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#70People70Years - John Thompson

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John Thompson - Local Access Forum chair

John Thompson has over 40 years' experience and knowledge of Derbyshire and Peak District countryside issues, having worked for the National Park Authority since 1966 before retiring as Director of Recreation and Education in May 2007. He developed close and effective partnerships including the Upper Derwent Valley, Macclesfield Forest, Upper Don and Moors for the Future, and worked with national and regional sports and recreation panels, three water companies, the National Trust, other land owning and management interests and constituent authorities. His responsibilities included the Losehill Hall National Park Study centre for environmental learning, access and recreation, Rangers, sustainable tourism, visitor centres and cycle hire. John pushed forward many new initiatives and partnerships in his career, including getting more urban youngsters involved in the National Park, and steering the Moors for the Future restoration partnership.

Currently as Chair of the Local Access Forum, John is involved in access and rights of way developments and improvements.

John Thompson

Image photo credit: David Cudworth

"I feel a real sense of joy to have been involved with the inspirational work of the Peak District National Park since 1966, spanning my 41 year career, and currently in my voluntary position as Chair of the Local Access Forum.

"The Local Access Forum has a crucial role in giving independent advice to the sponsoring bodies of the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council on improvements to public access in the Peak District and North West Derbyshire for people’s open air recreation and enjoyment. These are important topics I was involved with and motivated by throughout my working life. The 22 volunteer members of the Local Access Forum bring their experience of a broad range of interests including walking, cycling, horse riding, recreational motor vehicles, accessibility, farming, land management, conservation, local business and sustainability. We all work well together and we aim for consensus in making our recommendations."

2017 to present Peak District Local Access Forum Chair.

2010 became Vice Chair of the Peak District Local Access Forum.

2009 became a member of the Peak District Local Access Forum.

1998 to 2018 chair of Anthony Gell School Foundation Trust, Wirksworth.

2007 retired as Director of Recreation and Education, having worked for the National Park for almost 41 years.

2003 interim National Park Officer (now Chief Executive) for three months, PDNPA.

1997 became Assistant National Park Officer, PDNPA.

1994 to 2000 on the board of the National Forest Company. John was involved in the pioneering national initiative to establish a Forest in 200 square miles in the Heart of England. He was keen to assist increased access and recreation opportunities and was Vice Chair for 2 years of this exemplar project.

1986 promoted to Landscape and Recreation group leader, PPJPB.

1966 started working for the then Peak Park Joint Planning Board (now PDNPA) as planning trainee.


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