Comedian and nature enthusiast Bill Bailey paid a visit with a difference to Avalon Marshes Somerset and presented the project with an iconic National Lottery Award.
Avalon Marshes Somerset, which conserves the unique landscape, heritage and wildlife of the local wetland area, was voted the Best Environment Project in the National Lottery Awards; the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Local man Bill Bailey returned to his home county to deliver the good news:
“I’m from Somerset, so preserving the local landscape is important to me. The project does an incredible job of keeping this historic wetland in tip-top shape.
“Stunning landscapes like Avalon create an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and provide an unparalleled access to wildlife for nature lovers like me.
“The Avalon Marshes Somerset project is a much deserved winner of this National Lottery Award – National Lottery players should be very proud to have helped fund this wonderful conservation project.”
Avalon Marshes Somerset beat off competition from a record breaking 1,300 entries to win a public vote. The project will receive a £5,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and make an appearance on “The National Lottery Awards”, a BBC One show broadcast on September 27.
The conservation of the Avalon Marshes has taken place over four years, with sixty projects helping to preserve meadows, woods, reed-beds and lakes, plus the mystical Isle of Avalon- home to Glastonbury Tor. The wetlands are home to wildlife like marsh harriers, bitterns and otters, while the area has 10,000 years of human history, giving a rich archaeological heritage.
Simon Nash, Somerset Wildlife Trust, speaking on behalf of the partnership behind the project added:
“National Lottery funding was crucial in enabling us to make the developments we wanted to this unique and special place.
“We have been able to make these ancient wetlands more accessible to the general public and highlight their national importance in terms of both wildlife and heritage.
“It’s such an honour to have won a National Lottery Award and to be recognised in this way by the public. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us and everyone who plays the National Lottery for enabling us to preserve this wonderful environment.”
Over 5,600 people voted for Avalon Marshes to win Best Environment project.
Image courtesy of Somerset Wildlife Trust