Sustaining society, enriching life

  • The List
  • 1 September 2008
Fay Blackburn

Fay Blackburn worked for charity Trees for Life for around 10 years before developing Volunteer Nursery Weeks

Age is no barrier to caring about the environment. Young and old alike are working closely together to ensure a brighter future for everyone.

Trees for Life is an award-winning Scottish charity that is working to restore the Caledonian Forest to 600 square miles. Currently, only one per cent of the original forest remains and overgrazing prevents natural regeneration.

Volunteers for Trees for Life are helping nature do its work, planting over 650,000 nursery raised trees and fostering the growth of many thousands more naturally regenerating seedlings.

Fay Blackburn (65) from Findhorn is a woman who would not let age stop her from enjoying the things in life that she loves the most. After working for the charity Trees for Life for around 10 years, Fay began to realise that although caring for the forest was one passion she never wanted to give up, her body simply could not handle the long walks into the forest every day.

Working with the charity, Fay developed the Volunteer Nursery Weeks, enabling her to put as much care into the environment without putting herself under strain. She now leads these weeks, working closely with different groups of people throughout the year. Fay, and 10 volunteers of all ages stay at a hostel near Glen Affric and take part in vital conservation work at Trees for Life’s tree nursery as well as enjoy the company of others.

Fay explained: “I lead the groups during the day and teach volunteers the skills needed to care for the nursery and socialise in the hostel at night, which helps to create a warm atmosphere.”

The charity runs 45 Conservation Weeks every year and include people of all ages and backgrounds. Fay tries to work as many of these weeks as she can manage but is kept busy with other tasks in her local community, such as being a part time carer for her 86 year old neighbour who has Parkinson’s disease. “My job is more like spending time with a friend than going to work” explains Fay. “After I finish my shift we often go for lunch together”.

In the evenings Fay teaches Tai Chi to people of all ages. She believes these classes allow her to lead such an active lifestyle and claims she can feel as young as 35.

Fay also believes that her age gives her freedom as she no longer feels the need to compete with others: “Being 65 gives me the right to be as eccentric as I like, no matter what anyone else may think”. Her age has also given her perspective on life and she no longer panics or worries about things that would have upset her 30 years ago.

As someone who loves to travel, Fay is planning a trip to North America where she can take part in even more activities. “My dream has always been to visit Alaska; this holiday will give me that opportunity”.

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1. Benji23 Jul 2008, 9:13am Report

The more you stay active, the more you get out of life. A lesson to us all!

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