Bill Gordon sports his BEM, accompanied by his wife Flo and Lord Lieutenant William Tucker

Bill Gordon sports his BEM, accompanied by his wife Flo and Lord Lieutenant William Tucker

A Peak District national park ranger has been presented with the British Empire Medal for his conservation work.

Bill Gordon received his award from Derbyshire’s Lord Lieutenant at a ceremony at the Bakewell headquarters of the park authority.

Mr Gordon’s honour was in recognition for services to wildlife, particularly the protection of the ring ouzel. The award was announced in the Queen’s birthday honours in June.

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 the ranger’s efforts in locating the nests and persuading climbers to avoid these areas until the young fledge.

Members of the Peak District National Park Authority, Stanage Forum members, friends and colleagues were present at the ceremony.

Mr Gordon's conservation work too place at Stanage Edge. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mr Gordon's conservation work too place at Stanage Edge. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mr 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.”

He also thanked his wife Flo Gordon for her support and partnership over the 37 years they have been at Stanage. Both are familiar figures to the thousands of climbers and walkers who flock to the 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.”

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