A FORESTER with nearly five decades of service to the industry and the woman who spearheaded England’s recent tree-planting efforts are among those to have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours. 

Steve Hunt worked for the Forestry Commission for 45 years across a number of roles and has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to forestry. 

Having begun his career in 1973, he might be best known for a 16-year stint at Forest Services, in which he was a national regulations manager and, more recently, national legacy scheme manager.

MBEs were given to Steph Rhodes, left, and Sue Middleton MBEs were given to Steph Rhodes, left, and Sue Middleton (Image: Supplied)

He said: “I would like to thank everyone I’ve worked with over the years, particularly my colleagues in Forest Services for their support, as they have made this award possible.”

Alongside Steve, both Steph Rhodes and Sue Middleton have also been handed MBEs for services to forestry, while a British Empire Medal (BEM) was awarded to Kevin Dolan for his work in Northern Ireland.

Steph will be best known for her role as delivery director for the England Tree Programme in 2020 and her current position as chief operating officer at Forest Services. 

She said: “I take this award as an accolade to my many forestry colleagues whose work has helped, and is helping, to turn the tide for woodland creation and management.”

Meanwhile, Sue joined Forestry England in 2015 as the Foresters’ Forest Programme Manager, drawing together organisations to deliver projects around the Forest of Dean’s natural, built, and cultural heritage. Sue is now the project manager for the Haldon Forest Park Development and was elected to become one of His Majesty’s Verderers in the Forest of Dean in March 2022. 

She said: “I am very honoured to receive an MBE, awarded primarily for my time as programme manager for the Foresters’ Forest programme. The success of the scheme was due to a huge team effort.”