'Love Places' award 2012
Specifically for National Trust volunteers, this category is for individuals or groups, who have enabled local communities to benefit from the open places that are important to them.
Learn more about the shortlisted entries here - and the winner, Eric Shorrocks.
Winner: Eric Shorrocks - Arnside Knott, Cumbria
Twenty-three years of volunteering and 2,500 metres of drystone wall rebuilt.
Eric must hold some sort of record. With a cheery smile and a pocketful of dog biscuits, he had his sure-fire ‘engagement’ tools sorted long before the term became popular.
As an Arnside resident, Eric started volunteering before the National Trust had any of its own staff here. From litter picking and path clipping, he and his wife Marnie joined the Wednesday working party – saving precious limestone grassland from scrub invasion.
But Eric’s greatest achievement lies in his drystone walling. He taught himself and reached professional standards. Over the years he trained up at least 20 people – you can see Eric’s skilled hand in every sturdy stretch of wall.
Eric is also a fine botanist and can now retire in the knowledge that Arnside Knott’s rich, unique grasslands are secure behind stock-proof walls for at least another 200 years.
Nominated by Alan Ferguson, Ranger, National Trust Arnside and Silverdale
Runner up: Clive Atkins - Hatfield Forest, Essex
Clive’s love of Hatfield Forest is obvious. Over the past five years he’s volunteered as a warden, and turned his talents to everything from coppicing to scrub management.
True to character, Clive took on one really big challenge. He suggested that the Trust should reinstate two stretches of original Victorian fencing, and saw his idea through with passion and sheer hard work. Every cast iron fence post was catalogued, every stage recorded. The end result is the fantastic restoration of an historic fencing style, and a lasting tribute to the forest’s past.
Clive has a gift for working with young people with special needs, overseeing work experience placements and Duke of Edinburgh groups. He somehow involves everyone and makes them feel valued.
And beyond the normal call of duty, every year Clive dons his Santa suit and thrills the kids as he ‘flies’ in on a quad bike!
Nominated by Ian Pease, Conservation Warden, National Trust Hatfield Forest
Runner up: Susan Hodgson - Standen, West Sussex
Susan not only puts her back into work in Standen’s beautiful gardens but has also revived lost skills and made Standen part of the local community.
Ever mindful of the need to fund projects and support volunteers, she formed and now chairs the Friends of Standen Estate. As a garden volunteer herself, Susan takes the time to welcome new recruits and make sure they’re happy.
She’s also brought the bees back. Margaret Beale, who created the gardens, was a keen beekeeper, but bees were then absent for decades – until Susan came along. She masterminded their reintroduction, and brought on board beekeeping volunteers to mind the five hives and their busy inhabitants. Visitors are fascinated, the old orchard trees are nicely pollinated and the honey is going down a treat!
Standen was once a little-known gem, but thanks to Susan it’s now much loved and supported by local people.
Nominated by James Masters, Head Gardener, National Trust Standen