This is an archived press release
Thursday 6 August 2009
06 August 2009
Margaret celebrates 40 years as a voluntary ranger
Margaret was just 22, living in Sheffield, fresh out of university and looking for ways to get out into the countryside that her mother would approve of.
“I saw an advert in the Sheffield Star asking for volunteer wardens, and I said to my mother, if I passed the course, I should be safe enough going walking on my own. I passed, and they offered me a post,” said Margaret. She went on to become a solicitor, fitting in fortnightly voluntary shifts for 40 years.
Nowadays the wardens are called rangers, and some of them joined in a picnic in the Derwent Valley to celebrate her 40th anniversary.
Chair of the National Park Authority, Narendra Bajaria, turned up to surprise her with a framed photograph of Ladybower Reservoir taken by national park photographer Andrew Midgley.
Mr Bajaria paid tribute to Margaret and the other 300 volunteer rangers who turn out in all weathers: “Margaret has done so much to promote an awareness and enjoyment of the unique qualities of the national park to local people and visitors.
“Volunteer rangers provide crucial support to full-time rangers and make visitors’ experience more enriching. We are truly grateful to them all.”
Their tasks have not changed much in 40 years, said Margaret. “We go on patrol, we talk to people and lead guided walks. We used to do mountain rescue before the days of specialist teams, and we still help people in trouble, but we do more conservation work these days, repairing paths and bridges.
“I enjoy meeting people, opening their eyes to an area that I love. It’s been a way of switching off from my day-to-day legal work, it’s relaxing and I’m still learning new things even now.”
Derwent area ranger Paul Wetton said: “Margaret has made a terrific contribution to the work of the national park - to be honest I could not do my job without the help of the volunteers.”
Margaret, who lives in Ecclesall, Sheffield, with husband Ronny, now works as a legal consultant. She started her voluntary work at Langsett, and also worked in Crowden, Glossop and Edale before joining the Derwent area team.