Marsh Award for Volunteering with RBGK

This Award is run in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and is awarded to volunteers for their outstanding commitment, innovation and passion while Volunteering for RBG at Kew and Wakehurst Place.

The Award can be presented to an individual or group, volunteering in a variety of fields: from the upkeeping of the gardens' landscape, to working on specmen collections and interacting with visitors. In whatever way they chose to help, it is certain that the work of the volunteers has helped shape the experience of those who visit the Royal Boanic Gardens at Kew.

The inaugural Award was presented in 2010.

Pictured right is 2012 award winner, Alan Cornwell. The photograph is taken when volunteering in the gardens at Wakehurst Place.

The 2013 winners are Jim Whiting, Veronica Cheng and The Arboretum Team

1st Place James Whiting – Volunteer Discovery Bus Driver

Jim Whiting has made an invaluable contribution to Kew’s Discovery Programme since he joined as Volunteer Driver in 2008. He is a passionate ambassador for Kew’s work and his reliability and dedication have been critical to the programme, especially during a period where the Discovery Programme Coordinator post was vacant. Without Jim’s dedication and commitment the programme would have wound down entirely.

Jim travels quite some distance from his home in St Leonards-on-Sea to volunteer his time and drive the Discovery Bus for booked groups. Despite his commute he is always on time (and always immaculately dressed!) He volunteers regularly and driving two tours in one day, consistently receiving positive feedback from Discovery Programme clients and Kew colleagues. Jim’s work also allows groups with additional needs and sensory loss to access the wonders of Kew Gardens. He is a positive ambassador for Kew both in the local and wider community.

2nd place - Veronica Cheng - Horticultural and Herbarium Volunteer

Veronica started horticultural volunteering in 2005. She initially volunteered within the Queens Garden, then during the restructuring of the Hardy display section alongside this. Since 2008 she has volunteered for the Broadwalk access team. She has also played a key role in the maintenance and redevelopment of the Queens garden prior to the re-opening of Kew Palace.

Veronica has a good all round knowledge of horticulture and the plants she tends. This has allowed her to advise and mentor many new students and interns who have been allocated to the team. She is always positive and embraces the chance to enhance the message of Kew to visitors and study groups. Veronica has committed to an additional day of volunteering each week, assisting in the Herbarium by documenting multiple items from an important collection donated by a British University.

3rd Place - The Arboretum Team

The Arboretum Volunteers have contributed over 7,000 hours of volunteering at the arboretum at Kew Gardens in one year alone. Their work is always physically demanding as it involves activities such as weeding and edging tree circles, yet they show so much enthusiasm for their role. Even though they are volunteers, staff members know that they can rely on them in the same way that we do with their colleagues and their support is much needed. The volunteers’ enthusiasm is so emphatic that members of the public who approach them often ask about how they might be able to volunteer too!

The Award also recognised another three highly commended winners who have made an exceptional impact to Kew Gardens through their role as volunteers:

The Victoria Plaza Team - A group of 12 volunteers who care for the horticultural displays that greet visitors entering through Victoria Gate.

Jennifer Fry - An outstanding volunteer who has given countless hours of her time to support the Herbarium curation team.

Susan Lundgren – A Volunteer who is an essential part of the Press Office team.

Pictured above from top to bottom: Brian Marsh with James Whiting, Veronica Cheng and The Arboretum Team


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