Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Fresh Faces, Fresh Ideas: Meet our New Trustees

Posted: May 20, 2024 at 14:40 pm Author: Dale Richards

We're pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Bryars and Sam Addadahine to the charity’s Board of Trustees.

Situated at Westonbirt Arboretum in Tetbury, the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a charity with a supporter base of over 35,000 individuals. Working in partnership with Forestry England to preserve the 600-acre arboretum for people to enjoy. The newly appointed Trustees join several other recently appointed Trustees on a Board tasked with shaping the charity’s five-year strategy, aimed at positioning Westonbirt Arboretum as a leader in global, regional, and local tree conservation efforts.

The Board comprises distinguished members including Neil Sachdev MBE, Chair and energy efficiency and sustainability expert; Martyn Smith, former chief financial officer at Dyson, serving as Treasurer; HR specialist Rachel Walker; Christian Walker, Vice-Chair and Operations Manager at the National Trust; risk management expert Sian Troupe; Nigel Frost from Highgrove Enterprises; Paul Isherwood who has worked in senior scientific and technical roles within the food and drinks industry; and strategic management consultant Owen Forster.

Sarah Bryars and Sam Addadahine officially joined The Friends in May 2024. Sarah brings with her extensive experience as the former chief executive, co-owner, and director of an award-winning PR agency, specialising in PR and communications. Sam, a software engineer, has a background in the Telecoms and Construction industries, with notable achievements in driving key digital transformations.

Sarah BryarsSam Addadahine

Neil Sachdev, MBE, Chair of Trustees, expressed his enthusiasm for the appointments, stating, “I am delighted to have such talent joining the Board. Fresh thinking and challenge to what and how we do things will ensure our sustainability and help us preserve the arboretum for generations, enabling access to all and funding research to protect trees not just here but across the world. The skills our new trustees Sarah and Sam bring will ensure we can deliver our purpose.”

Sarah Bryars “I’m thrilled to be joining such a talented and passionate team in its work to support Westonbirt Arboretum. I have known and loved Westonbirt for many years as a glorious place to immerse yourself in nature, and I’m only now beginning to understand its significance in tree conservation, climate, and habitat research.

The Friends has a loyal and enthusiastic membership, and every single member is part of Westonbirt’s story, helping to fund its work. It’s a privilege to support the team in its charitable mission, through the generosity of our members, to protect trees and enrich lives.”

Sam Addadahine expressed his excitement, saying, “I am thrilled to join the Board of Trustees, driven by a deep passion for both digital innovation and conservation. My goal is to help enhance the charity's digital capabilities, making nature more accessible and engaging for everyone. I look forward to contributing my expertise to support the charity’s mission and to enrich the community's connection with our natural heritage.”

These appointments come at a pivotal time for us as we secure funding to augment the support provided by their loyal members. Last year, we funded a fleet of mobility scooters and wheelchairs, enhancing accessibility for all visitors. Funds have also been raised to establish a community woodland at the arboretum, with 600 individuals from local schools and community groups already planting 3,300 trees over the winter months.

Looking ahead, we are supporting several exciting new initiatives, including the enhancement of play facilities at the arboretum, with a recent public consultation gathering input from visitors and members.

Emma Griffiths, CEO of The Friends, expressed her gratitude, stating, "Our trustees play a crucial role in the effective governance, sustainability, and impact of our charity. We're thankful for their voluntary contributions and dedication to our organisation, the local community, and Gloucestershire as a whole, as we work together to nurture Westonbirt Arboretum, one of the largest outdoor visitor attractions in the county."

Find out more about our Trustees...