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Our patron and ambassadors

Patron – Sir Michael Palin

Michael Palin (courtesy of John Swannell)Sir Michael Palin is an actor, broadcaster, writer and long-time supporter of Farm Africa’s work. Having travelled extensively in Africa, Michael is enormously impressed with the organisation’s practical approach to enabling farmers and herders to improve their own livelihoods.

"Farm Africa aims to create change that is sustainable rather than quick-fix solutions. I have nothing but praise for the work they do and the way they do it."

Photo courtesy of John Swannell.



Kate AdieKate Adie OBE

Kate became a familiar figure as the BBC’s chief news correspondent. She is considered to be among the very finest reporters, and has sent dispatches from danger zones around the world.

She is also the long-serving presenter of Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and the author of four books about recent social history.

Kate has twice been named reporter of the year by the Royal Television Society and twice won the Monte Carlo International Golden Nymph Award. Her professional autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers, spent 37 weeks on the Sunday Times bestseller list.


Ashley Palmer-WattsAshley Palmer-Watts

Ashley Palmer-Watts is Chef Director for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, London and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne, Australia which he opened in October 2015, with a third restaurant due to open in Dubai in 2020.

His creative eye for detail coupled with a great enthusiasm for research and British ingredients have enabled him to create the unique menu of historically inspired British dishes with Heston Blumenthal for the three restaurants.

Ashley has visited Farm Africa’s work in Kenya several times, led a group of chefs on a Kilimanjaro trek to raise funds for Farm Africa, has designed the menu for Farm Africa Gala Dinners and regularly runs the Dine for Good campaign, inviting diners at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal to donate £1 to Farm Africa.

General Sir Peter de la Billière KCB KBE DSO MC DL

Sir Peter had a long and distinguished army career which concluded when he commanded the British forces during the first Gulf War and was subsequently appointed as a special advisor to the Ministry of Defence on Middle Eastern matters. 

Sir Peter ran a small farm enterprise for many years. He is a former board member and was chairman of Farm Africa from 1998 to 2001. Together with his wife he remains an active supporter. They have visited many of the projects in Africa.

"Farm Africa's projects are innovative and effective – they help the poorest farmers to help themselves, and the impact of Farm Africa's work is long-term, permanent and expanding as the value of its work is widely appreciated."

Lord Plumb of Coleshill, DL FRAgS

Lord Plumb has pursued an ambitious career in politics and farming. He became chairman of the European Committee on Agriculture in 1979 and was the first Briton to be elected president of the European Parliament in 1987. He is also the second-longest serving president of the National Farmers' Union (1970-9).

His involvement with charity and voluntary organisations is considerable and he has taken up many prominent roles, including: 

  • chairman of the British Agricultural Council (1975)
  • president of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (1977)
  • vice-president of Sargent Cancer Care for Children.

Lord Plumb has long been interested in the European Union's relationship with developing countries and continues to work hard, believing in "helping developing countries to help themselves".

Haile GebrselassieHaile Gebrselassie

Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie is one of the greatest long distance runners of all time. He is one of only three runners to have won successive Olympic gold medals in the 10,000 metres (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000).

He also has four World Championship titles in the event and in 1995 astonished the running world when he broke the world record in both the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres within just weeks of each race.

Later in his career he went on to break the world record in the marathon twice.