George Seligman

Chair of Trustees

George became a trustee and the chairman of the Wessex Rivers Trust in May 2012. He practiced for 38 years as a corporate lawyer, retiring in late 2012 from the City law firm Slaughter and May. He now farms in the Test valley. He has a strong interest in education and the environment, chairing the governors of Winchester House School in Brackley, Northamptonshire. He is also a trustee of Countryside Learning, a charity which educates inner city children about the countryside, the Wild Trout Trust, Hampshire Gardens Trust and the Wheelyboat Trust, a charity which provides boats for wheelchair users.

Zam Baring

Vice Chair of Trustees

Zam has spent the last 25 years in television, initially as a film-editor, subsequently as Managing Director and Chairman and latterly as non-Executive Director of KEO films. This independent factual production company whose varied output has won many awards and includes numberless episodes of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage series, including the ground-breaking campaigning series’ Chicken Out and Hugh’s Fish Fight. He enjoys keeping pigs and making ham from them and, having spent much of his life in and around the headwaters of the River Itchen, is passionate about conserving the country’s freshwater environment.

David Brooks


David is a Chartered Accountant in practice with an independent firm of accountants in Chandlers Ford where he is a director specialising in audit and accountancy. David qualified as an accountant in 1985 and has since then worked for large, medium-sized and small accountancy practices in London and on the South Coast. He grew up close to the Lower Test where he spend a great deal of time during his formative years. He is a keen birdwatcher and fisherman, albeit not especially proficient at the latter, as well as being very interested in wildlife and conservation in general.

Richard Wills


Richard Wills is a riparian owner on the Upper Test and has reverted the fishery to wild. He has also won awards for his recreating snipe habitat in the Test Valley and restoring grey partridge to the North Hampshire Downs. He is a keen conservationist and has been associated with the GWCT for over 20 years. He is also a Vice President of the GWCT having been a Vice Chairman and is currently hosting scientific research into the habits of non-migratory woodcock in the UK as well as benchmarking the progress on the River. He chaired a Scottish conservation body, The Applecross Trust for 20 years looking after some of Wester Ross. 

Jess Brown


Jess is a practising solicitor working in-house in the insurance sector and has extensive experience in negotiating contracts and managing risk. She has expertise in large scale service and outsourcing contracts in the UK and offshore, as well as data protection and privacy, and regulatory compliance. Outside of work Jess enjoys swimming whether in pool, river, lake or sea, pottery and gardening. 

Rae Borras


Hailing from East London, Rae founded Borras Construction in 1980. Several acquisitions later Borras Group is now one of the most successful privately owned companies in this sector. A passionate angler, having fished the canals since he was seven, Rae became captivated by the Hampshire Avon after catching his first salmon from the river. He was later to achieve a lifetime’s ambition by owning an important fishery on the same river and is now committed to the cause of promoting the welfare of the southern chalk streams and their ecosystems. Today, Rae is actively involved with TV productions associated with angling.

Vicky Reed 


Bio coming soon...

Jane Hall


For the past 30 years Jane has been a Furniture Conservator. Her areas of particular expertise are the restoration of Oriental Lacquer, gilding painted furniture and decorative finishes for some of the foremost antique dealers in the country. She has worked on many large projects including the restorations of Mansion House in the City of London and of Windsor Castle following the fire in 1992. She is a Member of ICON and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2013 she took over the running of her family estate near the New Forest.

Dr Gary Mantle MBE


For the past 27 years, Gary has been Chief Executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. He has a degree in ecology from Lancaster University and a doctorate from the Open University where he studied fish farming. He was previously Head of Urban Ecology at Greenwich University and National Officer for a government initiative called UK2000. UK2000 brought together the private, voluntary and public sector in order to tackle environmental problems. In 2000 he was awarded an MBE for services to nature conservation. Gary is also founder and President of The Sensory Trust and a Trustee of the Wild Trout Trust 

Hallam Mills


Hallam farms in the lower Avon Valley. His farm is predominantly specialist arable crops and dairy run on the New Zealand system with crossbred cows and extensive pasture-based grazing. His interest in rivers was sparked off by very early fishing expeditions in Switzerland. His respect for rivers and water generally stems from an acknowledgement that we know so little for certain about the rich habitat which they support, and he is very keen to do what he can to nurture this diversity. He is also a founder member of the Avon and Stour Riparian owners’ Association (ASRA).

Dr Rose O'Neill


Dr Rose O’Neill is Chief Executive of Campaign for National Parks, the only independent charity working to protect and enhance the 13 national parks in England and Wales. Rose has held roles in Natural England, local government and at WWF where she led the national Rivers programme. Rose helped to establish the Catchment Based Approach and was an advisor to its first chalk stream strategy, which calls for all chalk streams to be given enhanced environmental protections. Rose has a PhD in environmental science and a masters in Geochemistry and is a non executive director of water efficiency NGO Waterwise. Rose is happiest splashing about in the Meon with her two young children.

Rod Parker


Rod is an agricultural economist who started his own consulting and market research business in biotechnology after 11 years with the Battelle Memorial Institute. He is involved with the fertiliser and pesticide industries and has developed methodologies to understand the dynamics of weeds, insects and diseases in crops. He is a naturalist and fisherman and has had a rod at Wherwell on the River Test for many years.

Fiona Bowles


Having enjoyed diving whilst studying Animal and Plant Ecology at Loughborough University, Fiona then spent 34 years working for Wessex Water, managing Environmental Services and project managing their freshwater research. Her career included many years representing Wessex Water on water industry steering groups for research and national standards as well as working locally with partners on the Hampshire Avon and developing a pilot project for the new Catchment Based Approach. Fiona continues her interest in river conservation as chair of the Stour and Poole Harbour Catchment Partnerships, the River Restoration Centre and also on the Council of the Freshwater Biological Association

Clay Brendish CBE


Clay’s professional background is in the software industry, having founded Admiral plc (now part of Logica) in 1979. He is currently non-executive chairman of Anite plc and SThree plc. He is a trustee of Economist Newspapers Ltd, and a non-executive director of Herald Investment Trust plc. He was a former non-executive director of BT, and chairman of the Met Office. He is a riparian owner on the lower Test and is chairman of the Test and Itchen Association.

Dr Dave Watson CBE 


Dave spent 33 years with IBM research and development, technical, management and executive roles. He sat on the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for eight years. He was awarded a CBE in 2017 for services to Engineering and Science research. Dave’s background is in physical geography, with his PhD examining the effects of large aquatic plants on water flow in chalk streams. His fieldwork centred on the River Ebble in Wiltshire. Throughout his life he has maintained a keen interest in the geomorphology and hydrology of watercourses. He is passionate about the need to encourage good practice in catchment management. 

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