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Awards for ‘true masters’ of their trade
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Two exceptional foresters who are true masters of their trade have been recognised by the Royal Forestry Society for their continuous work in woodlands over many decades. In Leicestershire, Brian Lewin, 79, has received an award after an astonishing 60 years working with Rockingham Estate woodlands. In Oxfordshire, Tim Sheldon, 54, received an Award after 39 years working the woodlands on the Hardwick Estate near Whitchurch-on-Thames.

Trees in his DNA! Rockingham Head Forester Brian Lewin, right, receives his award from RFS President Jack Whitaker

Brian Lewin was born in 1935 and lives on Rockingham Estate. His father was Rockingham’s Head Forester. After National Service, Brian followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Estate’s team as a Woodsman, eventually becoming Head Forester himself as well as the Estate’s Head Keeper.

Andrew Norman, Chief Executive of Rockingham Castle Estate, says: “Brian has grown up with trees as part of his DNA. He is a fountain of knowledge. Over the years here he has felled, planted, refelled and planted again in every wood on the Estate. The planting continues at a great pace. In 2008 the Estate planted 8000 trees under Brian's direction and much of the time with Brian on the shovel!”

One of Brian’s six grandchildren has become the third generation of his family to work as a Forester at Rockingham!

Tim Sheldon started work as a teenager in 1975, at a time when the Hardwick Estate woodlands had a reputation for high quality beech, ash and Douglas fir timber. As the estate’s senior woodsmen retired over the years, Tim took on greater responsibilities, and the emphasis for woodland management changed, reflecting the changing economic climate.

A true master of his trade: Woodsman Tim Sheldon, centre, receives his award from RFS Past President Nick Halsey, left, with Hardwick Estate Owner Sir Julian Rose, right.

A true master of his trade: WoodsmanTim Sheldon, 
centre, receives his award from RFS Past President 
Nick Halsey, left, with Hardwick Estate Owner 
Sir Julian Rose, right.

Estate Owner Julian Rose said: “The Estate moved with the times and concentrated more on expanding its local firewood sales business, while diversifying as much as possible into other appropriate woodland activities.

“Tim Sheldon needed to be equally flexible in his approach to this work, as his role on the Estate included tackling many different jobs, some of which had little to do with forestry. This role remains to this day extremely important owing to the diversity of activities which range over the Estate. We also persisted in continuing the tradition of commercial/conservation management practices on the Estate and Tim soon became recognised as an authority in all matters relating to this management regime. He is now a skilled craftsman and true master of his trade!

“It is rare for an estate to employ a full-time forester like Tim. He is unique in his role and his long service – an old tradition being kept up at Hardwick.”