We are very proud to recognise and appreciate the distinctive, diverse and talented influence our Patrons will bring to our charity.  By agreeing to be our Patrons they will act as ambassadors, introduce us to new supporters and increase awareness of the work we do for our over 50’s Ayrshire community. We thank them most sincerely and hope that you too will be proud to be associated with their dedication to our organisation.

Alice Brown is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She was previously the University’s Head of Department of Politics and a Vice- Principal, as well as Co-Director of its Institute of Governance.

Alice gained extensive research experience during her academic career and through her appointment on the Economic and Social Research Council. She has published widely on economic and labour market policy, equal opportunities, women and politics, Scottish politics, constitutional change and administrative justice. Throughout her career she has played an active role in public life in Scotland and the UK and has served on a wide range of public bodies and organisations.  

Alice was appointed as the first Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in 2002 (Crown appointment), a post she held until her retirement in 2009.  She was elected as the General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011 and stood down from this position on becoming Chair of SFC. Her contributions to public life were recognised in the Queen’s Honours list 2010 when she was awarded a CBE and through the award of the title of Emeritus Professor at the University of Edinburgh (2008).  She has also received honorary degrees from Queen’s University Belfast (2014), Glasgow Caledonian University (2012), the University of Edinburgh (2010), Edinburgh Napier University (2009), the University of Stirling (2004); and a Special Recognition Award from the Political Studies Association (2009).

Alice is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS), a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa).  If you’d like to find out more, please visit http://goo.gl/QKijR5


Mark is a graduate of Aberdeen University with an honours degree in Zoology. His professional career has been as a Chartered Surveyor, starting with Knight Frank and subsequently 16 years with Brodies WS dealing with all aspects of rural property.  

Mark is extremely passionate about Ayrshire, its history, its people and its preservation.  He is owner and developer of the 3000 acre Craigengillan Estate in Ayrshire.  He works closely with the local community and has provided vital work opportunities on the development of Craigengillan since his arrival  in 1999.  The organic farm and some 750 acres of forestry thrives.   Mark already has a link to OiR Ayr through agreeing to a flowering cherry tree being planted there in the Spring of 2009 by Amy Kinnaird, during her last year as Chair. 

Mark was also instrumental in building the Dark Sky Laboratory in 2012.  This is one of only two publicly accessible research grade observatories in a gold tier Dark Sky Park in the world in Dalmellington;  a once thriving coal-mining area in danger of being depressed by vandalism due to lack of work or industry.  

He has received various awards, including the Georgian Society ‘Best Restoration of a landscape in Britain’, Silver Lapwing Special Award for ‘Sharing The Environment With People’ and Country Life ‘Country Person of the Year’. He was appointed by the Prince of Wales as one of the first Trustees of Dumfries House. If you’d like to find out more, please visit http://www.craigengillan.com/

James Knox is Director of the Fleming Wyfold Art Foundation and has been Chairman of Ayr Renaissance Board since 2009. James has his roots deep in Ayrshire, being the son of Colonel Bryce Knox, Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Patricia Dunsmuir.   

James has a degree in art history from Cambridge University, as well as a masters degree in business administration. He was previously Managing Director of The Art Newspaper, which has offices in London and New York. 

James launched the campaign in Scotland to save the Adam designed Dumfries House and its historic contents, which saw the Prince of Wales step in to save it for the nation.  A Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland and the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, he has been closely involved in the challenges facing museums and collections throughout the last few years.

James is also Chairman and Trustee of the Boswell Book Festival which is housed in Dumfries House.  He is a published biographer and curated an exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London on one of his subjects, the cartoonist and illustrator Osbert Lancaster, which attracted the highest paid attendance figures recorded for the museum. If you’d like to find out more, please visit http://www.ayrren.com/about.html and http://www.boswellbookfestival.co.uk/

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