Martin Gale, Chairman of BSW Timber, was named as the winner of the Dedicated Service to Forestry Award at Confor’s annual dinner in Edinburgh.

The award, seen as the most prestigious in the forestry and wood processing industry, was presented by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism in the Scottish Government.

After accepting the Award – a large wooden bowl hand-crafted by Angus Clyne – Martin said the industry had a very bright future because “wood was the raw material of the 21st century and the 21st century needs more trees”.

A series of senior appointments followed after Martin was made Managing Director of Shotton Paper in 1998, the same year he joined the BSW Board as a Non-Executive Director.

In 2000, he was made Managing Director of UPM-Kymmene UK which combined Shotton Paper and Caledonian Paper – and in 2005, promoted to UPM-Kymmene OY as Vice President for International Forestry, responsible for strategic global wood fibre supplies. He was named a CBE in 2005.

Martin left UPM in 2007 and started ReGen Energy Ltd, a company building Combined Heat and Power plants, selling the business to Ludgate Environment Fund in 2009.

He added: “I’ve had a great career and I am conscious that I have benefited from the efforts of previous generations of foresters. I think you should look to put as much back into an industry as you get from it – and I hope that I have done that.”

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: “Martin was one of the driving forces in the establishment of Confor in 2005 and has always provided his time generously to support industry bodies. He is a worthy winner of the prestigious award, following in the footsteps of many giants of the industry.”

He also highlighted what Martin had given back to the industry as:
– A Board member of Confor
– President of the Confederation of Paper Industries
– President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters
– President of the Timber Trade Federation
– Forestry Commissioner
– Patron of the Centre for Alternative Technology
– Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales.

The dinner – attended by more than 150 guests at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh – also saw a special award presented to Sir Harry Studholme, who recently stepped down after seven years as Chair of the Forestry Commission.

Three new awards were presented, for a Future Forestry Leader, Changing Attitudes and Innovation & Research. The Future Leader Award was won by Andrew MacQueen, a forest manager with Tilhill, part of the BSW group.