'Love Places' award 2013

The 'Love Places' award is specifically for National Trust volunteers who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Find out more about the people shortlisted - and the 2013 winner, Allan Davies:

    Winner: Allan Davies, Bushmills - Northern Ireland

    Octavia Hill nominee Allan Davies

    Allan’s voluntary work in and around Cushendun has helped to transform the village both in terms of appearance and people’s thinking.

    On a day-to-day basis Allan works tirelessly in all aspects of maintaining the village – grass cutting, litter collection, painting, planting and scrub clearance. The village looks great and people are taking more pride in it.

    But Allan’s involvement goes far beyond this. On his own initiative he set up a red squirrel conservation project which has resulted in an increase in numbers of red squirrels and a visible improvement in their condition. Cushendun is one of the red squirrel’s last strongholds in Northern Ireland.

    His love for the environment and the area is infectious. His talks to community groups on local history and the environment are highly entertaining and informative, as well as raising awareness of the environment. They are always accompanied by spectacular slideshows.

    Allan has also participated in local charity and fundraising events. He is well respected locally and his commitment and dedication have helped to raise awareness of just how special this area is.
    Nominated by James Milliken

    Allan said: 'The village is improving all the time from when I first offered to help out. More people are coming to Cushenden now and I'm pleased about that. It's a nice place to visit.'

    Runner up: Dianne Lang, Lake District

    Octavia Hill nominee Dianne Lang

    Di has twice now organised and worked with a small army of volunteers, spending a week sprucing up our bunkhouse. They’ve painted entire buildings, fixed many small DIY jobs and even included a plumber and seamstress among their numbers. This benefits the hundreds of volunteers who stay here throughout the year and we’d never do it all ourselves.

    For donkey’s years now Di has made sure everyone on her working holidays is well fed and better able to enjoy their time with us. But she goes the extra mile for our upland adventure holidays where participants camp on the fells for three nights, arriving two days early to organise individual food parcels and bake cakes.

    On a work site she’s capable of pitching in while keeping an eye on the group, helping us spot if anyone’s getting cold or tired. Her energy and enthusiasm are legendary and we’d love to give her recognition for this.
    Nominated by Rob Clarke

    Runner up: John Weeks, Tyntesfield in Somerset

    Octavia Hill nominee John Weeks

    In 2002, shortly after the Trust began to care for Tyntesfield, John founded a team of 60 estate volunteers – then a unique development – to interact with visitors to the grounds. John encouraged staff and volunteers to present this fascinating place in its entirety, championing the relationship between the house, gardens and wider estate. Visitor engagement was supported by excellent research into 160 years of social and horticultural history, carried out by the team.

    Fellow team leader, Robin, says: 'John relates easily to people, especially to new recruits, communicating clearly and engendering their enthusiasm. He encouraged an individual response to reflect each volunteer’s background and interests. Under John’s guidance our role has adapted to many developments over the last decade, and his receptiveness to new ideas has enabled the team’s work to expand and flourish.'
    Nominated by Liz Jones