Tilhill Forestry award recognises Bangor student’s excellent work

A student from Bangor University is the third person to win a special award given in memory of Phil Johnson, a greatly respected and much missed Tilhill Forestry member of staff.

Harry Thomas from Hackney, London, has won the Tilhill Forestry Phil Johnson Memorial Award for Best Silviculture Student 2016/17 on the MSc Silviculture module, studied by over 60 full-time and distance-learning students. He was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill Forestry District Manager Eddie Addis along with £250.

As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry presents awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities offering degrees in Forestry. The company also runs a popular graduate placement scheme.

Harry said: “Winning the award was a lovely surprise at the end of highly enjoyable first year and I’m very grateful to Tilhill for sponsoring it.”

Eddie Addis added: “We run an awards programme with a number of universities across the UK but this award is extra special as it is in memory of a greatly missed colleague.

“We’re delighted to continue to support Bangor University and recognise the hard work of students who are studying forestry. It’s an excellent university which regularly feeds students into our graduate trainee programme.”
James Walmsley and Mark Rayment, Lecturers in Forestry at Bangor University, said: “The prize is awarded to the top-performing student in the silviculture component of Bangor’s Forestry and forestry-related MSc programmes. This module is the only component common to all programmes and is completed by around 70 students globally each year. Students are assessed both on their technical silvicultural knowledge (through a 24-hour exam – simulating the all-too-familiar experience of report writing in the “real’ world!), as well as their deeper understanding of the role of silviculture in the changing world of forestry.

“Harry combined his intuitive understanding of economics and risk, with his newly acquired knowledge and understanding of silviculture and climate change, to produce several pieces of work that bear all the hallmarks of a forestry professional in the making – something that Tilhill’s Phil Johnson would very much have approved of.

“Harry is one of those students who come along every now and then, entering forestry from a well-established career in another sector. He brings with him a tremendous financial acumen which he can mould seamlessly into informed silvicultural decision-making. Phil Johnson recognised the need for constant evolution in the forestry sector and Harry well-represents this evolution.’’

Forestry has been taught at Bangor for more than 110 years, and its forestry degrees are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters. Harry is a student on Bangor’s MSc Forestry distance learning programme, which has been running since 2005.  This programme (and the sister ‘MSc Tropical Forestry degree) enable students from across the world, who would otherwise not have been able to study at postgraduate level, the chance to complete a relevant MSc degree.  Tilhill Forestry has a long association with Bangor University as many of its past and present employees have studied there, including graduates from the distance learning forestry programmes.

Phil Johnson worked for Tilhill Forestry for many years and was Regional Manager for England and Wales when he passed away following a short but valiant battle against cancer four years ago. During his career he made a huge contribution to the company including setting up the UK’s largest privately owned mountain bike centre at Coed Llandegla, Wales.