This year’s Arboricultural Association Awards evening was held in the exquisite surroundings of Keele Hall on Tuesday 6th September. Following a wine reception on the picturesque terrace, guests made their way inside and enjoyed the social side of Conference with a 3 course meal and a good catch up among colleagues and friends.
It was a special evening for a number of reasons, not least the fact that Henry Girling was able to join us and, as is tradition, present the award for best Conference Exhibitor. The winner this year was Ana Perez-Sierra for the informative and engaging Observatree stand.
Next up Dave Dowson of Tree Life Training presented the award for ‘Best 2015 Student: ABC Awards Level 4 Diploma in Arboriculture’ to AA Technician member Esther Bramley.
The ‘ABC Awards Level 6 Diploma in Arboriculture’ was then presented by Chairman of the Royal Forestry Society Ian Dudley. It went to Professional member Wayne Isaacson, who completed the Diploma in the prescribed timescale of 2 years, a rare feat in itself. Even more incredible was the fact that it was achieved whilst supporting a family and working and living on the Isle of Wight, which meant 25 return journeys on a ferry through two winters to his centre of study at Westonbirt.
The ISA’s R.W Harris Authors Citation Award was presented by President Elect of the ISA Paul Ries to the renowned Dr David Lonsdale. The author of a number of essential Arboricultural works of literature including ‘Principles of Tree Hazard Assessment and Management’ collected the honour to resounding applause.
Finally, the prestigious Arboricultural Association Award was presented by our incoming Chairman Keith Sacre. As Keith rattled off the 2016 recipients’ achievements it soon became apparent to the audience that the much loved and respected Dave Dowson of Tree Life Training had won the award.
Dave was both surprised and visibly moved to receive this year’s honour. He spoke passionately about his 40 years in Arboriculture. To add to his surprise in a touching moment as he thanked friends and family for their help and support throughout the years, unbeknownst to him, Dave’s daughter Keeley had taken his seat at the dinner table as he took to the stage and shouted out ‘No worries dad’.
A number of our delegates at past and present conferences had themselves gained qualifications with Dave’s assistance, it seemed fitting that he should be rewarded and recognised with a standing ovation by those who had been so greatly influenced by his years of hard work.
To cap off a memorable evening the after-dinner presentation was delivered by James Ogilvie of Forestry Commission Scotland, who gave a fascinating talk on his experiences climbing the Seven Summits.