Former BBC presenter appointed chair of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Trustees

Former BBC Midlands Today presenter Sue Beardsmore is to take over as chair of the Trustees at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The broadcast journalist, who was until recently chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Committee for England, Midlands & East, is taking the helm from city-based solicitor Martyn Liberson, who has led the Trustees for the past ten years.

It marks a new chapter for the Edgbaston horticultural charity, one of the UK’s most historically important botanic gardens, that welcomed eight new Trustees in the autumn of 2021.

Sue said: “It’s a huge privilege to be joining the Trustees of Birmingham Botanical Gardens as chair. There are ambitious plans to build on the nearly 200 years of heritage, but the Gardens are currently very vulnerable and are in need of urgent repairs and significant investment, so we must work hard to make that happen.

“As a charity, the Gardens receive no regular public funding and instead relies on its own income, donations and grants, but I’m optimistic we can find the support for one of the city’s gems, which is a fantastic green space that leads learning, education and research in the field.

“I’m excited to be playing a role that will help protect this beautiful and important piece of our heritage.”

Sue, who has been a member of the Gardens for more than 30 years, will take over as chair at the beginning of April.

Welcoming Sue to the Gardens, Martyn Liberson said: “We are embarking on an exciting new journey here at the Gardens, having brought on new trustees and a highly capable new senior management team who will help steer its future over the next few years and develop visitor experience and our other activities.


“Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard behind the scenes to ensure the Gardens are ready for the next stage of their development and now we’ve got these building blocks in place. By handing over to Sue, I’m confident the Gardens are in safe hands.”


An experienced board member, Sue has held a number of non-executive roles in the region, including as chair of governors of Birmingham school, chair of a medical research foundation, with an arts festival and with community organisations concerned with health and young people.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which first opened to the public in 1832, is a 15-acre oasis just one mile from the city centre and set within a Conservation Area. It has more than 7,000 formally documented plants and is the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England.

As well as the gardens, the charity also provides a unique educational and training resource and welcomes visits from nurseries up to colleges, as well as organised groups and adult learners.