“… I get excited by so many different aspects of the work we do whether that is taking art into the school grounds, encouraging musical performances outside, undertaking science and environmental projects or cooking outdoors.”
When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?
I volunteered back in 1992, then started working for LtL in 1996.
I have an overview of UK-wide and England projects and have direct Project Management responsibility for a selection of these. I also deliver some of our training, including the ‘Transforming Spaces’ element of our accreditation programme. In addition I undertake consultancy for the charity – sometimes with schools, designers or local authorities in this country, sometimes overseas. I represent LtL on the International School Grounds Alliance leadership council and the Play Safety Forum and I work with Carley and Susie as we develop new project ideas.
The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?
In 2003 I was lucky enough to receive a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship. This took me around the world to discover what was happening in school grounds in different countries. Since that time I have continued to visit school grounds projects across the globe as a founding member of the International School Grounds Alliance and it great to be able to bring the learning back to schools in the UK.
Once upon a time I was a secondary PE teacher before I retrained as a Landscape Architect. I think this gives me an understanding of schools grounds from different angles and means I can support both teacher and designers as they work towards making the best of school grounds for pupils and teachers alike.
Mary’s LtL Experience
What has been your best day at LtL and why?
I think that has to be the day I received a phone call from Sir David Attenborough. At the time I was managing a Hampton Court Show garden and we’d invited him, as our patron, to the opening. Unfortunately he couldn’t come so he phoned us up personally to tell us. It was quite late in the day so I had to phone up the only other colleague who I knew would still be working to tell her – all she said was, ‘Who is this?’ as I’d been so excited I’d forgotten to say it was me ringing her up.
Why a pizza oven?
It was tricky to decide on the right image to put here as I do like to do lots of different things outdoors, but in the end it had to be the pizza oven from my back garden. A group of friends and their kids helped me to build it a couple of years ago and I have to say it makes the best pizza! You may also have noticed the chicken sitting next to it. This is something I made on a sculpture from scrap course so it is made of vegetable dishes, lots of spoons and part of a tap. It makes me smile whenever I look at it.