The Octavia Hill Award judges
To find our green heroes, we;'ve brought together an impressive panel of judges with a wide knowledge of green and social issues, and also with a passion for the work of Octavia Hill. This year's panel also includes two winners from last year's awards.
The judges were looking for the Octavia Hills of today. Individuals and groups who have gone out of their way to protect the local green places they live near and love, or to support a wider cause and make a real difference.
Fergus Collins is the editor of BBC Countryfile magazine, a monthly publication that offers inspiration and practical advice for making the most of the British countryside:
'If it wasn’t for people giving their free time, skill and energy to enhance their local environment, many of our urban and rural green spaces would fall into decay or disappear altogether. And without these places, many communities lose touch with the natural world and local children end up with nowhere to explore and play, and nowhere to encounter wild creatures and experience the freedom and joy that come from contact with the green outdoors.
'And it’s not just through practical conservation work that these heroes make such a tangible difference – they also inspire others to action; actively teach younger generations to appreciate their surroundings and the wildlife that inhabits them and pass on useful skills.
'While volunteering is immensely rewarding in its own right – giving people a sense of purpose, a chance to meetneighbours and enhance their local environment for the common good – those who do it are rarely recognized for all their hard work.
'That is where the Octavia Hill Awards come in. With the National Trust, we’re looking to celebrate and honour those whose hard work has made such a difference to their local parks, allotments, nature reserves and, most of all, human communities.
'We’re simply asking people to nominate their own local heroes in one of four categories using a simple applicationform. Later in the year, the finalists (chosen by a panel of expert judges)will be put to public vote to find the overall winners.'
Matt Smith is the previous winner of the Octavia Hill Inspirational Hero award, and outside of his studies has several roles supporting young people with a range of opportunities.
He's explored many environments across the world, from Amazonian Rainforest to the mountains of India, and through years of community volunteering and youth work he's true advocate for enabling all young people to access the great outdoors and the opportunities entailed.
Matt is currently director of his own social enterprise, FreshTeam, empowering young people and returning profits into the community:
'Nature has so much to offer to all ages, I'm eager to hear about the incredible people passionately putting something back into green spaces for the benefit of all.'
Julia Bradbury started her career as a TV presenter with Chrysalis TV, followed by L!VE TV before making the transition in 1996 from cable TV to terrestrial with GMTV as their Los Angeles correspondent. She has since presented Watchdog, Top Gear, Accidental Heroes, Wainwright Walks and Railway Walks for the BBC, as well as Rough Guide for Channel 5. She has also presented Wish You Were Here...? for ITV and anchored Exclusive! for Five. With Tim Vine, she presented the launch of Channel 5 in 1997.
For the past five years she has diversified into presenting climbing and walking programmes. Since taking the helm of Countryfile on BBC One alongside Matt Baker ratings have soared to over 8 million viewers. She took a short break from her Countryfile duties to take maternity leave after the birth of her son Zephyrus, returning to the much-loved show in March 2012. This has led to further success with Baker in Secret Britain, and she put her countryside know-how to further use this February on The Great British Countryside for BBC One with Hugh Dennis.
Julia has since gone on to front Planet Earth Live with Richard Hammond; BBC1’s new and incredibly ambitious natural history programme offering a uniquely simultaneous look at some of the most charismatic animals around the world. She has recently returned to Countryfile and her new book Julia Bradbury’s Wainwright Walks is being released in November.
Julia was awarded the People’s Champion in the 2012 Octavia Hill Awards.
Dr Helen Timbrell
Helen is Volunteering and Community Involvement Director at the National Trust and has worked for us for six years.
Helen has worked in volunteer management for over fifteen years including with Citizens Advice, RSPCA and in higher education at the University of Warwick. She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has an MBA from the University of Bath.
Grahame has been the Chief Executive of Octavia Housing for 8 years since its formation in 2001 when St Marylebone and Octavia Hill Housing Associations merged.
Today, Octavia provides and manages a portfolio of 4,00 properties in some of the most expensive areas of London, including some of the original homes bought by Octavia Hill.
Prior to this role, Grahame was the deputy Chief Executive of Family Housing Association.