Honoured for dedicated service at Benmore

More than 30 years of outstanding contribution to the work of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) – and almost 25 specifically dedicated to Benmore Botanic Garden – has been honoured with a day of celebration and recognition for Sir Peter Hutchison Bt. CBE FRSE.

As chairman of the Younger (Benmore) Trust (YBT) from 1993 to 2017, Sir Peter oversaw such significant incentives as the stabilisation and eventual full restoration for the Garden’s unique Victorian Fernery. He drove fundraising efforts for global research and conservation initiatives such as the International Conifer Conservation Project and supported major plantings including the Chilean Rainforest at Benmore, now a significant feature.

Curator Peter Baxter explained: “With Sir Peter as chairman the Trust supported so many initiatives. These included funding a significant number of exhibitions and schools’ weeks to interpretation and an ongoing programme of overseas fieldwork. The largest project was the restoration of the fernery, while another substantial development was the conversion of the Courtyard Sawmill into the Courtyard Gallery. This transformed the way the Garden interacts with its visitors by providing a multifunctional space which can be used for education, exhibitions, illustrated talks, meetings and other events.”

Appropriately it was in the Courtyard Gallery that Sir Alastair Muir Russell KCB DL FRSE, current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of RBGE presented the prestigious Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Medal, currently held by only five people, as a token of respect and thanks from the organisation.

Sir Muir told the gathering: “A distinguished businessman, botanist and traveller, Sir Peter Hutchison’s accomplishments range from chairing the first Board of Trustees and the Younger (Benmore) Trust to significant horticultural achievements through plant exploration and active involvement with a wide range of groups. This award is hugely well merited.”

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)