Fellows of the Fund

The first Fellows of The Royal Countryside Fund were named in December 2021, recognising the significant contributions made by former trustees and supporters of the RCF. Subsequent Fellows are announced at the charity’s December board meeting.

Named by the board, Fellows will be drawn from previous trustees who have been proactive in their support of the Fund, and from those individuals judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the work of the Fund. 

L-R: Keith Halstead (Executive Director), Mark Pendlington, Lord Curry (Chair), Stephen Dunmore OBE, Mark Allen OBE

Fellows of the Fund

Mark Allen OBE

Mark was Chair of The Prince’s Rural Action Programme Leadership Team and Chair of The Prince’s Dairy Initiative, which was in itself enormously successful when the dairy sector was going through a major crisis and it was the foundation on which The Farm Resilience Programme was built.

Mark became a Trustee of the RCF in 2010, securing Dairy Crest as a Founding Corporate Partner. Through The Prince’s Dairy Initiative Mark successfully secured the engagement of 18 milk processors and the tremendous industry collaboration that was the driving force of the programme. He subsequently worked tirelessly to engage other corporate partners and was a huge asset to the fundraising of the charity.

Sara Bennison

Sara Bennison first joined the RCF as a Trustee in 2011 whilst in her role of CMO at Barclays. Through this Sara was hugely influential in developing the RCF’s cause related marketing model that set the charity off to such a flying start. Over the years, Sara has benefitted the charity through her extensive knowledge of branding and marketing, most recently supporting the RCF in their 2021 rebrand.

Throughout her time as a Trustee, Sara was heavily involved in the RCF’s grant programme, donating a huge amount of her time in assessing hundreds of grant applications and bringing a wealth of expertise professionally around good governance but also personally through her own experience of living in rural Wales. Since stepping down as a Trustee, Sara has kindly agreed to continue to sit on the RCF’s Grant Sub-Committee as an Ex Officio member.

Lord Curry of Kirkharle CBE

Lord Curry initially joined The Royal Countryside Fund as a Trustee when the charity was founded in April 2010, before being appointed Chairman in March 2016. He stepped down from this role in December 2021.

In joining the RCF Board Lord Curry brought a wealth of knowledge about agricultural issues and farming, and under his tenure as Chair RCF’s work in the farming sector flourished. This includes our initial research into the future of Family Farms leading to the development of our Farm Resilience Programme and more recently the PCF’s Defra funded Farm for the Future programme.

Lord Curry was also responsible for setting up the Farming Help Partnership to bring together the different farming help charities, and through his support and convening the RCF has been able to work much more closely with this group of affiliated charities creating a consolidated and better quality offer of support for all rural communities and farmers.

Stephen Dunmore OBE

Stephen was a Trustee of The Royal Countryside Fund from 2010 until 2017. Throughout his tenure he was a dedicated Chairman of the Grant subcommittee and led on the charity’s grant giving programme. Stephen kindly agreed to stay on as Chair of the subcommittee following his departure as a member of the Board, until 2021 continuing to provide RCF with his invaluable experience in charitable grant giving.

Stephen’s expertise, wisdom and experience put the charity on a strong footing from the start. 

Mark Pendlington

Mark sat as a Trustee of The Royal Countryside Fund from 2015 to December 2018 having previously been a longstanding and dedicated member of The Prince’s Rural Action Programme Leadership Team whilst in his role at Anglian Water. 

Once a member of the RCF Board of Trustees, Mark led on the fundraising strategy in the East of England, securing the offer of a cultivation event at Newmarket Racecourse.

Tireless in his work for the Fund even after leaving the Board of Trustees Mark has continues to build important connections for the Fund in East Anglia and is still hugely helpful and energetic.

Lord Mark Price

Lord Price was instrumental in setting up The Royal Countryside Fund with HM King Charles III while he was The Prince of Wales in 2010, and put his heart and soul into creating the charity when others had failed before.

Lord Price was the Founding Chairman and led on the development of the cause related marketing model that has been the driving force behind our fundraising. Lord Price personally secured a great number of our founding corporate partnerships, not least securing the relationship with Waitrose that has now lasted over a decade. It was his personal energy and commitment that ensured the RCF’s success.