'Local hero' employees plant trees in Telford as part of Queen's canopy

Employees with one of Shropshire’s biggest manufacturers have marked the Queen's 70 years of service by planting trees, after being chosen as local heroes for their contribution to society.

Workers at Ricoh in Telford planting trees as part of the Queen's Green Canopy
Workers at Ricoh in Telford planting trees as part of the Queen's Green Canopy

As many as eight people were chosen to take part in The Queen’s Green Canopy tree-planting initiative by Telford-based Ricoh UK Products Limited.

Seven trees were planted during a special ceremony to mark each decade of service by the Queen.

More than 1,000 trees have already been planted across the company's 52-acre site in Priorslee as part of the company’s biodiversity and conservation efforts.

However, the latest initiative was chosen to celebrate the extraordinary efforts of the employees as Giving Back awards, as part of the Ricoh Way Recognition Programme which acknowledges those who consistently go above and beyond by carrying out volunteer work.

Among the employees chosen to take part was Graham Smith, a volunteer with the Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation and who was one of a team of 70 who worked on a 54-hour operation to rescue an injured man in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu caves in Wales.

Maintenance Engineer at Ricoh in Telford, Graham Smith, planting a tree as part of the Queen's Green Canopy scheme.

Graham also takes part in land and sea search and rescue operations and took an instrumental logistical role in the Thai Cave Disaster rescue mission in 2019.

During Covid 19 pandemic restrictions, Wendy Newton and Richard Powell carried out virtual meetings for their local Scout troops to keep the movement going.

As a female engineer, Wendy has also embraced her role to champion skills in science, environment and maintenance for both girls and boys.

David Emery has been a volunteer with the Severn Valley Railway for the last 18 years, keeping the heritage and history alive for future generations and has also donated 103 pints of blood over the last 43 years.

Assistant Operations Manager at Ricoh in Telford, Andy Wilbraham, planting a tree as part of the Queen's Green Canopy scheme.

Andy Wilbraham, together with a group of volunteers, organised regular pensioner lunches to encourage older people that found themselves isolated during the pandemic, with 35 to 45 people benefitting from the local initiative, and also volunteers for Wem Youth Club by carrying out maintenance work.for the building.

Rebecca Jones, an assistant coach of a local football club in Telford, is also chairman of Shrewsbury's largest grassroots club and treasurer of the Shropshire Girls and Women's football league.

Martin Leek offered virtual fitness and running sessions to his running group and local community via social media during lockdown, with the sessions continuing even once restrictions had lifted. His efforts were recognised by England Athletics at the Regional Volunteer Awards when he won the titles for the Best Run Group and Best Run Leader in the West Midlands.

Alan Gwilt volunteered with the NHS at the Telford International Centre as a vaccine helper last year, working 18 hours-a-week to support the rollout and totalling more than 200 hours of volunteer time for the Telford International Centre, which was one of the most successful in the country.

Colin Weaver, managing director at Ricoh UK Products Limited, said: "The company is committed to conserving forest ecosystems in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and has been promoting conservation projects globally since 1999 in partnership with environmental charities and local communities.

“We know that forest conservation is a critical element of capturing CO2 emissions, which is why Ricoh aims to plant more than one million trees around the world as part of the company’s 2050 carbon neutral commitment.

“The Queen’s Jubilee seemed a fitting opportunity to show our support here at our Telford site for Her Majesty’s mission to increase and protect our native tree population, as well as celebrate the incredible contributions of employees across all walks of life and in what have been difficult circumstances over the last year.”

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