Wednesday 2nd December 2015

At Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s (GWT) Annual General Meeting, volunteers were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the County’s wildlife.

The county charity was founded by volunteers in 1961 and volunteers are still at the heart of the organisation with over 550 active volunteers, helping both practically through conservation of its 60 nature reserves and through organising walks and talks and local events.

Volunteers are recognised and thanked annually at GWT's AGM and this year Bill Francis received the Armstrong Award for individual contribution whilst the Forest of Dean area group was recognised with the group award.

Bill Francis volunteers for Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records (GCER), part of GWT. After an illustrious career first in the RAF, then in local government, Bill started volunteering for GCER over ten years ago. A keen birder, he was the ideal person for deciphering, checking and entering onto the computer the many and varied wildlife sightings received. Bill volunteers for two days a week - he also volunteers at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge too - to enter data into our massive database of over a million wildlife sightings - many of which have been checked and entered by Bill in past years.

pictured (from left to right) Simon Glover, Roger Mortlock CEO GWT, Phil & Helen Mugridge of Forest of Dean Area Group

The Forest of Dean Area Group has been in existence for almost as long as they charity itself, providing a local focus in the Forest and running events for local members and raising money for GWT. The group is led by local couple Phil and Helen Mugridge, who organise events and also are passionate about wildlife themselves as wildlife photographers, travelling all over the world capturing amazing images from their adventures that they enthusiastically share in talks across the UK.

On presenting the award to the group, Chief Executive, Roger Mortlock said,
“The Forest of Dean Area Group has run a great series of wildlife events covering everything from butterfly walks to talks on issues like boar in the Forest. Phil and Helen Mugridge and the other members of the group have spent more than 10 years ensuring the group is a success, raising over £1,000 in the past year alone. The group is powered entirely by volunteers and this award is a big ‘thank you’ for all their hard work in raising awareness about wildlife.”

On collecting the award on behalf of the Forest of Dean Area Group, Phil Mugridge said,

“I am pleased to except this award on behalf of current and past volunteers of the FOD Local Group. It has always been active and the current volunteers are pleased we can carry on this tradition and hopefully increase awareness of how important the natural world is to all our lives.”

The Forest of Dean Area Group includes;
Helen and Phil Mugridge
Mike and Barbara Bramwell
June and John Lewis
Margaret Tipple
Simon Glover
John and Janet Pratt

New members are always welcome to join the group and share their wildlife enthusiasm and non-members are most welcome at events throughout the year. For more information about how you can get involved contact Phil Mugridge on 01594 510384