June 19, 2018


Longest serving Trees for Life volunteer handed ‘Points of Light’ award

Points of light

Fay Blackburn, the longest serving volunteer at Trees for Life, has been given a ‘Points of Light’ award – which recognises outstanding individual volunteers. The award is given to those who are making a change in their community.

In a personal letter to Fay, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Your dedication to ‘Trees for Life’ means that you have had a huge impact on the forests of Scotland, helping to conserve and regrow areas of the Caledonian Forest in particular. Your work is helping to rebuild tree populations and preserve these beautiful landscapes for future generations.”

Trees for Life aims to promote conservation in the Caledonian Forest, through natural regeneration, planting native trees and removing non-native species. Fay is the longest serving group leader and has led 450 volunteers on 225 trips to the forests of Scotland, helping to conserve and regrow areas of the Caledonian. Each trip takes 10 volunteers on a week-long expedition, covering numerous locations, from the Dundreggan Conservation Estate to a remote renovated bothy in Glen Affric, where a can team can plant up to 4,000 trees. Over her time, Fay has directly facilitated the planting of around 180,000 trees, helping to rebuild the great tree populations in Scotland and preserve the beautiful landscapes for future generations.

Fay said: “I’m quite taken aback that our voluntary work has been noticed, but I think it’s really brilliant that it has been as it makes a huge difference to the organisation and everyone involved – we really couldn’t survive without volunteers. I’m so pleased that the project has received some recognition and it’s wonderful that I could be a part of it. I believe that you’re never too old to volunteer – I’m 75 next month and regularly volunteer with an 81-year-old!”

Alan Watson Featherstone, Founder, Trees for Life, said: “Fay is Trees for Life’s longest-serving and most-committed volunteer, having begun volunteering with the charity soon after practical work began to help restore Scotland’s Caledonian Forest in 1989. Over the years since then she has given very generously of her time and skills with great passion and enthusiasm, and has pioneered some of the charity’s most innovative projects, such as propagation of the scarce aspen tree from root cuttings and the establishment of ‘gentle weeks’ for volunteers with limited physical abilities. Now well into her 70s, Fay is still volunteering regularly in our tree nursery and tirelessly works to recruit new volunteers and supporters for us. She is one of our star volunteers and a shining example of how much a passionate and dedicated person can contribute on a voluntary basis. I am truly delighted to see her contribution recognised through this important and well-deserved award.”

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