The head of the Eden Project Tim Smit has been appointed an honorary Knight by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Dutch-born Co-founder and Chief Executive of Eden, who is also renowned for the restoration of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, is being given the honour in recognition of his services to public engagement with science.
Tim, who was previously awarded an honorary CBE in 2002, is a noted speaker and author. His account of the establishment of the project, entitled Eden, was recently acclaimed the best-selling environmental book of the past decade.
News of the honour – full title honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) – was confirmed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
As the news became public today (20 January), Tim said: “I’m hugely honoured. In the true spirit of ‘going Dutch’ I would like to share the honour with all the fabulous friends and colleagues who have helped make the adventures of the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project a reality.”
Tim was born in Holland on 25 September 1954. He read Archaeology and Anthropology at Durham University and then worked for ten years in the music industry as composer/producer in both rock music and opera.
In 1987 Tim moved to Cornwall, where he and John Nelson together ‘discovered’ and then restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Tim remains a Director of the gardens to the present day.
The Eden Project began as a dream in 1995 and fully opened to the public on 17 March 2001. Since then nearly 13 million people have come to see what was once a sterile pit turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture that is symbolic of human endeavour.
In the years since, Eden has contributed more than £1 billion to the regional economy. The project is proud of its success in changing people’s perception of the potential for and the application of science, by communicating and interpreting scientific concepts through the use of art, drama and storytelling, as well as living up to its mission to take a pivotal role in local regeneration.
Tim is a Trustee, Patron and Board Member of a number of statutory and voluntary bodies both locally and nationally. He has received a variety of national awards including The Royal Society of Arts Albert Medal. He has received Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships from a number of universities and was voted ‘Great Briton of 2007’ in the Environment category of the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards.
Tim has taken part in many television and radio programmes and has been the subject of This is Your Life and a guest on Desert Island Discs. He is a regular speaker at conferences, dinners and other events. As well as the book about Eden, he is the author of a best-selling book about Heligan and has contributed to publications on a wide variety of subjects.