The Castle and Gardens of Mey - The Queen Mother's Home in Caithness
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The Friends and Patrons of the Castle and Gardens of Mey

Honorary Patrons
Among the many supporters of the Castle of Mey are the following Honorary Patrons:

HE Mahfouz bin Mahfouz
Alan Titchmarsh
Lady Elizabeth Anson
Kinnaird Estate
Susan Hampshire
Ken Bruce
Kirsty King
Justerini and Brooks

HE Mahfouz bin Mahfouz

His Excellency Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz is a Saudi Arabian businessman and philanthropist living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the United Kingdom. In recent years he was elected a Foundation Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Oxford. The Fellowship includes HM Abdullah II, King of Jordan and HRH Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia. He was also elected a Member of both the Vice-Chancellors Circle of the University of Oxford and the Vice-Chancellors Circle of the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow (Life) of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, known as the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He became the first Bredon Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He has a particular interest in the architecture and history of Scotland, hence his valued support for the Castle and Gardens of Mey.

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh was the Castle of Mey's first Honorary Patron.

Alan Titchmarsh was born and brought up on the edge of Ilkley Moor and started growing things at the age of ten in his parents' back garden. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice gardener in the local nursery, following this with full-time training at horticultural college and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Alan was the main presenter of Gardeners' World and the hugely popular Ground Force, and has also presented How To Be A Gardener, British Isles - A Natural History and The 20th Century Roadshow. He writes regularly in BBC Gardeners' World Magazine and Radio Times, as well as being gardening correspondent of The Daily Express and Sunday Express. Alan has written almost forty gardening books - his latest, The Gardener's Year, accompanying a forthcoming new television series, has just been published - a new Christmas anthology, Fill My Stocking, five novels and his memoirs. A sixth novel will be published in August 2006.

The Castle of Mey is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite Royal Garden. It thrives, thanks to the great love and attention it is given, in spite of the elements in its most northerly position on the British mainland. Visiting the Castle of Mey the first thing that strikes you is that this is a much-loved home, vibrant with happy memories. It is everyone's idea of a magical fairytale castle. As Honorary Patron of the Friends of the Castle of Mey I take great pride in being part of the Friends who ensure that the Castle of Mey retains its unique and special atmosphere - as if The Queen Mother has just stepped out.

Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL

Lady Elizabeth Anson

Lady Elizabeth Anson became an Honorary Patron of the Castle Mey in 2006. Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of the late Viscount Anson and the late HH Princess Anne of Denmark. She is a cousin of The Queen, a niece of the late Queen Mother, and the late King George VI was her Godfather. She had one brother, the late Earl of Lichfield. Lady Elizabeth was educated in England and France. She married Sir Geoffrey Shakerley on 27 July 1972 in Westminster Abbey, and Princess Anne was her bridesmaid. Lady Elizabeth and Sir Geoffrey have one daughter.

Lady Elizabeth Anson runs Party Planners, the first and longest running such company which has built up a reputation over the years for the organisation of events from tea parties to large dances, weddings and corporate events.

I am very honoured to be an honorary patron to the Friends of the Castle of Mey.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a woman of tremendous foresight, and it was her idea to place the Castle of Mey in trust well before she died.

She would have wanted the castle to be maintained to her own high standards and expectations, as it was so close to her heart.

It was always her aim to encourage the public to enjoy the Castle of Mey and the surrounding region of Caithness. She always enjoyed the natural beauty of the surrounding area, her home at the Castle of Mey and the community.

Lady Elizabeth Anson

Kinnaird Estate

Kinnaird became an Honorary Patron of the Castle of Mey in 2006 and was delighted to host the launch of the Friends of the Castle of Mey at the Chelsea Flower Show on 22 May in its garden, (A Highland Retreat). Kinnaird has a long association with the Castle of Mey and the Trustees over the years and boasts its own spectacular gardens and scenery in Perthshire.

One of Scotland's most unique hotels, Kinnaird sits in the beautiful wooded valley of the Tay. Once a family home, Kinnaird remains in the Ward family today. Under the careful direction of Mrs Constance Ward, her General Manager, James Payne, a warm and welcoming atmosphere awaits you from the loyal and attentive staff who genuinely care about the comfort of their guests.

A small intimate house set on its on 7,000 acres sporting estate. Not only does it offer a wide range of sporting opportunities, but perhaps more importantly, it ensures that guests have complete privacy. The house which dates back to the 1770s, has been furnished almost entirely with fine and rare pieces of antique furniture, china and pictures. Accommodation consists of nine bedrooms, individually decorated, two stylish cottages situated in the Courtyard, just few minutes walk from the main house and a further four comfortable cottages situated around the estate.

With three lochs and five miles of the River Tay running through the estate, the salmon fishing and outdoor pursuits offered to guests are excellent. For further information visit or call +44 (0) 1796 482440 and remember to mention you are a Friend or Patron.

Susan Hampshire,

Susan was one of the first supporters to join the Friends of the Castle of Mey and helped launch the Friends of the Castle of Mey at the Chelsea Flower Show on 22 May 2006.

This is a project very dear to my heart, as I love Scotland (and have had so many happy years living and working there). I am very proud to become an Honorary Patron of the Friends of the Castle of Mey.

When the late Queen Mother saw the Castle for the very first time it was a ruin and she felt passionately that it should be saved, as it was a part of Scotland's heritage.

It would be wonderful, for her memory and for Scotland, if you too would become a Friend of the Castle of Mey, to help restore this stunning castle and gardens, so dear to her heart.

Susan Hampshire

Ken Bruce

Ken Bruce, who presents the mid-morning show on BBC Radio 2, was born in Glasgow. He began his broadcasting career with the Hospital Broadcasting Service in Glasgow and went on to become a staff announcer for BBC Scotland. This led to his own daily afternoon show and involvement in a wide range of current affairs programmes, concerts and commercial voice-overs.

Ken became a supporter of the Friends of the Castle of Mey through his love of Scotland. Ken says:

I am delighted to be involved with supporting the Castle of Mey. This fine building is in a strikingly beautiful part of the country, and I hope many people will be encouraged to experience the special qualities the castle and the area, have to offer.

Kirsty King

A key member of the Ground Force team, Kirsty King started as the horticultural researcher on the show and is now one of the four presenters.

She was raised in Perthshire, Scotland, and became interested in gardening in her early teens. At eighteen she moved south to study horticulture at Writtle Agricultural College in Chelmsford, Essex. After graduating, Kirsty worked for a landscaping company in East Sussex for two years. Her work involved running a team of landscapers, building show-home gardens, and designing private gardens as well as general garden maintenance.

I am immensely proud of my Scottish heritage and feel privileged to be asked to join the Friends of the Castle of Mey. Many beautiful and historic buildings and gardens lie in Scotland and it is hugely important to ensure they are kept in the best possible condition.

I can't wait to bring my young children up to visit the castle and grounds and tell them the many stories of the owners and the exciting tales that surround the building and the beautiful countryside. A real treasure to visit, cherish and remember.

Kirsty King

Justerini and Brooks

Justerini and Brooks are very kindly supporting the Castle of Mey this year by supplying the champagne and fine wines for all the Friends of the Castle of Mey events.

Justerini and Brooks

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Monday 23 April 2018