The Landscapes for Life Award recognises those who have contributed 20 years or more to the conservation and enhancement of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
It bestows national recognition and gratitude for the service given by staff, volunteers and elected members who have assisted the work of their AONB partnerships.
Since its inception in 2015, 27 people who between them have given over 500 years service to AONBs have received this recognition for their work.
Recipients receive a certificate at a special ceremony at the annual Landscapes for Life Conference.
Sarah Bury, nominated by Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership
Sarah was involved from the early days of the Shropshire Hills AONB Joint Advisory Committee in the mid 1990s as a South Shropshire District Councillor, and became its Chair. On standing down from the Council in the early 2000s, she remained as an independent Chair of the then AONB Partnership until 2005. This established the enduring pattern that the Partnership’s Chair would be an independent member. As a trustee of her family’s Millichope Foundation, Sarah remained closely involved with the AONB as a generous donor and Grant Panel member (and Chair) for the Sustainable Development Fund up to 2014. Sarah also rejoined the AONB Partnership, and continues to now as the member representing CPRE, for whom she is the Shropshire Chair. In 2015 Sarah also became one of the founding trustees of the Shropshire Hills AONB Trust, bringing her valuable experience of charitable trusts. Following the successful establishment of the AONB Trust, Sarah has recently stood down from this role. She continues as a Panel member on behalf of the Millichope Foundation for the new small grants programme, the Shropshire Hills AONB Conservation Fund.
A staunch supporter and advocate for both the AONB landscape and its organisation, Sarah’s calm but influential voice has been hugely valuable over many years. From pushing for sound planning decisions to managing a lively Partnership and at times interesting local authority dynamics, her contribution has been very significant. Though she is gradually reducing her many roles, we hope we will continue to benefit from Sarah’s input for some time yet.
Simon Dereham nominated by Wye Valley AONB Partnership
Simon took over the CLA seat on the Wye Valley AONB Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) in December 1983 and he retired in March 2017. He also covered the non-voting JAC seat for the River Wye Preservation Trust from 1998 from which he retires in November 2017 (He was also chairman of the River Wye Preservation Trust for 27 years). Simon has been immensely supportive of the AONB Partnership and the work of the AONB Unit. A sage advisor and a sound ‘critical friend’, his contributions to the JAC meetings and events have always been insightful and welcome. Meanwhile his connections with the local farmers and landowners has been invaluable to the success of a range of AONB projects and initiatives.
Under his chairmanship the River Wye Preservation Trust championed a number of AONB projects, most notably:-
- The Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley. This three year project brought together an enthusiastic group of volunteers who were advised and trained by experts in archaeology, local history and landscape analysis. A wide range of traditional and modern methods were utilised from simple field walking to the latest geophysics, from local history research to deciphering Latin manuscripts and from oral history to aerial photography. Previously unknown sites were investigated, locally sourced archives and maps were digitally recorded and comprehensive surveys were undertaken which led to new discoveries and a better understanding of the process of change from the remote past to the present day. Volunteers also surveyed nearly 500 veteran trees and over 50km of the river bank by canoe. A book about the project was published in October 2008 which credited over 100 people involved in the project.
- The River Wye Preservation Trust worked closely with the Wye Valley AONB Unit through 2012 & 2013 during the research and development phase of the inaugural Wye Valley River Festival, held in May 2014. Simon sat on both the Steering Group and the Finance Committee. The initial considerations were that the River Wye Preservation Trust could be the fronting charity for some of the funding bids. Although this proved unnecessary Simon’s and the Trust’s support remained steadfast throughout.
Simon also served on the Wye Management Advisory Group and the Wye Navigation Advisory Committee. He was JAC vice-chairman for a time but declined the role of chairman due to other commitments and deteriorating health. Thankfully his health is much improved but full retirement now beckons. The Wye Valley AONB has benefited hugely from Simon’s measured and influential contributions over his many years of service.