40-year anniversary for National Park's longest-serving officer

This is an archived press release

Monday 11 September 2006

8 September 2006

40-year anniversary for National Park's longest-serving officer

A senior Peak District National Park officer who loves cricket was bowled over with a surprise presentation to celebrate his outstanding service over 40 years.

John Thompson, director of recreation and education, is the National Park’s longest-serving member of staff – having started as a planning trainee straight from Anthony Gell Grammar School in Wirksworth in 1966.

John, whose responsibilities include the Losehill Hall centre for environmental learning, access and recreation, Rangers, sustainable tourism, visitor centres and cycle hire, has pushed forward many new initiatives and partnerships in his career. His current projects include getting more urban youngsters involved in the National Park, and steering the Moors for the Future restoration partnership.

One of his early roles was to help develop the first National Park Plan before moving on to become landscape and recreation group leader in 1986. In 1997 he became assistant National Park officer, and took over his current role in 2003.

His personal enthusiasms include cricket, which he played for Derbyshire Under-19s, the National Park and Wirksworth teams.

Colleagues and Authority Members sprang a surprise presentation of cards and good wishes at the National Park HQ in Bakewell to celebrate his 40-year record.

National Park Authority chair Tony Hams said: “John's achievement is staggering. Over 40 years he has given outstanding service to the Park and the Authority. He is highly regarded by staff, members and external partners too. In 2003 he served as the interim National Park Officer and proved to be an incredibly safe pair of hands.”

Head of access and recreation Sean Prendergast said: “Those of us who’ve had the honour and pleasure of working with John know it would be a much poorer place but for his effort, input, commitment and enthusiasm.”

Afterwards John said: “It has been a real joy to work here since 1966 with such professional, enthusiastic and dedicated people and to have been part of many wonderful achievements.

“The work we do in this special place with those who live and work here and our many visitors and partners is really exciting. The variety of issues, opportunities and contacts is challenging but the results can be very rewarding.”

John lives in Wirksworth, where he chairs the Anthony Gell School Foundation and the Wirksworth Recreation Ground Trust. He is married with two sons and a grand-daughter.

This is an archived press release

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