2015 - Royal Forestry Society Long Service Awards
A number of Long Service Awards are being presented this year to recognise those whose dedication and skills have ensured the woodlands and forests they work in thrive. They go to :
David Peacock, Settrington Estate, Yorkshire
Philip Read, Sotterley Estate, East Anglia
Brian Reece, Lydney Park Estate, Gloucestershire
Stephen Bridges, Hertfordshire County Council
Tim Day, Bathurst Estate, Gloucestershire
Bill Dowson, Shotley Hall, County Durham
Brian Heath, Cowdray Estate,West Sussex
Alan Kavangh, Hutton Ambo Estate, Yorkshire
James Mitchell, Parham Estate, West Sussex
David Mortimer, Dodworth Estate,Yorkshire
Jeffery Nicholls, Curwen Woods Estate, Lancashire
Simon Apps, Cowdray Estate, West Sussex
Steven Harrison, Lydney Park Estate, Gloucestershire
Kerry Hill, Cowdray Estate, West Sussex
Hywel Jones, RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum
Meilir Lewis, RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum
Donald Macdonald, Cowdray Estate, West Sussex
Stuart McDonough, Healey Estate, Northumberland
Richard Pepper, Cowdray Estate,West Sussex
George Ruddick, Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire
George Wargent, Alscote Estate, Warwickshire
David Williams, RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum
Mark Worthington, Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire
At the RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum at Leighton near Welshpool, there were awards for David Williams MBE, the RFS Honorary Warden, and for two woodsmen, Meilir Lewis and Hywel Jones, whose work over 34 and 35 years respectively at has ensured it has flourished.
|Hywel Jones, David Williams and Meilir Lewis receive Long Service Awards from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker
The Grove and Pinetum is the oldest and largest stand of coastal Redwoods in Europe. David Williams has been its Honorary Warden for 36 years. In 2011 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) following a career with the Forestry Commission, firstly in research (including three years in Zambia) and then in forest management and in regulation. He was awarded the honour for his “services to forestry, arboriculture and the community in Powys”.
David says: " I first met them when I was working with the Forestry Commission and managing Dyfnant Forest in Powys and contracted them to help at the redwoods with felling, planting and maintenance. There is nothing the two of them don't know about machinery and equipment and over the years their contribution has far outweighed their contract hours.
"They have developed a real interest and knowledge of the site, coming up with ideas that have helped it move forward. Meilir has now retired but I am delighted that Hywel's son David, has stepped into his place."
The awards were presented by RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker at the RFS Excellence in Forestry Awards which were held at the Redwood Grove. He said: "The original redwood grove was planted in 1857, so it’s not difficult to understand the idea of long lives in the tree world. So for David, Hywel and Meilir to have spent more than half their working lives connected with these trees further underlines the long term nature of woodland management.
"The Leighton Redwoods are truly magnificent, indeed form a very important strand in our environmental tapestry; that they are so magnificent is, in a big part, testimony to the work that Hywel and Meilir have skilfully undertaken, assisted and led by David. The Society owes them great gratitude.”
- George Wargent
George Wargent, left, receives his award from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker
- Alscot Estate
- 35 Years
Forester George Wargent estimates he has planted more than 85,000 trees on the Alscot Estate near Stratford-upon- Avon in Warwickshire. He received his award during the WSM meeting at Blenheim Palace in recognition of his 35 years on the estate.
RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker said: "George has already planted a terrific legacy, including 2,500 trees for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and several plantations across the estate. He is about to start work on the Park woodland restoration plan and his experience will ensure a thriving future for the woodlands for generations to come "
“The growing of trees is a long game, so we need people who understand and commit to these big timescales. George's knowledge built up over decades is of huge value to the future success of trees being planted now."
Estate owner Emma Holman-West commented: “George always has a wonderful smile and a great knowledge of the Estate."
- Tim Day
Tim Day, centre,receives his award, with wife Linda, and Lord Bathurst
- Bathurst Estate
Tim Day has been involved mainly in felling and thinning works on the estate's woodland, much of which is Ancient Semi Natural Woodland - mixed broadleaf with mixed conifer species.
Bathurst estate Forestry Manager Keith Mills said: "Much of the woodland dates back to the 1700s and has always been managed for timber production. We maintain a system of Continuous Cover Forestry and over the years Tim's expertise has been essential in helping us manage the structure of the woodland, creating coupes and using his knowledge to retain good quality trees to mature.
"Tim has been a respected member of the team, with successive managers, working throughout the forest ensuring the management objectives are fulfilled. His expanse of knowledge in the creation and management of Continuous Cover Forestry is not often found in woodsmen and will be never be forgotten.
"His contribution to the management of the forest at The Bathurst Estate has been invaluable including in 2001 when Tim played an important part in ensuring the Forest won the RFS Best Woodlands over 100 hectares award.
"Tim has contributed to the maintainance of the largest yew hedge in the world. He has been instrumental in the continued development of the hedge in order that this honour has been maintained."
Tim was presented with his award at an RFS Three Counties Divisional Meeting by Lord Bathurst.
- Brian Reece
Steve Harrison left, and Brian Reece, right, receive Long Service Awards from Viscount Bledisloe
- Lydney Park Estate
- 50 Years
Brian Reece lives on the Estate and is the former Head Forester. He has worked for three generations of the Bathurst Family and has memories of going out with his father, who was the Forester at the time, and riding a horse as she pulled out timber.
Brian left school aged 15 and began full time employment at Lydney Park in 1965. He recalls the single old chainsaw owned by the Estate then being used for felling, while he and the rest of the team would trim and crosscut trees with axes and hand-tools. Brian progessed to Head Forester in 1971 and successfully lead the Forestry Team planting and maintaining hundreds of thousands of trees, and harvesting thousands of tonnes of timber until he retired as Head Forester on his 65th birthday in December 2014. Brian still enjoys an active part-time role on the Estate, where he assists the Forestry Department with various projects, as well as helping out with other tasks when required.
Steve is the Sawmills Manager for Lydney Park Estate. He first started on Lydney Park aged 16 on a YTS placement, joining as a full time employee in 1982. Steve gained a forestry qualification from Holme Lacey College, Herefordshire, and spent many years working closely alongside Brian and fellow forestry worker Gethin Evans, maintaining and harvesting Lydney Park Woodlands.
In the late 1990s, the estate invested in a new, larger, sawmill and Steve soon progressed to Sawmill Manager. He currently runs a team producing a variety of timbers and timber products such as fence panels and gates. More recently, Steve initiated a firewood enterprise to the business which has successfully expanded into the local market.
- Stuart McDonough
Stuart McDonough receives his Long Service Award from RFS North East Chair John Monaghan
- Healey Estate
- 30 Years
More information to come
- David Mortimer
Yorkshire Division Chairman David Carter presents the Long Service Award to David Mortimer. Picture: Yorkshire Agicultural Society, Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show
- Dodworth Estate, Yorkshire
- 40 years
David Mortimer received his award after 40 years as a woodsman working on around 250 acres of woods on the Dodworth Estate in Yorkshire, and a further similar acreage of woodland at Scaftworth near Bawtry. He received his award from RFs Yorkshire Division chairman David Carter at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Tim Scourfield, Land Agent, said: "A general all-rounder, David has left his mark on the estate with some well managed woods, but will not be able to rest on his laurels as the new Woodland Management Plan has left him with a large amount of replanting works to be carried out over the coming winter!"
At an RFS South Eastern Division meeting at the Cowdray Estate in West Sussex, RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker presented six Long Service Awards totalling 218 years of service to:
- Brian Heath, 41 years, Cowdray Estate
- Donald Macdonald, 30 year, Cowdray Estate
- Kerry Hill, 30 years, Cowdray Estate
- Richard Pepper, 36 years, Cowdray Estate
- Simon Andrew Apps, 33 years, Cowdray Estate
- James Mitchell, 48 years, Parham Estate
Six West Sussex foresters: 218 years service. From the left: Richard Pepper,Cowdray Forester, Simon Apps,Cowdray Forester, James Mitchell (Parham Estate), Brian Heath, Cowdray Forester , Kerry Hill, Cowdray Assistant Head Forester and Donald Macdonald, Cowdray Head Forester
- Stephen Bridges
- Hertfordshire County Council
- 45 years
Past President Nick Halsey presents Stephen Bridges with his Long Service Award
Stephen began his forestry career at the Gorehambury Estate as an apprentice for Lord Verulam. He started working with Hertfordshire County Council in September 1969 as an assistant forester in the County Land Agent’s and Valuer’s team.
Now part of the Property department and Rural Estates Unit, Steve works in a team of three as the Countryside Works Supervisor. Tasks include management of 1,150 acres of woodland as well as open space, village greens, former railway lines, a chalk stream and public access across the whole of Hertfordshire.
Over the years Steve has planted new woodland at Kings Langley, Aldenham, High Canons, Hertford, Tyttenhanger and Tring. In doing so, he has involved many local school children and residents in the planting.
|David Peacock, right, recieves his award from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker and Sir Richard Storey, right|
David left school at the age of 15 in 1964 and came to work at Settrington Estate for Lord Buckton. He had no formal training in forestry but worked his way up to Head Woodman and latterly was also head of the combined operation of Woods and Grounds.
The acreage of woodland at Settrington doubled from about 300 acres to about 600 acres after the end of the Second World War until about 2000 and much of that was planted by David, with the assistance of other woodmen over the years.
He transformed the landscape. His work was characterised by speed, accuracy, attention to detail, and reliability. He became highly proficient in all aspects of practical forestry.
Since 1982 he has also planted in excess of 1,000 arboretum trees and shrubs and he, as remarkable as any electronic device, knows where each tree is and can find it when no other can!
- Jeffery Nicholls
- Curwen Woods Estate, Lancashire
- 40 years
Jeffrey, left , receives the award from the North Western Division chairman, John Chapman.
Jeffery Nicholls, 62, received his 40 year award for service at the Curwen Woods Estate at Carnforth, Lancs, during a meeting of the RFS North Western Division at the Leighton Hall Estate. Jeffrey has worked on the estate as a woodsman and gardener since 1975.
Philip joined the Sotterley estate aged in 1965. He and his wife Liz live on the estate as do his two
|Celebrating 50 years service: Philip Read with RFS President Sophie Churchill OBE|
children and his first grandchild.
Philip is in charge of the maintenance and refurbishment of estate buildings - many of which date from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. He is an expert on the way timber was used in construction through the ages and leads a team of four men.
He is a carpenter, a joiner, a turner and a restorer of antique furniture and has joined the estate planting team when needed. He is also involved in the crosscutting and grading of oak logs for sale.
He converts timber from the estate's woods and uses it for the restoration and repair of buildings. He has a great knowledge of and reverence for all things wooden. He can lay bricks, pour concrete, plaster, decorate, cast lead weights, plumb, erect scaffolding and much else. After 50 years, he has an intimate knowledge of every estate building.
- George Ruddick, Forestry Worker, 39 years
- Mark Worthington, Woods Manager, 36 years
- Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire
|George Ruddick, Forestry Worker, left, receives his award from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker||Mark Worthington, Woods Manager, left, receives his award from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker|
George followed in family footsteps and started with Welbeck Forestry Department in August 1976, when he left school, working with his father.
Mark began work for the Welbeck Woods / Forestry Dept in June 1979, inititally on a six-week summer placement, but stayed on working his way up to Woods Manager via a variety of roles. Not only does he have experience of most, if not all operations, within the department, he knows the woods very well and planted a number of them.
Welbeck’s woodland is an equal mix of hardwoods and softwoods, with a quarter of its timber sold as
wood chip of which a portion is used to fuel the estate’s new 800kw Biomass boiler. Three-quarters of Welbeck’s timber is sold as construction lumber, fencing materials, horse shavings and residential
firewood. For every tree harvested on Welbeck, Mark and his team plant a hundred trees in its place, ensuring a prolific future for the estate’s forests!
Looking to the future, they aim to concentrate on the production of high quality grades of timber to supply the lucrative construction materials market. They are also working to ensure that all trees planted on Welbeck are suitably matched to the various soil characteristics and climatic conditions found across the estate.
Bill Dowson was born and brought up in the East Durham town of Willington. He worked as a
|Bill Dowson, left, recieved his 40 Year Award from RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker|
woodman for the National Coal Board and Lord Barnard's Raby Estate before being appointed as Head Woodman on the 775 acre Shotley Hall Estate in April 1973.
The estate had been hard hit in the Second World War as it was the nearest estate to the North West Durham coalfield, which needed a lot of pit pros. By the end of the war it had only a third of its woodland productive and a massive scrub problem. Bill was responsible for overseeing the maintenance and thinning of the post war plantings and the felling and replanting of the remaining third, so that by time of the huge gales in January 2005 the estate had almost created a normal forest. He was awarded the RFS' Thirty Year Service Medal in May 2004, Bill fully deserves a bar to it."