The Prince’s Countryside Fund welcomes new Chair

January 20, 2022

The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) has appointed Heather Hancock LVO, DL, Master of St John’s College, Cambridge as its new Chair of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Lord Curry of Kirkharle CBE who has stepped down after over a decade on the PCF Board.

Heather Hancock has a distinguished record of working with and championing the needs of farming and rural communities, including as Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and more recently as Chair of the Food Standards Agency.  She was closely involved in HRH The Prince of Wales’ Rural Revival Initiative, and as a Trustee of The Prince’s Trust helped to drive support for young people in rural areas.  Heather chaired the BBC’s Rural Affairs Committee, and subsequently delivered an independent report to the BBC Trustees on bias and impartiality in their rural affairs coverage.  Her executive career began in the public sector before joining Deloitte LLP,  where she was a UK Managing Partner and part of the firm’s global senior leadership.

Heather said: “I’ve long admired The Prince’s Countryside Fund.  It truly understands the people who look after the countryside.  That means its advice and support is practical and focussed on helping to secure a sustainable future for families who farm and for rural communities. It’s a privilege to chair the PCF at a time when it has never felt more important to champion the people who are the future of rural Britain.”

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of the PCF said: “I offer my congratulations to Heather and I am delighted to welcome her as Chair.  Heather joins us at a pivotal time, as rural communities emerge from the impact of the pandemic and as agriculture faces the most significant reforms in living memory. Through Heather’s experience she will make a major contribution to the PCF which will enable us to deliver our ambitious programmes of support to ensure farming and rural communities emerge from this time stronger and more resilient for the future. All of us at the PCF look forward to working with Heather.”

Lord Curry, who retired as Chair in December 2020, was a founding trustee of the PCF and guided many of the PCF’s endeavours including The Prince’s Dairy Initiative which, in 2016, evolved into what is now the highly successful Farm Resilience Programme. Thanking him for his exceptional contribution to the charity, Rob Collins, Vice Chair of the PCF said: “I know how much all of us at the PCF have appreciated Lord Curry’s wise counsel and guidance but also the depth of his knowledge and passion for our continuing purpose which is quite phenomenal”.

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of the PCF added: “I want to extend the charity’s heartfelt thanks to Lord Curry for his dedication and long service to the PCF. His extensive leadership experience and insight into the challenges facing farming and rural communities and the solutions to them have been invaluable in steering the direction of the charity, particularly during his time as Chair over the past five years.