invaluable to his well-being, finding it particularly beneficial in difficult times of his life. He wholeheartedly shares the vision of the charity in providing a space for therapeutic horticultural therapy.     

He hopes to be able to share all his experience with his fellow Trustees and to develop the Garden and charity further, for the benefit of others.

David Brewster

David is a Geography graduate with a Masters in Conservation. He started his career managing a number of nature reserves around the country before joining the Broads Authority shortly after the National Park was established. In 1991 he moved to north to become the Head of Park Services at the North York Moors National Park.  A career change followed, after 10 years in that post, when he became the Chief Officer of Ryedale Special Families, a charity supporting families of children with disabilities.

Whilst at this charity he was instrumental in establishing Ryedale Charities Together, a partnership aimed at improving the sustainability of Ryedale based charities. His interest in the Walled Garden stemmed from the time that it joined the partnership and he became aware of its important work in the sphere of horticultural therapy. This involved support for a number of young people who were also linked to Ryedale Special Families.

He joined the board of trustees in early 2019 bringing with him experience in fund raising, charity governance and volunteer management. After retiring he retains close links with the voluntary sector in Ryedale and relishes the opportunity to ensure the sector and particularly the Walled Garden are able to realise the potential for local people through Social Prescribing.

Nick Holroyd

Nick is a retired solicitor and a former partner with a national and international law practice. Nick  spent much of his 30 year legal career in Manchester heading the firms Manchester office and specialised in professional disciplinary law becoming a leading advisor to the Police Federation of England and Wales. By the time of his retirement in 2015 the firm had grown significantly with offices throughout the UK and Australia.

Since his retirement Nick has worked voluntarily and was a trustee and board member for a large trust dealing with alcohol addiction providing assistance to suffering alcoholics and is also a local councillor and recently appointed Mayor of Kirkbymoorside.

Nick joined the board of trustees in May having developed a keen interest in gardening since his retirement. Nick has been a regular visitor to the garden and his wife has worked as a volunteer for a number of years since moving into the local area. Nick is a keen supporter of the garden and is enthused by the history of the garden and its ethos and aims.

Claire Lawton

Claire is a Practicing Chartered Accountant with over 30  years’ experience in the profession, working primarily with owner managed business in a very hands on and supportive manner . As Managing Partner in her Practice , this also brings with it a raft of practical day to day experience of running a business , meeting customer expectations as well supporting a fully engaged team of staff .

As a holder of the ICAEW Diploma in Charity Accounting , her work also includes charitable clients along with several varied trustee roles over the past 15 years and brings to the Trustee role at the Garden , practical experience of charities both as an auditor and as a trustee.

Claire takes great pleasure in gardens and gardening and has been a member of the RHS for many years. A childhood on a working dairy farm also brings with it an embedded love of the countryside and the impact that green spaces and gardens have on an individual’s well-being. Being able to work with the Trustees to develop this impact further and widen the reach and access to the Garden is something she is passionate about.

Edwina Parker

Edwina, a music Graduate, started her career with the Open University before working for one of England’s regional arts development agencies, latterly as Deputy Director.  She set up her own consultancy in 1991 and has worked across a wide range of public, private and not-for-profit organisations on management and organisational development projects.  Alongside her professional roles, she worked as a Magistrate for 24 years.  She continues to work as an Executive Coach. 

Edwina has been a Trustee since 2017 and is keen to offer her expertise in governance and management development to support the organisation through the current period of transition.

She has been a regular visitor to the garden for the last 20 years and became a life friend 5 years ago.  She has always been drawn to the garden because of its sheer beauty and sense of calm, as well as picking up ideas for her own garden and allotment in Beverley.

Dr Jeffrie Strang

Jeffrie qualified in Medicine from Glasgow University, completed his Master’s degree at the Harvard School of Public Health and, after a period in clinical and academic posts, including 10 years as a GP in the North of England, he spent 16 years in North Yorkshire first as a heath authority consultant in public health and latterly as the Executive Director of Public Health and Medical Director for a Primary Care Trust.  Jeffrie left the NHS in 2007 and established Health Futures Limited to allow him to expand his health consultancy work as well as holding an honorary academic appointment at the Hull York Medical School until 2012.  The company was wound up in 2015 to allow Jeffrie to support his wife in the expansion of the family sheep farm based in Scawton, where a wide range of initiatives to enhance biodiversity have been implemented.

Jeffrie became a Trustee in 2018 and is particularly keen to use his medical expertise to support the further development of the horticultural therapy programme at the garden which seeks to support people with disabilities, ill health or suffering from isolation.  Jeffrie also wishes to contribute to enhancing the sustainability of this beautiful garden in recognition of climate change and to share our solutions with the gardening visitors as they strive to reduce their own impact on the environment.