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  • Writer's pictureJane Brook

Welcome our new Directors

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

All the directors and officers of The Chamber are volunteers. There is so much potential and so many opportunities we want to explore and develop to help our town’s businesses thrive, but we can’t do it alone.

We’re very pleased to say that this April two of our members have stepped forward to become new directors on our board; Ian Bowden and Mark Hart – you can read more about them below. Their respective skills, experience and enthusiasm will undoubtedly benefit the Chamber as we continue to grow.

Mark Hart is a partner at Olivers Estate Agents on Cinque Ports Street.

Raised in Hastings, Mark's varied career started with 20 years as an International Security Specialist and Close Protection officer. In addition to running and working at some of the largest scale events in the world including The Notting Hill carnival and Fifa World Cup, Mark also promoted and ran 13 very successful local amateur and professional fight shows called The Pantheon Fight Series which allowed local talent to showcase their skills on a larger and more professional stage. A great supporter of the Rye Chamber and a happy volunteer, many of you will have met Mark when he erected the lights for the Christmas Festival last year. His local authority collaboration experience is extensive, having sat on many committees and is past chairman of the Hastings Bar Watch association.

As a serial entrepreneur who operates several other ventures, his broad spectrum of knowledge will be a great asset to the Chamber. With his 'Show me, don't tell me' work ethic, Mark hopes to work closely with local trades, businesses and the community to help build a stronger and sustainable commercial environment for Rye now, as we find ourselves in the midst of very difficult trading conditions, and into the future.

Ian Bowden is the founder and festival director of the Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival which takes place in Rye at the end of August each year. In 2022 the festival celebrated its tenth anniversary and is respected as one of the best high – quality music festivals of its kind in the UK.

His passions include music and history, and he has been visiting Rye for over twenty-five years enjoying the amazing history and charm that Rye has to offer.

Ian brings his creative event management and commercial experience to the chamber and is looking forward to doing all that he can to make a positive contribution to the town and working closely with the existing chamber directors and team.

Over the years Ian has got to know many of the businesses based in Rye and the surrounding area and understands the need to have an ongoing cohesive strategy that will benefit the businesses of Rye and enhance the towns culture and tourism offering.


It takes more that one or two logs to build a roaring fire! If you are a 'doer', with strong community spirit and the heart and enthusiasm to step up like Mark and Ian to help grow the Chamber, we want to hear from you! Get in touch –

Ian Bowden image credit: KT Bruce.

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