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Andrew Coombes (left) and Shaun Phillips (right)

A postgraduate student studying their MSc in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at Myerscough College near Preston has been awarded the 2017 Lockhart Garratt Masters Award.

Andrew Coombes was presented with the accolade by Lockhart Garratt, an environmental planning and forestry consultant, at Myerscough College’s Higher Education Graduation Ceremony.  The annual award was created in 2008 to recognise and celebrate each year’s top student completing the course.

This year’s recipient, Andrew, has worked in the arboriculture and forestry industry for 52 years and the award recognises the outstanding work produced during his MSc studies.

“I was very pleased to receive this award, and appreciate the support that Lockhart Garratt provides for the MSc course,” explains Andrew. “In my view, the course is excellent and provides students with the chance to combine study with their normal work, which was essential for me.  I found the modules over the three years of the course extremely interesting and relevant to my day to day work.”

Andrew began his career in the industry working with the Forestry Commission as a forest worker in 1965.  Since then, Andrew has worked in the private forestry sector on private estates, and in 1986 established his own forestry and arboricultural business, A. T. Coombes Associates Ltd.  As the business developed, arboriculture became an important element of Andrews work and he began to study for formal qualifications in arboriculture, starting with the Professional Diploma in 2010, and the most recent Masters degree.

Andrews tutor, Duncan Slater was extremely impressed by Andrews’s dedication to the programme and said; “Andrew produced intelligent work, with a critical edge, often making very good points by analogy, allowing insight, criticism and humour simultaneously.

“Andrew’s research project examined the relationship between DBH and crown spread in open grown urban trees, and as well as obtaining a lot of the data himself, his review of related literature was exemplary.  Andrew has worked hard to achieve an excellent outcome and we hope to get his research work published soon, which really will be the icing on the cake.”

Lockhart Garratt’s Senior Arboricultural Consultant, Shaun Phillips presented Andrew with the award. Shaun said; “I am honoured to be part of an organisation that supports the education within the industry so strongly, and it was a pleasure to present the award to another deserving candidate.  It is great to hear that the research undertaken by Andrew during his studies is to be published and I look forward to reading this in due course”.

Andrew is committed to lifelong learning and professional development and will continue to develop his knowledge of arboricultural and urban forestry as long as he is able, putting his hard work into practice with his own consultancy business.

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