National Trust on the hunt for green heroes

THE NATIONAL Trust has begun a two month search for the unsung heroes of the environmental movement in the 2013 Octavia Hill Awards.

Organised by the National Trust and ‘Countryfile’ magazine the awards were set up in 2012 to celebrate the life and legacy of social reformer, environmental champion and one of the National Trust founders, Octavia Hill.

Nominations for the four categories; natural hero, for an exceptional individual who has devoted their energy and free time to protecting green spaces and inspiring the local community to do the same, green space guardian, this award is for a group or organisation, big or small, that has created a lot of noise (locally or nationally) to champion and promote green spaces and places, people’s champion, a person in the public eye who has worked to inspire people to enjoy and protect the outdoors, and Love Places, specifically for National Trust volunteers, individuals or groups, who have enabled local communities to benefit from the open places that are important to them and gone beyond the call of duty, which will be judged by a panel of experts before being put to a public online poll.

Helen Timbrell, the Volunteering and Community Involvement Director at the National Trust, said: “Most of the special places that we all love are dependent on the commitment, dedication and passion of volunteers.

“These awards are all about recognising that energy and showing that the legacy and spirit of Octavia Hill is alive and well in how we value our green places as a nation.”

The panel of judges for this year’s Awards include: Julia Bradbury, ‘Countryfile’ presenter and winner of a 2012 Octavia Hill Award, Fergus Collins, Editor of ‘Countryfile Magazine’, Grahame Hindes, Chief Executive of Octavia Housing, Matt Smith, winner of a 2012 Octavia Hill Award, and Helen Timbrell, Volunteering and Community Involvement Director at the National Trust.

In the 2012 Awards more than 170 individuals and organisations were nominated for the Octavia Hill Awards. The online poll to decide the winners attracted nearly 7,000 votes.

Fergus Collins, editor of ‘Countryfile Magazine’, commented: “It’s fantastic to be involved with these awards, which recognise the tremendous hard work that so many communities and individuals put in to protect the green spaces that are essential to our wellbeing.”

The closing date for submitting nominations for the Awards is Thursday, February 28. More information about how the public can nominate people or organisations can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/octaviaawards and the hashtag #octaviahill will be used on twitter during the Awards.

There will then be an online poll in late March to decide the winners, which will be announced in the June issue of Countryfile Magazine and at a special Awards lunch in London.

You can nominate any number of individuals or groups, including yourself, for any number of categories. Just remember to submit a separate nomination form for each entry. You can use the online nomination form to submit your entry, if you have any difficulty with this form, please contact octavia.hillawards@nationaltrust.org.uk.