Giles has lived in East Horsley since 1977, and enjoys living in the village with his family. He has worked for a number of global corporates in UK and international roles, and currently is on the main board of a Private Equity backed consulting business - Grayce. Grayce is a major UK employer of graduate talent, giving young people career opportunities with major public and private sector organisations.

Q- How did you first hear about West Horsley Place?

A- When I was 6 or so I had the opportunity to visit West Horsley Place on a school history trip. We were learning about local history, and there’s nothing more exciting for a 6 year old than trying to find out more about Sir Walter Raleigh’s head. At the time I understood there was a tunnel between the house and St Mary’s Church, but I’ve not yet found it some 40 years later!

Q- Can you remember your first visit, what was experience like?

A- Smells are very evocative, and my greatest memory from my history trip is the smell of West Horsley Place which today remains the same as my first visit. Meeting Adrian, the Chair, at the house in 2017 I recollect the paint peeling off the wall in the kitchen and the cold of the house, but this was offset by the warm welcome and decent coffee. I realised what an enormous challenge & opportunity West Horsley Place would be and couldn’t wait to get involved.

Q- How did you get involved?

A- A friend of mine was instrumental in the arrival of Grange Park Opera to the grounds of West Horsley Place and I asked him for an introduction to Bamber and Adrian. I have absolutely loved getting to know Bamber, Christina, Adrian my fellow trustees and the West Horsley Place team. My reason to get involved was to bring my corporate experience to drive commercial income to ensure financial sustainability for West Horsley Place Trust to enable it to thrive for the community. West Horsley Place has brought so much more diversity of opportunity than I could have imagined…and our income has also grown!

Q- What do you think  WHP brings to the community?

A- West Horsley Place is an amazing community asset. 380 acres of ancient woodland, farmland and gardens has been hugely beneficial to many during lockdown. The footpaths and bridleways have welcomed many families, dog walkers, joggers and cyclists to the estate. I feel like there’s something for all ages and for all interests, and my teenage children certainly enjoy the freedom that such a large space within the village offers. In due course the manor house and barn will welcome many and being of a scale to be able to provide socially-distanced interaction it’s perfectly suited for today’s world…who’d have thought it so appropriate today when it was built in the 1400’s.

Q- What's your favourite room or space at WHP?

A- The attic is a wonderful space at West Horsley Place, which I’ve bonded with having spent a significant amount of time up there emptying buckets to protect the house, including a number of Christmas Days. The crinkle-crankle wall is a showstopper, with labels affixed to the wall showing which fruit tree grows on each area of the wall. We have invested money to protect the Grade II listed garden walls, but plenty more to do here.

Q- In another life you would have been?

A- I would love to have worked on an estate as the farmer. I imagine in years gone by at West Horsley Place where the farmland was sustaining the house, estate and village it would have been an amazing sight and rewarding experience.

Q- What talent would you most like to possess?

A- West Horsley Place has made me realise how much I have to learn, surrounded by a diverse group of Trustees and specialist teams involved at West Horsley Place. Architecture, estate management, environmental sustainability and historic building preservation all inspire me to grow my knowledge and understanding. I may never be talented in these areas but I can certainly learn. I also can’t wait for my first pottery lesson with Christina Gascoigne.

Q- What inspires you?

A- Challenging sailing tales really inspire me. I have an ambition to cross the Atlantic by yacht and I love reading and hearing sailor’s tales of the sea.

Q- What makes you most excited about the Trust's vision for the future of WHP?

A- All aspects of West Horsley Place’s vision excite me, but our next major challenge is to repair the roof for the next 200 years. This is an enormous task both technically and financially, but will be instrumental in protecting the Grade I manor house at the heart of West Horsley Place.

More about our board of trustees here.