Guild member Lindy Margach has retired from public relations after a successful career that started in consumer and trade journalism.
“I spent 16 enjoyable years as a magazine journalist, including six with Farmers Weekly before moving into public relations as a consultant with John Kendall Associates in 1985 – first in Hereford and then in Cardiff,” Lindy recalls. “I headed the agency’s Wales operation from 1987 to 1989, helping to build a team of 27 staff who acted for a range of non-Governmental Bodies (NGOs), including the Welsh Development Agency, Land Authority for Wales and the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation.”
Agricultural clients during that period included the Hereford Herd Book Society, Welsh Lamb Enterprise, Welsh Food Initiative, the Welsh Mule Sheep Breeders Association and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
“Towards the end of the 1980’s I returned to London to become group account director at Kendalls with responsibility for the consultancy’s agri-food and scientific client base,” adds Lindy. “Ten years later, I moved to the CLA as director of PR and communications, responsible for the public image of an organisation representing 50,000 landowners and some 180,000 rural businesses in England and Wales.”
At the CLA, Lindy led a team of 12 regional and London-based press, PR and marketing staff through a series of campaigns, which included the abolition of MAFF and the creation of a Department for the Countryside and Agriculture; the creation of a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for ‘rural proofing’; changes to PPG 7 to remove ‘appropriateness’ jurisdiction of planning officers; co-ordination of a successful multi-organisation campaign to change from total cost recovery to throughput ‘headage-based’ charges for veterinary inspection for small and medium-sized abattoirs; removal of the introduction of a pesticides tax from the political agenda; and a successful switch in emphasis of the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill.
“I was also managing editor of Country Landowner and a regular contributor, as well as seven regional quarterly colour magazines,” Lindy recalls. “I also led the organisation through its change of identity to Country Land & Business Association.”
In 2001, Lindy moved from the CLA to set up her own PR company, Woodcote Communications, representing a broad range of clients, including Merial, FAI Farms, the African Horse Sickness Working Group, IFAH/NOAH, SEEDA, Surrey Wildlife Trust (both as a consultant and as editor of Surrey Nature magazine), The Home of Rest for Horses, Aker Biomarine and the UK Genetic Testing Network.
She served on the Guild management Council and its executive committee in the 1990s and again in the mid-2000s, serving in the roles of membership, vocational and awards secretary, and deputy chairman.
“Since standing down from Council and retiring from PR, my love of working my four Labradors as agility dogs has overtaken the pleasure I got from representing the agricultural industry,” says Lindy. “I’m focused on training my latest acquisition, a Working Cocker spaniel – and on travelling around the country in the summer months to compete and judge at agility shows.”