St Abbs reserve helped by Butch Cassidy

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SCOTLAND’S first marine reserve at St Abbs has received a grant of £50,000 from a foundation established by Holywood actor Paul Newman.

The volunteer-run St Abbs and Eyemouth marine reserve will use the cash to build on its work with the public, especially young people.

St Abb’s Head property manager, Liza Cole, said: “We are so grateful for this vital funding. The funds will support our marine ranger, Georgia Conolly, and her work towards getting more people engaged with our unique marine environment and involved in its management.”

The reserve was set up in 1984 and aims to protect the rich and varied marine life around the Berwickshire coast.

And the National Trust for Scotland – the lead organisation involved in the marine reserve – received the cheque from Newman’s Own Foundation.

Profits and royalties from Newman’s Own products, such as pasta sauces and salad dressings, are donated to charity which is supporting the reserve.

Newman’s Own Foundation president Robert Forrester said: “We recognise the needs of communities, especially during these difficult economic times.

“Paul Newman was committed to helping make the world a better place. He believed in sharing his good fortune with those in need.

“We are proud to be able to continue his philanthropic legacy today and to assist the work of the National Trust for Scotland.”

The money will go to raise awareness of the reserve’s work conserving the coastal waters’ biodiversity, telling people about the marine environment and promoting responsible recreational use and sustainable fishery.

“Projects will include setting up a group of ‘Young Marine Rangers’ and developing ‘armchair dives’ for those that are less able to access the marine environment directly,” said Ms Cole.

The St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve is popular with birdwatchers, SCUBA divers and wildlife enthusiasts, receiving 50,000 visitors and more than 25,000 divers annually.

Grey seals, porpoises, dolphins and minke whales can be seen throughout the year and more than 45,000 nesting seabirds occupy the cliffs of St Abb’s Head during the summer.

Ms Conolly said: “This important funding will ensure we are able to continue our work to help look after this very special area.”