STUART Rowlands, a graduate from Harper Adams University, has won the Tilhill ‘Top Student’ Award. 

As part of Tilhill’s work to strengthen links with future forestry, harvesting, and ecology managers, the company presents awards to top-performing students at universities offering degrees in forestry-related subjects across the UK. 

The award to Stuart was presented by Ricky Dallow, one of Tilhill’s senior forest managers, who was also an alumnus at Harper Adams University. Stuart, from Staffordshire, won the ‘Top Student Award’ for achieving the best results in the Sustainable Forestry and Forest Products module on the BSc (Hons) Rural Property Management course with the university.

Stuart spent 10 years as a Royal Marine commando before undertaking a degree as a mature student at Harper Adams, while volunteering his time for organisations that support the employment of former military personnel such as Highground.

Highlights from the course included gaining scholarships with the CLA and the Harper Adams club and field trips organised by the university. Stuart spent his placement year with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, responsible for maintaining the Ministry of Defence’s estate, as an assistant rural surveyor across Wales and west England.

Upon receiving the Tilhill award of £250 prize money and a wooden carved trophy, Stuart said: “I am extremely pleased to get this award. I really enjoyed the forestry module, which made studying it easier. I worked hard so it is great to receive recognition for it, so thank you. 

“During the module we had a field trip to a Tilhill-managed site in mid Wales. It couldn’t have rained harder all day, but it was a really captivating.”