Michael Patrick Martin of Mallusk, Co Antrim, who runs the Six Mile Water Trust, has been named “Rural Hero” at the prestigious Countryside Alliance Awards finals in London.
Michael attended the Awards’ finals at Parliament on Wednesday 7th March and was delighted to receive a plaque and certificate from Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP and Countryside Alliance Chairman Kate Hoey MP, herself from Co Anrtim.
The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, have been running for seven years and were set up to celebrate the characters, produce, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick. Michael was nominated in the Rural Hero category which honours those doing something heroic for the countryside, often unsung.
Countryside Alliance Chairman Kate Hoey MP presided over the reception, which was attended by regional champions from all over the UK and Ireland. The reception was also attended by a huge number of cross-party Parliamentarians. Prizes were handed out across the categories of local food, village shop, enterprise, butcher and Rural Hero.
Kate Hoey told the reception: “This year’s Rural Hero doesn’t seek or expect praise – he does what he does out of a genuine passion. He has been instrumental in setting up the Six Mile Water Trust, formed as a result of a disastrous pollution incident in June 2008. The Trust seeks to protect the 26mile long river which runs through heavily populated and industrial areas of Co. Antrim. Michael Patrick Martin is involved in an education programme with local schools, teaching the importance of plant life and invertebrates in the river and how to introduce fingerling trout. He works closely with Government agencies, local councils and local businesses all in his quest to improve the river for the good of the community and the associated flora and fauna. He is an avid fly-tyer, angler, dog-handler and shot and makes himself available, whenever possible, to promote good practice and love of the countryside. Michael’s resolve, knowledge and quiet firm manner tempered with humour has meant that he has gained the respect and support of many, including the Countryside Alliance.”