The Woodland Trust Volunteer Awards 
Jon and Wendy Leach, The Hazel Award 

>> Hazel Birdsall, visitor experience officer at Skipton Castle Woods: 
So, a little introduction to Skipton Castle Woods. This is a beautiful, ancient woodland and it's a woodland that we have a recorded history of over a thousand years. The woodland is just in Skipton town centre, although you wouldn't know it when you're in here. And it's hidden in a Yorkshire Dales' valley. 

We have an amazing volunteer team at Skipton and everyone within the team has slightly different roles and some have two or three roles. So, Jon and Wendy, they really get involved with everything across the site, especially our event programme. Last year we piloted a number of events. We enhanced our Easter event programme and they got involved in that. Their first event with us threw them in at the deep end a little bit. We had 600 children on site and they were fantastic, and without them we wouldn’t be able to deliver what we deliver here. 

>> Wendy Leach: 
When we first started, we both had recently retired and thought we'd got time to give something back to the community and this is a place we always enjoyed, so it would be nice to do something to help maintain it. And it's nice to feel that you're doing something productive. 

>> Jon Leach: 
We help with events. The very first event that Hazel got us involved with was the Easter trail and we ran the desk when people were coming in, taking the money and explaining to the children what they needed to do. 

>> Wendy: 
It was good seeing families enjoy the wood in that way. On a day-to-day basis, and a bit more practically, whenever we walk through the woods we usually pick up the litter, put it in a bag and try and keep it clear of litter and any other rubbish that’s about. We’ve spent a couple of days clearing paths and sweeping steps and things to keep the footpath safe, and we’ve had two work days where we’ve helped with the culling of the ash-dieback trees. 

>> Jon: 
There's a by-product to all of this. We've also met quite a lot of new people, haven't we? And there's a social aspect to it. 

>> Hazel: 
I nominated Jon and Wendy because they're just so sociable, personable, they get on really well with our visitors and I just feel incredibly lucky to work with them and the rest of the volunteering team at Skipton.  

 

 

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