DAME Judi Dench has been announced as the official patron of national charity, the Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT).

The CRT was established in 1993 by chairman Robin Page and the late artist and conservationist Gordon Beningfield, in response to growing fears about intensive and industrialised farming.

Now 25 years old, the charity is dedicated to restoring and protecting the wider countryside and its wildlife, through its 15 sites across 2,000 acres of land, spanning the length of the UK.

Dame Judi was the charity's silver jubilee patron in 2018. She also spoke at it's 25-year celebratory event, held last year at the Royal Geographic Society.

She said: “The CRT is the pioneering charity in wildlife friendly farming and the biggest tribute to it's success is the fact that so many other organisations have followed in its footsteps.

“I have been privileged to visit several of the Trust’s farms and the work being done is tremendous. We look to the future as farming, the countryside and Britain’s wildlife needs the pioneering work of the CRT more than ever before".

CRT chairman, Robin Page said he was delighted to welcome Dame Judi to the CRT family. He said: “I’m thrilled that Dame Judi has accepted the role of patron for the CRT. She played a key role in our silver jubilee celebrations, and it’s fantastic to have her long-term support.

“She’s an inspiration to us all and on behalf of the charity, I’d like to thank her wholeheartedly for supporting the living countryside we all love.”

Mr Page added that this announcement and the new branding that the charity is also undergoing marks a new sense of purpose. He said: “The skylark at the centre of our logo represents the sound of a healthy countryside, which has inspired us for over a quarter of a century.

“As we move into this next exciting phase, we’ve combined our beloved lark with bright colours found in the natural world, to represent the vibrant future of the trust”.