A teenage boy with autism won a national award last Saturday for his community work in the South Yorkshire.
Osian Wilson, 17, won the UK National Parks Volunteering honour in the Young Person category for his work in the Peak District National Park.
The award recognises the contribution that volunteers make in helping to care for UK landscapes and inspiring others to safeguard them for the future.
Commenting on his award, he said: “When I first heard I was nominated, I thought it was too good to be true. When I won, I honestly thought there was some blackmail going on.”
As part of his work, Osian built drystone walls, repaired paths and planted trees among other activities.
He has been a member of the Eastern Moors Partnership for two years, helping to look after 14 square miles of the park.
The partnership is a joint venture between the National Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and manages the area on behalf of Sheffield City Council.
Following a dip in his mental health when he was 15, Osian began to be home schooled by his mother, Alison.
After driving through the Peak District on one occasion, Alison said she saw her son’s anxiety disappear.
“He would just look at the moon, the deer, the trees and instantly become more settled. It takes him away from himself. He’s a different boy out here.”
Speaking on her son’s work with the trust and his subsequent award, Alison said: “I was worried sick on his nomination. I was scared as he doesn’t do crowds. He went straight to bed for 12 hours after. But, I am just proud he has an aim in life and all I can do is support him.”
Not content with his volunteering work, Osian has also launched a petition to tackle littering in the UK. He hopes to take 100,000 signatures to parliament for more awareness over the issue.