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Our Team

MEET THE TEAM

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Mark Ashburton

CEO

Mark is passionate about the Hampshire countryside and works hard to balance a desire to welcome people onto the estate while ensuring that it remains the extraordinary chalk-stream ecosystem that it is. Recently his focus has been on supporting the launch of The Grange Festival, building a new Equestrian Centre with his cousin Francesca Baring, collaborating with his siblings on producing sparkling wine from the Vineyard they have planted on the estate, developing camping and holiday accommodation, alongside the more traditional agricultural and property enterprises.

Mark has managed the Grange Estate, which is owned by his family, since 2014. Prior to that he worked in finance, originally in corporate finance and then in wealth management, with spells in New York and Singapore as well as in London.

Mark is a Trustee of The Grange Festival and of the Baring Archive Trust.

 

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Sophie Ashburton

Director

Sophie (formerly known as Grenville/Baring) works alongside Mark to lead the estate in a way that will ensure it thrives commercially, ecologically and socially.  She believes that its future is dependent on making the most of what it has to offer, thinking creatively and practically about extraordinary experiences for its customers.

Her experience in the midst of a family business, as well as observing many others, means she is on a mission to help families with businesses have the right conversations in the right way.  She believes empathetic, non-judgmental, well-structured  facilitation can release positive energy and avoid unnecessary misery. She has teamed up with Edward Marriott, a psychotherapist and organisational psychologist, to do this work

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Zam Baring

Managing Partner - The Grange Wine

Zam’s happiest childhood memories are of splashing about in the clear, clean water of the Candover Brook that flows north/south all the way through the estate.

He trained as a film editor after university and worked in London making commercials and music-videos before joining an independent production company called KEO Films, where he edited, directed and produced various factual television programmes for many British and international broadcasters.

Zam now runs the English sparkling wine project that was set up on the estate by him and his siblings 11 years ago.

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Fred Baring

Home Farm Development Manager

Fred leads the newest of The Grange ventures Home Farm. He has taken the tumbled down model farm completely  abandoned in 2009 under his wing. He is masterminding its conversion into 12 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and extraordinary events spaces. And at the same time re igniting its agricultural roots by using its environment to experiment with regenerative farming methods that will be both beautiful and inspiring for visitors. Watch this space…………

Fred’s previous career in marketing and film production alongside an MBA in Advanced Farm Management from The Royal Agricultural University combined with an adventurous spirit means he is well placed to develop this exciting project. 

Fred has multiple marathons under his belt, loves making bread and pickling things and is increasingly seduced by his vegetable garden and his bees.

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Victoria Swain

PA to Mark and Sophie Ashburton

Tor is Mark Ashburton’s PA and is responsible for everything from his diary management to organising the annual shoot. She is highly organised, very efficient and is a very important member of the Grange team.

Before joining the team, Tor ran her own businesses including a string of hair salons, which presented a whole different set of challenges.  Prior to that she was instrumental in setting up local independent radio stations within her role as PA to the Chief Executive of a large radio group.

Away from the office, Tor and her two teenage children love spending time with their cockapoo Beau.  She is a fantastic cook and loves to entertain with great food and wine.

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Julia Mitchell

Experiences and Events Manager

Julia loves giving people what they want when it comes to creating great events. She knows The Grange Hampshire inside out and can help navigate it so that it can give of its best. She has worked on the estate since 2014, first as a PA to Mark and now as the Events Manager.

Julia’s previous 25 year career was in Broadcasting with the BBC, ITV and independent production companies.  Before joining the Grange Hampshire she was Head of Production working across a diverse genre of programmes including daytime, documentaries and factual.

Julia is wife to Chris and mum to 2 teenage girls.  She loves spending time outdoors with her family and her dog, and most weekends is found in her other role as driver and groom to her horse-mad youngest daughter who competes at British Eventing level.

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Ellie Russell

Experiences and Events Assistant

Ellie’s background is in marketing and communications, specialising in arts-marketing for theatres and outdoor events. Ellie joined the team in April 2022 and utilises her interest for audience development and working with artists and communities, to delivering exceptional experiences across the estate.

 

Outside of work she loves to head to the woods, mountains or outdoor spaces with her husband and rescue dog; to mountain bike, trail run or dream of big adventures in the mountains.

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Wes Brannan

Events Assistant

Wes is hands on helping people with the set up and take down of their events and making sure that things get mended across the estate. He can turn his hand to pretty much anything from building kitchens out of recycled floor boards to helping stressed brides get their tables organized so that they can comfortably fit in all their guests.

Wes’ career has spanned the world thanks to his family having emigrated to Australia in 1968. He started life as a forklift driver and then trained as a carpenter which he has been doing ever since alongside more general building work.  He arrived on the estate when he met Mel (The Grange estate manager) on a cruise 7 years ago. 

Wes loves travel and photography in his spare time. He is also the founding member of “The Grange has got talent” with his fine rendition of When I’m 64.

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Becka Cooper

Food Wizard

Becka, who was born and brought up in Hampshire, trained at the Royal Academy of Music as a professional opera singer.  During her studies she developed a love for cooking and formed her own catering company.

Becka has sung on the stage at The Grange and catered extensively for both The Grange Festival and The Grange Hampshire estate

She is dedicated to maintaining her reputation for providing delicious, vibrant, generous seasonal food that champions local suppliers. Although she has a clear idea of the kind of food she does best she loves working with others to create something which they feel reflects who they are. She gets great satisfaction making sure that people have a brilliant time.

 

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Ali Booth

Hospitality Manager

Ali specialises in looking after the estates’ business clients. She knows what it takes to run a successful off-site meeting and works hard to make sure that the focus for clients is on what they need to get done and not on the logistics. She knows how to flex so that things happen when they need to but don’t get in the way when they don’t. Businesses come to Abbotstone Barn to get away from the day to day and focus on the important stuff that otherwise might not get discussed properly so it’s important they are not interrupted or distracted. 

The rest of the time you’ll find Ali in the kitchen with Becka, doing everything from making canapés for a Grange wedding, to prepping  Supper in the Park for the Grange Festival.  

Ali has had a varied career and lived all over the country. Amongst other things she has written children’s books and radio advertising. Her flexibility and gentle brilliance with people makes her an ideal sounding board for Becka on all aspects of life across the estate. 

She says that Hampshire is most definitely her home now and is very much part of The Grange family. 

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Laura Andreca

Head of Operations

Laura really enjoys the pace and bustle of managing the residential properties at The Grange Hampshire, alongside being the Estate’s Health and Safety representative.  She gets a lot of satisfaction from making her work as positive and productive as possible. She loves the challenge of liaising and working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Laura was born and raised in the Republic of Moldova and graduated in Finance and Banking followed by a Masters in European Project Financing Management at Bucharest University.

Laura’s experience as a travel agent, before settling in the UK, has stood in her very good stead as she welcomes new people to The Grange Hampshire.

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Mark Linter

Estate Manager

Mark, known as Mel to differentiate him from Mark Baring, looks after the management of the estate on a day to day basis. He says that it’s more than a job, it’s a way of life. Every day is different and his role encompasses everything from looking after the Estate’s somewhat antiquated private water supply, to running the teams of contractors employed to renovate its various properties. The role allows him to use his innate ability for practical problem solving and to deal with the many challenges that come his way.

Mel began his career in game keeping and farming and, for a time, joined his Dad in the Portsmouth Dockyard where he learned to be more of a builder and engineer, before going back to work on another large Hampshire estate.  Seventeen and a half years later he joined the team at The Grange Hampshire.

Mel is a passionate Portsmouth Football Club supporter. He scuba dives and sails whenever he gets time.

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Julia Ewens

Financial Administrator

Julia has found her dream job at The Grange Hampshire, combining her love of the countryside with her enjoyment of music and theatre – and having The Grange Festival offices next door is a great bonus. She finds the busy pace of life and the opportunities to work with a variety of people a rewarding experience and feels lucky that she can perform her role in such an interesting field.

Julia qualified as a Farm Administrator at Sparsholt College and spent many years working in local farm offices before a short sojourn into the world of conventional accounting where she gained an additional AAT qualification. She is now happy to have returned to the agricultural world and is also excited by the diversification into viticulture that this role offers her.

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Max Armitstead

Game Keeper

Max manages the woods, meadows and parkland on the estate with the aim of creating and maintaining good, healthy habitat beneficial for the sporting activities and wildlife. He loves the variety and range of skills needed to do his job well; from forestry to organising the beaters and chatting up the guns on a days shooting.

Max has been working at The Grange Hampshire since 2011, starting out as a part time estate worker, moving to the assistant gamekeeper and taking over as head keeper in time for the 2018 season.

In his spare time Max can be found deer stalking, shooting clay pigeons, working on Land Rovers, or doing something to help with local Young Farmers’ Club.