WHA Secretary wins national award for rural campaigning

8 July 2010

CPRE President Bill Bryson (left), WHA Secretary Pat Kinnersly (right) with the book of the campaign. Photo: Tony Fawcett, CPRE.

Patrick Kinnersly, secretary of the White Horse Alliance, has won a national award for rural campaigning as a result of his work to stop the Westbury Bypass. The Marsh Award for the Benefit of Rural England and a cheque for £500 were presented by the author Bill Bryson in his capacity as President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England at the CPRE national AGM in London on 8 July.

Patrick was nominated for the award by the CPRE Wiltshire branch and was chosen as joint winner in the individual campaigner category for 2010. The certificate recognised his work ‘to protect Salisbury Plain’s western escarpment against the Westbury bypass’.

Accepting the award, he said that it was the group that should have been nominated, not the individual. Individuals did not win environmental campaigns, but groups and alliances could -if they started early enough. He paid tribute to the CPRE branch and local groups for the moral and financial support they had put into stopping a succession of road schemes along the A36 corridor, in preparation for the major victory at Westbury.

As secretary of the White Horse Alliance, Patrick Kinnersly helped to co-ordinate a campaign that raised the massive budget needed to mount a devastating professional case against the scheme at a full planning inquiry held between June and October 2008. The Inspector’s report concluded that the small benefits of the road could not justify the damage it would do to this special landscape. The Government agreed and rejected the scheme in July 2009.

Bill Bryson, CPRE President, commented on the Award winners: 'In my work with CPRE I have often been struck by the amazing dedication and commitment shown by our volunteers. These extraordinary people finish their working week only to sit down and do another week’s worth in their spare time. Some people retire only to start new, unpaid careers as rural campaigners.

'When I came to this country I fell in love with the unique character and eccentricities of England’s towns and countryside. It’s through the work of many volunteers and people like those receiving awards today that these endearing qualities will be preserved.'

Brian Marsh, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, said: 'A huge congratulation to all the CPRE winners. We set up the Marsh Award for the Benefit of Rural England to support just these sorts of grass roots volunteer initiatives and it’s a credit to the work done by CPRE volunteers that this year we needed to expand the number of grants we give out.'

The Marsh Christian Trust is a grant-making body supporting registered charities. The Trust administers a Marsh Award Scheme, to recognise the achievements of those who strive to make our world a better place through volunteering or academic excellence. Founded in 1981, by Brian Marsh OBE, it now runs over 40 Awards with a number of partner organisations and supports a growing number of smaller charities.