What's going on News PRESS RELEASE: HM Lord-Lieutenant becomes the Forest of Marston Vale charity Patron HM Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis with Forest of Marston Vale Volunteers and members of the Forest team The Forest of Marston Vale celebrates receiving royal approval as Her Majesty the Queen’s representative for Bedfordshire becomes its first official Patron. A longstanding supporter and tree-planting advocate, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis will bring her passion and enthusiasm for the natural world to her latest role as champion for the Forest of Marston Vale. Grant Sorrell, Commercial Director, says he’s delighted to have the Lord-Lieutenant involved and looks forward to continuing to improve access to nature for communities across Bedfordshire with Helen on board: “Helen has long been a great friend of the Forest, often getting behind our messages, causes and campaigns – as an organisation we’re proud and honoured that after many years of support she has agreed to become our first Patron. Her enthusiasm and passion for planting trees and the natural world is invaluable. By helping us raise awareness and promote the work that we do we’ll be able to grow the Forest further. With Helen’s support we can reach new audiences of people who might not already be aware of the Forest of Marston Vale, what that means and how trees make life better.” The Lord-Lieutenant’s appointment comes after the most challenging tree planting season and fundraising year in the Charity’s history, and aligns with a renewed national and local commitment to increase and protect native tree cover. From left to right: Grant Sorrell, Commercial Director at the Forest of Marston Vale; HM Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis; James Russell, Forest Director at the Forest of Marston Vale; Rod Calvert OBE DL, Chairman of the Forest of Marston Vale Trust The Forest of Marston Vale team - despite Covid restrictions and no public events - planted over 17,000 native trees and shrubs in Community Woodlands, schools and land across Bedfordshire as part of the first year of Defra Trees for Climate scheme, and is set to continue that momentum through a second year. They will also be joining local delivery partners in a county-wide native tree planting initiative facilitated by the Lord-Lieutenant as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, in honour of the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. Commenting on her appointment as Patron, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis said: "At this moment in history, where we all have an increased awareness of the vital importance of looking after our environment so that we can live in harmony with nature, it is a pleasure and an honour to support the excellent work of The Forest of Marston Vale Trust as their Patron. I have long been impressed by the huge difference they make to our lives in Bedfordshire. Their outreach programmes, which engage young and not so young, enable greater understanding of the part we can all play in nurturing our natural world so that future generations will benefit. Plant a tree today and just imagine a child, one hundred years from now, playing under its boughs - a beautiful thought!" For more information or to sign up for a press pack contact our Communications Officer.