A trainee forester who inspires young people to consider careers in the “exciting and awesome” industry was among the winners at Confor’s expanded awards dinner.

Mima Letts, founder of Tree Sparks and a trainee forester at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, won the Changing Attitudes Award, ahead of fellow finalists Cheryl Lundberg of Lockhart Garratt and Andy Baker of Tilhill. Her nomination said: “Tree Sparks is a student-led social enterprise, started in 2018 by Mima as an undergraduate, to show young people that working with trees can be exciting and awesome. It offers first-hand experience in a business setting.”

Andrew MacQueen of Tilhill won the Future Forestry Leader Award, with Laura Charles of Forestry England and Huw Lloyd of Lockhart Garratt also shortlisted.

The Innovation and Research Award went to long-serving James Jones & Sons haulage manager Jon Ritchie, for his long-standing efforts to improve the health, safety and welfare of hauliers in the industry.

The Dedicated Service to Forestry Award was presented to Martin Gale, Chairman of BSW Timber, by Fergus Ewing MSP, cabinet secretary for rural economy.

A special award went to Sir Harry Studholme, who recently stepped down after seven years as chair of the Forestry Commission. Chief executive Stuart Goodall said: “Sir Harry served as chair during a period of great change in the Forestry Commission, and throughout that time provided a calm presence. I have always found him to be a gentleman, truly passionate about forestry.”

Full list of winners

Dedicated Service to Forestry Award: Martin Gale, BSW Timber.

Changing Attitudes Award: Mima Letts, Tree Sparks.

Innovation & Research Award: Jon Ritchie, James Jones & Sons.

Future Forestry Leader Award: Andrew MacQueen, Tilhill.

Special Award: Sir Harry Studholme, former Forestry Commission chair.

Special Presentation: David and Dorothy Sulman, former Trada, UKFPA and Confor.

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