George Mackintosh has spent years helping to repair the river Avon to support wildlife and make the river a better outdoor place for all to visit.

SCOTLAND, APRIL 25th, 2018 – Rivers in the Forth finally have a champion they deserve with an award-winning volunteer called George Macintosh from the Slamannan Angling Protective Association. George has successfully been announced as a UK River Champion because of his hard work and effort in helping the river Avon near Slamannan, Falkirk. George has spent years volunteering with the River Forth Fisheries Trust and local landowners to carry out four phases of river restoration, bringing in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding to carry out these works. In addition to the restoration work, George has supported the Trust deliver its learning programme “Fish in The Classroom” to around 25 schools over the past 5 years helping in the region of 750 kids learn about rivers, trout and why they are so important for everyone and the environment.

George is currently working alongside the Trust to develop further works in the Upper Avon, which will improve the river through the RiverLife: Almond & Avon project. Through this project, the Trust, and George, at Slamannan Angling & protective Association (SAPA) will be working with landowners to help stop bank erosion, improve in stream habitat and boost river edge habitat for wildlife. There will be plenty of opportunity for George, members of SAPA and other volunteers to get involved with during the RiverLife project, which is happening with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund. George is a key driver for these works and without his enthusiasm and ambition in championing the river Avon a lot of this work would not be been completed.

The UK River Champion award is a prestigious accolade which seeks to recognises and celebrates the outstanding efforts of individuals contributing to improving rivers for wildlife and people outside of their day-to-day roles. The UK River Champion award is managed by the River Restoration Centre, a UK organisation providing advice and information on river restoration and catchment management.

George Macintosh, River Champion said: – “I am thrilled to have been nominated by friends at the River Forth Fisheries Trust for the River Champion awards and even more thrilled to have been chosen as a river champion by the River Restoration Centre. The river Avon near Falkirk is my local river which I have fished since I was a boy and helping it in any way I can provides me great joy and satisfaction that I can provide for it just as it has provided for me over the years.”
Alison Baker, Trust Manager at River Forth Fisheries Trust said: – “It was a great pleasure to nominate George for the River Champions award. Volunteers like George are the true heroes of our rivers in the Forth area. The Trust has had the pleasure of working with George for a number of years and at every step of the way we have enjoyed his enthusiasm for action on the ground. George has helped the Trust on several projects throughout the Forth, not just on the River Avon and his support is greatly appreciated. This is just one of many reasons we felt the need to show our appreciation of his hard work and effort by nominating him for the River Champion award.”

Martin Janes, Managing Director at the River Restoration Centre: – “The River Restoration Centre commends the many years of effort that George has put into improving the River Avon. A local Slamannan fisherman, his drive to recognise problems, engage the local community and find out what should be done has successfully found funding and delivered four projects along the river. He is fully deserving of a ‘River Champion’ award and we hope his excellent work continues into the future and inspires the younger generations with whom he is working in the local schools.”

The RiverLife project is in its second year and will run until July 2020, we have 2+ years ahead of action packed volunteer days, community lead action for our rivers, education days with Fish in the Class, and seeing the benefits to our river systems. You can follow the projects development and get involved at www.river-life.org.uk, follow us on twitter at @myRiverLife and on facebook through the River Forth Fisheries Trust’s page.

About RiverLife: Almond & Avon Project
Is an ambitious programme of works undertaking a range of catchment wide improvements along the rivers Almond and Avon. By engaging with communities and restoring the natural heritage of the Almond and Avon, the project will reconnect wildlife and communities with their local rivers.