Woodlands Trust names West Lothian man as their volunteer of the year

A VOLUNTEER who began tidying up his local woods because he was ‘appalled’ by the levels of litter has been named volunteer of the year at a prestigious awards night.

Andy Black, a volunteer warden from Livingston, West Lothian, was presented with the award from the Woodland Trust at a ceremony at Belton Woods’ hotel in Grantham.

He won the Hazel Award – one of ten accolades given at the  volunteer award ceremony. It recognises a new volunteer who has joined the Trust within the past 12 months and provided exceptional help towards the Trust’s woodland preservation.

He started his role as a concerned local who wanted to make his nearest woods in Eliburn cleaner and safer for everyone.

That led to work for woods all around and in the Livingston area, where he now helps to look after 13 woods – from handling fly-tipping, threats from local developments and improving visitor’s experiences to all the woods.

His efforts take up some 15 hours a week dedicated to patrolling these woods and making sure that they are in the best possible condition for all visitors.

He also keeps up to date with local planning applications and alerts the Woodland Trust of any possible threats to these great woods across Livingston.

Andy BlackHis work was recognised by Jean Frame, Woodland Trust Scotland site manager, who nominated him.

She said: “Andy’s role has played a huge part in the success of our site management in Livingston. His support, knowledge and local perspective have dramatically improved our urban woods.

“I can’t be at all woods all the time so volunteers who have the dedication like Andy are a great help”.

He said was inspired by wanting better for his local environment.

He said: “My responsibility as a local of Livingston is to make sure that it is in the best condition as possible. As I walk through woods I am appalled by litter and damages to them. It only made sense to me to volunteer for the Woodland Trust and work to preserve woods all over Livingston”.

The event was hosted by BBC’s Adam Shaw and awards were presented by Woodland Trust chair of trustees Baroness Barbara Young.

Baroness Young said: ““These awards are all about celebrating the exceptional work our volunteers do all over the UK.

“From social media sharers to tree health surveyors – there is so much going on out there for the Trust and this ceremony absolutely highlighted that”.

 Each year the Woodland Trust hosts the Volunteer Awards to recognise the talent and time volunteers put in for the charity’s objectives. The winners were selected from over 2,600 volunteers based around the UK.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Read: What it means to be a Woodland Trust volunteer

IMAGE CREDITS: The Woodlands Trust

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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