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A New Director for the West Horsley Place Trust

Published on: 13 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 15 Jul, 2020

West Horsley Place

The West Horsley Place Trust has announced that Ben Pearce has been appointed as the charity’s new director. He will take up his appointment in September.

West Horsley Place is an ancient estate separating situated between the villages of West and East Horsley. The Grade I listed manor house with a walled garden set in five acres of walled gardens, dates back to the 15th century. It has passed through the hands of owners including Henry VIII, Carew Raleigh and Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

Bamber Gascoigne in the library at West Horsley Place.

In 2014, historian and TV personality Bamber Gascoigne inherited it and, in order to give the house and estate a new life, offered West Horsley Place to the Mary Roxburghe Trust.

New director Ben Pearce was previously executive director of Paintings in Hospitals, a national charity and before that project director at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), developing and leading a National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.

Also on his CV is leading a London 2012 Olympics host-boroughs project as part of “High Street 2012”, which saw the conservation and redevelopment of 120 historic commercial buildings and included a heritage, culture and community grants programme and a summer festival.

Ben Pearce

Ben Pearce will succeed Peter Pearce, who retired as Director on May 31, 2020 having been appointed as the West Horsley Place Trust’s first director in spring 2016.

Adrian Lajtha, Chairman of the West Horsley Place Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ben Pearce as the new Director of the West Horsley Place Trust.  Ben brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated success in leading pioneering heritage projects and arts programmes for wellbeing, and we are greatly looking forward to Ben leading the next important stage in the exciting development of the Trust.”

“Also, I want to convey on behalf of all of my fellow trustees our deep thanks to Peter Pearce, our first Director, who has worked so effectively and tirelessly to launch the Trust on its ambitious journey towards restoring West Horsley Place and making it a place of welcome for the community.”

Ben Pearce said: “I am thrilled to be joining the West Horsley Place Trust. I am passionate about heritage and the arts and know how important they can be for our wellbeing.  From the moment I heard about what was being planned here, I wanted to play a part in seeing the exciting vision for this beautiful building and estate realised. At this unprecedented time, there will clearly be many challenges – but West Horsley Place can be part of the recovery.”

Peter Pearce said: “I am delighted to be handing over to such an accomplished successor as Ben, with whom I am honoured to share a name although we are not related.  It has been a huge privilege to be the first director of the trust created by the vision and philanthropy of Bamber and Christina Gascoigne, and I thank the trustees for giving me such an opportunity. I now hand over the baton to Ben to carry forward our partnerships and programmes on the foundations we have laid, and to continue the long term programme of restoration.”

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