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RFS - Alec Pyman Award


Alec Pyman Picture From Kate Waller Jan 2016

Alec G. Pyman, NDF, MBE

Pioneer in Professional Forestry Education


 About the Award 

The Award is named after the late Alec George Pyman, MBE, a leader in forestry education and a former RFS member.

In 1947 Alec Pyman began his forestry training when he was accepted by the Forestry Commission. He went on to enrol at Lynford Hall Forestry Training School. From 1949-55 Alec worked as forester and forester-in-charge at Andover, Liminge, Mardon, Alton and Micheldever Forests. In 1955 Alec enrolled on the National Diploma in Forestry (NDF) and become the first Forestry Commission employee to achieve this qualification.

In 1962 Alec embarked on a new career when he successfully applied to work as Lecturer in Forestry at Newton Rigg College, Penrith. Over the following years Alec built up the Department of Forestry, overseeing the development several important programmes: the National Diploma in Forestry; short courses in forestry; a series of practical certificates of competence.

Alec was involved in every aspect of professional forestry education up until his sudden and sad death in September 1982. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to forestry and specifically forestry education the Royal Forestry Society recognises the student who achieves the highest grade while studying on the Forestry Foundation Degree at the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria with the Alec Pyman Award.


Andrewlesliejohnchapmanstuartpudneyandrewweatherall Alecpymanlandingpage Ccumbriau 151214 Pt

Stuart Pudney being presented with the Alec Pyman Award in 2014.
The award is presented as part of the Graudation Ceremonies at the University of Cumbria.

In the photo (left to right): Andrew Leslie (University of Cumbria), John Chapman (Chairman RFS North Western Division), Stuart Pudney (Alec Pyman Award recipient 2014), Andrew Weatherall (University of Cumbria).   

 2018 Alec Pyman Award


2018 Recipient Charlie Cade Presented Byeddiecruickshank 23 02 19
 The 2018 Alec Pyeman Award was presented to Charlie Cade by RFS North West Division chairman Eddie Cruickshank at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Name: Charlie Cade

Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Forest Management.

University: University of Cumbria

Since qualifying, Charlie, a native of Cornwall, has been travelling in India and SE Asia, and has now returned to startworking with Aspect Forestry based in West Yorkshire.


Barbara Brown Villedieu Ap Trophy 2017 Cropped 
 The 2017 Alec Pyman Award was presented to Barbara Brown-Villedieu by RFS North West Divisional Secretary Ian Jack


 2017 Alec Pyman Award


  •  Name: Barbara Brown-Villedieu
  • Course: Foundation degree (FDSc) in Forestry 
  • University: University of Cumbria

Barbara’s first degree was in illustration, but she made the decision soon after completing it to pursue a career in forestry through enrolling on the Foundation degree in Forestry at the University of Cumbria.

Barbara proved to be an exceptional student, producing consistently excellent work, engaging in her learning and showing real enthusiasm for forestry.  Barbara undertook a mid-year placement with Forestry Commission Scotland at Huntly and after graduating successfully applied for a job with the same team. 


2016 Alec Pyman Award 


  • Name: Joe Gillard
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Forestry
  • University: University of Cumbria
 Alec Pyman2016 Josephgillard Alistair Hearn Tw 021116

The 2016 Alec Pyman Award was presented to student Joseph Gillard, left, by Alistair Hearn, Chair RFS North West England at APF 2016

Joe is passionate about woodland management and conservation.

He completed the FDSc in Forestry in 2016 and is continuing on to complete a BSc (Hons) in Forestry, also from the National School of Forestry. 


2015 Alec Pyman Award 


  • Name: Ben Taylor
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Foretsry
  • University: University of Cumbria
Ben Taylor Alec Pyman Recipient 2015
Ben Taylor receives the Alec Pyman Award 2015


Ben has been working for Scottish Woodlands Ltd for just over four  years and has progressed from an assistant to forest manager. The role involves all aspects of forest management from GIS mapping to authoring forest plans and arranging and managing forestry operations (new planting/felling/restocking/road building).

He originally graduated in Ecology from the University of Aberdeen. For his final year thesis at Aberdeen Ben worked out in Sri Lanka on forest fragments located within abandoned tea plantations.

He enrolled in the part-time (distance learning) course to develop his forestry knowledge.


2014 Alec Pyman Award 


  • Name: Stuart Pudney
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FdSc), Forestry
  • University: University of Cumbria
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Stuart Pudney (right) receiving the 2014 award from John Chapman, Chairman, RFS North Western Division.

Northumbrian Water's Conservation and Land Manager (North), Stuart Pudney, has won the Royal Forestry Society North West Division's (RFS) Alec Pyman Award after excelling in the National School of Forestry Foundation Degree at the University of Cumbria at Penrith.

Stuart, who lives in Ryton, is responsible for Northumbrian Water's 600 hectares of existing woodlands and for a policy of planting new woodlands where appropriate. He is currently leading a project which is felling mature Sitka spruce on a site near the reservoir at Upper Weardale and replanting with native broadleaves.

He already holds a Higher National Diploma in Advanced Environmental Practice and a BSc (Hons) in Physical Geography from the University of Aberystwyth, but explains: "As we were planning these works, I wanted a better depth of understanding of the subject, particularly marketing of timber and re-planting. The spruce had been undermanaged, and the site is very windy with a water treatment works directly below the reservoir, not really ideal for commercial plantations, so I wanted to explore other possibilities for replanting.


2013 Alec Pyman Award


  • Name: Elaine Morrish
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Forestry
  • University: Univesity of Cumbria, Newton Rigg
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Elaine Morrish

The 2013 winner of the Royal Forestry Society North Western Division's Alec Pyman Award Elaine Morrish highlighted a childhood love of helping her father in a small woodland led to a lifetime passion for trees.

Elaine had already gained a certificate and diploma in woodland management before taking a career break to have a family, but then returned part time to Newton Rigg College in Cumbria to take a Foundation Degree in Forestry and is currently  studying to convert it to a BSc.

Elaine, who lives in Strathpeffer, Ross-shire, is on a student placement with the Forestry Commission  in the Highlands and Islands and says her latest qualification and studies have given her new confidence when discussing forestry issues with her colleagues.

Tutor Andrew Leslie, said: “Elaine was chosen because she had the highest average marks of any of the students graduating from that course this year. Her focus on her studies and the effort she has put into her assignments has been commendable.”


2012 Alec Pyman Award


  • Name: Andrew Whistler
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Forestry
  • University: University of Cumbria
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Andrew Whistler (right) receiving the 2012 Alec Pyman Award from Stuart Palmer, Chairman, RFS North Western Division. 

Forestry Commission forest works supervisor Andrew Whistler has received this year’s Alec Pyman Award for excellence after coming top in the Forestry Foundation Degree at the University of Cumbria’s Newton Rigg College.

Andrew Whistler, from Garboldisham on the edge of the Thetford Forest in Norfolk, already held a National Diploma in Countryside Management and was working as a forest craftsperson for the Forestry Commission when he decided to take the Foundation Degree on block release.

Andrew said: “Within recent weeks I’ve accepted a six month contract as a Forest Works Supervisor within my district. I feel this will be the perfect opportunity for me to advance my career within an area I thoroughly enjoy.

“I would like to thank Newton Rigg for supporting and guiding me throughout the past three years, the Forestry Commission for allowing me to complete this course and the various people within the East Anglia Forest District who have supplied booklets and advice for the duration of my degree.”


2011 Alec Pyman Award


  • Name: Valerie Coulton
  • Course: Foundation Degree (FDSc), Forestry
  • University: University of Cumbria
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Valerie Coulton receiving the 2011 Alec Pyman Award from Stuart Palmer, Chairman, RFS North Western Division.    

A ‘Beat Forester’ for the Forestry Commission has won the Royal Forestry Society’s North West Division Alec Pyman Award after being voted the best student on the University of Cumbria’s National School of Forestry Foundation Degree Forestry Course.

Valerie Coulton, who lives in Shireoaks, near Worksop, had originally started work with the Forestry Commission 12 years ago in administration roles, before transferring to operations. She is now a Beat Forester for the Forestry Commission’s Sherwood District.

She said: “During the change in roles from admin officer to operational staff, the District supported me in completing the Foundation Degree in Forestry through distance learning at the University of Cumbria’s Newton Rigg Campus. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, finding it both relevant to my work and enjoyable.”

Stuart Palmer, North Western Division Chairman said: “We are delighted that Valerie has won the award. There are many routes into forestry and Valerie’s experiences and learning on the beat are being backed up by a sound academic grounding. We wish her well in her career.”


2009 Alec Pyman Award 


  • Name: Andrew Dobson
  • Course: HND Forestry
  • College: Newton Rigg College
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Andrew Dobson 

Andrew Dobson received the RFS north western division’s Alec Pyman Award after achieving the highest overall percentage mark on his forestry HND (Higher National Diploma) course. Andrew, from Doncaster, now works for UPM Tilhill, the UK’s leading forestry and timber harvesting company.

David Atkinson, Forestry Tutor said: “Andrew has also been a unique student at the National School of Forestry by having a first degree in Latin. Not surprisingly, his use of scientific names for tree species was exceptional, but his prior studies allowed him to set high standards in his academic work and he was the only member of the intake to graduate with distinction.”



2008 Alec Pyman Award


  • Name: Joanne Mason
  • Course: HND Foretsry
  • College: Newton Rigg College
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Joanne Mason receives the 2008 Alec Pyman Award from Dave Robson (University of Central Lancashire) and Dave Brackley (RFS). 

The Forestry Commission’s recreation and contracts manager for the Chilterns area, Joanne Mason, who studies at Newton Rigg, near Penrith, has been presented with the 2008 Alec Pyman Award by the Royal Forestry Society’s north western division.

Joanne, won the award for being the best part-time student on the forestry HND course at Newton Rigg. She already holds a BSc degree in biological sciences and an MSc in environmental resources, and signed up for the course after recommendations from colleagues.

Joanne said: “The HND has underpinned the day-to-day management of sites, broadening and enhancing my understanding of multi-purpose forestry. Particularly useful are those areas that are primarily covered by other staff members but where a basic understanding is crucial, such as deer and game management, forest law and landscape design. It has also helped me to understand the issues faced by leaseholders and tenants.”


2007 Alec Pyman Award


  • Name: Genevieve Stone
  • Course: HND Forestry
  • College: Newton Rigg College
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Genevieve Stone receives the 2007 Alec Pyman Award from Eunice Simmons (University of Central Lancashire) and Edward Mills (RFS). 

Genevieve Stone has been presented with the Alec Pyman Award by the Royal Forestry Society as recognition for her hard work as a student at the National School of Forestry.

The society presented a trophy carved from Cumbrian yew to Haydon Bridge’s Genevieve Stone as the best part-time student at the school of Forestry at Newton Rigg, Penrith.

She was presented with the Alec Pyman award by the North-West divison of the Royal Forestry society, which is dedicated to promoting knowledge of trees and woodland management.

Genevieve said: “My first degree was in Russian and I worked for a while as an English teacher.  After we moved to Northumberland and I got to know Allen Banks, I realised I just wanted to work outside.”

“I particularly enjoyed studying silviculture, the science of establishing and managing trees in woodlands,” she explained.

When Genevieve completes her  degree in two years’ time she hopes to continue her career in the field and possibly to carry out further research into the changing nature of the English countryside.



45000037 Alec Pyman Memorial Oak Compress

Oak tree planted in memory of Alec Pyman at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria. 

Photo: E. R. Wilson 2016