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PDArb winner in the spotlight
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Date Issued: 17 October 2011


Mark Sharples, a self-employed consultant and tree surgeon from Corsham, Wiltshire, has won the Royal Forestry Society/Lockhart Garratt Excellence in Arboriculture award for being the outstanding student in the management exercise section of the Professional Diploma in Arboriculture (PDArb) exams.

Mark became interested in forestry while travelling and working in New Zealand and Australia. When he returned to the UK he went to Merrist Wood College at Worplesdon, Guildford, Surrey, to train as a tree surgeon.

He said: “Having completed my Technicians Certificate in Arboriculture in 2003 the PDArb was the next logical step in my career. The qualification has altered the way I look at my consultancy and helped me quantify and justify my advice.”

A new look Level 6 Diploma in Arboriculture and a Level 6 Certificate in Arboriculture are being introduced by the ABC Awards Qualifications Board from this year.

Presenting Mark with his Award at the Arboricultural Association annual dinner, Royal Forestry Society President Anthony Bosanquet said: “The diploma has always been seen as the gold standard for the industry and candidates have to show a high level of both theoretical knowledge and practical ability. Mark has shown all those qualities, and more.

“In an industry which has suffered from cowboy operators, the Level 6 qualifications embrace modern woodland management and forestry requirements and remain an assurance of professionalism to employers and customers alike.”

John Lockhart, from Woodland and Forestry Management Consultants Lockhart Garratt added: “We are delighted to continually support this prestigious award and Mark is clearly a very deserving winner. I wish Mark every success in what I know will be a very bright future for him”.

The RFS welcomes new members. Around 100 woodland visits are organised every year as opportunities to learn and share knowledge with others working with woodlands. Details of RFS Divisions across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are available at or call the RFS Head office on 01442 822028 or email