21st May 2009

It is with much sadness but with some excitement that I announce today that I am leaving the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) in August to take on the role of the Director of the BBC Wildlife Fund.

I have now been working as the Chief Executive of BCT since 2000 and it has been hugely rewarding. Over the past nine years I have been fortunate to have been involved in some exciting developments for bats. They are now established Indicators of UK Biodiversity and BCT will continue to work to establish bats as indicators on many levels including a Pan European Level and indicators of sustainable urban development. Bats are seen as critical in the delivery of biodiversity conservation. I have also seen huge changes to both bat conservation and BCT since 2000. The overall image of bats is far more positive, people now contact BCT wanting to help bats, to encourage them into their gardens and houses rather than talking about being afraid of them and misunderstanding what they are. In 2000 the Bat Conservation Trust was just a handful of staff and no reserves - considerably high risk. It is now a growing highly respected organisation with over 35 staff and a sound financial position.

Although sad to leave, I am looking forward to my new role which will provide me with the opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of wildlife and to gain support for UK charities working to conserve wildlife both here and throughout the world.

I will continue to champion bats and I am confident that under a new Chief Executive's leadership BCT will move from strength to strength. I am leaving an incredibly talented team focused on priority action for bats; an outstanding volunteer network with a huge amount of expertise and good will; members who continue to support a cause which is not often seen as the most popular or greatest priority; partners who pull out the stops to ensure bats are considered in all landscape developments and a Board of Trustees which is well positioned to recruit a new Chief Executive to carry forward BCT's Strategic Plan.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me over the years. I am constantly struck by how those passionate about bats are so supportive to all those keen to find out more about these wonderful and totally unique animals with their amazing 'wow' factor. Bat enthusiasts are always keen to share knowledge and to use all resources available to ensure a future for our bat populations. It has been a huge honour and privilege to work with so many dedicated, enthusiastic and helpful people.

I wish everyone a great deal of success in their continuing work to conserve bats and their habitats.