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Sunday 21st December, 2014

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The Stick House Project Wins A ‘Green Oscar’

On Thursday evening 20th October WOT President Tony Warburton MBE and Jenny Thurston, Chair of Trustees, joined Stirk House Hotel owners Paul and Anne Caddy and three of their key staff, Hotel Manager Denise Sinclair, Chef Chris Dobson and Maintenance Foreman John Battersby, in the sumptuous Premier Suite of the Jack Walker Stand at Blackburn Rovers Football Club. We were all guests of Paul and Anne at the 15th Annual ‘Lancashire Business Environmental Awards’ ceremony held by the Government Agency ‘Groundwork’. These prestigious awards are known as Lancashire’s ‘Green Oscars’ and showcase the very best of Lancashire’s environmentally conscious businesses which have achieved success in improving the environment in a sustainable way.

Chef Chris Dobson and Hotel Manager Denise Sinclair
Chef Chris Dobson and Hotel Manager Denise Sinclair

There are 11 different categories and Stirk House Hotel had reached the final three in the ‘Community Responsibility for Small Companies’ category for their environmentally-friendly energy usage allied to their symbiotic relationship with the World Owl Trust. The management of the hotel Grounds for wildlife, with particular emphasis on owls, plus the 3,000+ trees which have been planted (carbon reduction) and the involvement of the local community and schools, struck the organisers of the Awards as a very unusual story which merited entry into the competition. However, we were nervous, for the organisers had told Paul that this year’s standard of entries was very high – but we felt that even reaching the last three was an achievement in itself. Our competition were ‘The Dukes’ and Herbert Parkinson Ltd, a Textile Manufacturing company using Australian sourced Merino wool taken from sheep kept in an environmentally-friendly way.

To be honest, when we heard the credentials of ‘The Dukes’ read out first, our hearts sank, as we all thought they would be the ultimate winners. It turned out that ‘The Dukes’ was the name of the theatre base used by a Touring Theatre Company supported by Lancaster City Council. They give performances for the general public, many of them outdoors in a Lancaster Park, and even have a special theatre for young people which has involved over 10,000 youngsters - undoubtedly a splendid achievement.

However, when the winner of our category was read out – after the obligatory long pause of course! – it was us – the Stirk House Project! To say we were ecstatic is to seriously understate the case, and how well Paul and Anne and their hugely supportive staff deserve it. As for the Trust, we just think we are incredibly fortunate to have been chosen by the Stirk House Hotel as partners in what amounts to the most exciting UK conservation project we have ever been involved in. We are proud to be associated with this splendid initiative and Paul was very fulsome in his praise for our part in the award. For Jenny and I it was reward enough to see the WOT logo and photographs of some of our owls featuring large on the screen while the credentials of the Stirk House Project were being read out. Nor is this the only award the hotel has received this year. Stirk House has also been named as the ‘Lancashire Hotel of the Year’, has won the ‘Best Lancashire Breakfast Award’, and earned itself a third star awarded by the Lancashire Tourist Board, as well. Not bad eh?

On behalf of all of us at WOT - Trustees, staff and members alike - we would like to send our sincere congratulations to everybody at Stirk House for these well merited accolades. We leave you with Paul’s parting words – “The best is yet to come”.

Don’t forget that subject to room availability World Owl Trust members can stay at Stirk House at a special discounted price of £28.00 per person a night, £56.00 for a double (normal price £130). This offer is for a Lodge bedroom (fabulous rooms, fabulous views) and a full English breakfast to die for.

Why not come and stay and see for yourself why we won our ‘Green Oscar’. Take a leisurely stroll round the beautiful grounds, and spend an hour in the Hide to give yourselves a chance to see the resident Roe Deer, Sika Deer, Badgers, Brown Hares and a host of birds including Tawny Owls and Little Owls at dusk and smaller birds at the feeders in front of the Hide in the day. From your Lodge bedroom you stand a good chance of seeing some of these at dusk, and an even better chance at dawn.

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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.
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