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Chichester Harbour Trust Bids Fond Farewell to Chairman

Patrons, trustees and supporters of the Chichester Harbour Trust gathered at Bosham Sailing Club to celebrate the retirement of Chairman John Nelson, and to welcome Nick Backhouse to the helm. Special guests included His Grace the Duke of Richmond, Dame Susan Pyper D.C.V.O, Georgina Duchess of Norfolk, and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson.

In tribute to his 11 years as Chairman, Nick Backhouse said, “John leaves a remarkable legacy in the Harbour, testament to his drive, determination and commitment to protecting this unique and beautiful place for the future. But it’s not just what John has done, it is the way he’s done it - with his quintessential sense of humour, his kindness, his trademark laugh, all the time carrying the huge respect of all those around him.”

Nick celebrated the achievements of the Trust during John’s 11-year tenure, including raising £2.28m in funds to acquire five sites in this time, taking the Trust’s total land holding to 15 properties with over 375 acres now in its stewardship. This land will now be protected forever, helping to conserve the special landscape of the Chichester Harbour National Landscape for future generations.

Looking to the future, Nick said, “I’m absolutely honoured to be taking over as Chair and I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead. But the next stage of the journey is going to be difficult. Our special purpose will matter more than ever. The Harbour is under very great pressure - from climate change, rising sea levels, housing development, coastal squeeze, under-investment in infrastructure, water pollution, nitrate runoff. The challenge is huge, but it’s not insurmountable and together, we will meet it”.

In a surprise presentation to John Nelson, Ann Briggs, Chair of Chichester Harbour Conservancy presented him with the Freedom of the Harbour award, recognising his outstanding contribution to the Harbour. Matt Briers, the Conservancy’s CEO, presented the coveted burgee to accompany this award.

In response, John told supporters that it has been a huge privilege to chair the Chichester Harbour Trust. He has hugely enjoyed his time as Chairman, leading the charity through challenging times for the Harbour, not least through tail end of the financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. Working in collaboration with partners, stakeholders and communities the Trust has played a pivotal role in speaking up for the Harbour and John looks forward to cheering on in the future in his new role as Patron of the Trust.

Photograph supplied c. Peter Arnold.

Caption L-R: Nicky Horter, Nigel Atkinson, Georgina Duchess of Norfolk, Dame Susan Pyper, John Nelson, Harriet Patterson, the Duke of Richmond, Nick Backhouse.

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