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Peter Goodwin awarded RFS Gold Medal
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Peter Goodwin receives the RFS Gold Medal

Date Issued: 13 September 2011

 

Peter Goodwin – one of the UK’s leading hardwood furniture makers, and a key figure in raising awareness of Acute Oak Decline (AOD) – has been presented with the Royal Forestry Society’s most prestigious award, the RFS Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry.

Peter has also been a driving force in the Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) thriving East Anglia Division, is a co-founder of Woodland Heritage, and has been a part of the British and Irish Hardwoods Improvement Programme (BIHIP) and of the European Squirrel Initiative.

He joins an elite list of other forestry ‘greats’. Just 15 other Gold Medals have been awarded in the last 25 years – most recently to researcher and author Dr Peter Savill in 2006 and, in 2009, to Major David Davenport a central figure in many rural and forestry initiatives.

Presenting the award at an RFS meeting at Abbots Ripton Estate, Huntingdon, RFS Past President, John Besent, said: “For Peter, forestry is about the entire woodland chain from seed to cabinet making. Every part of the process is important and warrants the very best management if the UK is to continue to excel in producing quality furniture from sustainable home grown timber.

“Peter’s company, Titchmarsh & Goodwin, are leading producers of quality furniture from quality trees and Peter has been, and is, an excellent ambassador for the UK forestry and furniture industry. But Peter’s contribution to forestry does not end there.

“Peter is passionate about passing on his knowledge and expertise to the foresters and furniture makers of the future, and about maintaining the health of Britain’s woods for future generations. Peter is not one for sitting back and letting others do the work; he wants to make a difference for the better through his own initiatives and actions.”

The roots of Peter’s business, Titchmarsh & Goodwin, based in Back Hamlet, Ipswich, can be traced to around 1770, when Samuel Goodwin, a carpenter of Woodbridge, Suffolk, sent his son George to join the workshops of a London cabinetmaker.

Peter, who is Suffolk born and bred, joined the company business more than 190 years later – in 1961! He said: “I am utterly humbled to have joined such an elite group of Gold Medal holders. I have always thought of myself as a loud-mouthed foot soldier trying to help foresters, and I never dreamt I would be considered amongst those heroes of mine who hold the Gold Medal!”

He will, he says, keep up pressure on Defra, the Forestry Commission and others to tackle the challenges of AOD and Oak Processionary Moth.

He added: “I will be utterly relentless. If we do not tackle these challenges we will see a massive decline in the quality of timber sent to furniture and joinery businesses. I thank the RFS, its members and many others for their support for the Woodland Heritage AOD Appeal to fund research into the causes of, and would urge everyone to contribute so that we can find a way to save our most iconic of British trees.”

As he celebrates 50 years working in the company, Peter says it is the smell of the industry that gives him the greatest motivation: “When I go into the workshops I can smell the polish and the waxes, they are traditional and very much part of our process. When I go into our sawmill, the smells take me instantly back into the woodland and the forest floor. Together they tell the whole story and they keep me inspired.”

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 www.rfs.org.uk or call the RFS Head office on 01442 822028 or email rfshq@rfs.org.uk.