Dame Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust since 2000, has won the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award at this year’s Charity Awards.
Dame Fiona was presented with the Award by TV presenter Jo Coburn, in front of an audience of fellow voluntary sector dignitaries, celebrities, representatives of shortlisted charities, and a host of celebrities.
She said she was “incredibly honoured and privileged to receive this award” and went on to speak about her time at the National Trust:
“All I tried to do in my time at the National Trust was help it to learn to love people as much as places, and to help it to reconnect us with our 19th century roots of philanthropy and generosity and a passion for beauty, nature and history, and how much these things matter to everybody in the country whatever their circumstances and whatever their interests.”
She then went on to pay tribute to her fellow charity representatives in the audience:
“If there is one thing that being here tonight has done, it has made me feel incredibly humble about all of the things that all of you here are doing. Although it is difficult times for charities, in a sense the really extraordinary thing that is going on is the degree to which the whole of this country is now participating in this civil society that we care so passionately about - the stories, the generosity, the passion and vision, the dedication or effort and sheer hard work that we have heard about tonight.
“I am incredibly honoured to have played my part but my heart goes out to all of you – thank you so much.”
Reynolds’ career has been steeped mainly in the conservation sector, with lengthy terms at the Council for National Parks and CPRE before the National Trust – though she also spent two years at the Cabinet Office under Tony Blair’s government, as director of the new Women’s Unit.
She is due to leave the National Trust shortly to take up a new post as Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, though she will take a year out first to write a book.