News News Getting to Know Our Trustees. . . Patrick Roberts Patrick has had two different careers, first the Army and latterly as the Bursar of Cranleigh School. His Army career spanned some twenty five years of which over four years were spent on operations. He retired having commanded a regular infantry battalion and moved to Cranleigh School as Bursar. Patrick is now Treasurer of West Horsley Place Trust and Chairman of Governors of Pangbourne College in Berkshire. He lives close to the sea, south of Chichester. Q- How did you first hear about West Horsley Place? A- Adrian Lajtha was my boss at Cranleigh School; he introduced me to this special place and then in his second breath asked me to join the commercial arm of the Trust. This led about a year later to an invitation to join the main board of the Trust. Q- Can you remember your first visit; what was that experience like? A- Distinctly! Like many others I remember the cold on a January day in, I think, 2016 and being greeted by Clare who was properly dressed in a full set of winter woollies and ski wear. We had a meeting in the small dining room which soon afterwards flooded when a pipe burst in the cold weather. The weather may have been cold that day (and the house colder) but the warmth of spirit and humanity was evident in abundance. I felt then and continue to feel that West Horsley Place is a building that embodies the lives of those who have passed through its doors. Q- Has your military career and later experience as Bursar at Cranleigh School informed your approach to being a trustee? A- There are many skills and much experience amongst the trustees and our dedicated staff with a natural focus on heritage. I believe that I bring slightly different skills in the form of commercial experience from my time as a bursar and the ability to turn my hand to almost anything and get it done from the Army. The financial side of the Trust may not be paramount in people’s minds but the Trust must ‘wash its face’ financially so that we can take forward our aims and objectives. Q- In the climate of a global pandemic, what are the financial challenges for heritage charities? A- In common with so many other heritage charities we face significant financial trauma from effects of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Funds coming into the Trust have decreased significantly, but we have been fortunate to retain some income streams. We have cut expenditure where ever possible in order to save money. There are though, inevitably, fixed costs and so we continue to struggle to produce a balanced budget. Q- What is your favourite room/space at WHP and why? A- I am afraid that this is a split decision. Inside the house the back stairs embody, to me, the spirit of the house. The worn and polished wood is evidence to hundreds of years of use. They conjure questions of what has been carried up and down the stairs and just how much gossip has passed across the lips of those using them. Outside, the two dog kennels either side of the front door lead to thoughts of retrievers returning home after a day’s shooting whilst the keepers deliver quarry to the kitchens and guests move to the Stone Hall to mark a good day out. Q- What talent would you most like to possess? A- I have a musical family and we enjoy all forms of music but I regret not being able to play an instrument. I would love to have been able to play the piano and so perhaps this is something for retirement ….? Q- In another life you would have been? A- The history of man and horse is closely intertwined and I would choose to be an eventer. The strength, loyalty and dedication of these wonderful animals is inspiring and, of course, they are loved and cherished by their owners. I would, of course, love to hack around West Horsley Place with my owner. Q- What inspires you? A- I have marvelled at the sea all my life, whether at sea in a storm in a small boat or watching from the shore. I was once based in Scotland and remember crawling on my stomach to the edge of cliffs in a full Atlantic gale and watching the power of the ocean breaking far below and carrying up to me over 200 feet above the sea. The inspiring power of wind and sea does much to humble us and show man’s place in the order of nature. Q- What makes you most excited in WHPT's vision for the future? A- The history of West Horsley Place is about people and the Trust now has the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people both local and from further afield. The inclusivity of our vision to help those in need is so relevant today as we struggle with a global pandemic and its effect on people, particularly children and those at the front line. More about our board of trustees here.