Councillor Perry said: “We are very pleased to have Clare join our team of dedicated staff and volunteers at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. Clare has a fantastically diverse career in the heritage, business and arts sectors and we are sure that under her leadership, the gardens will continue to grow in popularity with visitors and members of all ages through the fantastic work being done to promote horticulture, conservation, education and recreation.”
Clare Goddard joins Hillier Gardens this month, having previously been instrumental in overseeing the restoration of the award-winning Victorian Garden at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich. Most recently, she was Manager of Painshill Park, Surrey, considered to be one of the finest Eighteenth Century English landscape gardens.
Clare was born and brought up in Southampton. Her love of plants and flowers started as a child, and has seen her forge her career on developing world-class visitor attractions and centres of learning; creating inspiring and enjoyable experiences for all who visit.
Clare explained: “I am overjoyed, and consider it a great privilege, to have been appointed Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. I very much look forward to working alongside all the talented staff, volunteers, supporters and public who make it the very special place that it is today. It is an honour to be joining such a prestigious organisation at this exciting stage in its development.”
Clare will be at the helm of the gardens spanning 180 acres in size and growing over 12,000 species of plants. There are also 14 national plant collections and around 400 champion trees - more than any other collections in the UK. Hillier Gardens now attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually and has over 22,000 members.
Membership of Hillier Gardens includes unlimited access to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, complimentary admission passes, What’s On brochures and regular newsletters as well as coach trips to other UK gardens. Children under 17 are free when accompanied by a member.
In 1977 Sir Harold Hillier left the gardens under the sole trusteeship of Hampshire County Council who now run the gardens as a charity to promote horticulture, conservation, education and recreation.
Clare’s appointment follows former director Wolfgang Bopp who stepped down in August this year after 14 years’ service to move to New Zealand.
Discover more about Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, including how to become a member and volunteer.