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Expert guidance

Wild Planet Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees made up of a selection of professionals with skills and experience in science, commerce, the law and other relevant fields.

Our Trustees are responsible for the oversight of the Trust’s management and administration and ensure that our conservation objectives are met.

Appointed 2016

Stephen took a History degree at Aberystwyth University before completing teacher training at Bristol University. He has taught in a variety of schools including five years as Deputy Head teacher at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, ten years as Head teacher at Churston Ferrers Grammar School and four years as founding Principal of Merchants’ Academy, Bristol. He is currently Chief Executive of Bay Education Trust which is responsible for three schools in Paignton.

He has been a governor in several schools and has been heavily involved in many charitable projects, often through the Rotary Club of Paignton. He was appointed as Chair of Trustees at Wild Planet Trust in April 2020. He is particularly interested in introducing and developing the vision and values of the Trust throughout the local community and particularly to our young people.

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Appointed 2001

After an education at Millfield School, Richard returned to Devon to help kick-start a family business venture in 1976. One of the food retail outlets grew to become the largest independent superstore in the UK and was taken over by Tesco in 2010.

He is a director of several companies operating mainly in the retail sector. Richard also has business interests in the leisure industry in the United States. Acumen Golf LLC owns and operates 2 country clubs with championship golf courses and a consulting company in the state of Virginia.

Richard joined the board in 2001 and remains passionate about fulfilling the Trust’s aims and objectives and he brings a wealth of business and financial experience to the organisation. He is chair of the Trust’s Investment subcommittee.

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Sarah went to Leicester University where she studied Combined Arts majoring in Italian and French with classes in Latin, Politics and Sociology.

After a post grad business and languages course in Leeds, she moved to London and spent the first three years there working in educational administration. She then joined the Northern European office for Levi Strauss in her first HR role. She went on to hold senior HR roles in the Burton Group and then moved to Devon and worked for South West Water and DCC before joining the Nortel Fixed Wireless Business in Paignton.

She remained with Nortel for 15 years, eventually holding a HR position covering 32 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which focused on HR Strategy, Organisation Design and Leadership and Management Development. Following the demise of Nortel, she took early retirement in June 2010.

She is a past Trustee of the Nortel UK Pension Fund and was also a Governor at Stover School and Churston Grammar School. She has a real passion for understanding what makes businesses and people effective and is excited at the prospect of working with the Trust and associated organisations.

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Andrew Cooper is one of Britain’s most distinguished and influential television producers. As a writer, broadcaster and international award-winning wildlife filmmaker, he is a familiar face on BBC television and is responsible for some of the most popular Natural World wildlife documentaries. He is also the author of nine books on natural history.

A biologist and anthropologist by training, his career as a television producer with the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol consumes most of his time but not all. He has wide business experience, is a popular speaker and also owns one of the most successful websites of its kind in the country. As a landowner he tries to practise what he preaches in the woodlands and meadows of his own farm close to the Teign estuary.

He is an experienced board member of several charities, public and private organisations, including being chair of the Devon Wildlife Trust, Vice-president of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and a Non-Executive Director and Vice-chair of a leading NHS Hospital Foundation Trust. Currently he is a Secretary of State appointee as an Authority Member to Dartmoor National Park.

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Appointed 2021

Charles was born and brought up in South Devon and has been a supporter of Paignton Zoo since childhood. Educated at Exeter School, Southampton Medical School and Exeter University, he qualified and practised as a Solicitor in a local firm before being called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn). Since then, he has practised as a Barrister out of Chambers in Exeter.

He has held seats on various committees over the years, including the Devon & Somerset Law Society and the Devon & Exeter Medico-Legal Association.
Having been fortunate enough to have seen many of the Zoo’s flora and fauna in the wild, and to have visited a number of zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens and nature reserves around the world, he believes the Trust’s role in both education and conservation to be of vital importance to the future of our planet.

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Adam Hart is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire, where he teaches ecology, behaviour, evolution, and field biology. An entomologist by training, much of Adam’s research work now focuses on African ecology and conservation, including award-winning work on anti-poaching.

Combining outreach with science, he has also developed national citizen science projects engaging tens of thousands of people in data collection on “flying ants”, house spiders, starlings, and wasps.

As a science communicator, Adam is a regular presenter of documentaries on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service, a frequent media commentator on conservation issues, and an author of popular science books. His latest book (to be published in 2022) explores our complex relationships with predators, a topic he also investigates in a BBC World Service series that aired in the summer of 2021.

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Appointed 2008

Rachael was educated in Torbay until going to Sheffield University for three years where she gained a BA Honours Degree in Accounting and Financial Management.

After achieving her degree, Rachael returned to live in Torquay and while working for Ernst & Young in Exeter in 1996 was admitted as a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Rachael left Ernst & Young and joined Ertl Europe Ltd in Exeter as an Accountant for two years, then joined a Torquay based chain of retail stores as Chief Accountant. Since starting a family, she works part-time at her husband’s business in an accounting capacity.
She brings to the Trust an enthusiasm for their development and prosperity, not only locally, but also for worldwide conservation projects.

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Appointed 2015

Beth is a marketing and PR specialist who relocated to the South West in 2015 and became a Wild Planet Trust Trustee in 2016.

Beth has previously built up 17 years’ commercial experience, mainly in the automotive Industry. She has specialised in marketing and PR for more than a decade and has significant management experience in this area. While working for the Peugeot Motor Company, she held a variety of roles, including managing their intercontinental rally challenge team.

Beth is passionate about the brands that are part of Wild Planet Trust. She is keen to use her breadth of commercial and family experience to help the Trust achieve its goals and continue its conservation work for the benefit of future generations.

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Appointed 2024

James was brought up in Torbay before obtaining his degree in Housing and Development at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

On later returning to South Devon, he has held several directorships across the region with a focus on Social Housing, Sanctuary Affordable and Riviera, Teign Housing, South Devon Rural Housing Associations and is currently an Independent Advisor to Exeter City Council’s Development & Housing Revenue Account Board and Torbay’s Housing Board.

He has held local educational Governorships with Kings Ash Academy and currently Stover School Association.

Along with being a former Unitary Local Authority Councillor and roles in Audit and the Local Government Pension Scheme, James has held further directorships with the Torbay Economic Development Company and the South Devon Chamber of Commerce. He was also a Director of Torquay United Football Club and its charitable Football in the Community arm for several years.

James offers an eclectic range of business knowledge and strategic skills and brings a passion for lifelong learning, giving back to our communities and supporting such important local assets all within their own secure business environments and required to provide added value with the aim to enhance and promote, educate and conserve these cherished sanctuaries for our endangered species locally and internationally now and for future generations.

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Richard Preziosi is Professor of Ecological Genetics and Head of School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth. He joined the University of Plymouth in 2021 from Manchester Metropolitan University, which he joined in October 2016 as Director of the Ecology and Environment Research Centre.

Prior to this, Richard was Professor of Ecological Genetics in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. He obtained his MSc from Concordia University in Montreal in 1990, and his PhD from McGill University in Montreal in 1997.

Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, the Royal Statistical Society and the Royal Society of Biology, and a Certified Senior Ecologist (ESA).

At the University of Manchester he was founding director of the Environment and Ecology Research Theme and of the Centre for the Genetics of Ecosystem Services. He acted as faculty lead for sustainability and was a Member and Chair of the University research ethics committees for both human and animal research. He currently acts as an external advisor on the ethics committee of Chester Zoo and is a consultant to the University of Liverpool and UCLAN.

Richard’s research focusses on conservation and genetics. His genetic research examines the genetics of species interactions, and on in situ and ex situ conservation genetics of both commercially harvested species and of endangered species. His conservation research is largely aimed at improving the ex-situ conservation of species. While he works on a wide variety of taxa he has been working on amphibian conservation since 2003. He is especially interested in optimising husbandry for endangered amphibian species using an evidence-based approach.

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Appointed 2017

Mark is particularly passionate about living and working in Torbay. He is a Director of Bays Brewery in Paignton and Managing Director of SSG Training and Consultancy based in Plymouth providing health, safety, environmental and employment law services both regionally and nationally.

As well as being a trustee of the Wild Planet Trust, Mark is also on the board of the English Riviera BID Company and works on the Executive Team of the Torbay Business Forum.

Mark’s interest in wildlife conservation stems from many years of visiting safari parks around Africa and he is keen to play his part in helping to create and maintain a world rich in wildlife and wild places.

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