Sophy Kershaw
Communications specialist Sophy has 30 years’ experience in publishing.

From her first job as a copywriter at Oxford University Press, to her latest as Publishing Manager at Overseas Development Institute, she has commissioned, written and edited literally millions of words. She’s worked on a huge range of publications, from consumer magazines such as Time Out and Gardening Which? to a revisionist history of the Battle of The Somme.

'I had always loved being in nature, and I’d just got my first garden – a north-facing wilderness presided over by an elderly sycamore. I found it so rejuvenating to tend my garden and watch the seasons change.

'I think gardening must be in my blood. My grandfather came from a family of horticulturalists in Australia. His father was a rose specialist, and they had a plant nursery in Sydney.

'Grandfather settled in Berkshire after serving in the First World War. I used to love walking round his garden with him as a child.’

After 10 years in magazine publishing, Sophy decided to take a career break. 'I felt ready for a change,’ she says. 'I wanted to explore this love of plants and see where it would take me.’

After gaining a National Certificate at Merrist Wood, Sophy spent a year volunteering at the Chelsea Physic Garden. 'It was a wonderful period of learning and healing,’ she says.

She returned to publishing but has always kept an active interest in gardening. 'Once you’ve felt the healing power of gardening,’ she says, 'you never go back. It’s like you’ve found the door to anew, healthier world – the natural world.

'In my view, gardening can heal most ills, if you let it.’

For the past 15 years she has been working for leading charities including Shelter and Christian Aid, as a writer and editor. But that interest in Thrive endured, and at last she has the time to get involved.

'I’ve always felt a real connection with Thrive,’ she says. 'I am so pleased that I am finally able to make a contribution. It’s an exciting time for the organisation, and I look forward to making a difference.’