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New Forest National Park Authority elects new chairman David Bence and vice-chair Victoria Mander

NATURE lover and former naval commander David Bence has become the new chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, with Victoria Mander stepping up as deputy.

David, who has been an NPA member since 2018, was elected at the authority’s recent AGM.

NPA Chair David Bence
NPA Chair David Bence

Born in Somerset and now living in Hampshire, he has been visiting the New Forest since childhood, with his family connection to the area going back to the Second World War.

Prior to joining the NPA, David enjoyed a 30-year career in the Royal Navy where he commanded at all levels.

He now works as a freelance unexploded ordnance mitigation specialist, with an interest in minimising impacts on the environment.

David is also a keen nature lover and is passionate about conserving the Forest’s natural flora and fauna and the rural way of life.

His hobbies include baking, making charcuterie and bee keeping.

He is also chair of the Forest Farming Group and represents the NPA on a number of local and national organisations.

NPA deputy chair Victoria Mander
NPA deputy chair Victoria Mander

Deputy chair Victoria Mander is a wildlife conservationist who has worked on multiple projects in the UK and overseas, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

After working in the charity sector for over 10 years, Victoria founded Vision Wild in 2018, an organisation which supports charities and land managers to design, manage and evaluate nature conservation projects.

Having joined the NPA in September 2020, Victoria says she has always loved the New Forest for its unique landscape.

She is a trustee for the Osprey Leadership Foundation, a charity committed to inspiring and empowering young conservation leaders.

David and Victoria replace outgoing chair, Prof. Gavin Parker, and deputy chair Patrick Heneghan.

New NPA members Mary Davies, Mel Kendal, Keith Mans, Dan Poole, Joe Reilly, Ann Sevier, Brice Stratford and Derek Tipp were also formally welcomed to the board.

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