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Barbara Everard Trust for Orchid Conservation

The purpose of the Barbara Everard Trust for Orchid Conservation (BETOC) is the conservation of all orchids by encouraging orchid growing; providing education in any form regarding orchid growing, including shows, publications and supporting research; by placing endangered orchids and specialist collections of orchids with suitable collectors/collections; by supporting ex-situ conservation of orchids by seed raising and ex-situ propagation, both for in-situ reintroduction and introduction into cultivation in the UK.

Barbara Everard was a talented painter, and in 1989 wrote about the setting up of the trust in the OSGB Journal – an article that was reprinted in the 50th anniversary edition of the OSGBJ. She was on the OSGB Conservation Committee and had been much upset by hearing that on the death of a well-known orchid grower his gardener had been told to ‘turn the heating off’ and all the plants had died. She provided the initial funding for the trust, but its income of £3,000 a year is insufficient for her wider vision. Her longer term aim was for the OSGB to have ‘A house with a plot of land (not too large) but room for, say two or three greenhouses – cool, intermediate, hot; a small laboratory space for propagation etc, and a sales area, where things can be sold in aid of the trust; a vehicle suitable of collecting the orchids and perhaps a curator and later on a student (or students) to learn how to grow orchids and help with the great work involved.’

At the time (1989) she hoped for a benefactor to give £500,000 to fund this, but today the capital required to buy the land and glasshouses would be at least this, and an endowment of another £2 million would be needed to cover the running and staffing costs from income. We are a long way from ever realising this dream. If we did, it would provide an administrative base for our society and a permanent home for our library as well realising some at least of Barbara Everard’s conservation aims.

Unless we receive such a substantial legacy, the trustees will try to place plants that are no longer required, often because of the death of the grower, by sending commoner plants for sale at OSGB meetings, and placing rare and unusual plants with National Collection holders or specialist growers. Any money raised is put into the BETOC funds, so if you have plants that you wish to be looked after, BETOC can help find them homes.

The current trustees are:
Dr. Helen Millner (President), Mrs Pearl Jenny Thomson (Chairman), Ms Amy Malin (Secretary),
Mrs Sally Mill (Treasurer), Mrs Sue Johnson, Ms Galina Boyse, Mr David McLaughlin (RHS Wisley), and Mr André Schuiteman (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew representative).

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