The Abbotsford Trust


The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE FRSE DL

The Duke took over Chairmanship of the Buccleuch Group of companies from his father, retiring in 2019. He has been deeply involved in the management of the historic family estate businesses, heritage properties and art collections from an early age. He was a District Councillor, a Director of Border Television, a Regimental Trustee of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and Chairman, South West, of Scottish Natural Heritage of which he was a main board member from its inception to 1995. Among a number of other Public Appointments he was National Member for Scotland of the Independent Television Commission, of which he was subsequently Vice Chairman, a Millennium Commissioner and a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He is a Fellow of the U.H.I. Millennium Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a former President. He was made a KBE in 2000 and in 2003-12 was President of the National Trust for Scotland. He was appointed Knight Companion of the Order of the Thistle in 2018, and was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 2021 for services to the Royal Collections Trust. He is a Trustee of the Buccleuch Heritage Trust and the Living Landscape Trust, charities which have been entrusted with the conservation and education aspects of the historic estate and family properties.

Board of Trustees

Rt Hon W. James Wolffe KC LLD (Hon) FRSE FSAScot FRIAS (Hon) (Chairman)

James is a senior Scottish lawyer who served as Lord Advocate from 2016 to 2021. From 2014 to 2016 he was Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, the professional body of the Scottish bar. As Dean, James also served as Trustee of The Abbotsford Trust for a commensurate period, during which time he was an active supporter of the charity. This is his second term as Abbotsford Trustee and now as Chairman, from Oct 2021.

Debbie Kerr

Debbie is Head of HR & Development at Borders College, and has over thirty years of experience in HR and Administration roles. Debbie is currently operating at a strategic level on the FE sector wide HR and OD Committee which has representatives from all of Scotland’s Colleges in attendance as well as representatives from College’s Scotland. This Committee provides advice and guidance to the Employers Association and College Principal’s on HR and OD issues. In addition she is active on a number of national negotiation and work groups developing terms and conditions and policies for the FE sector in Scotland and has served as Chair of the Civilian Committee of the Galashiels ATC.

Matthew Maxwell Scott

Matthew is the Executive Director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO), a membership body created in 2019 to represent the interests of consumers as claimants in the civil justice system. A former parliamentary candidate and current county councillor, he worked for a decade at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) before becoming speechwriter to the chief executive of RSA Insurance and then to the director-general of the BBC. More recently he was government relations lead for Slater & Gordon before establishing his own consultancy in 2018. Matthew is Sir Walter Scott's gggg-grandson. 

George Dalgleish

George was born in Galashiels and educated at Edinburgh University, where he graduated with an MA in Scottish Historical Studies. He joined the staff of the then National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in 1980, becoming Keeper of the Scottish History and Archaeology Department in National Museums Scotland, retiring in 2016. He oversaw the creation of the Scottish 18th and 19th century displays of the National Museum of Scotland and curated the exhibition Silver: Made in Scotland in 2008 and more recently was lead curator of the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition. He is an expert advisor to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and a Member of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh. His special interests include Scottish ceramics, clocks, Jacobite relics, pewter and silver on which he has published extensively.

Roddy Dunlop KC

Roddy is Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and a member of the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collections Trust. As a practicing KC his expertise covers media law, professional negligence, professional discipline, insurance law, commercial disputes, procurement, intellectual property, human rights, prescription and limitation, and judicial review.

Sheila Robertson (Chair of Executive and Audit Committees)

Sheila began her career with a co-operative, providing its farming members with budgeting and financial control services, followed by a period with a software company providing and organising installation, training and support throughout the UK - both positions bringing computers and their benefits to rural businesses for the first time. She moved to the Scottish Borders in 1989 as an assistant farm estate manager, and following the sale of the farms, trained as a chartered accountant.  

Sheila is the Founder and Principal of Gall Robertson Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers in Tweedbank, established twenty years ago  and now with a team of 18 and a wide ranging client base.  Sheila also currently serves as Financial Director of Stewart Technology Ltd and is a Trustee of the Energise Galashiels Trust.

John Waddell (Chair of Fundraising & Investment Committee)

John started out as a lawyer in Edinburgh, like Sir Walter Scott a member of the Writers to the Signet. He moved into industry with Christian Salvesen in 1986, leaving in 1997 when Aggreko demerged and the Edinburgh Head Office closed. After a short time in the International Division of Bank of Scotland John joined Noble Grossart in 2001. In 2005 he took the job of CEO of Archangels, the leading angel investment group, and retired in 2015. John continues to advise in the early stage sphere and sits on the boards of four early stage companies and a VCT.

Professor Alison Lumsden

Ali is Regius Chair of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen, Co-Director of the Walter Scott Research Centre in Aberdeen, and has been active in her support of Abbotsford for many years including to the Abbotsford Trust and to the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collections Trust (FAACT). She is a member of the FAACT Joint Collections Management Committee, and the Advisory Committee. In recognition of her extensive assistance to Abbotsford she was created Honorary Librarian in 2015. Ali’s professional interests and memberships are too numerous to list in full.

Martin Fairley

Martin began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, becoming Senior manager in the Corporate Recovery Division, prior to moving across to Historic Scotland in 2000 to oversee and manage the annual grants budget. As Head of Grants, Martin was responsible for an annual grants budget of £15million, including allocations to high profile projects including Rossyln Chapel, Dumfries House, and Abbotsford. For a 3 year period he was Scottish Government’s representative to Abbotsford, attending Board meetings. As Corporate Services Manager at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), following the merger of HS and RCAHMS, Martin worked on a number of high level corporate projects including the business case for the merger. After his retirement in 2018 he acted as a consultant to HES to evaluate HES policies and potential projects such as the possible multi-million pound renovation of Mavisbank House.

Sarah Whitley

Sarah spent all of her thirty eight year investment management career at Baillie Gifford, and led the Japanese department before retiring in 2018.   As well as being an External Director of a Japanese company, she now has a variety of roles in the voluntary sector including being the Chair of the Edinburgh International Festival Endowment Fund and the Chair of the Scottish Episcopal Church Pension Fund.  She also chairs the Future Asset Steering Group which seeks to inform senior school girls about the potential of investment careers and runs a successful investment competition.  She is also the President of Saint Andrew Boat Club, the 176 year old Edinburgh rowing club to which she recently contributed a chapter on ‘Increasing Inclusion’ to their Short History. 

James Riley

James joined the Trust on his retirement in 2023 from the position of Group Chief Executive of the Mandarin Oriental Group. James was appointed CEO of Mandarin Oriental in 2016 having previously held a number of senior executive positions in the Jardine Matheson Group. He first moved to Asia with Jardine Matheson in 1993 having previously worked for Kleinwort Benson in London for 7 years. A chartered accountant, he was Group Finance Director of Jardine Matheson from 2005 to 2016 and also held a variety of other directorships within the Jardine Matheson Group. He was a non-executive director of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation from 2012 to 2016. James has been Chairman of the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong since 2001.