On 14th September, several hundred people gathered in Oxford to celebrate the extraordinary life of Sir Martin Wood (1927-2021). Martin co-founded Sylva Foundation with Gabriel Hemery in 2009, and later, with his wife Audrey, became a Patron of the charity.
Several from Sylva’s team attended the moving ceremony, joined by people from the many walks of Martin’s life, from friends and family, to interests in engineering technology, business innovation, and environmental conservation.
Attendees were gifted a tree seedling. We’ve planted ours, a rowan, outside the Sylva Foundation offices earlier today.
Sylva Foundation CEO Gabriel Hemery spoke movingly about his personal and professional connections with Martin Wood, and his wife Audrey, recounting several memorable events including the removal of thousands of box seedlings from the Chequers Estate (with permission!) for planting as a research trial, for which Martin was an enthusiastic helper. He shared the note that Martin had left on his desk the day the two of them started working together to create Sylva Foundation which read: ‘a great day … we’re going to change the face of British forestry’. Gabriel remarked how this perfectly captured Martin’s personal touch yet burning ambition to make a difference and to get things done. Gabriel had written a poem dedicated to Martin Wood which he read out as a eulogy titled, The Noblest Forester (read more).