Wiltshire's Great Bustard Group get their Queen's Award

Wiltshire's Great Bustard Group get their Queen's Award

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 10:06am 17th July 2019. (Updated at 10:07am 17th July 2019)

The charity, which works on Salisbury Plain, has been officially been handed the highest honour possible for a group.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of an MBE for an organisation with volunteers at the heart of what they do.

The accolade was announced last month, with Wiltshire's Lord Lieutenant visiting the Great Bustard Group to present them wit the award. 

Great Bustard Group Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Presentation July 2019
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton, hands the trophy to group member John Pullen at a ceremony at Rollestone Manor in Shrewton



The Great Bustard Group works to try and re-introduce the bird species to its natural habitat of Salisbury Plain, after hundreds of years of extinction.

It's been a very successful project, with chicks brought to the area in recent years now breeding for themselves locally.

Executive Officer, David Waters said:

"There would be no Great Bustard Project, and no Great Bustards in Wiltshire without the wonderful support of our volunteers. For the organisation to have been given this ward is a very great honour".

Great Bustard in flight July 2019
A Great Bustard in flight over Wiltshire


The bird species has a long connection with Wiltshire and the Group's been working hard to restore their place in the local ecosystem.

They've put together some facts about them:

  • Great Bustards are the heaviest flying bird in the world
  • They can weigh up to 20 kgs
  • They were hunted to extinction in the UK in the 19th century
  • The last birds were killed by ornithologists who wished to collect specimens and the rarer the better!
  • Great Bustards in Wiltshire is now self sustaining and they are close to 100 birds in the local population
  • The Great Bustard Group was formed in 1997
  • The first birds were released on Salisbury Plain in 2004

You can find out much more about the Great Bustard Group and their work on their website.

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