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Who's who in the RHS Garden Bridgewater team
The exciting development of our new garden is being led by Programme Director Anna da Silva, whose career in the UK and abroad has spanned Journalism, Project Management and International Development.
Her work for the BBC, the Economist, Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations has taken her to Africa and the Middle East, and has focused on the causes and consequences of conflict and inequality, the use of media for behaviour change and development, and organisational strategy and leadership. As the Africa Director for the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action, she established six new offices across Africa.
She moved to Salford in 2011 as part of the leadership team that created the BBC’s new base at MediaCityUK. Anna joined the RHS in September 2016 to lead our Bridgewater team, focusing on strategy, partnerships and local engagement. “I come from a horticultural family and had been searching for an opportunity to move into the sector," she said. "When the RHS announced the vision to create the Bridgewater garden just a few miles from my house it seemed too good to be true.”
Landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith was appointed to create and deliver the ambitious master plan for our world-class garden.
Tom started his own garden design practice in 1998 and has created several RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardens, eight of which have been awarded the coveted RHS Gold medal.
Tom said: “I have known the amazing site that is to become RHS Garden Bridgewater for some time and it is really remarkable. It is a great honour and a huge challenge to be able to contribute to this very exciting project. There is amazing potential here to make something innovative, relevant and distinctly different.”
The 11-acre walled garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater is the first section of the garden planned to open in 2019 as part of the society’s wider 10-year £160 million investment programme to achieve its Vision to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Marcus Chilton-Jones has been appointed to the key role of curator of RHS Garden Bridgewater. He joins the project from the Dorothy Clive Garden in North Staffordshire, where he worked as curator for eight years.
Marcus said: “I am looking forward immensely to joining the RHS and helping to lead on the exciting plans for developing RHS Garden Bridgewater. It is a dream project for me.”
Marcus brings a wealth of experience to the role. After gaining a degree in History at Manchester University, he decided to pursue a career in horticulture which has taken him from the National Trust garden at Nymans in West Sussex to Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, via the Berryfields Garden on BBC Gardeners’ World and most recently the Dorothy Clive Garden.
In place in his new role from January 2017, Marcus is responsible for all aspects of horticulture as the garden is developed and opens in phases from 2019. He will build a team of talented horticulturists to secure the rebirth of this lost historic site and create a garden of national and international significance.
As Capital Projects Manager North, John Pye joined the RHS in May 2016 to lead the project design and delivery phases of the new Garden at Bridgewater.
John said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a key part in the development, working with a dedicated team to deliver a truly world class project which will be enjoyed by and inspire so many people."
With a passion for client side project management, John brings with him nearly 20 years of industry experience and local contacts, in both the private sector, education and the National Trust.
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The estate that will become RHS Garden Bridgewater has a rich history that included Royal visits by Queen Victoria.
Mrs Giddings, RHS member
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.