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. 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 spent the first 25 years of his working life making television programmes in a variety of different roles from film-editor to managing director. For the last eight years he has been producing award-winning English sparkling wines with his three siblings from a vineyard planted on land the family have owned for generations. Having spent much of his childhood in and around the headwaters of the River Itchen he is passionate about helping to conserve the country’s freshwater environment.

Rose O'Neil

Vice Chair of Trustees

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. Rose is happiest splashing about in the Meon with her two young children.

Vicky Reed


Vicky is a committee member of The Valley Gardeners, and a keen gardener herself.
She owns and manages a stretch of The Upper Itchen and is also a Board member of The Test and Itchen Association.
Fishing and horse racing are her passions and she is a member of two jump racing syndicates. 

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.

Mark Potter


Mark’s professional background is within communications, he has held senior executive positions within regulators, charities, social enterprises, and the civil service for the last 15+ years. He grew up in North Yorkshire and now lives adjacent to the River Meon, with his young family.

Mark holds FRSA (Royal Society of Arts), MCIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations), studied International Relations at Birkbeck, University of London (CertHE) and Conflict and Development at SOAS (Cert). He is a passionate musician and performer, playing drums, percussion, guitar and singing. 

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


After 33 years, Gary has recently retired as 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 worked for a government initiative called UK2000. 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).

Philip Leonard


Philip initially qualified and practiced as an intellectual property lawyer. He then ran safaris in Nepal and Zambia, before working as a consultant for the World Bank in Tanzania. For the last 18 years Philip has worked for WWF with a focus on funding, supporting and managing large freshwater projects around the world. Now as Deputy Global Lead for Freshwater for WWF International, Philip brings international experience and solutions to address the threats, and opportunities, facing Wessex’s rivers.

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 spent 40 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, and developing the new Catchment Based Approach in Dorset. Fiona continues her interest in river and catchment restoration with the CABA National support group, as vice chair of the River Restoration Centre and with various specialist river charities and research organisations.

Jonathan Durrant


Jonathan studied fishery management and fish farming at the Hampshire Collage of Agriculture, now Sparsholt Collage. He has been a director and fishery manager of Timsbury Fishery Limited for 35 years. Jonathan is the Chairman of the Test & Itchen Association and has sat on a verity of Environment Agency Committees. Jonathan has been a director of recreational salmon fishing business in Ireland. He has always taken a strong interest in the environment and the natural world and has a particular interest in green and renewable energy sector.

Jonathan has had a variety of roles away from the Countryside including chairman of Winchester Cathedrals enterprise company for 12 years a presiding Justice in the Magistrates Court and Youth Court for 30 years and he writes for the Trout and Salmon magazine.

Tim Sykes 


An ecologist with several wildlife trusts and now the Environment Agency, Tim is passionate about the conservation of our native wildlife, our landscape, and natural processes, for its own intrinsic value, because it makes life worth living and because it makes life possible. An optimist, famed for his passion and enthusiasm, he is an award-winning chalk stream champion. Tim is also a part-time post graduate research student at the University of Southampton, exploring our deep relationships with chalk stream winterbournes in their naturally flowing, ponding, and drying phases, particularly intrinsic and relational values, through participatory methods. He tweets @RiversandPeople

David Brookes


David is a retired Chartered Accountant previously practicing with an independent firm of accountants in Chandlers Ford as 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.  

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