AN arborist has told of his shock and delight after being named as the winner of a major award from the Arboricultural Association (AA). 

Chris Knapman, who has spent more than 30 years in the industry, was recently presented with the Association Award in recognition of his "significant and positive contribution to the arboricultural profession and a lifetime of work with trees". 

Having previously served as a tree officer with Plymouth City Council, arboricultural officer to Royal Horticultural Society at Chelsea Flower Show, and a fellow of the AA since 2003, Chris is a well-known and popular figure in tree care. 

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On receiving the award, he said: “I’m very pleased to accept the award and obviously I hadn’t prepared an acceptance speech. 

"Thanks to all my friends, family and colleagues. I’m quite surprised and very pleased. 

"I tend to stay under the radar, doing bits here there and everywhere. 

"Helping Ancient Tree Forum conferences or just saving a tree where I can, doing philanthropic acts when necessary, trying to promote trees … coming up with new ideas on how we can present trees and tree care, why they are so important to us. 

"We wouldn’t have a civilization without trees, full stop. 

"We really do need to look after them and the Arboricultural Association is hence very important in that and I think doing great work now to really push the importance of trees. I’m really pleased with the way the Association is going and how inclusive it is to all sorts of new ideas.”

Nominations come in from the AA's membership and are judged by an independent panel. 

Association CEO John Parker said on presenting the award to Chris: “You are a very important part of all the work that is going on Chris, and we really do appreciate it. You are a very well-deserving winner for a lifetime of contributions to arboriculture and lots more to come.”

Several colleagues nominated Chris and the excerpt below is just one example of the positive impact he has had on others.

Forestry Journal: John Parker was full of praise for Chris' contribution to arboriculture John Parker was full of praise for Chris' contribution to arboriculture (Image: Stock image)

“Chris does nothing but encourage us to do more, to be better arborists and to keep striving to achieve greater things. His contributions to the world of arboriculture go far beyond the ordinary. His tireless dedication, passion for trees, and commitment to knowledge sharing make him an exceptional candidate."

Elsewhere, the AA has named Kinga Chudziak, who studied the BTEC L3 National Foundation/Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture at Merrist Wood College, as its student of the year. Cecily Withall, an arborist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was crowned 2023's young arboricultural professional of the year.