A volunteer who dedicates hours every week to help care for Scotlandâ€™s countryside has been honoured by the National Trust for Scotland.Â Peter Coutts from Penicuik received the award for Outdoor Conservation Volunteer of the Year from Trust Chairman Sir Kenneth Calman.
Sir Kenneth said,Â â€œPeter is a wonderful example of the dedicated and talented people we have as volunteers in the Trust. He has helped us to carry out our vital conservation work at properties all over Scotland and sincere thanks are due to him for that.â€
Peter has been volunteering with the Trust for 12 years. He is a member of the Lothian Conservation Volunteer Group who carry out conservation tasks ranging from pathwork repair to gardening at National Trust for Scotlandâ€™s properties throughout Lothian and all over Scotland. He has also led Thistle Camps â€“ the Trustâ€™s volunteering holidays – for a number of years, ensuring that holiday makers have a really enjoyable experience.
Peter’s daughter started volunteering with the Pentlands Rangers and Peter followed suit before volunteering with British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. It was only later that he discovered you could volunteer to help out with National Trust for Scotland properties â€“ despite having been a member for 20 years.
“They used to call it the Youth Volunteers,” he recalls, Â “which put me off to begin with. Once I did get involved I discovered that most of us have our bus passes! It’s very satisfying and good fun and I’m in a position now where I have the time (Peter is a retired police officer). The people who work full time and still volunteer are the ones who make the greatest sacrifice.”
Peter’s favourite project is on Fair Isle where volunteers work in pairs with crofters.
Over 3000 people volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland each year, in a variety of roles both visible to members and behind the scenes. Their dedication and invaluable contribution is a vital part of the organisationâ€™s conservation and preservation work, and goes a long way to helping some of Scotlandâ€™s most beautiful and historic sites live on.