This is an archived press release
Friday 14 December 2018
A volunteer ranger has received recognition for 40 years of service to the Peak District National Park.
Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority Andrew McCloy said: “I’m delighted to be able to thank Derek Pay for his dedication to the UK’s first National Park. Clocking up 40 years of voluntary service is a fantastic achievement – his hard work and commitment are an inspiration to us all.”
Derek Pay (85), of Wilmslow, Cheshire, began his ranger training during the extreme winter of 1976, working mainly on the eastern moors and edges of the National Park, and qualified as a National Park ranger in 1978.
Derek began volunteering because he spent most of his working week in an office as a full time general manager in the electronics industry. He volunteered as a ranger at the weekends.
Volunteer rangers do a variety of tasks from clearing out ditches to putting up waymarkers, mending walls to collecting litter, leading guided walks, and liaising with a great number of visitors to the Peak District National Park.
Speaking about his achievement, Derek said: “I feel proud of it, but it’s gone quickly! I’m very pleased to tell people I’m a National Park ranger, it’s given me lots of experience of life and the outdoors and has been a very rewarding experience.
“It’s always a relief to be outside and experience the different seasons. It has often been physically tiring work but you get home and feel you’ve achieved something good.”
He also spent time volunteering as a Peak Park Conservation Volunteers supervisor. Although he doesn’t do as much long distance walking as he once did, Derek still volunteers once a week as a ranger.
Derek said: “You get chance to speak to people when you’re leading a guided walk and point out things of interest – it’s great to share knowledge about the area and help people discover the National Park is there for them too.”
He has seen changes during his 40 years as a ranger: “It’s really nice to see people from different communities coming out to enjoy the Peak District and know that interest in the National Park is growing.”
Standout memories include rescuing sheep buried in the snow in the severe winter of 1976; and meeting Prince Charles at Haddon Hall.
For information about volunteering opportunities in the Peak District National Park, visit www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/volunteering.