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The Top 25 Movers and Shakers from Kent Life

PUBLISHED: 16:13 24 October 2011 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013

Frazer Thompson

Frazer Thompson

They are the business people, the media moguls, the politicians and the philanthropists, the fashion and music experts, the food and wine visionaries and the sporting stars.

Amanda Cottrell

Who are you and what do you do? As Chairman of Visit Kent and board member of Visit England, a Kent Ambassador, a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent and a Trustee of Canterbury Cathedral, I get to work all over our historic county, nationally and internationally, to promote it as a tourist destination. As Vice President of the Kent Wildlife Trust and Patron of Produced in Kent, the rural agenda and the environment take centre stage, another great passion for me. I have lived in Challock for 42 years.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Raising four amazing children (all but the eldest produced in Kent!) and now watching my nine grandchildren grow; leading my amazing team at Visit Kent, and seeing the success of tourism and the increasing public awareness of its importance to the economy; and my growing friendships among Kents Sikh and Moslem communities. How would you like to be remembered? As someone who was passionate about my county, and not remotely afraid to say so as often and as loudly as possible! Eccentric? Probably, but a life of complete contentment, driven by the immeasurable love of my family and for my home.


Georgie Warner

Who are you and what do you do? I am High Sheriff of Kent and came to Kent in 1978 when my husband Charles started work in Tonbridge. We live in Brenchley and have three grown-up children.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Being only the sixth lady High Sheriff of Kent since 1059. For the past 30 years, being pro-actively involved with charities across Kent, and through my business, successfully sourcing antique furniture across Kent for clients living in Kent.

How would you like to be remembered? As High Sheriff, being a facilitator for different individuals, organisations and communities across Kent.

Richard Phillips

Who are you and what do you do? I am a chef/restaurateur/TV chef. I opened my first Kent restaurant, Thackerays in Tunbridge Wells, 10 years ago and now have three other restaurants. I live near Hollingbourne with my wife and twins.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? I have bought four restaurants serving great food and backing local Kent producers. I spend a lot of time with colleges and schools to bring awareness to the catering industry and to Kent, and also do a lot for Kent charities.

How would you like to be remembered? Hard working, honest, truly passionate about the restaurant industry and Kent. But most of all as a great husband, dad and son.


Tom Hart Dyke

Who are you and what do you do? Im a modern-day plant hunter and curator of Lullingstone Castles World Garden. I live in the Tudor Gatehouse and have been here all my life. As a plant hunter, I go to far-flung, horticulturally endowed corners of the globe to bring back new and interesting plants. The World Garden will be the only place to have 10,000 different types of plants (taxa) in such a small space (1.5 acres). We are already at 6,500.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Wining the British Tourism Award 2005 for the UKs best start-up tourist attraction, the year the World Garden was established. Making people aware of the wonderful diversity of native orchids we have in Kent. Taking part in Kents biggest annual flower show in May at Detling and winning two platinums and one gold medal in the past three years!

How would you like to be remembered? As somebody who got young people interested in plants, and as a result to take better care of the natural world.


Paula Fry

Who are you and what do you do? Im a stylist, writer, fashionista, occasional broadcaster and mother of two teenagers. I own and run Love Is Boutique in Tunbridge Wells, a designer dress agency and vintage boutique. I have lived in Kent since 1988 after moving from Wigan at 18. I met my husband in Corfu while on holiday and we both left home and settled in Tunbridge Wells together.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Opening my boutique in Church Road has been a major change in my life and has filled a gaping hole in Kent for something a little different. Customers now travel from all over the county and country to visit us. We have amazing stock and our service and attention to detail is vital to our brand. We were chosen from many businesses for a Channel 4 documentary that will be aired next spring and will feature in a tapestry by Turner prize winner Grayson Perry. I also raise money for various charities in Kent by arranging amazing events like our Magpies Fabulous Vintage Fair.

How would you like to be remembered? It was her fashion addiction that killed her: sadly her wardrobe fell on top of her.


Carol Lynch

Who are you and what do you do? I am ceo of Kent Community Foundation, a Kent-wide charity that connects people who care with local causes that really matter. I moved to Kent seven years ago and live in Kings Hill with my family.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Supporting hundreds of wonderful Kent charities and community groups, helping create grassroots endowment funds of nearly 4m for Kent and everyday things like helping a family with a disabled child

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who made things happen, not just treating symptoms, but actually helping change peoples lives. The riots this summer brought into sharp focus the importance of strengthening community and breaking the cycle of disadvantage, social exclusion and disengagement.


Clive Emson

What do you do? Im a property auctioneer based in Maidstone and have lived in Kent since 1950. Im married to Sue and have a daughter, son and four grandchildren. I am an honoured Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents and a Fellow of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers. I am a member of the joint RICS/NAVA National Auctioneering panel.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Developing an eponymous firm of land and property auctioneers which is now in the top five in the UK. I am Chairman of the Young Lives Foundation, President of Playing for Success (Kent), Trustee of the TFM Childrens Charitable Trust and an Ambassador for Kent. I have conducted many charity auctions and helped raise over 5m for charitable causes in Kent.

How would you like to be remembered? The Kent auctioneer and raconteur with a ready wit and a desire to make things happen


Simon Hume-Kendall

Who are you and what do you do? I am a shipowner, landowner and financier. I live with my wife Helen and three sons at Hook Place, on Bewl Water, and apart from time at university and overseas, have been in Kent for 47 years.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Buying Chapel Down Vineyards, bringing them back from the dead and persuading Frazer Thompson to take over the running of English Wines Group. Buying Bewl Water and restoring it as a leading trout fishery. Winning Kent Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 and most of all, for something I infuriatingly cannot yet reveal!

How would you like to be remembered? For the fun and happiness I have brought into the lives of my friends and family, for my involvement in transforming the trout fishing at Bewl Water, and creating the fabulous Lamberhurst Bacchus Reserve.


Greg Clark

Who are you and what do you do? I have been the Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells since 2005.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Over the last six years, I am pleased that we succeeded in getting the new Pembury Hospital built. It opened fully in September and wards in wooden huts have been replaced with one of the best healthcare centres in the country.

Through pressure on the authorities a major rethink in child mental health services in West Kent has happened, with quick referrals, and an extra 0.75m investment in these vital services.

When I was first elected, I brought in a Private Members Bill to give local people the power to decide whether or not gardens should be built on. One of my first acts as a Minister in the new Government was to stop garden-grabbing being forced on local people.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who has always worked hard for every one of my constituents, regardless of politics.


Victoria Pomery

Who are you and what do you do? Im Director of the Turner Contemporary and came to Kent in 2002 when I took up the post. I live in Ramsgate and work in Margate. I love living in East Kent and am a huge fan of the county.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Im extremely proud that Kent now has a world-class gallery and the leading role I have played in its development. Turner Contemporary has been phenomenally successful since opening in April and is already transforming Margate, making it once again very much back on the map.

How would you like to be remembered? I am not sure that Ill be remembered, but I am certain that Turner Contemporary will be bringing fantastic art to Margate and making it available to everyone for years to come.


Alastair Jessel

Who are you and what do you do? I own Taywell Ice Creams, Taywell Farm Shop, Taywell Composting, Wayaspect (a commercial property business) and a new Internet business, Dinnerfriends. I live in Sissinghurst and, apart from an eight-year spell in London, have lived in Kent all my life.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? I have helped keep entrepreneurial activity alive, created rural jobs where none existed before and built businesses that play to the strengths of Kent (its fruit and its proximity to London). How would you like to be remembered? For the businesses I have created, not necessarily for the person I am. I love creating a team that works well together, has a lot of laughs, grows the business and is proud of what they have achieved and of the company they work for.


Rachel Holweger

Who are you and what do you do? Im Fundraising Director at Hospice in the Weald and have lived in Kent for 15 years with my husband Mark and our two daughters.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Encouraging and working with people in Kent to contribute to their community in whatever capacity they can. Increasing business engagement and involvement in Kent charities by organising events such as the Red 8 corporate dinner. Raising the profile and awareness of the Hospice and the important work it does.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who made the most of every opportunity, both at work and personally, and lived life to the full.

The Top 25 Movers and Shakers from Kent Life

They are the business people, the media moguls, the politicians and the philanthropists, the fashion and music experts, the food and wine visionaries and the sporting stars. They look after our leisure time and our spititual growth, they shape our appreciation of the arts, our gardens and our heritage. They are 25 men and women hand picked by Editor Sarah Sturt for their impact on our lives in Kent Pictures by Manu Palomeque, Barry Duffield, Ady Kerry & Tim Ashley


Viscount De LIsle, MBE

Who are you and what do you do? I am Philip Sidney, a former Army officer and for the past 32 years I have run Penshurst Place estate, my familys home near Tonbridge, since 1552. My wife Isobel and I have two children. I became the 29th Lord Lieutenant of Kent on 1 September this year and in my previous role as Vice Lord Lieutenant was part of the team who modernised the Lieutenancy under Allan Willetts leadership.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? As Kents new Lord Lieutenant I prefer to state my three main aspirations: to encourage greater support for our Armed Forces; to work closely with Kents wonderful army of volunteers, and to cooperate with all agencies involved to ensure our children can find work best suited to their set of skills.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who encouraged our young people to realise their full potential, and, as Chairman of Trustees of the Canterbury Cathedral Gift, helped secure that iconic institutions future.


Archbishop of Canterbury

Who are you and what do you do? I am Rowan Williams and as Archbishop of Canterbury, have been associated with Kent since 2002. Though a great deal of my time is spent in London, I am in Kent often to visit local communities and parish churches and to spend time in and around the Cathedral.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? I feel proud of my association with Christ Church University in Canterbury, as its first Chancellor. I also value the contacts Ive had in Canterbury and elsewhere with projects for the homeless, especially through the Scrine Foundation and Porchlight. Also my wife and I have been involved with raising funds for young carers in Kent, a group thats too often forgotten.

How would you like to be remembered? As an Archbishop who loved both the peace and the buzzof local communities here.


Dame Kelly Holmes

Who are you and what do you do? I am winner of two Olympic Gold medals and 10 other world-class Championship medals. I am a motivational speaker, run mentoring and education programmes and brand development. I was born in Pembury and raised in Hildenborough, where I still live.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? My success at the Olympics brought pride to Kent, putting Tonbridge and Hildenborough on the map during my homecoming parade. Ive run numerous athletics performance days for local schools and athletes and have visited many schools around the county to help inspire young and old with my motivation and determination to succeed.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone from humble beginnings with the determination and dedication to fulfil her aspirations yet who kept her feet on the ground. Who valued the family and community that helped support her to achieve her childhood dream.

George Jessel

What do you do? I am Chairman of the Kent County Agricultural Society and farm 1,200 acres of arable and pasture in partnership with my father Sir Charles Jessel. I live in East Brabourne with my wife Vicki and our two children.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Being appointed a Deputy Lieutenant, thereby becoming more closely involved in the county and seeing at first hand the amazing achievements of our volunteer community. Raising the profile of the Kent County Agricultural Society to include the largest single event centre in the county. Running a successful diversified farming operation within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

How would you like to be remembered? As a man who brings light into a room!

Jason Dormon

Who are you and what do you do? I have lived in Tunbridge Wells all my life and have run The Forum, the towns music and arts venue, for 19 years and more recently The Ragged Trousers, Duke of York and Sussex Arms in the Pantiles. Im a founder member of Joeyfat and Unlabel.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? My friends and I had to travel to see up and coming bands as major artists didnt come to the area. We have changed that at The Forum, with acts over the years ranging from Oasis and Coldplay to three of this years Mercury Music prize nominees. Providing a space for young local talent to rehearse, perform and support major acts. Making The Independent on Sundays Top 100 Happy List for 2010, the antidote to the Rich List.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who had a go and tried to make a difference, no matter how small.


Graham Webb

Who are you and what do you do? I am an author (of my autobiography, Out Of The Bottle), an international speaker and entrepreneur. I am owner of The Webb Press Ltd and married to Mandy, we have four children, all musicians, and two grandsons. I opened my first hairdressing salon in my early twenties and launched the Graham Webb hair product range in 1991, selling it to Wella in 2001.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Raising large sums for Kent charities, including NSPCC Kent Full Stop Appeal, Save the Children, Hattie Webb House and the Kent Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Receiving the MBE for services to business, and charity work in Kent. As Chairman, transforming the Kent branch of the Institute of Directors, which became a role model for the rest of the UK.

How would you like to be remembered? As a fun dad and a person of integrity and kindness who overcame challenging disabilities and proved that it is possible to reach ones dreams.

Peter Williams

Who are you and what do you do? Im a Welshman who came to Kent on a six-month contract 40 years ago as the first Dover-based reporter on ITVs magazine programme Day by Day. Joined Thames Television, moved to the BBC and, later, to TVS at the new Maidstone Studios. Most happily married to Jo.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Helping revive the Canterbury Festival 30 years ago, chairing it for 21 years (Im now president) and, as chair of the New Marlowe Theatre Development Trust, reaching our fund-raising target to create the new Marlowe Theatre on time and on budget. Helping to form the Canterbury Conservation Advisory Committee; and championing truly local TV.

How would you like to be remembered? As chair of Viridor Environmental Trust (Kent), I went to the opening of a Querns Community centre, which wed part-funded, in a difficult area of Canterbury. Maureen had chaired the communitys enormous effort. Rightly, they praised her. She would have none of it, saying: I got here on the shoulders of giants. Thatll do me.


Sandra Matthews-Marsh

Who are you and what do you do? I am ceo of Visit Kent and work as part of the Visit Kent partnership to support Kents visitor economy with over 63,000 jobs and over 3,000 SMEs; tourism is worth in excess of 3.2bn to the county. The best part of the job is that it involves the biggest of blue chip businesses, from Eurotunnel and P&O Ferries, to the essential smaller businesses and volunteers, like the Kent Greeters. Ive been in Kent 12 years and we recently moved to Faversham.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Creating a great team, now one of the UKs most highly regarded Destination Management Organisations. Running a sustainable small business. Collaborating with the family of businesses to see tourism in Kent grow by 10 per cent in the last four years.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who worked very hard to deliver results and made good friends along the way.


Frazer Thompson

Who are you and what do you do? Im ceo of Chapel Down Wines, Englands leading producer, based at Tenterden. Ive been here 10 years and now live in Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse with my wife Susan and three sons. Its as good as it sounds. I started my marketing career with Denby Coloroll, before joining Whitbread Inns in the north. I was Chairman of IoD Kent 2006-2009 and Im also a Kent Ambassador.

Your three proudest achievements in Kent? Transforming opinions about English wine forever. Building a wonderful team at Chapel Down and creating a brand of which Kent can be proud.

How would you like to be remembered? Decent, honest, loyal and fair. Occasionally inspirational. Good to be with. And someone who tried to go to bed each night a little less stupid than he was in the morning.


Julian Barnes

Who are you and what do you do? Im the owner and managing director of Biddenden Vineyards, which includes the production of Biddenden Cider. Ive lived and worked in Kent all my life, having left school at 15 to work on the family farm, which grew apples before diversification to vines.
Your three proudest achievements in Kent? I am proud to have grown up within the county and produced a brand in Biddenden which is recognised for its local approach not only to its customers but also its staff and where it sits within the county. I have played a part in the formative years of Produced in Kent, the countys food group, and am also an active member of the tourist sector in Kent.

How would you like to be remembered? Overall sticking with the plan.


Mark Lumsdon-Taylor


What do you do?
I came to Kent 10 years ago as a financial and recovery consultant
to Hadlow College and stayed on as group finance director. I divide my time between Hadlow and Whitstable.
Your three proudest achievements in Kent?
Being part of a fantastic team which transformed Hadlow into one of the UKs top colleges. Creating initiatives such as Fresh Start, which raise awareness of rural employment opportunities among young people, and creating a model for bringing commerciality into public sector and charitable organisations in Kent.


How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who did things a little differently and as a good egg (I hope!).


Geraldine Allinson


Who are you and what do you do?
Im Chairman of the Kent Messenger Group, Im a Kentish Maid, married to Rupert and we have two children.
Your three proudest achievements in Kent? As a Kent Air Ambulance trustee, helping to agree the strategy to put doctors on board. It took time and there were difficulties in achieving it, but we did it. The Kent Walk to School Campaign, now in its 11th year, is also a passion of mine: during the last school year 230,000 school runs were removed from Kent roads by this community collaboration. And its a big achievement that KM has managed to adapt and innovate during challenging times, remains an independent family owned business and continues to serve the people of Kent through our different media.


How would you like to be remembered? Hopefully, fondly as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend who also did her best for the people she worked with and loved the uniqueness of Kent.


David Philpott

Who are you and what do you do?
I live in Ashfordwith my wife Karan. Ive been back in Kent since 2003, when I became ceo of Kent Air Ambulance. Now I run my own outsourced management and marketing consultancy and combine this with my role as Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Kent.
Your three proudest achievements?
Naming a helicopter after KAAs pioneering founder Kate Chivers. Helping make Kent the UKs most successful IoD branch. Being asked to be a Kent Ambassador.
How would you like to be remembered? David who?

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