Nominations have been pouring in to recognise the man who helped restore West Fife’s woodlands in this year's Pride of Britain Awards.

Ronnie Collins has spent thousands of hours trying to bring back life to the area’s green spaces and get the public enjoying the great outdoors.

Alongside other hard-working volunteers, Ronnie, as part of the West Fife Woodlands group, has helped wildlife to thrive again while plants that were dying out have been given another chance, they've also built paths and created accessible routes for all.

His daughter, Charlotte Downie, has asked those who have benefitted from her dad’s hard work to vote for him in the category of “lifetime achievement” at the 2020 Pride of Britain Awards.

She said: “My dad was a miner when he was younger as well as the rest of his family in Blairhall.

“He was one of seven and they didn’t have much so they did a lot of walking! He spent a lot of time in the woods as a child but they moved over to Rosyth when we were young.

“He came back over to Carnock and started doing a lot of walking again and found there had been a lot of changes in the woodlands."

Charlotte continued: “Valleyfield Wood was essentially being used as a tip and rubbish was being dumped there by everyone.

“A lot of the wildlife that was once there was gone as well as native plants such as the snowdrops because it has been taking over by dangerous Japanese knotweed.

“After a bit of investigation, he found that it wasn’t regulated and nobody was looking after the West Fife woodlands.

“Day after day he would do litter walks and he spent a good couple of years trying to get it into better shape.

“He then met people in the West Fife Woodlands group and he took it forward, making it into what it is today.”

Even though Ronnie, 55, works full-time as a heating engineer he has spent all of his spare time this past decade building paths, footbridges, benches, picnic tables, information points and much more!

Charlotte helped set up the group’s Facebook page in 2010 with just a handful of members but now there are 2,400 people who are part of the page.

Charlotte added: “He’s even put all of his own money into projects for his beloved woods!

“When he met other volunteers they’ve all been able to bring their own ideas and through their hard work have managed to get grants.

“His heart is for the area to thrive and see people enjoying the outdoors around them. If he’s not in the woodlands he’s normally researching something about it.

“When it’s birthday or Christmas he just asks for tools to use in the woods!

“Even on my wedding day he was late because he was too busy picking up litter!

“What I love most is that he doesn’t want any recognition for it but I remember when I was younger the waterways were like green sludge and today they run clear with loads of life in them thanks to my dad.

“We’re really proud of him.”

Ronnie has also been part of a gardening group in Carnock and is still involved in the village’s gala after 18 years.

He told the Press: “I’m taken aback that people are voting for me and it’s really appreciative that they’re giving the woods some recognition.

“I was brought up in this area and I want others to enjoy it.

“My wife used to ask how long I would be when I was going out for a walk but she just doesn’t bother asking now!

“People are coming from all over to enjoy the walks here so I would like to think we’re leaving a legacy.

“We’ve got so many projects that we want to do in the future.”

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