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Members of the Rural Development Council - Members

Rural Development Council Committee Members

Dame Barbara Kelly

Barbara Kelly is a partner in a farming enterprise near Dumfries, where she has lived and worked all her life. Over many years she has been actively involved in issues relating to rural communities, their sustainable development and relationship to the land. A past Chairman of the Scottish Consumer Council, a past Main Board Member of SNH and of Scottish Enterprise she has worked to ensure that the rural voice is heard at national level. A founder of Rural Forum, and of the Southern Uplands Partnership, she oversaw the delivery of the successful £30 million Millennium Forest for Scotland project. A member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Foot and Mouth Inquiry in 2002, she was also part of the RSE team which looked in depth at the future of Scotland's Uplands and Islands in 2007/08.

She recently chaired the Advisory Group for the publication of the SCC Report on Rural Advocacy and was a member of the Scottish Government Advisory Committee which produced the 2007 Report 'Rural Scotland: Better Still, Naturally'. She is a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and of the Robertson Trust and is Convenor of the Crichton Foundation.

Dr Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite is Director of Carnegie UK Trust Rural Programme, which operates across the UK and Ireland. The Rural Programme is building upon the findings of the Commission for Rural Community Development and also involves a progressive Rural Action Research Programme. Previously Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Cumbria, Kate and her staff pioneered many programmes involving social enterprise, women's networks and adding value to local produce.

Kate was awarded the MBE in the Millennium Honours for services to Rural Communities and the Environment and she studied for her PhD at Newcastle University, Centre for Rural Economy.

Stuart Housden OBE

Stuart Housden is the Director of RSPB Scotland and sits on the UK management Board of the charity. He is responsible for policy and operations in Scotland. Stuart is a member of the Scottish Power Environmental Advisory Forum, and has produced numerous articles and policy papers on land use and conservation matters. He is also a member of the Scottish Biodiversity Group. He was a member of the Agriculture Strategy Implementation Group (established by the previous administration).

Stuart was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation and the conservation of biodiversity in 2004 and awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the SAC in 2009 for services to agriculture and conservation.

Jim McLaren

Jim was elected President of the National Farmers Union Scotland in February 2007, after serving as Vice-President for the year 2006/2007. He is married with two sons, two daughters and two step-daughters and is a mixed arable and livestock farmer in Perthshire.

His arable unit, growing winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, spring barley and land let out annually for potatoes and carrots, extends to 1000 acres over four units, with a mixture of tenure from owner occupier to full tenancy. His livestock enterprise comprises 100 commercial suckler cows and a Pedigree Simmental Herd.

He has other interests outside of mainstream farming, including a share in a retail dairy business.

Pat Buchanan

Pat has lived and worked in rural Caithness for over twenty years.

She served as a Board Member of Visit Scotland from 2000-2008, as Chair of Caithness and Sutherland HIE from 2002-2008 and as a Member of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands over the same period. She has worked on the Board of Scottish Museums Council and as Chair of the North Highland Economic Forum. Her past commitments also include chairing local Leader II and Community Economic Development Groups. She has a particular interest in sustainable tourism and the development of new tourism products and currently works in Scotland and in Slovenia advising on heritage development in rural areas.

Derek Logie

Derek is Chief Executive of the Rural Housing Service- a post he has held for 13 years- leading the organisation's growth from a unit within Rural Forum to an independent charity. The Rural Housing Service works to deliver affordable housing opportunities in rural communities, helps rural communities tackle local housing needs and to highlight the extent and nature of rural housing issues. He has worked with communities across Scotland to secure affordable housing for local people, facilitating developments in Gigha, Colonsay, Laggan and Whitsome, amongst others.

He has strong connections with rural communities from Fetlar in the North to Newcastleton in the South. He is the author of a number of reports on rural housing, including research for the Scottish Crofting Foundation on the use of croft land for affordable housing provision.

John Ferguson

John Ferguson is the Director of Development and Programmes for SCVO. His 30 year career has involved a range of posts in both local authority and voluntary sector organisations. This includes special residential schools and secure units for troubled young people, services for abused young women and community based family services. As a volunteer he has founded and chaired several charities and has experience in delivering humanitarian relief in Afghanistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. He has worked in the United States, Russia and China promoting voluntary sector service deliveries. In SCVO, John is responsible for the teams promoting Equalities and Human Rights, Employment Training, Social Economy, Rural Services and European Structural Funds.

Professor Donald Macrae

Donald MacRae is Chief Economist, Lloyds Banking Group Scotland and a director of Lloyds TSB Scotland plc. He joined the then TSB Bank Scotland plc in 1986 and assumed responsibility for monitoring the Scottish economy. Research into the characteristics of high growth Scottish businesses and entrepreneurship was used in the Scottish Enterprise business birth rate inquiry in the early 90s. As a result, Donald founded the Business Forum - the networking organisation devoted to promotion and development of new Scottish businesses.

Donald was a member of the Scottish Executive Purchasers Information Advisory Group (PIAG), reforming the selling and purchase of residential property and a member of the Scottish Executive Economic Consultants Statistics Group. He is a member of the Scottish Government Economic Statistics Group. Donald was appointed to the board of Scottish Homes in 2002 and to the board of Scottish Enterprise in 2004. He is a Trustee of the David Hume Institute and a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He recently gave evidence to several Scottish Parliamentary Committees, advised the Finance committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Scottish Budget and holds the chair of visiting Professor of business and economic development at the University of Abertay Dundee. He was a member of the 2007/08 Committee of Inquiry into Crofting and is a member of the Board of Interface, designed to promote business and university interaction.

James McLellan

James McLellan is from Argyll. He was educated at Keil School and then Glasgow University, where he graduated with a LLB.

He had 35 years experience in local government and was Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council from 1995 to 2008. His time in local government has given him an awareness of the diverse challenges of providing public services to remote rural and island communities and the challenges in sustaining the communities themselves.

His interests include gardening, trout fishing and running a small flock of ewes. He is a reader in the Church of Scotland and is married with three children.

Neil Macleod

Neil Macleod has been Chair of the Scottish Crofting Foundation since February 2008 and was previously Vice-Chair for 2 years. He is a Board Member, Scottish Sheep Strategy, Board Member QMS TAC Committee, and Board Member Lewis Crofters Ltd, Agricultural Merchants.

Neil is a Director of the Long Island Auction Mart and Director Co. Chomunn na Pairc.

He recently retired as Chair of Lewis & Harris Sheep Producers Association.

Councillor Alison Hay

Cllr Alison Hay is the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) Spokesperson on Regeneration and Sustainable Development. She is a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Group on Argyll and Bute Council and was Leader of the Council itself from 1999 to 2001. She is also on the Scottish Government's Energy Advisory Board.

Alison is a founder member of GRAB (Group for Recycling in Argyll and Bute), a SEPA Board member, and chairs the Board of Auchindrain Museum.

David Fyffe

David Fyffe runs Fetternear Estate, near Kemnay, in Aberdeenshire, and has overseen the family's successful development of Scotland's first Rural Business Centre. He was brought up on a mixed farm in Aberdeenshire, educated in England at Stowe School and London University.

Fetternear is also the site of this country's longest-running archaeological research project. It welcomes some 6000 visitors every year and actively encourages responsible access for the local and wider community. As well as sitting on the board of the Scottish Rural Property & Business Association and its Rural Enterprise Policy Group, he has been a land manager representative on the Aberdeenshire Local Access Forum since its formation. He has also helped planners develop their SPP 15 planning guidelines for rural development in Scotland.

He is particularly interested in the development of wider rural business opportunities and new approaches to sustainable rural developments.

Alex Walker

Alex Walker is Chairman of the Ekopia Development trust, which has raised substantial investment capital for community projects in retailing, ecological accommodation and wind energy, and operates both a local currency scheme and a land trust. He is also a consultant working in the fields of sustainability and social enterprise. His main interests are in creating community-based enterprises for both renewable energy and affordable housing projects. Alex Walker also lectures widely in the UK on the prospects for a low carbon economy and the philosophy of sustainability. He is chairman of Development Trusts Association Scotland and a Director of Findhorn Wind Park Ltd.

Sheila Garson

Sheila Garson was born and brought up on the island of Shapinsay, Orkney where she lives with her husband, a farmer. She has a BA in the Cultural Studies of the Highlands and Islands and is employed as Curator of Social History with the local authority, based at the Orkney Museum, Kirkwall. An active member of the local community, Sheila is Chair of Voluntary Action Orkney, Chair of Shapinsay Development Trust and a member of Shapinsay Community Council. Her main interests are Orkney's cultural heritage and the sustainability of the islands.

Dr. Michael Maxwell Gray OBE DL

Michael Maxwell Gray's current positions are: Director of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, and Advisory Board Member - Winning Scotland Foundation.

He previously was Chairman & CEO of McQueen Ltd, a Borders based (in Galashiels) enterprise that developed from a local print company to be a global technology services enterprise, employing 1,300 staff world-wide. He also served as Chairman of Scottish Enterprise Borders, was a Board Member of Scottish Enterprise, and a Board Member of Scottish Community Foundation.

Mr Gray is married with two sons and his interests include rugby, travel and photography.