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RFS Gold Medal Recipients


RFS Gold Medal For Distinguished Services to Forestry 

 Recipients since May 1960 are as follows:-


Geraint Richards MVO, Duchy of Cornwall Head Forester

Goldmedail2019 Hrhtogr Copyright Charles Sainsbury Plaice Duchy Of Cornwall
HRH The Duke of Cornwall presents the RFS Gold Medal to Duchy of Cornwall Head Forester Geraint Richards Credit: ©Charles Sainsbury-Plaice/Duchy of Cornwall

HRH The Prince of Wales was President of the RFS from 1982-1984 and presented the award to Geraint Richards.

Geraint studied Forestry at Bangor University and worked for four years for the Forestry Commission in Kent and East Sussex as a forest officer before being appointed to his current post in 1996. As Head Forester, he is responsible for the management of over 2000ha (5000acres) of trees, woodlands and forests across the Duchy’s extensive land-holding in the South-West of England and Herefordshire.  

He is also involved with a wide range of organisations and initiatives both locally and nationally: in Cornwall as Chair of Cornwall Woodmeet, organiser of the very successful Royal Cornwall Show Forestry Section and on the committees of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project and the Forestry Commission’s South-West Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee. Nationally, Geraint is a trustee of Woodland Heritage and the British Horse-Loggers Charitable Trust, on the CLA’s Forestry and Woodland Committee, on the committees of the UK Squirrel Accord and the Plant Health and Biosecurity Alliance; he chairs Action Oak and until recently co-chaired Future Trees Trust and the National Tree Improvement Strategy and also the group focussing on developing forestry apprenticeships in England. Internationally, Geraint is working with forestry institutes in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  In April Geraint chaired the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ national conference which this year adopted a global theme. 



Ted Green MBE

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Ted Green, one of the country’s leading authorities on Ancient Trees, woodland fungi, forest soils and associated micro-organisms received the Royal Forestry Society's (RFS) Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry from RFS President Sophie Churchill OBE in March 2017.

He is credited with doing much to bridge any gaps between forestry and conservation and has influenced the debate in forestry and arboriculture for more than 50 years. Read more about Read here 



Goldmedal Bedehowell Crfs 271014 Pt

J Bede Howell

A toddler's life in Barnes brought Kew Gardens within frequent reach. Later, years in Harrogate, at school in North Staffordshire and in Bewdley were close to trees.

Catholic schooling instilled familiarity with Latin and Greek, then after National Service in the ranks of the Worcestershire Regiment, Technical Colleges produced the qualifications needed for forestry under Professor Steven at Aberdeen.

"Sharp end" forestry occupied student vacations, also time in Normandy, before  assisting Major Pilling in his forestry and arboricultural consultancy  -- later becoming Abbey Forestry.

Working at forestry advice and on numerous committees led to the Society's Presidency and Gold Medal.


Keith Kirby Draynes Wood Goldmedalaward Ckk 130715 Kj   

Dr Keith Kirby

Keith Kirby was born behind a pub called the Woodman, so a forestry career was inevitable. A degree in Agricultural and Forest Sciences in Oxford was followed by a D.Phil study of  brambles.  Brief contract jobs in the Lake District led to a 33 year career as forestry and woodland officer with NCC and its successors, most recently Natural England.  Since 2012 he has been a visiting researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences in Oxford, focussing particularly on the changes in woodland flora, but dabbling and writing on broader issues such as rewilding and woodland history.


Peter Goodwin


Daviddavenport Goldmedal Dd 130815 Kj   

Major David Davenport CBE DL

Major David Davenport took over management of the woods on the family estate at Foxley, Herefordshire in 1967. The estate is 1900 ha of which 516 ha are woodland. The estate has been at the forefront of many practices to improve timber quality. He has always been a leading advocate of high pruning as a silvicultural practice integral to the production of quality timber and to this end has long been the UK agent for Silky Saws. He was founder and Chairman of the Poplar Working Group for Forest Research, and Foxley was a notable research site in the breeding and growing of poplar.  Under David’s stewardship Foxley is regarded as an outstanding example of good forestry management. He has ensured the educational value of his woods has been widely shared with both foresters and the general public. David was Chairman of the Forestry Commission’s Regional Advisory Committee for the South West England Conservancy (1982-90), and President of the RFS from 1991 to 1992. He has actively supported RFS educational activities including organising the RFS overseas study tour to South Africa in 1992.


Petersavill Goldmedal Cps 090715 Kj 

 Peter Savill BSc (Bangor), MSc (Bangor), PhD (Belfast), MA (Oxon), FICFor

Peter Savill started work as an Assistant Conservator of Forests in Sierra Leone in 1962. He joined the Northern Ireland Forest Service in 1966, and moved to Oxford University as a lecturer in Forestry in 1980 and Fellow of Linacre College. He retired as Reader in 2006. During his time in Oxford he supervised (sometimes jointly) 25 doctoral students and as director of the Oxford MSc course in forestry, over 400 MSc students. He has published 95 peer-reviewed papers, including nine books or book chapters.


Cyril Hart


J T McHardy


Esmondharris Goldmedal Eh 280715 Kj 

E H M Harris MBE

Esmond was awarded the RFS Gold Medal in 2000 in recognition of his lifelong work championing education in forestry circles, in schools, with the public and for promoting wildlife conservation as an integral component of forest stewardship.

Esmond worked for the Forestry Commission for sixteen years until 1969, both as a field District Officer and in education at three FC schools, finishing as Principal at Gwydyr. He was then appointed as head of the Forestry Section in the new Forestry Industry Training Board before joining EFG as Forestry Director for the north of England. In 1975 he became Director of the RFS, where he remained until his retirement in 1989.


Graham Tuley


J A Spencer


B N Howell


J R Fletcher


Prof J Matthews


T H Owen


P S Leathart


Lord Dulverton


J H B Workman


A F Mitchell


Earl of Bradford

Sir Richard Cotterell

Miles Hadfield

H Taylor


H W D Pollock


C J Venables


Johnston Edwards

A L F Hills

N D G James

G Langshaw Rowland

Dr C Syrach-Larsen


Sir Henry Bereford-Pierse

W R Day

A D C Le Sueur

Sir Eric Savill


Maj J D D Evans


C P Ackers

Lord Bolton

W E Hiley

      Capt G C Wolrych-Whitmore