Mark Lane | Canterbury, UK
Celebrity of the Year Award
TV and Radio Broadcaster: Extremely creative, productive and with a unique perspective on life, landscape design, gardening, art history and disability, I have gained recognition as a first-class landscape designer, being the UK’s first garden designer in a wheelchair, as well as the first BBC gardening presenter in a wheelchair.
I am a TV broadcaster of the award winning BBC Gardeners’ World, also a presenter for BBC Gardeners’ World Live and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Flower Shows – Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace, Chatsworth, Tatton. BBC Gardeners’ World is one of the handful of factual TV programmes with a long pedigree of 50 years, viewed by a staggering 3 million people on a weekly basis, in the UK alone. Quote: “I’m here in a wheelchair and I can do these things. First and foremost I am a presenter, who just happens to be in a chair, but if I can be an inspiration to other people, then all the better for it.”
I graduated from University College London in Art History with B.A. (Hons). I went on to become the Publishing Director for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Managing Editor for the leading international Arts publisher Thames & Hudson.
In 2001 I was in a car accident and had to have operations on my spine, which were complicated by me being born with spina bifida. Following a long rehabilitation period I studied garden design through an Open Learning course and have gone on to become the first recognised UK garden designer in a wheelchair.
A prolific writer, I have been in BBC Gardeners’ World magazine, the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) journal The Garden, Which? Gardening, Landscape & Urban Design magazine, The Guardian newspaper, the Daily Mail newspaper, Daily Express newspaper, Sunday Express newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the Wealden Times magazine, Pro Landscaper, Kent Life and Surrey Homes, Life magazines, Conservation News, Waitrose Weekend, Enable Active magazine, RNOH magazine, Irish Examiner, Somerset County Gazette, Garden News, Darlington and Stockton Times, Irish News, Canterbury INDEX magazine, House Beautiful, House & Garden, and the Press Association.
I am also writing a book for Kyle Books (Hachette UK) for spring 2020.
I am also a member of the Garden Media Guild.
Born in Hertfordshire in 1969, the family soon moved to Hove, just outside of Brighton. Quote: “I was very lucky growing up where I did. We overlooked the South Downs, with the countryside in walking distance to the north, and the beach to the south. As soon as I could walk I was fascinated by nature, wildlife, plants and art.” My earliest gardening memories are of me, aged 6 or 7, following my grandparents around their large garden, especially the veggie patch, growing cress on the window sill, tying in climbers and dead-heading plants. With an aptitude to paint and draw from a very young age, I would set up my easel to depict the rolling hills, the ocean, and the local flora and fauna. I was also a gifted young actor and flautist and when it came to choosing a university I had to decide between art and music. Art won the day, and with a fascination in the cultural, social and psychology aspects of art I started to put together a plan for my future, incorporating my love for words and art. My meteoric rise in publishing was rewarding and great fun, but the car accident in 2001 altered my career path. Quote: “I am so happy now, presenting on subjects that I love and am passionate about. As well as creating new landscapes and gardens for future generations to come”.
I am passionate about promoting a positive image of disability, as well as the immediate and long-term benefits that gardening has on both our physical and mental health.
I am an Ambassador for Leonard Cheshire and I am the face of the 'Can do' gardening campaign.
I am Patron of Core Landscapes, an award-winning mental health project that aims to improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing through horticulture.
I am an Ambassador for Greenfingers, supporting children in hospices by creating inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces for them to benefit from.
I am the ‘Health, Wellbeing and Community’ Ambassador for Groundwork building stronger communities by improving green spaces.
I am an Ambassador for Thrive, the disability charity that uses gardening to positively change lives.
I have a regular slot on BBC Radio Kent’s Sunday Gardening Programme and have broadcasted on BBC Radio Sussex, BBC Radio Teeside, BBC Radio Three Counties, BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio 4 .
I am just as happy in front of a live crowd as I am in front of the camera. Sharing my excitement, enthusiasm and knowledge with others, I have given talks at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Enham Trust, the Wealden Times Fair, the Landscape Show and Hadlow College.
Self-trained, I keep a photographic diary of everything that I do.