Meet a Member: CWGC

About us:

My name is David Richardson, Director of Horticulture for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). We commemorate casualties from the two world wars in over 150 countries, and are funded by our member governments. I am based at Head Office in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Our challenges:

The centenary of the First World War 2014-18 has been exceptionally busy and our planning and organisation to ensure the cemeteries and memorials were in the best possible condition has been a major concern since 2012! Gardening takes time and we have been preparing well in advance.


Our expertise:

My personal expertise…

  • 30+ years’ experience of fine amenity maintenance worldwide
  • Conservation based approach to management and maintenance of a global historic estate
  • Leadership and strategic planning for a 850 strong global gardening workforce
  • Public speaking


What turns a normal working day into a great day?

I travel extensively in my role and still love meeting horticultural staff on site and getting to know them and their challenges gives me immense satisfaction. I had a really great 11 November – I marched and laid a wreath at the cenotaph and then went to the National Service of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey –  a special day for sure!


Did you know……?

Our global spread is unusual – I’m currently advising on projects in Corsica, Sierra Leone and Egypt and a little closer to home at Brookwood in Surrey and the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.

I’ve had some close scrapes earlier in my career – including being air lifted out of Sierra Leone during a military coup and being put under house arrest in NE India – all in the cause of great gardening!


What it means to be a member of The Amenity Forum:

The use of pesticides has been an important part of how we maintain our renowned standards of excellence and our membership has kept us informed in terms of the legislative framework and also provided excellent networking with other organisations with the similar challenges. John Moverley has been a strong supporter of our organisation and spoke at a conference we held with European heritage partners – which prompted some stimulating debate.