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Cragside Celebrates Extraordinary Senior Forester

National Trust Cragside in Northumberland has recognised its longest serving member of staff with a Royal Forestry Society Long Service Award.

By Wendy Necar · December 15, 2022

Pictured: Left to right, Christopher Clues, Head Forester Cragside, Les Wilkinson and General Manager Cragside, John O’Brien

Les Wilkinson, who has now retired, started work 38 years ago as a Forester and rose to become Senior Forester.

Presenting the award, John O’Brien, General Manager, Cragside Estate, said: “He knows the 1,000 acre estate better than anybody. The length of his service stands up against the staff that the first Lord Armstrong employed in Cragside’s heyday. Remarkably, Les was at Cragside for a longer period than the great man himself.

“ The end of his final year was marked by the arrival of Storm Arwen. Typically of Les, he spent his final few months of employment going flat out to support the immediate recovery work.

“ It was a reflection of Les’ time at Cragside in microcosm – the most professional, expert, resourceful, industrious, honest, loyal, and friendly of colleagues.”