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Beatrice White presented with the Bishop of Norwich Sustainable Environment Young Employee of the Year award

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The Duke of Edinburgh presented a prestigious environmental award to 21-year-old Beatrice White at the Royal Norfolk Show.

His Royal Highness Prince Edward congratulated Beatrice on an outstanding entry for the Bishop of Norwich Sustainable Environment Young Employee of the Year Award. Bea said: “We discussed farming and sustainability and he was very knowledgeable. It was very exciting and he was lovely.”

Bea wins £1,000 and a big boost to her fledgling career as a farm conservation adviser. She is about to finish a year’s placement with Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (Norfolk FWAG) as part of a degree course in environmental land management. She said: “I am delighted and incredibly grateful to have won the award.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, said: “Bea is such a worthy winner of this award, with her understanding of the importance of making space for nature and caring for the land as part of the vital work of growing food. I am delighted by the opportunities she is giving to new generations of farmers too, to protect our God-given precious environment.”

Poul Hovesen, farm and estate manager, and deputy president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, was a judge for the Bishop’s award and said: “Bea represents everything that this award stands for. She is a young person with a passion for the environment, who understands the wider landscape objectives of maintaining and recreating what has been lost. She takes the initiative and is crucially involved in the education of a new generation of farmers and land managers and shows clearly and effectively how policy can benefit the financial outcome of individual farm businesses.”

During her time with Norfolk FWAG, a not-for-profit organisation run by farmers and conservation specialists to support farmers and landowners to manage their land for the enrichment of wildlife, Bea has particularly enjoyed carrying out breeding bird surveys, putting together woodland management plans and mapping land using specialist software.

She set up a youth membership programme and a partnership with the county’s Young Farmers Clubs and said: “I’ve also really enjoyed going on farm visits and sitting with the farmer and planning their future for their land. It’s a privilege to be in that position of trust and I’ve appreciated having the opportunity to go and contribute to these visits with NFWAG’s advisers.”

Bea grew up near a country park and although not from a farming family said: “I always enjoyed being outdoors and knew I wanted to do something which was practical which would make a difference.”

She helped at her local agricultural show for many years and received the Queen’s award for voluntary service for her work. She became a conservation volunteer while completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award and enjoyed work experience as a park ranger before spending a year managing  a small agricultural contracting business. “This was incredibly varied, I took on hay and straw contracting, escort vehicle driving, machinery maintenance and mechanical support, hedge cutting, grass cutting, pond creation – all sorts!”

She will return to Harper Adams University in Shropshire for her final year this autumn and then hopes to become a farm conservation advisor. “I’ve loved being able to support and advise farmers on different opportunities available to them,” said Bea.

You can watch Bea’s winning video entry here: