Cumbrian Volunteers Steal the Show in National Red Squirrel Awards

Cumbrian volunteers have stormed to victory in a new award scheme being run by the national red squirrel charity, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST), taking three of the top honours.

Launched last year, the awards, which are supported by HRH The Prince of Wales, are designed to recognise and celebrate the efforts of the vast army of volunteers working around the country to protect our native red squirrels.

Worthy winners of the award for Red Squirrel Champion are the Moss family from Penrith. Jerry Moss will be known to many as not only is he is a long serving member of the Penrith & District Red Squirrel Group, but is also red squirrel ranger at Centre Parks in Whinfell Forest. His partner, Sarah McNeil is a well known photographer as well as a hard working volunteer selling many items featuring her fantastic squirrel photos to raise funds. Their son, Hagen spends all his spare time helping Dad and as a family they often raise orphaned squirrels at home.

Another Cumbrian stalwart, Jackie Foott from Sedburgh, shares the award for Leading Light for the volunteer talking the message out into the community with Sally Hardy from Ponteland, near Newcastle. Jackie and Sally jointly chair Northern Red Squirrels (NRS), an organisation created to unite volunteers and red squirrel conservation groups across the country, sharing news, ideas and best practice.

Also on the list of winners is Julie Bailey from Brampton, who has been recognised as one of the Unsung Heroes of the red squirrel world. Julie is secretary of the Brampton Group, not only organising the members, but also liaising with local landowners and bringing together funding bids for the group.

“We are delighted to be able to recognise the hard work of our volunteers with these awards,” said Miles Barne, RSST Chairman. “There are an estimated 3,000 volunteers involved in red squirrel conservation throughout the UK, but the north of England is where the biggest battle is being fought. This work could not be achieved without the tireless efforts of our volunteers. Highlighting their contribution to red squirrel conservation is long overdue.”

The awards will be presented by His Grace the Duke of Northumberland at a special event to be held at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland on June 27th, 2012.

Contact details

Janet Wickens                                                                   Prue Jackson                                                                 

 RSST                                                                                  Public Relations

4 East Bank House                                                           T: 07968739117                                                          

 Tide Mill Way                                                                            E:  Woodbridge                                                                                                                                                  

Suffolk  IP12 1BY

T: 07974 863633                                                                                                                                                     


Notes for Editors

About the Red Squirrel Survival Trust   

About red squirrels

Around 75% of the 120,000 red squirrels remaining in the UK are found in Scotland. In England, reds can still be found in Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Merseyside and the Isle of Wight.

Reds died out many years ago from their former southern strongholds of Thetford Forest in Norfolk and Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. However, a project aiming to reintroduce the species to Cornwall is underway which hopes to bring red squirrels back to southern England in the next five years.

For more information about RSST, visit

The Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST) is a UK charity established to ensure the conservation and protection of the red squirrel in the UK. Its Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales and its ambassadors are Alan Titchmarsh, Sir Chris Bonington and Eric Robson and Katie Hillier.

RSST works in partnership with dedicated and knowledgeable local groups around the country. It aims to protect red squirrels by keeping reds and greys apart, stabilising new and existing populations, funding research to secure the red squirrel’s long-term future and raising awareness of the plight of the red squirrel.


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