We would like to congratulate Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, who was awarded an OBE for services to forestry in the Queen's Birthday Honours list at the weekend – and to briefly pay tribute to him.
The Mersey Forest team and partnership has achieved much over the last 20 years. We've planted over 9 million trees in Merseyside and North Cheshire – over three times more than the England average for tree planting. We've held almost 40,000 community events. We've secured almost £41m in funding – money which has gone straight back into improving our local green spaces. And under Paul's quiet, confident leadership, we've been shouting out a crucial message – that the welfare of people, wildlife and the economy is dependent upon our natural world.
All of this – and more – has only been possible because of the ceaseless enthusiasm and dedicated work ethic of Paul; a man with time for everybody; whose door is literally always open; for whom no idea is a silly idea; and whose adaptability and penchant for innovative solutions has characterised his tenure as director.
Would we have been able to achieve so much under another's leadership? It seems unlikely. For anybody that knows him, it is clear to see that for Paul, leading The Mersey Forest is not just a job. It is a vocation.
Paul attributes this honour to everyone who has been involved in The Mersey Forest over the years. This may be warranted, but we believe that the honour is very much deserved on a personal level too. Well done, Paul. We can think of no-one more deserving of this recognition than you. And maybe it's time to take a holiday now – there's over twenty years of leave for you to take!