Meet our 2021 award winners
The Marine Conservation Society awards are a celebration of people who've done incredible things to protect, recover and share appreciation of our ocean.
This year's judges included Marine Conservation Society staff, trustees and our Ocean Ambassador Inka Cresswell, who had the very difficult task of deciding who made the cut.
A big thank you and congratulations to all our nominees – by making a difference to the world we live in and the oceans we love, you're all winners in our eyes.
Watch the awards ceremony
Fundraiser of the Year
In October 2020, Allie set herself the incredible challenge of swimming around Paignton Pier every day for a year to raise funds for the Marine Conservation Society. It's been cold, it's been rough but she absolutely smashed it! Allie has become something of a local celebrity in the area, gaining support from fellow swimmers and raising just under £3,000. Allie said: 'I love being in the sea and being around the beaches and the coastline and feel like we’re really lucky to have this and just wanted to do something to give back'.
Young Fundraiser of the Year
This year’s Young Fundraiser of the Year is 7-year-old Finlay Weiss who was sponsored to cut off his much-loved long hair. Not only did Finlay raise an incredible £2150 for the Marine Conservation Society, but he’s also donating his fabulous hair to the Little Princess Trust, which is a charity supporting children affected by cancer. What a superstar! Finlay said: 'Just because I’m a kid doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference. My generation will have to fix the damage that’s already been done and I’ll do my best to stop any further damage – and you should too. Save our seas!'.
Lesley’s involvement as a Sea Champion over the past decade has seen her dedicate more time than any other Scottish volunteer. She regularly runs beach cleans, including with local primary schools and for adults with learning difficulties. She’s delivered numerous talks, written magazine articles about volunteering and even addressed parliament. It's an incredible effort! Lesley said: 'I love marine life and I want to preserve it. I love volunteering and hope we can make a difference.'
Young Ocean Optimist (Under 12s)
Ella has always had a passion for whales and dolphins, and this year she set herself the challenge of cleaning up a staggering 1,500 kg of beach litter! Not only did she smash this target but she's raised a phenomenal £1,806.33 for marine charities. Ella regularly takes part in climate strikes and is a keen artist and nature photographer. Ella said: 'Thank you for my award. I’m flattered and very honoured'.
Young Ocean Optimist (13-18s)
After an up-close encounter with a whale shark in the Phillipines at the age of five, Sophia's passion for the ocean is here to stay. She regularly cleans up her local coastline, organising litter picks with her family and friends, and giving presentations at local schools to spread ocean optimism and raise awareness about everything from plastic pollution and sharks to the BP oil spill. Sophia said: 'I really appreciate the award and it’s going to serve as my motivation as I do my GCSEs so I can hopefully become a marine conservationist myself one day.'