This is an archived press release
Friday 20 October 2017
Mr William Tucker, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, has presented the British Empire Medal to Peak District National Park ranger Bill Gordon for services to wildlife, particularly the protection of the ring ouzel.
The investiture took place in a special ceremony at National Park headquarters in Bakewell. It was attended by representatives of the National Park Authority, Stanage Forum members, colleagues and friends.
The citation was read out by Mr David Wheatcroft, Deputy Lieutenant.
William Tucker, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire said: “It is an enormous pleasure to present the British Empire Medal to Bill Gordon in recognition of his sterling work and dedicated service to wildlife and especially for all he has done to help conserve the rare bird – the ring ouzel – at Stanage.”
Bill Gordon is one of only four people, out of a population of nearly a million people in Derbyshire, to be awarded the British Empire Medal in the county in 2017.
Receiving the medal, Bill Gordon said: “I feel honoured to receive this award and I’m proud it’s for nature conservation which is what the National Park stands for. I will cherish it for a very long time.”
Bill also thanked his wife Flo Gordon for her support and partnership over the 37 years they have been at Stanage. Both Bill and Flo are familiar figures to the thousands of climbers and walkers who flock to the iconic landscape of Stanage Edge and to visitors staying at North Lees campsite.
Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Bill’s work has been recognised in this way. It’s a fitting tribute to the extraordinary effort he has put in to protecting ring ouzel and helping visitors understand how they can contribute to their care.”
Ring ouzel are related to the blackbird and are known as the mountain blackbird because they prefer the upland habitats. These shy birds, with a distinctive white ring at their neck, like to nest on the climbing crags at Stanage but they will desert their nests if disturbed.
Nationally, ring ouzel populations are in decline but they are thriving at Stanage thanks to Bill’s tremendous efforts in locating the nests and persuading climbers to avoid these areas until the young fledge.
Picture caption: left to right – William Tucker, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, with Peak District National Park ranger Bill Gordon wearing the British Empire Medal, and Flo Gordon.