Sir Ben Gill, CBE, Hon DSc
We are very sorry to let members know of the death, on 8 May 2014, of Sir Ben Gill, CBE, who was an Honorary Graduate of the University.
A distinguished agriculturalist, Sir Ben was President of the National Farmers’ Union from 1998 to 2004. His term of office saw him very much in the public eye, since it coincided with two grave crises affecting farming: the consequences of ‘mad cow disease’, or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy); and the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001. Sir Ben was also President of the Confederation of European Agriculture from 2000 to 2004, and held a number of other major roles in the agricultural industry, including those of chairman of Westbury Dairies, English Apples and Pears Ltd and Eden Research plc. After retiring from the NFU, he established his own businesses, Hawkhills Consultancy Limited and the Hawk Creative Business Park Ltd. He was a prominent member of the Agriculture and Food Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. He was appointed CBE in 1996 for his services to agriculture and was knighted in 2003.
Within the University, Sir Ben gave generously of his time and energy as a Special Adviser to the Faculty of Biological Sciences. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, in 1997.
Sir Ben is survived by his wife, Lady Carolyn, and their four sons.