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Forest Winners: National Awards for Top National Forest Attractions

Monday, 8th September 2008

Two popular National Forest projects have beaten hundreds of organisations across the UK to take top honours in the 2008 National Lottery Awards.

Get Active in the Forest, based at Rosliston Forestry Centre, and the Armed Forces Memorial, both situated in The National Forest at the heart of the Midlands, won two out of the seven categories, and were presented with their awards – and a £2,000 cash prize - at this year’s star-studded National Lottery Awards, broadcast live on BBC1 on Saturday 30 August.

Get Active in the Forest, based at Rosliston Forestry Centre near Swadlincote, scooped the title of Best Sports Project.  The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, near Burton upon Trent, won the prestigious title of Best Heritage Project.

The award ceremony followed two rounds of voting where the public were asked to support one of 10 projects nominated by The National Lottery in seven different categories.  The aim of the National Lottery Awards is to recognise the difference that lottery funded projects have made to people, places and communities across the UK and celebrate the talent, hard work and enthusiasm of the people involved who run the projects. 

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive, National Forest Company, said:  “We could not be more proud of the Get Active in the Forest programme at Rosliston Forestry Centre in being voted by the public as the best Lottery funded project for sport. I believe this public vote was recognising the enormous range of sporting activity done at Rosliston - without super expensive gyms, but with the maturing, beautiful sports setting of the woodlands, and through dedicated, passionate staff, volunteers and partners. Every young person keeping fit, every older person keeping their heart in good condition by coming to Rosliston will join with the National Forest Company in most warmly congratulating Debbie and Wayne Chesterman, the Forestry Commission and South Derbyshire District Council.”

Get Active in The Forest offers a programme of outdoor activities for residents of The National Forest and beyond.  This innovative programme includes archery, tai chi, walking, cycling, orienteering, clay shooting and woodland laser combat.  Debbie Chesterman, Manager of the Get Active in The Forest project said: “It is an absolute honour to have won this award. Our Lottery funding has allowed us to make a real difference for our visitors from the local community and beyond.

As well as providing fun and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, Get Active has positive health benefits.  Vicki Price, consultant in public health and Mary Hague, senior public health strategy manager, Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust (PCT) said: “We are delighted that the project has won this prestigious National Lottery award and we would like to pass on a big congratulations to all partners, staff and volunteers. Derbyshire County PCT are pleased to work with partners within Get Active in the Forest and see the range of activities as a great way to encourage people to become more active, try new things and adopt healthier lifestyles. Projects like Get Active are for everyone and can make a big difference to people’s lives in a fun way.”

The Armed Forces Memorial honours the men and women of the UK Armed Forces, and in accepting the award Vice Admiral Sir John Dunt, Chairman of the Armed Forces Memorial Trust, said: “We are all utterly delighted that the new Armed Forces Memorial has won this Award. The Memorial has benefited enormously from Lottery funding and allowed us to build a truly inspirational Memorial to all members of our Armed Forces who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War.”

He continued: “We have received tremendous support throughout all stages of the competition and on behalf of The Armed Forces Memorial, I would like to thank everyone who voted for us and also our staff and wonderful volunteers.”

Sophie Churchill said:  “It is a commentary on the times we live in, and on the way that the Memorial captures our need to commemorate sacrifice, that the public has voted for it in such numbers. I am delighted for the National Memorial Arboretum, which is an increasingly central visitor attraction in The National Forest.”