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Peak District National Park ranger receives Royal recognition

Friday 23 June 2017

Peak District National Park ranger Bill Gordon The Queen’s birthday honours list has revealed that Peak District National Park ranger Bill Gordon is to receive a British Empire Medal for his work in wildlife conservation.

Bill Gordon is a familiar figure to the thousands of climbers and walkers who flock to the iconic landscape of Stanage Edge and to visitors staying at North Lees campsite.

Bill is passionate about the wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, having helped to look after it for 37 years. In that time he has become the No. 1 champion for a less well known and rare bird – the ring ouzel.

Ring ouzel are related to the blackbird and are known as the mountain blackbird because they prefer the upland habitats. These shy birds, with a distinctive white ring at their neck, like to nest on the climbing crags at Stanage but they will desert their nests if disturbed.

Nationally, ring ouzel populations are in decline but they are thriving at Stanage thanks to Bill’s tremendous efforts in locating the nests and persuading climbers to avoid these areas until the young fledge.

Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Bill’s work has been recognised in this way. It’s a fitting tribute to the effort he has put in to looking after these birds and helping visitors understand how they can contribute to their care. He’s given over and above what is normally expected, often being out at dawn to trace where the birds have nested. We add our many congratulations and thanks to Bill – our ring ouzel champion – for his extraordinary dedication.”

Bill and his wife Flo, who also works for the Peak District National Park and has helped with the ring ouzel conservation, were instrumental in designing and producing ring ouzel mugs and t-shirts to promote their conservation and raise funds to do more. The mugs and t-shirts are available to buy from www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/shop priced at £10 for the t-shirt and £5 for the mug.

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