Merlin Trust trustee and former secretary of the Trust, Fiona Crumley, passed away on 20th January 2021 from cancer. Our thoughts are with Fiona’s friends and family – she will be greatly missed by all at The Merlin Trust.
Fiona travelled to many parts of the world to visit gardens and explore the native flora and fauna. This, combined with a great interest in helping to develop horticultural skills and horticulture generally, ensured Fiona was perfectly placed to advise Merlin Tust applicants on places to visit to help their career development. Fiona also regularly judged the Merlin Trust reports for the two annual prizes.
Fiona always worked as a gardener since leaving school, first in Wiltshire before completing an HND in Amenity Horticulture at Askam Bryan College, York. She then went on to work as a gardener at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire before moving to spend 15 years at the Chelsea Physic Garden with 12 years as Head Gardener. Fiona then worked as Head Gardener at Chiswick House & Gardens, seeing through the £12million regeneration project and caring for the world-renowed camellia collection. This role provided Fiona with the honorific ‘ the Lady of the Camellias’!
Fiona took on a number of horticultural committee roles including being a member of the Professional Gardeners Guild Traineeship sub-committee, and joining the committees of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and London Gardens Network. For the Royal Horticultural Society, she was on the Bursaries Advisory Committee and was a judge for the Windlesham Trophy (which judges the finalists of a competition within HM Prisons). For The Merlin Trust, Fiona was initially secretary from 2003 before taking on the role of trustee.