Wood you believe it! Selkirk’s Neil in award trophies honour

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Selkirk woodturner Neil Fyffe has once again designed and hand-crafted awards for a top national conservation competition.

The furniture-maker and sculptor was picked by RSPB to create nine trophies for the charity’s Nature of Scotland Awards last year, and has produced more for tonight’s (Thursday, November 20) awards.

But this year he was asked to incorporate Scots Pine, which in January was named Scotland’s national tree in a public vote run by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).

FCS has also asked Neil to design a Scots Pine sculpture for the RSPB’s award ceremony.

Neil, who sources all his wood as local to Selkirk as possible, found a supply of Scots Pine from Abbey St Bathans.

The 49-year-old has worked from his studio in Whinfield Road since 2001. And he has exhibited work in the Royal Scottish Academy and Society of Scottish Artists’ shows among others, as well as at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Harlow Carr garden near Harrogate.

The former craftsman in residence at Ballindalloch Castle, Banffshire, has won awards from The Gordon Forum for the Arts and The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.

He has also made a giant outdoors chess set for legendary Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.

The RSPB garden at Woodside, just outside Ancrum, is a finalist in the award’s community category.

When the community finalists were announced earlier this year, the charity’s Borders group leader, John Marshall, said: “This is so rewarding to be shortlisted.

“Of course, the real winners in this are the birds, insects and reptiles that can be seen in abundance, as well as the visitors who enjoy the RSPB Woodside Wildlife Garden.”

Berwickshire MSP and the Scottish Government’s minister for environment and climate change, Paul Wheelhouse, is also a finalist, in the awards’ Politician of the Year section.

Tonight’s ceremony at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Hotel is hosted by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham.