Wildlife expert and volunteer picks up Green Flag Award

Hilary Ash with Paul Todd from Green Flag and Councillor Warren Ward c. Beth Alvey

An outstanding volunteer from Cheshire Wildlife Trust's local group, Wirral Wildlife, has been honoured in a national award scheme.

Dr Hilary Ash has been presented with the Green Flag Award Volunteer of the Year for 2016.

Hilary played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of New Ferry Butterfly Park in the Wirral, which run by volunteers.

The park was once under threat and Hilary was one of a number of key players who helped to save this valuable site for wildlife. Working alongside organisations such as Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Wirral Council has led to the regeneration of this urban wildlife gem which is now thriving.

Hilary has introduced training days for park wardens to help improve the warden and visitor experience.

She also holds a variety of training courses at the park including sedge, grass and bee identification. She promotes the nature reserve to people of all ages and backgrounds, from Rainbows through to professionals, educating and entertaining in equal measures.

Paul Todd, Green Flag Award Manager said: “Congratulations to Hilary for winning the Green Flag Award Volunteer of the Year. It is clearly an important park to Hilary but Hilary is also important to the park. It just shows us how vital the role of volunteer is to our parks and green space up and down the country.”

Beth Alvey, Volunteer and Training Manager at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: "As a member of our local volunteering group in Wirral Hilary has made an outstanding contribution to our work. Her knowledge of local wildlife is incredible and her enthusiasm and dedication are exemplary. We're really pleased she has been acknowledged in this way – it's a well-deserved award."

Paul Loughnane, Honorary Secretary of New Ferry Butterfly Park, said: “Hilary has been a bedrock of the park from the very beginning and continues to be an inspiration to all our volunteers. Her dedication, environmental knowledge and sound judgement shine through. "

The surprise presentation of the award at the Park’s annual community barbecue in front of a large assembly of fellow volunteers, visitors and family added greatly in celebrating 21 years of the park being open to the public. We are all so proud of Hilary’s achievement. This accolade inspires the volunteers to improve the park even further. Do visit us.”