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Tributes paid to retiring guardians of National Park

This is an archived press release

Monday 18 April 2005

18 April 2005

Tributes paid to retiring guardians of National Park

The Peak District National Park Authority has paid tribute to four retiring members of its governing body - including long-serving former chair, Sir Martin Doughty, and current deputy chair, John Bull.

Sir Martin, Mr Bull, William Cawley and Elspeth Wallace stepped down on April 15 after serving a collective 43 years on the Authority.

Sir Martin, from New Mills, chaired the Authority from 1993 to 2002, and was knighted for his long public service on a host of environmental and local government bodies in 2001.

He continues as chair of English Nature, and also heads a joint committee of English Nature, the Countryside Agency, Rural Development Service, Environment Agency and Forestry Commission, which will lead to a new merged agency, Natural England.

Sir Martin was recently appointed Ambassador for the National Forest and is vice-president of the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society and Arkwright Society.

He said: "I have enjoyed enormously my time on the National Park Authority. There have been many changes over the years, mostly for the good, and I leave the Authority with the strong belief that this incredibly precious place called the Peak District is in very safe hands."

John Bull, from Glossop, has also had a major role in protecting the National Park - chairing its planning committee, which controls all building and industrial development, from 1997 to 2004 when he became deputy chair of the Authority, and he also chaired the Environment Group on the East Midlands Assembly.

Mr Bull said he was sorry to have to step down: "In the 12 years I have been a member I believe the Authority has made great progress, particularly in the fields of partnership working and engaging with local communities," he said. "I wish the Authority well in the future in its vital task of safeguarding the National Park as an asset for the nation."

Authority chair Tony Hams paid them special tribute: "Martin and John will be sorely missed by members and officers alike," he said. "They have both been inspirational and share a passion for the beauty of the National Park. Their contribution to the Authority and the Park has been absolutely outstanding."

All four retirees are having to step down as they were county council appointees and are not standing for re-election in May.

Mr Cawley, from Leek, who works at Staffordshire University, is a Friend of the Peak District and a member of the RSPB and National Trust and served seven years on the Authority.

Mrs Wallace, from Disley, was a Cheshire county councillor and was first nominated to the Authority in 1999.

Mr Hams expressed the Authority's gratitude to them all: "Each has brought their own knowledge and expertise to bear on the Authority and made positive contributions to a vast range of issues that affect residents, workers and visitors alike. They have also helped ensure the protection of this special landscape, its wildlife and historical resources for all to enjoy."

A special retirement presentation was held at the Authority's headquarters in Bakewell.

This is an archived press release

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