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CPRE Hampshire welcomes new Chair at AGM

By Vicky Marr
23rd May 2022

CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, reflected on some great successes over the last year and welcomed their new Chair, Margaret Paren, at the charity’s AGM held online recently.

The charity’s work continues to protect and ensure a sustainable future for the Hampshire countryside, at a time of great change and pressure on resources. The Earl of Malmesbury, President of the charity, welcomed everyone and acknowledged past and acting Chairs, trustees, staff and approximately 115 volunteers, in steering through the past challenging but successful year. He endorsed the view of the charity as punching well above its weight.

Boyd McCleary, Acting Chair, reflected on achievements such as effective collaboration with the national CPRE charity to campaign around changes to planning regulation. He also referenced two successful campaigns to stop the Aquind interconnector and the Veolia incinerator. Both proposed projects would have substantial impact on the landscape and character of highly valued Hampshire countryside.

Margaret Paren, a prolific name in Hampshire rural affairs, was then voted in as CPRE Hampshire’s new Chair. Margaret explains what this new position means to her: “As a passionate and committed countryside champion, I am delighted to have been elected as chair of CPRE Hampshire. There are lots of challenges ahead and I look forward to playing my part in tackling them.”

After retiring from a career in Whitehall, Margaret became involved in local community activities including the Liss Conservation Volunteers and spending eight years as a school governor. She then represented CPRE Hampshire on the executive of the successful campaign for the creation of a National Park in the South Downs, acting as a deputy chair for eight years.

On the establishment of the National Park she was appointed as a national representative to its Board. She was then elected as its first chair, a position she held until she retired from the board in 2020.

Margaret has lived in Hampshire for 35 years. Her hobbies are dog walking, bird watching and painting. She was awarded an OBE for services to the Environment in 2010.