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Green awards

Captain George Sutherland (centre) of the Northern Lighthouse Board presented awards to (from left) Julie Thomson and Cheryl Jamieson of Gardiesfauld, Beth Gerrard of Sandgarth, Rick Nickerson who set up Da Voar Redd Up and Cecilia James. Pic. Austin Taylor

ENVIRONMENT awards were handed out in Shetland on Friday for a one woman litter campaigner and thousands of other volunteers who take part in the islands annual spring clean.

Awards also went to a local youth hostel and a couple who set up a tree plantation in the isles’ north mainland.

Shetland Amenity Trust has slimmed down its annual green award ceremony, presenting four awards this year compared to eight in 2011.

One went to Cecilia James, a resident for just two years, who recently embarked on a mammoth tidy of the 18 mile stretch of highway between Voe and Lerwick after hearing tourists complain of the rubbish on the road side. Her efforts can be followed here.

Da Voar Redd Up has won several awards for being the UK’s largest community-based clean up operation with more than 20 per cent of islanders cleaning beaches and road verges every spring. Over 25 years more than 72,000 volunteers have removed over 1,500 tonnes of bruck and on Friday its originator Rick Nickerson was there to pick up yet another one.

Gardiesfauld youth hostel and caravan park on Unst raised funds in 2012 to upgrade their historic building and make it more energy efficient and the enterprise more sustainable.

The hostel plays an important role in the Unst tourist industry and community life after the shock of the closure of RAF Saxa Vord a few years ago.

Tony and Beth Gerrard’s Sandgarth Tree Project has created shelter belts for livestock, habitat for birds and wildlife and paths and picnic areas for leisure on their Voe croft.

Their pond has become the only breeding site in Shetland for the large red damselfly, while insects and birds are encouraged by the flower and fruit producing plants they grow and wild flowers their biodiversity scheme attracts.

Amenity trust chairman Brian Gregson congratulated all the winners for their contribution to Shetland’s environment.