Inaugural student award commemorates colleague


George McRobbie presenting award to Patrick Duffy

A student from Bangor University was the first recipient of a special award given in memory of Phil Johnson, a greatly respected and much missed Tilhill Forestry member of staff.

Patrick Duffy, employed by the National Trust for Scotland and based in Edinburgh, has won the Tilhill Forestry Phil Johnson Memorial Award as Best Silviculture Student 2014/15, with the highest mark for silviculture achieved by an MSc student in the 2014/15 academic year.  He was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill Forestry Managing Director George McRobbie along with a £250 cheque.

Phil Johnson worked for Tilhill Forestry for many years and was Regional Manager for England and Wales when he passed away following a short but valiant battle against cancer two years ago. During his career he made a huge contribution to the company including setting up the UK’s largest privately owned mountain bike centre at Coed Llandegla, Wales.

As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry offers awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities which offer degrees in Forestry. The company also runs a popular graduate placement scheme.

Patrick said: “I am really very grateful to Tilhill Forestry for offering this prize and receiving it has been a real high point towards the end of my MSc studies with Bangor University.”                     

George McRobbie said: “This year we launched an awards programme with a number of universities across the UK but this memorial award is extra special as it is in memory of a greatly missed colleague. It was very important to me to take the opportunity to present the inaugural trophy myself.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Bangor University and recognising the hard work of students who are studying forestry. It’s an excellent university which regularly feeds students into our graduate trainee programme.”

James Walmlsey, Lecturer in Forestry at Bangor University, added: “We would like to thank Tilhill Forestry for offering this attractive prize. We were very pleased with Patrick’s efforts and he is a worthy winner of the award.”

Forestry has been taught at Bangor for more than 110 years, and its forestry degrees are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters. Patrick is a student on Bangor’s distance-learning MSc Forestry course, which has been running for nearly ten years and currently has 80 students.  Tilhill Forestry has a long association with Bangor University as many of its past and present employees have studied there.

Tilhill Forestry Ltd, established more than 65 years ago is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor. Further information is available at


For further information contact Suzi Christie PR Consultant for Tilhill Forestry on 01435 830031 or e-mail