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SWT appoint new Community Engagement Coordinator for Westfield Common

SWT appoint new Community Engagement Coordinator for Westfield Common

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) have confirmed the appointment of Paul Ritchie as the new Community Engagement Coordinator for our area following the departure of popular figure, Frances Halstead. Paul has been handed over the ‘baton’ from Frances Halstead and will be based at SWT’s HQ in Pirbright.

An introductory message from Paul is shown below:


I’ve just joined the Education, People & Wildlife Department at Surrey Wildlife Trust in the role of Community Engagement Coordinator. Turning back the clock I started working on the land as a farm labourer on a mixed arable and livestock farm in the Chiltern Hills. I went on to study zoology at Nottingham University (looking at ants in Edale and tapeworms!) whilst driving steam trains on the Whipsnade & Umfolozi Railway during the holidays.

I came to London to work as a police officer; highlights of a 13-year career included being called on to rescue all sorts of wildlife (a degree in zoology is invaluable for this!), community engagement on the Broadwater Farm Estate and in Finsbury Park, and helping at the London Wildlife Trust education centre at Railway Fields. I’ve had a second 20-year career with City of London Corporation in various roles across the City Commons, which included setting up a team at Ashtead Common NNR and establishing ESS agreement across the commons.

I’m married to Clare and have an 18-year old son Callum studying Art & Design at East Surrey College and a 16-year old son Munroe studying proper A levels in physics, chemistry and maths (his words not mine) at Ashcombe School, Dorking. As I embark on my third career I am really look forward to meeting and hopefully working with you all, as my community role is broadened to include the whole of Surrey and the Trust’s own estate.

Paul Ritchie
Community Engagement Coordinator
01483 795478