ORGANISERS of the Tweed Forum Champion hope nominations will soon start flowing in.

Now in its fourth year, the prestigious accolade recognises an individual with an outstanding commitment to the protection, preservation and enhancement of the River Tweed and the natural, built and cultural heritage of its surroundings.

The river has a catchment of 5,000 sq km – 80 percent in Scotland and 20 percent in England – and brings significant economic and environmental benefits to the surrounding area.

The Tweed Forum River Champion Award is open to anyone from the Scottish Borders or North Northumberland, from any walk of life, from farmers, foresters and anglers to landowners or any member of the community who is dedicated to the welfare of the river.

Their championing of the river can include any activity undertaken since 2010 and can be carried out through their employment, through volunteering or any other personal commitment.

Luke Comins, Director of Tweed Forum, said: “Tweed Forum initiated this award as a way to recognise and thank all of the unsung heroes who dedicate themselves to the welfare of the Tweed – a river that provides important environmental, social and economic benefits to the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland.

"We want to raise awareness of their vital contribution and to show them that their work is hugely important and greatly valued by all of us.”

Last year’s Tweed Forum River Champion was retired river guardian, Eric Hastings from Drygrange, who spent 41 years protecting the river and its tributaries from poaching and pollution.

Eric also carried out regular fish monitoring to help manage and protect the river’s fish stocks.

Galashiels farmer Jim Sinclair received the accolade in 2017 in recognition of his efforts to integrate farming, forestry and conservation, and for his enthusiasm for land and water management education.

The inaugural Tweed Forum River Champion was Coldstream’s Frank Turnbull, who received the award in 2016 for his work promoting the control of invasive plant species.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, September 20 with the final winner chosen by a judging panel and announced in October.

They will receive a beautiful, specially-commissioned trophy by Scottish artist Jane Raven.