Night of the three Doctors

3 March 2015

On an evening when guests heard encouraging words from forestry minister Dr Aileen McLeod, Dr Jean Balfour and Dr Bob McIntosh were the 2015 recipients of awards for lifelong service to the forestry and timber sector.

Sixty forestry and timber sector leaders attended the event, organised to celebrate one of Scotland’s most important and successful rural industries.

Guest of honour at the reception that preceded the dinner, Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Minister Dr Aileen McLeod outlined her thoughts on the principal issues for the forestry sector and highlighted record levels of production:  

She said: “We have again seen record levels of timber production with 8.5 million cubic metres harvested in 2013 and almost 1.9 million cubic metres of softwood sawn timber, again a record and very welcome news.

“I look forward to working with Confor in the future to build on Scottish forestry’s successes and continue to work closely to develop policies tailored to Scotland’s needs, such as those in the new SRDP Forestry Grants Scheme. “

The first award recipient was Dr Jean Balfour CBE FRSE, a major player in the rural scene in Scotland for many years, and owner of Scourie Estate in Sutherland and Balbirnie Estate in Fife.  Jean has influenced successive governments through her roles on almost every land and water management body, including the Countryside Commission for Scotland, Scotland’s Agricultural Colleges and the Seafish Industry Authority to name but a few.  The forestry sector will remember her best for her tireless work on various forestry working groups, her chairmanship of regional advisory committees, her influence in the structure of the Woodland Grant Scheme - what many foresters of this generation regard as the best forestry grant support mechanism they had to work with – and for her brief and piercing interventions at all the important forestry and land management events.

The second award went to Dr Bob McIntosh CBE, the retiring director of Forestry Commission Scotland, and who has for the last two years also held the position of Director Environment and Forestry in Scottish Government.

Commenting on the awards afterwards, Confor chief executive Stuart Goodall said “We are indeed fortunate to have been supported by such great individuals over the last few decades, and it is certain that without their different but equally influential careers, our forestry and timber sector would not be the success story it is today”. 

Confor Award 2015 - Bob Mac and Jean Balfour