IAN Coghill, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) longest-serving chairman, will be stepping down from his role.
It will mark an end of a highly-successful eight years in charge, during which Mr Coghill showed great passion for the Trust’s work, visited ongoing projects, interacted with staff, gave entertaining after-dinner speeches and took part in debates at Game Fair.
“It’s the best research organisation in the country,” he said, pictured above.
“It is impossible to list GWCT’s achievements during the last eight years, they are simply too numerous, varied and multi-layered. What can be said is that, while chairmen come and go, the heart of this wonderful organisation goes on beating. That heart is the members and those who believe that the countryside should be run by people who understand it and that policy should be based on sound science not on whim and prejudice.”
“I will miss it but it’s the right time to step down.”
Mr Coghill’s journey with the Trust began some 25 years ago when the Masters of Harriers and Beagles Association was asked to put someone on the Wetlands and Predation Research Steering Committee.
He was recommended by Capt Wallace, who in those days ran virtually everything to do with hunting.
He recalled: “It was brilliant as practical scientists mingled with gamekeepers, landowners and farmers blending practice, sense and science to answer questions that really mattered. I absolutely loved it and I still do.”
Ian’s successor as chairman will be Sir James Paice, who was unanimously chosen by Trustees in November and will start his new role in July.
Sir James enjoyed a long political career as a Conservative MP and spent two years as Minister of State for DEFRA.
In addition, Sir James is a long-standing GWCT trustee and has chaired both the Allerton Project Committee and the Lowland Research Steering Committee.
GWCT chief executive, Teresa Dent CBE, said: “Ian has been a magnificent chairman, and we have benefited a great deal from his immense knowledge and experience, as well as his passion for the countryside, game and wildlife. He has also given me huge personal support and I am very grateful.”
“While it will be very sad to see Ian go, we are delighted to welcome Sir James Paice as our new chairman. His political experience will be invaluable as our exit from the EU continues to loom so large on the horizon in terms of future policy.”
Mr Coghill, who had a 42-year career in local government before retiring, says he will be spending more time shooting and fishing.
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Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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