Philanthropist and environmentalist Edward Hoare takes on the Random 19


Edward Hoare is a philanthropist and environmentalist and direct descendant of Sir Richard Hoare, who founded Hoare’s Bank in 1672. 

C. Hoare & Co. is the UK’s oldest privately-owned bank, retained continuously by the Hoare family for 12 generations, this year celebrating its 350th anniversary. In 1719, ‘Good Henry’ Hoare founded Westminster Hospital, the world’s first publicly funded hospital. In 1891, William Hoare founded the world’s first hospice, Royal Trinity Hospice. Many other hospitals, schools, churches and charitable institutions have sprung from the family’s energetic vision for society.  Each year the partners donate up to 10 per cent of the bank’s profits to charity. 

Travelling adventurer

Born at Stourhead, Edward was a member of the Hoare’s Bank Family Forum, which continues the Hoare family tradition of giving to good causes. 

He left home as a young man, living in Rio de Janeiro where he worked in The Bank of London and South America, from 1968-71. He returned home and trained as a Chartered Accountant from 1972 to 1976. 

In 1977, he embarked on a trip around the world, during which he visited the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, inspiring his pioneering interests in environmental issues.

Edward finally joined the family bank as a Bankers’ Agent, a position he held for more than 30 years.

Edward now explores new ways in how to make the planet more sustainable, and has co-created an innovative mind-mapping platform called Thortspace. The main focus of attention is the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what can be done to enable greater involvement with the most important plans for the planet. 

And so, to the questions …

1. What’s your relationship with the Blackmore Vale (the loose North Dorset area, not us!)?

I’ve always looked out on the Blackmore Vale! Having been born in Stourhead, we’re just a short way away from Bourton, and Bourton is actually within the Vale. So really it has been home for the whole of my life.

2. What is your comfort meal?

Great question! Two slices of toast, a load of grated cheese, Branston pickle, all put together in a sandwich, the top slice smothered in rapeseed oil. Then put in the top of the oven til it’s really crispy and brown. Delicious!

3. What was the last film you watched?
‘Don’t Look Up’ and YES, I’d certainly recommend it. How important is that film? The fact that the climate complications that we’re looking at now are just the same as those in Don’t Look Up, where big business and political thinking get right in the way of what the whole of humanity is facing as a potential catastrophe.
And what’s lovely is that we know the world will have us. If we behave too badly, mother nature will just have us all.

4. Cats or dogs?

Dogs – I am a dog man … We have five dogs now – yes, five! 

One is a weeny little pug-chiahuahua cross, and the others are all smallish labradors.

My very first dog was at Stourhead and was a dachshund called Monty.

5. What shop can you not pass without going in?

Probably connected with food. Especially really excellent food – I’ll go anywhere where there’s exceptional food. I do like Barclays in Wincanton. But I tend not to go to shops. If you go to shops, you get tempted to spend money.

6. What would you like to tell 15-year-old you?

I actually had quite a think about this one, and I think it’s four little things:

Do as you would be done by

Do things well

Take a long term view, and 

Stand up for right.

(Edward changed his mind on this, his first answer was

‘Listen and listen and listen … and be kind’, which I think is also a great message for a 15 year old – Ed, the mother of a 15 year old)

7. What’s your secret superpower?

I’d say looking in the eyes and speaking the truth

8. What book did you read last year that stayed with you?

‘Red Notice’ by Bill Browder (founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country after exposing widespread corruption. In 2009 his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was murdered in Russian police custody).
It gives such an insight into stuff that happens – political things, the way the world works.

9.  What would you most like to be remembered for?

Trying hard for others, looking to the future and doing it  – always.

10. What’s your most annoying trait?

Persistence – I never give up!

11. What was the last gift you gave someone?

It was a clothes dryer – and it was much appreciated!

12. Your favourite quote? 

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”

I went to Eton and at the age of 17, I wanted to learn Portuguese – because Brazil was the first country I knew of where people of all backgrounds and any colour were all living together without threatening violence on each other. I thought ‘hey ho, I’d like to try that’. So I asked my parents if I could learn Portuguese and they weren’t particularly interested in my reasoning, they said: ‘Yes, get on with it yourself”. So I did.
With one other person we approached the school, and they arranged a tutor for us.
Then, a year later, with no family, friends or connections living in Brazil I got a job in the Bank of London and South America, and went to live in Rio for three years. It was absolutely fantastic. And come the end of it, aged just 22, I wrote the Brazilian rules of life. And even now, 50 years on, they make me smile. And my number one  rule is ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ (number eight is ‘Listen – if you don’t, you cannot hear.’) 

13. The best crisps flavour?

Marmite ones!

14. And the best biscuit for dunking?

Always a McVitie’s digestive.

15. Your top three most-visited websites?

  • Most Important Plans
  • Philanthropy impact
  • Mere Mutters!
    (a small cheat as it’s the local Facebook group)

16. Chip shop chips or home baked cake?

Can I have chips, please!

17. Tell us about one of the best evenings you’ve had?

It was my 60th birthday. I was in the middle of the Amazon region, with my wife and friends and other lovely people, next to a river … and it was dreamlike.

18. What in life is frankly a mystery to you?

I think it’s how uncaring and non-listening and cruel many of us can be.

19. You have the power to pass one law tomorrow, uncontested. What will you do?

I’d pass a law where all public money and public contracts go to recipients who are transparent, so nothing is ever allowed to be hidden.


  1. What a wonderful life! The thrill and excitement of leaving England and travelling to work in Rio at the age of 18, beginning a life of roaming the world, banking, philanthropy and developing a passion for preservation, topped by spending a 60th birthday in the middle of the Amazon! A life well lived indeed!!


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