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Philip has been the driving force in re-discovering and restoring the historic estate at Hestercombe having first recognised the remains of the then derelict eighteenth century Landscape Garden in 1991 during his lunch breaks, when working in his role as a wildlife conservation officer based at Hestercombe House.

Philip mortgaged his own house to pay for work to restore the important site, formed the Hestercombe Gardens Trust and opened the garden to the public in 1997. Now, more than thirty years later, the Landscape Garden sits proudly among four centuries of complete period gardens including the world famous Edwardian Garden, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and planted by Gertrude Jekyll; the Victorian Terrace and Shrubbery and the recently restored early seventeenth century Water Garden.

Philip's achievements in restoring the foremost historic garden site in the country, reuniting the gardens with the house and historic landscape as well as creating archives and collections, including the national Parks & Gardens Database, together with a nationally acclaimed contemporary art gallery, have laid the foundations for Hestercombe as a national centre for arts, culture and landscape.

In 2013 Philip was honoured with an MBE for ‘services to historic garden restoration’.

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Philip White MBE, says: ‘When I began to notice evidence of what was eventually revealed to have once been an eighteenth century designed landscape, I became consumed by the idea of restoring the garden to its original glory. I could never have imagined when I started how Hestercombe would continue to develop and my original enthusiasm for this extraordinary place has never dimmed. Ideally, a new Chief Executive will be found for the brilliant team at Hestercombe who will share my passion for the vision and will continue to take it forward with the drive and determination Hestercombe deserves.’

Sir Andrew Burns KCMG, President of Hestercombe Gardens Trust, says: ‘My admiration for what Philip White has achieved at Hestercombe is unbounded. Without his charisma, charm, imagination, hard work, intellectual rigour and perseverance, we should never have been able to rescue Hestercombe from decades of neglect and turn it into one of the top garden attractions in the country. The decision of the National Heritage Memorial Fund to make a major grant towards the reunification of the landscape was a national vote of confidence in the vision which Philip has pursued so persistently over so many years.’

Philip White will remain as Chief Executive of Hestercombe Gardens Trust to manage a transition of leadership to a new Chief Executive during the coming twelve months.

Hestercombe Gardens aerial Pawel Borowski DJI 0038

FURTHER INFORMATION

To contact the Press Office please email press@hestercombe.com.

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