Jonathan joined the Trust in 1978 after starting his career at Strutt & Parker in London. He rose to become Deputy Land Agent, jointly responsible for the day-to-day running of all ECT’s nine estates – extending to some 22,500 acres.
In that time, he witnessed numerous changes both in farming and in the expansion of the Trust’s land holdings and education funding.
As a landlord ECT has always encouraged family succession among its tenant farmers, and in some cases Jonathan has worked with three generations of farming families.
“Working for the Ernest Cook Trust has never been just a job for Jonathan – it’s been his vocation,” said ECT’s Chief Executive Dr Victoria Edwards at a farewell lunch in his honour.
“He has intimate knowledge of every field, every ditch, every acre of every farm. And his loyalty to and love of the Trust and all its assets and communities is unquestionable. This has been apparent to successions of Trustees who have all been very grateful for his stewardship.”
As part of his retirement present the Trust is establishing a copse of 40 trees on the Little Dalby Estate in Leicestershire this winter as a tribute to his long service to ECT.
Jonathan is a passionate countryman and now he plans to devote more time to countryside pursuits, his vegetable garden, as well as his interest in music, theatre and 18th and 19th century art. He also loves horse racing and cricket – he is a long-standing member of the MCC – and is a keen Wolverhampton Wanderers fan.
He and Wendy, his wife of 44 years, plan to stay in the Fairford area in Gloucestershire, where he has always been active in the community – he is long-standing Treasurer of St Mary’s Church Parochial Church Council.
He said: “I’m very fortunate to have been a resident agent, a job I’ve always wanted to do, and to manage estates in outstanding countryside and be able to work with excellent farm tenants, members of staff, land agents and trustees who have become good friends. I will miss it greatly.”