Dr Tony Whitbread, who retired as Chief Executive of Sussex Wildlife Trust in March 2018, has returned to take a leading role in nature conservation in the county as President of the charity.
He joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust in 1991 as Head of Conservation before taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2006. During his time, Dr Whitbread played a huge role as a conservation advocate, battling against road building, urban development, the potential expansion of Gatwick Airport and other countryside loss.
He was at the forefront in promoting the need for the establishment of the South Downs National Park – a designation realised in 2010. He also played a leading role in establishing the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre, which holds almost seven million species records – information used to inform planning decisions.
For many years, Dr Whitbread was the national spokesman for woodland issues for The Wildlife Trusts at a national level and is remembered by many for his insight into The Great Storm of 1987 when he presented the positive ecological stories for this memorable event.
His first engagement as President of the Sussex Wildlife Trust will be this weekend (Saturday June 1) when he will welcome guests to Great Dixter House in Northiam, Rye at a reception organised by the Rye Harbour Discovery Centre Appeal Board.
Dr Whitbread said, ‘Since handing over the reins to my successor, Tor Lawrence, I have been concentrating on my voluntary work promoting the rewilding of nature and involvement in the growing concern about climate and environmental breakdown. I had no hesitation in accepting the role of President which I consider to be an incredible privilege carrying great responsibility.’
Tor Lawrence, Chief Executive of Sussex Wildlife Trust said, ‘Tony was instrumental in developing the Sussex Wildlife Trust to be one of the UK’s leading conservation and wildlife organisations. The support we enjoy from our members and partners is in no small part a reflection of Tony’s infectious enthusiasm and leadership style.
‘I am delighted that he has accepted the role of President of the Sussex Wildlife Trust – an appointment I know will be welcomed by our members, volunteers, supporters and staff– and I look forward to working with him in the future .’