Ranger celebrates 30 years in National Park

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 9 August 2005

9 August 2005

Ranger celebrates 30 years in National Park

Being a Peak District National Park ranger was hardly the obvious choice of career for a Sheffield-born former engineer.

But Tony Hood has just celebrated 30 years as a full-time Peak District ranger, helping thousands of youngsters and adults to understand the countryside, caring for wildlife habitats and making sure paths and stiles are in good shape.

Based at Brunts Barn and Stanage for the past 20 years, one of his proudest achievements is introducing hundreds of schoolchildren from nearby cities to the National Park on their doorstep. Tony, 61, was also instrumental in setting up ranger stations at Parsley Hay and Millers Dale.

"I loved the countryside from being a boy," he said. "Even though I was brought up in Sheffield, I was always going on walks and getting out into the open air. When I left school I trained as an engineer, but I was spending my spare time as a part-time ranger, and when the chance of a full-time ranger's job came up in South Wales, I took it, and spent five years setting up country parks in West Glamorgan."

His uncle was one of the original Mass Trespassers on Kinder Scout in the 1930s, a protest which led to the opening up of huge stretches of English countryside for public access. And Tony followed in his uncle's footsteps in that area, as a stalwart of the Edale Mountain Rescue Team - the busiest in the country, with 109 call-outs last year.

Tony was the Edale team's leader for 12 years and is now its controller, co-ordinating call-outs. Membership of the team is a real family affair, with his wife, Hazel, and son Matthew both active members. Whenever there's a call-out, he says, there's a mad scramble at their house in Great Longstone.

Tony was also a location consultant for the ITV drama Peak Practice, and appeared as an extra in a few episodes.

National Park Authority deputy chair Hilda Gaddum said: "I'm so impressed by Tony's versatility, and we thank him wholeheartedly for all that he's done for the National Park."

Jim Dixon, National Park chief executive, agreed: "Thirty years of anybody's life is a massive commitment to the National Park and all it stands for. Tony's achievement is outstanding."

This is an archived press release

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