Meet the team

  • June Tainsh

    Executive Director

    June joined the garden in 2018, moving down from Scotland where she had been working as a garden designer for over ten years.  She became interested in the health benefits of gardens and gardening in 2012, working on two large walled gardens in Scotland designed around enabling volunteers with mental health issues.  June has been a volunteer judge with Keep Scotland Beautiful, is now with Britain in Bloom, and is currently studying for her Mhort with the RHS.  She very much enjoys working with volunteers and seeing the results of team work and guidance with the volunteer cohort at Helmsley.

  • Louise Harrison

    Front of House Manager

    Louise joined the garden in May 2023. She will be here to offer you a warm and friendly welcome alongside supporting our kiosk and retail volunteers. Louise brings with her many years of experience in retail management alongside various roles in the heritage sector. She also has a background in the creative industry, graduating in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in textiles and print design. She continues to work as a freelance artist and illustrator, taking inspiration from the native wildlife and our beautiful garden.

  • Robin Hancock

    Volunteer coordinator

    Since volunteering here in 2018, Robin has been drawn to Helmsley Walled Garden and feels that it is truly unique. Her background is in teaching, but she has since retrained at Askham Bryan College as a RHS Level 2 Gardener.  Through her experience and further training here at the garden through the Women’s Farm and Garden Association (WFGA), she has moved formally into a career in horticulture. Robin thinks it’s the combination of plants, ever-changing scenery, the staff and volunteers combined with the gentle atmosphere that keeps her coming back.

    She says, “It’s so uplifting here. I’m so happy during the day, I find myself singing on the drive home!”

  • Heather Thomas

    Volunteer coordinator

    Whilst studying in London, Heather felt the absence of nature in her day to day life and began volunteering on organic farms and with conservation projects during the holidays.  Moving back to Yorkshire, she trained in horticulture and more recently completed a foundation degree in garden design. Heather has worked at Helmsley Walled Garden since 2009.  She has seen the garden evolve over the years and witnessed first-hand the therapeutic benefits of gardening.  Heather organises, plans and supervises the work of our volunteers in the garden four days a week.

    She says “It’s such a privilege to work with our wonderful volunteers in this beautiful and historic garden.”

  • Deborah Lockett

    Trainee volunteer coordinator

    Deb studied BA (Hons) in Language & Human Communication. More recently she has undertaken RHS Level 2 at Askham Bryan, following a number of years volunteering at Helmsley Walled Garden and gaining a real passion for horticulture. She was delighted to be offered the opportunity to further her learning and experience through a WFGA placement.

  • Tony Craggs

    Groundsman & caretaker

    Tony has been associated with the garden for over fifteen years, involved initially as a volunteer and more recently taking on a formal role as groundsman and caretaker.  He is well known in the town of Helmsley, having lived there all his life, and looks after his own allotment in the town, growing vegetables and caring for his own little flock of chickens.