Who’s Who

Dr Stuart Wale

Dr Stuart Wale is Director of Horticulture and Chairman of the Trust.  A former Lecturer, and latterly Head of Crop Services and Dean of the Aberdeen Centre (SAC), Stuart brings great knowledge of plant cultivation and pathology to the Gardens.  Currently Stuart travels the world as a part-time researcher and consultant with Scotland’s Rural College.   He is a member of several Committees and has written many research papers.  Outside of work and the Castle Gardens Stuart is a keen Morris Dancer and enjoys reading, walking and his grandchildren.

Chris Hall

Married, with two daughters and one grandson, Chris Hall has lived near Ellon for 27 years. He has been a member of the Ythan Community Council for over 20 years and currently serves as secretary. Recently Chris joined Ellon Rotary Club. He runs a small Chartered Accountancy practice with clients mainly spread over the North East of Scotland. When he’s not working Chris enjoys most outdoor activities and helping his wife with her sheep enterprise.                                                                         

Dr Richard Fox

Dr Richard Fox is a geologist by profession with nearly 30 years’ experience in the Oil Business and now runs his own Exploration Consulting Company. He worked for many years with BP throughout the world before returning to Ellon to take up a Leadership role with Dana Petroleum in Aberdeen. He is married with four children, a horse, two cats and a cherished Land Rover Defender pickup! His role on the Board is to seek out funding to support our ambitious plans for the garden.


Mike was born and brought up in Ellon, where he lives with his wife Margaret. They have a son Ross who lives in Houston and a daughter Jane living in Aberdeen.  He retired from his architectural practice in 2013, Taylor Design Services. Through his company he has been involved in the development of Ellon for the last 40 years.  He was also a director of local house building company Scotia Homes Ltd, retiring in 2011.  He is involved with local originations including Rotary (past president), and was also involved in setting up and running the Ellon Business Initiative, promoting Ellon for many years. He is also an active member of Ellon Civic Pride.  He has had an interest in Ellon Castle Gardens for many years before the gardens were handed over for community use.

Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron was Chairman of the Board from its inception until 2016 when he stood down and retired from the Board. He was persuaded to return in 2018 in order to engage with the local community. After more than 35 years in education – the last fifteen as Rector of Ellon Academy, Alan retired and went back to University to study Gaelic and Celtic Civilisation. After graduation, he became Councillor for Ellon on Aberdeenshire Council and latterly Leader of the Opposition. During that time he served on the Board of Aberdeen College and was Chairman of their Audit Committee and of their Company ASET. Alan has founded several local organisations such as Ellon Burns Club, Ellon Historical Society and Gordon Gaelic Coir.He is an elder in Ellon Parish Church and sings in the Church choir. He is a past President of Ellon Rotary Club and Ellon Probus Club.

Dr Steve Rainey

Dr Steve Rainey began his career in the petroleum industry as a sedimentologist in a major multi-national corporation 35 years ago. Since then he has held a variety of technical and senior management roles in the UK, the USA and the Sultanate of Oman, and has recently retired. He is a firm believer that everyone who can should contribute to the community in which he or she lives. He signed up as a volunteer for ECG in early 2018, and was invited to join the board in 2019 to help with strategic thinking, business planning and fundraising. Steve has been married to Bibi for almost 38 years and they have one son and a young golden retriever. Steve thrives on most physical activities (running, skiing, offshore rowing, cycling, sailing, hill walking) and maintenance tasks around the home. He and Bibi are in the process of re-establishing a garden at their home in Collieston.

David Wright

David has nearly 30 years experience in local authority sports, culture, education and tourism management. He currently works for the National Trust for Scotland as regional Business Manager for the North East, having previously worked for the region’s tourism management organisation, VisitAberdeenshire. Through his first degree in Human and Rural Geography, he was introduced to the growing importance of the tourism industry and undertook his Honours dissertation on the marketing of Scottish Tourism. Outside of his day job, David helps run an award-winning Camping and Bed & Breakfast business in Ythanbank. He is self-confessed ‘castle geek, having helped his family to restore a 14th century castle in Central Scotland. Having worked throughout the UK, he has now lived in Scotland’s Castle Country for nearly 18 years, (longer than anywhere else), and is very keen to help raise the profile of ECG, which he sees as one of the region’s hidden gems. 

Alison Craigon

Alison moved to Ellon in 2018; she lives in Castlepark with her partner and their dog. She began volunteering at the Castle Gardens in June 2019, to get involved in the local community, then joined the Board at the AGM in November 2019. Her responsibilities include chairing the Events Subgroup and coordinating the volunteers. She also enjoys helping with the gardening at the Castle Gardens whenever she can.

Alison has a degree in astrophysics and a PhD in star-formation. She left academia in 2010 to work in industry and is currently a Principal Research Scientist for an advanced inspection technologies company, where she develops new ways of using ultrasound to inspect metal and composite materials.

Alison also has a keen interest in art and design. She is a committee member for North East Open Studios (NEOS), an annual week-long event where artists across the northeast of Scotland open their studios to the public.