A Coldstream octogenarian with an outstanding commitment to the protection and enhancement of the River Tweed and its surroundings has been named the Tweed Forum’s first ever River Champion.
The accolade was launched earlier this year as part of the Forum’s 25th anniversary celebrations and was open to nominations from across the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.
Frank Turnbull (85) becomes the first recipient of the Award and was chosen by the judging panel because of his exceptional and continuing hard work and enthusiasm for the preservation of the river and its environs, an enthusiasm he developed when he started to fish on the Tweed at the age of 15.
Frank was a founding member of the Coldstream and District Angling Association (CDAA) in the 1970s and was more recently elected as a River Tweed Commissioner. He tackles the threat from invasive plant species such as Giant Hogweed head-on by spraying the unwelcome vegetation himself following sightings reported to him by local residents, who know he can be relied on to deal with the issue. His other volunteering activities include grass strimming, tree planting and erecting and repairing fences on the river bank. Frank also assists in the netting and identification of fish in the Tweed and its tributaries as part of wider monitoring and preservation initiatives, and works as a River Warden, helping to protect stocks from unauthorised fishing. The nomination received about his work stated: “Frank’s whole day, indeed his life, is based and organised around what he should be doing to help the C&DAA and the Tweed. In his long life, Frank Turnbull truly has had the Tweed as part of his life: it is in his heart.”
Luke Comins, Director of Tweed Forum, said; “We created this award as we wanted to showcase the tremendous work that goes on, on both sides of the Border, to preserve and protect one of our most important assets. Frank is an outstanding example of this and shows true dedication for no reward, other than the knowledge that what he is doing will help to preserve the river he loves and enjoys so much for future generations. He is a truly worthy Tweed Forum River Champion.”
Tweed Forum Chairman, James Hepburne Scott, presented Frank with a beautiful, specially commissioned glass trophy created by Scottish artist Jane Raven. Speaking as he collected the accolade, Frank said; “I’m so proud to receive this award as it’s like a reward for all my work over the years. I live my life on the river, as much as I can as I think it’s so important to look after it for the future.”
Over the last 25 years, the Tweed Forum has worked with farmers, foresters, landowners, ghillies, public and private sector bodies on both sides of the Border, and individuals like Frank Turnbull to protect and improve the 5,000 sq km catchment of the second largest river in Scotland.
This partnership approach has led to the planting of over 300,000 trees, created over 120 ponds and wetlands, enhanced around 300 km of river, restored over 20 listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments and enabled the management over 10,000 hectares of woodland, wetland and heather moorland. The benefits include better supplies of cleaner, fresher water, an enhanced landscape, flora and fauna, increased resilience against extreme events such as flooding and drought, the protection and enhancement of fish stocks, the capture and storage of greenhouse gases and the provision of increased tourism and recreation opportunities.
The Tweed Forum’s work in providing a partnership approach to the management of the river and its surrounds led to UNESCO recognition in 2009, and the receipt of the first UK Rivers Prize in 2015.
Shared by FishPal December 2016