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National Trust’s search begins for outstanding green heroes

Do you know someone who’s worked tirelessly to protect a patch of green space near you? Have you got a favourite teacher who’s inspired you to do something for nature? Or is there a famous person who’s challenging the system to make life better that you admire?

If so, they could be a potential candidate for a new award – named after Octavia Hill, a Victorian social reformer and a founder of the National Trust who set the standard in campaigning for green places. The Octavia Hill Awards aim to find the modern-day champions and guardians of our precious pieces of outdoor space.

Octavia Hill died in 1912 and to mark this centenary the National Trust, in partnership with Countryfile Magazine, is offering six awards that celebrate individuals and groups that are keeping Octavia Hill’s legacy alive:

  • Growing Hero – this award could be someone who’s set up a community growing scheme, or saved allotments and made a real difference.
  • Natural Hero – for individuals working for community spaces that matter to people and wildlife – in woodlands, nature reserves or orchards.
  • Inspirational Hero – recognising someone, perhaps a teacher, youth worker or ranger/warden, inspiring and nurturing the next generation of enthusiasts.
  • The People’s Campaigner celebrates a person in the public spotlight who has done something amazing to champion an issue or cause.
  • Green Space Guardians – this award is for a group or organisation, big or small, that has created a lot of noise (locally or nationally) to champion green spaces and places.
  • ‘Love Places’ award – specifically for National Trust volunteers, individuals or groups, who have enabled local communities to benefit from the open places that are important to them.


The awards are open to all ages and will be given for work carried out between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2011. The closing date for entries is Monday 16 January 2012.

Entries will come under the expert eyes of judges Fergus Collins, Editor of Countryfile Magazine, Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, academic and broadcaster Alice Roberts and journalist and commentator Polly Toynbee.

All the shortlisted entrants, and their work, will be profiled on the website. And they’ll get the chance to make a short video describing their work. Then it will be up to the public to decide!

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust said: “Octavia Hill believed passionately that everyone should have access to ‘open air sitting rooms.

“I think it’s worth rediscovering that whole sense of vision which Octavia Hill and her fellow founders had.  We know that there are people who are just as passionate and visionary today. And through our new awards we want to reveal and celebrate these modern-day Octavias”

Fergus Collins, Editor of Countryfile Magazine, commented: “It’s fantastic to be involved with these awards, which recognise the tremendous hard work that so many communities and individuals put in to protect the green spaces that are essential to our wellbeing.”

The winners will be announced in June 2012, and profiled in Countryfile Magazine.

Full details of how to enter can be found at Full details of how to enter can be found on the National Trust’s website or the Countryfile website.

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