AN Alcester man is taking a tree-mendous role in an ambitious scheme to create a new wildlife haven by the River Avon.

So dedicated to the cause is Chris Knight that he asked for trees and compost for his 70th birthday and has already planted hundreds of bulbs at the historic Pershore Lock Island.

The qualified gardener has also launched a Name A Tree project to give everyone the chance to commemorate a loved one in the special place.

He hopes the island, which suffered flood damage in 2015, will become a magnet for visitors as well as wildlife.

“We have a great opportunity to turn what is now a blank canvas into something beautiful and rewarding,” Chris said.

The project to transform the island is being organised by the Avon Navigation Trust.

Plans include building a hide and make the 3,230 square metre island accessible to the public with a mooring and landing stage overlooking the site.

Chris is one of many volunteers who cover more than 65 per cent of the work on the river, freeing up the trust to tackle big engineering jobs, including the two natural disasters that prompted the wildlife haven project.

For Chris though, it’s simply a way to give back to the river on which he learnt to sail when he was 11.

He’s since sailed round some of the world’s most exotic oceans, but the Avon has always been special.

“It’s a beautiful river and volunteering on it is a joy, because everyone’s happy to be here,” added Chris.

To find out more, email and to discover how to dedicate a tree (at £35 for a tree, stake, compost and dedication label), email