Hundreds of hours of dedicated work by retired librarian Lesley Cumming have seen her honoured with a National Trust for Scotland Volunteer of the Year Award.
A member of the trust for more than 30 years, Lesley contributes to the conservation charity through her archives and cataloguing role in the Gardens and Designed Landscapes Department, based at the Edinburgh office.
Her work has led to the Trust developing a greater understanding of its heritage gardens, by cataloguing papers from storage and ensuring that the information held in these is accessible to future researchers.
Recognising her enthusiasm and hard work, her nomination noted: “Lesley has donated hundreds of hours to the Trust and her continued contribution to the Gardens and Designed Landscapes Service enables staff to carry out their work more efficiently, complete projects which enhance information and deliver a higher quality service to gardens.”
Volunteer of the Year Awards were presented by the Trust’s chief executive Simon Skinner in a number of categories, including gardens, groups, support, outdoor conservation and properties.
“Volunteers are a vital force in protecting Scotland’s heritage, devoting their time and talent to our charity and the wonderful places in our care,” said Mr Skinner.
“I want to say thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers who play such an important role in our support services and at every National Trust for Scotland site across the country.”
Gardens and Designed Landscapes Co-ordinator Margaret Swindale said: “Lesley has played a key role in the creation and improvement of databases which will help staff at the National Trust for Scotland’s gardens all over Scotland. She has expertly collated, analysed and organised a huge amount of horticultural information into a valuable resource for the whole charity.
“We have been so lucky to have such a dedicated person join our team.”
For Lesley, the award was a complete surprise.
“I was totally shocked. I got the invite to the event and just thought that it was drinks and nibbles in Charlotte Square. It wasn’t until I arrived that I found I’d been nominated, and had won. It was a very well-kept secret. I was very honoured and pleased that the work of the gardens department was being recognised in this way.
“I especially enjoy gardens and I saw an advert to help with the work of the gardens department. I have learnt so much about historic gardens and designed landscapes.
“I really enjoy the work and have fabulous colleagues who are so welcoming.”
For more information about volunteering opportunities with the trust go to www.nts.org.uk/Volunteering.