Broadcaster and landscape designer Mark Lane has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent.
Mark was one of ten ‘inspirational individuals’ to be awarded an honorary degree and is now a Doctor of the University. His ‘inspirational career in garden design and media’ was cited.
Mark became the UK’s first BBC gardening presenter in a wheelchair when he joined BBC TV Gardeners’ World. He has since become the regular gardening presenter on BBC Morning Live and runs Mark Lane Designs Ltd, an award- winning landscape design practice.
Mark said: “This came as a total surprise. I received a letter from the Vice Chancellor and President in 2021 and had to defer receiving the Honorary Doctorate until now because of other work commitments. I am truly honoured and extremely humbled to have received this award. My mum always wanted a doctor in the family and now it has happened. To have my work in garden design and broadcasting recognised by such a prestigious an international university, University of Kent, must show that I am doing something right and I thank them for this honour.”
Mark was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and grew up in Hove, East Sussex. He attended Blatchington Mill School, before going to University College London (UCL) where he attained a BA Honours in Art History and Diploma in Garden Design.
After graduating from UCL, his career led him to work at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) where he eventually became Publishing Director. He then moved on to International Arts publisher Thames & Hudson as Managing Editor.
He retrained as a garden designer, and combined writing for gardening magazines with gardening itself. From here, his career with TV presenting began. As well as his presenting roles with the BBC, he is a regular presenter and interviewer for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Shows. He has also appeared on Celebrity Mastermind and Pointless Celebrities.
Mark also holds various voluntary roles. He is Patron for Core Landscapes (social and therapeutic horticulture for London charity community garden) and Trustee/Co-chair for the Gardening with Disabilities Trust. Mark holds ambassador roles for the following charities: Leonard Cheshire, Groundwork, Thrive, Greenfingers and Melanoma Fund. He is also Equity Ambassador for the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), aiming to improve the diversity within the horticultural and landscaping industries,
His most notable awards are: being named a finalist for Celebrity of the Year at the National Diversity Awards 2021, Best Landscape Architecture and Design Business 2022 (BUILD Architecture Awards), Best Residential Landscape Design Practice 2022 (Home & Garden), Best International Garden & Landscape Design Firm 2021 (Architecture Awards), Most Innovative Landscape Designer 2021 (Build magazine), Landscape Designer of the Year 2021 (Corporate Livewire Global Awards).