Martin Penny, who lives in Offenham near Evesham, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of national conservation charity Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

RBST works UK-wide to conserve and promote the UK’s rarest native breeds of livestock and equines. Rare breeds currently categorised as Priority or At Risk on the RBST Watchlist include North Ronaldsay sheep, Gloucester cattle, Traditional Hereford cattle, Gloucester Old Spot pigs, the Exmoor pony and the Shire horse. Martin joins the Board of Trustees which sets RBST policy, agrees strategy and approves major commitments.

Martin Penny has over 30 years senior management experience in Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer roles in a diverse range of sectors including further education, culture and the arts, the Church and the charity sector. Prior to his successful career in finance, Martin served as an officer in the British Army. In 2018, Martin with his wife Claire started a flock of rare North Ronaldsay sheep at their smallholding near Evesham, Worcestershire.

RBST Trustee Martin Penny says: "I am very pleased to join the RBST Board of Trustees. My enthusiasm for conserving native livestock and equine breeds was initially inspired by my wife Claire, who has held a lifelong interest in rare breed conservation. We are proud to support a very rare breed on the RBST Watchlist with our flock of North Ronaldsay sheep, we are building up the flock and exploring how our sheep’s genetics can be used to support the wider breed’s future.

“This is a key moment for RBST and rare breed conservation, as we look to the potential change of Government in 2024 and consider the possible impacts of major policy changes on our native breeds and on the individuals and organisations that work together to conserve and promote them. I am looking forward to bringing to bear my diverse experience in finance across a range of sectors to support RBST’s mission as we look both to the months ahead and to the Trust’s long-term vision.”

RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price says: “We are delighted to welcome Martin to the RBST Board of Trustees, his extensive leadership experience and award-winning expertise in finance will be a great asset to the Board and to the RBST as a whole. As well as these skills, Martin has personal experience of developing interest and expertise in rare breed conservation and starting a rare breed flock from scratch. With his commitment to – and hands-on knowledge of – rare breed conservation, Martin is a fantastic champion of our native breeds and also of RBST’s dedicated members.