Happy birthday with a hazelnut

CONSERVATION charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), which manages six reserves in the Borders, celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

The charity started its anniversary celebrations last week when Sandy the Squirrel shared a hazelnut-shaped cake the size of a beachball with People’s Postcode Lottery staff in Edinburgh.

The trust’s chief executive Simon Milne said: “This is a fun and tasty way to get started, and importantly, it highlights how thankful the SWT is for the ongoing support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.”

The membership-based charity was founded by a group led by Sir Charles Connell in April 1964. In 1967 the Tweed Valley branch became the first local members group. By 1990 the trust had 84 reserves, 50 full-time staff, 150 trainees and 8,800 members and the Prince of Wales became its patron. By 2002 it had more than 120 reserves. Last year, membership passed 35,000.

The charity’s objective is to advance the conservation of Scotland’s biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations.

SWT aims to protect all of Scotland’s wildlife and is spearheading efforts to protect the native red squirrel alongside other organisations such as Red Squirrels in South Scotland. SWT has reserves at Whitlaw, near Hawick, Hare and Dunhog Mosses, near Selkirk, Bemersyde Moss, Melrose, Yetholm and Hoselaw Lochs and Din Moss, near Yetholm, Gordon Moss and at Duns Castle.