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William Worsley appointed Chair of the National Forest Company

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

William Worsley

The National Forest Company is delighted to announce the appointment of William Worsley as its new Chair, effective from 1 April this year.

Sir William, a businessman, farmer and forester who runs Hovingham Estate, his family business in North Yorkshire, takes over from Catherine Graham-Harrison OBE, whose term of office comes to an end this month.

The National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, the biggest environmentally-led regeneration project in the country. The Forest spans 200 square miles of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and includes the former Midlands coalfield.

William joins the National Forest Company at a significant point in the Forest’s development: over eight and a half million trees have been planted; forest cover has more than trebled from 6% in the early 1990s to 20%, roughly double the average for the country; and in 2016 the Forest celebrates its 25th anniversary.

William will help to lead the next phase of the Forest’s development, with a focus on increasing management of woodlands, growing economic benefits through tourism and woodland industries, and improving quality of life for communities.

He brings a wealth of experience to the role, as a former President of the CLA, the Country Land and Business Association, a member and former chairman of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee, and former member of the North York Moors National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission’s Advisory Panel.  He is passionate about forestry, and his woods at Hovingham have won many awards for forestry and conservation. 

Sir William said:  'I am delighted to be joining the National Forest Company at such an important time.  The National Forest may cover 200 square miles of the Midlands but it really is a success story for the whole country and shows just how woods and trees can transform the landscape, economy and communities. The progress of The National Forest over the last 25 years has been phenomenal, and I look forward to helping lead it in the next stage of its development.'

Catherine Graham-Harrison said: 'I can’t imagine a better person to take on the role of helping lead the National Forest Company in its next stage. William brings great experience from his own estate, making his own woodlands work, which is such an important part of developing the economy here in The National Forest. The NFC will also benefit from his knowledge and insight into the national picture of how landscape, business, people and wildlife all interact. I am delighted to be passing the baton of Chair onto him.'

Three new Trustees have also been appointed to the National Forest Company Board, to take effect from 1 April 2016: Jack Buckner, Chief Executive at British Triathlon; Suzanne Carr, Vice-Chair of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust; and Dr Tony Ballance, Director of Strategy and Regulation at Severn Trent Water. 

Notes to Editors: William Worsley

Sir William Worsley is a businessman, farmer and forester. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies. He lives at Hovingham in North Yorkshire where he runs a family business involving farming, forestry and residential and commercial property.

He is a member of the Court of the Merchant Taylors Company, a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and is a member of the Cathedral Council of York Minster.  He is a former President of the CLA, the Country Land and Business Association, a member and former chairman of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee, and former member of the North York Moors National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission’s Advisory Panel.  Previous roles have also included Chairman of the Scarborough Building Society and director of the Skipton Building Society, The Brunner Investment Trust plc and the Private Banking Board of Merchant Bank Guinness Mahon.

He is passionate about forestry, and his woods at Hovingham have won many awards for forestry and conservation.  His other interests are art and architecture and he is a keen collector of pictures.