MEMBERS of the Blackdown Hills National Landscape management partnership, formerly titled Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, have paid a touching tribute to their late vice-chairman John Greenshields.

Mr Greenshields, a farmer who was also a long-serving chairman of Wellington Without Parish Council, a trustee of the Blackdown Hills Trust, and a Wellington Monument volunteer leader for the National Trust, died on December 31, aged 72.

Clare Groom, Blackdowns management partnership communications officer, said: “John did much to champion the natural beauty of the Blackdown Hills.

“As a down-to-earth farmer and woodsman, he had extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the countryside.

“His tremendous can-do attitude, connections with land managers, and practical approach were pivotal in many of the successful and innovative Blackdown Hills projects run over the years.

“Most notably, the National Trust’s work at Wellington Monument, the role that the Blackdown Hills Trust played in the Neroche Forest, the Blackdown Hills Woodland Association, the Blackdown Hills Wood Fair, and many other projects.

“We are very grateful for John’s tireless efforts and his unwavering support for the work of the Blackdown Hills National Landscape Partnership.

“He will be greatly missed, but thanks to his work the Blackdown Hills landscape is all the richer.”

A celebration of the life of Mr Greenshields was held in the Beambridge Inn, Sampford Arundel, on February 7.

Donations in his memory are being given to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance charity, which has its headquarters in Chelston, Wellington.

Online donations can be made here.