SPEAKING up for woodland across the country are a group of dedicated volunteers willing to share their love of trees.

The Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading tree charity, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Volunteer Speaker Scheme and one man has been giving talks since the scheme began.

Upton-based Roger Tolman said: “I really believe in the importance of telling people about woodlands and their benefits for people and wildlife. I have been giving talks for 20 years and still enjoy talking about the Woodland Trust.”

During that time he has given nearly 200 talks for the scheme, aimed at inspiring people to value trees and woodlands and to understand the work of the trust in ensuring the nation’s woodlands are protected.

After 20 years the scheme is still going strong. New volunteers are given induction training and expenses are paid. In return, speakers must be willing to speak in public to groups of up to 30 people and to keep up to date about the work of the Woodland Trust. Volunteers are not expected to be tree experts, they just need to be willing to share their enthusiasm for woodlands.

Mr Tolman emphasised the importance of raising awareness.

“It is important to inform people about what is going on in the local area,” he said.

“For example, I tell people about the work the Woodland Trust is doing to restore native species.”

Any local group interested in inviting a Woodland Trust volunteer speaker can phone 08452 935752 or e-mail vsmail@ woodlandstrust.