Dr Margaret Bradshaw MBE is the inaugural Pendlebury Award winner
A botanist who has dedicated over 50 years of her life to the study of plants has been named as the first ever winner of The Pendlebury Award.
Dr Margaret Bradshaw, from Eggleston in Teesdale, was applauded last Friday (7th June) night when she collected the award in honour of her work championing the area’s flora.
The award was established by the North Pennines AONB Partnership in tribute to the organisation’s first chairman, the late Bob Pendlebury, a man who, like Margaret, had a life-long passion for nature.
The farmer’s daughter is well known in the North East, and throughout the UK, for her distinguished research studying the plants of Upper Teesdale – a passion which led to a doctorate from Durham University for her work on Lady’s-mantles, and an MBE in recognition of her services to conservation.
After collecting the award Margaret said: “After hearing about all the other nominees and what they do I really didn’t expect to win. I’m very honoured to be the first winner of The Pendlebury Award and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me.”
Other nominees included Paul Bassingdale, who was nominated for his conservation work with red squirrels, June Crosby, who is a founder of The Weardale Society, and geologist Brian Young, who was involved in the early days of getting the North Pennines recognised as a European Geopark.
Margaret was nominated for the award by dale farmer Richard Betton who called her ‘the ultimate fount of knowledge’ on the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’, a group of rare plants found growing on the Widdybank National Nature Reserve and the surrounding area.
He said: “Over many years Margaret has recorded and monitored, in painstaking detail, the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ distribution and frequency and in particular Lady’s-mantles.
“She has also imparted some of this knowledge to several generations of amateur botanists, as well as arranging a series of talks on all things botanical, including hill farming. Margaret’s passion for the unique collection of plants, for which Teesdale is so justly famous, burns as brightly now as it did 50 years ago.”
Margaret was presented with the stunning award, which was designed by Cumbrian artist and fellow conservationist Kirsty Armstrong, by Bob’s grandson, Ross Thompson, who paid a moving tribute to the Grandfather who used to take him out to explore the North Pennines as a boy.
Ross’ mum Joy, who watched her son present the award, said: “We are truly honoured the award for the North Pennines AONB 25th Anniversary is named The Pendlebury Award in memory of Dad. It’s a special tribute to an exceptional man who devoted his time and passion for many years to help promote and look after the North Pennines. The North Pennines was an area he loved. He would call it ‘heaven on earth’.”
The current chairman of the AONB Partnership, Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, said: “Bob was a friend to me for over 25 years; he was a political mentor and wise advisor. It is a pleasure for me to follow in his footsteps as a County Councillor representing Crook Division and as Chairman of the AONB”
The ceremony formed the finale of the North Pennines AONB Partnership Anniversary Forum, which took place in Allendale Village Hall in Northumberland.
The evening celebrated 25 years to the day since the area was designated as an area of outstanding beauty and ten years since it became a European Geopark status.
Chris Woodley-Stewart, the Director of the AONB Partnership, said: “It is a real honour to be able to publicly thank two inspirational people – Bob and Margaret. We can learn a lot from them both.
“During his lifetime Bob did some outstanding work to promote the landscape of the North Pennines. We hope this award indicates just how much we appreciate what he did for us all.
“I think he would have wholeheartedly approved of Margaret being our first winner of The Pendlebury Award. The amount of hours she has dedicated to ensuring that the rare plants of the North Pennines are conserved for the enjoyment of future generations is outstanding. We hope that this award goes some way to showing her just how much her efforts are valued.”
As well as receiving The Pendlebury Award – which features Bob looking out onto the landscape he loved – Margaret also received a North Pennines inspired piece of felt art created by 13-year-old Eleanor Nanson from Cumbria.
During the evening Judith Mashiter, also from Teesdale, and Jan Simmonds, from Allendale, filled the two open seats on the AONB Partnership Forum and will remain in place for the next two years.
Margaret will keep the award for a year before the hunt begins to find another worthy recipient of The Pendlebury Award next spring.
Released: 12 June 2013