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.

  • Stephi Baker

    Marketing Manager

    Stephi joined the garden in 2023 with extensive experience in marketing and pre-sales. She retrained in digital marketing, studying alongside a fulltime job, receiving a distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in 2022. Her experience in procurement, marketing and pre-sales brings a thorough understanding of the customer lifecycle journey which she uses to improve all aspects of the visitor and customer experience.  Stephi lives in the Howardian Hills with her family and two dogs and loves whipping up a feast or spending time outdoors – ideally a combination of the two.

  • Louise Harrison

    Front of house

    Louise joined the garden in 2023. She will be here to offer you a warm and friendly greeting as well as supporting our kiosk and retail volunteers. Louise brings with her many years of experience in retail management alongside various roles in the heritage and charity sector. She also has a background in the creative industry. Louise graduated from Teesside University in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in textiles and print design and now continues to work as a freelance artist and illustrator, taking inspiration from the native wildlife, and of course our beautiful garden. Louise lives in a village on the nearby Castle Howard estate and loves to spend her free time walking and sketching in the surrounding fields and hedgerows.

  • 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.