Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

Topics

#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #PledgeLessPlastic & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 30 Under 30 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation Addiction advice AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards Anthropology APF APF 2020 APF 2022 app APPGHG application Appointment apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboricultural Association Arboricultural Student Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity biomechanical biosecurity Book Prize Book Shop Books Bookshop boundaries branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 Budgeting Tool bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane carbon career careers Cavanagh CCS Cellular Confinement Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv CEO Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Continuous Professional Development Contractor Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Countryside Code Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death debate Debt defra Design Devon Director disease diversity document donate dothistroma downloads draft Dutch elm EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows Emerald Ash Borer England England Tree Action Plan England Tree Strategy English Elm environment environmental EPF equipment Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European Wood Pastures Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid FISA flood flooding for Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Grapple Saws Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Green Recovery Green Up Guarantee guidance Guidance Note Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot Hedgerow hedges Helliwell Help Henry Girling Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Initiatives Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Women’s Day International Year of Plant Health invertebrates Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso i-Tree IUFC IWD21 Job job opportunity jobs judgement JustGiving Karabiner Kew Kit land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence London longevity LTOA Lynne Boddy Magazine Managegement Plan manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Member Survey Membership Mental Health mentor Midlands moth' motion Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Hedgerow Week National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Natural England NatureScot Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation online opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases Petersfield petition Petzl photo Phytophthora plan planning Planning Law Plant Health planting Plantsman Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection Qualifications Queen’s 70th Jubilee Questionnaire Quotatis ramorum RC Recruitment reference Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rehab Rememberance Day renewal REnvP Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results Retirement retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Safety Guides Safety Notice Saftey Sale school Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security Seed Gathering Season Seminar seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv Social Benefits of Trees soil soils South East South East Branch South West Speaker spotlight SRT SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope Stationary Rope Technique statutory STIHL Stonehouse strategy student Student Book Prize Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors Supporter survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight symposium T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG technical guide Technical Guides Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green tender TG3 Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Plantsman’s Choice The Queen’s Green Canopy The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Care Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre Tree Health Tree Health Week Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree planning Tree Planting Tree Production Innovation Fund Tree Protection tree register Tree Risk Tree Shears tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone TreeAlert Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees & Sociey Trees and Society Trees for Cities Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree World Cup urban trees Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy VETcert veteran trees video Videos Virtual ARB Show volunteer voting VTA WAC Wales Wales Branch Warning Watering watering solutions Webinar webinars website Western Westonbirt Wharton White Paper WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Work at Height Workshops World Environment Day World Fungi Day Xylella young Young Arboricultural Professional young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event Young Tree Aftercare zoo

Tony Kirkham retires from Kew

Author:  Simon Richmond
  10/08/2021
Last Updated:  10/08/2021
Tony Kirkham

Tony Kirkham. (Image by Suculentasenlondres, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia)

Simon Richmond, Senior Technical Officer

Tony Kirkham retired from his role as Head of Arboretum at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, at the end of July, after over 40 years’ devoted service to the management of its trees.

Tony joined the team at Kew as a supervisor after completing a diploma there – and he has never looked back. Over the years he has been responsible for the development of the arboretum into the world-class venue it is today, caring for over 14,000 specimens, with 150–200 more trees planted each year.

Well known through many books, articles and television programmes, his infectious enthusiasm for all things arboricultural has won him a place in the hearts of the general public, and when he teamed up with Dame Judi Dench, first in the TV programme about an oak tree near her home and later with a research trip to Borneo, his fame was secured as part of a duo of ‘national treasures’!

Tony has also been a long-term enthusiastic supporter of the Arboricultural Association, contributing to many of our annual conferences over the years, and making Kew available to Association events, conferences and meetings. He became an Association Vice President in 2019 and has always been there to add his generous support.

The arboretum has served the industry in many ways, through research into pests and diseases, planting and tree establishment, mulching, pruning and bracing, to name but a few. Tony has also brought the status and gravitas of one of the UK’s most respected public tree establishments to support important projects in the political arena, including arboricultural biosecurity, Action Oak, and many others.

Despite all these achievements, Tony will not be singing his own praises; he is a charming, kind and humble person, open and honest, with a wicked, dry sense of humour. It also perhaps goes without saying that he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of plants and trees, and the natural world generally. His detailed recall of specific botanical varieties, their history, provenance and application, growth, flowering and fruiting, all flow forth without any apparent effort, and he can weave these factual details into a spellbinding anecdote.

His retirement will of course be a great loss to Kew but he deserves a break after all those years of devoted infectious enthusiasm. Although he has already achieved so much, he’s not giving up on trees; he intends to maintain his engagement with the sector and other related projects and we certainly hope to see his continued involvement in Association activities over the coming months and years.

Congratulations, Tony, a remarkable contribution and we are truly grateful for the fantastic gift you have given with your career so far!


This article was taken from Issue 194 Autumn 2021 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.