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Search for unsung rural heroes

[Wednesday 26 April 2006]

A SEARCH has been launched to find the gamekeepers and river keepers who have dedicated their lives to the management of the countryside, its habitats and wildlife.

These are the men - and, increasingly women - who are described as the "unsung heroes of the countryside" by the Country Land and Business Association, which every year stages a nationwide competition to honour keepers and ghillies who have spent most of their lives tending some of the most beautiful stretches of English countryside.

Gamekeepers: Protecting our heather moorland
Gamekeepers: Protecting our heather moorland

They will be publicly honoured at The Game Fair, organised by the CLA, which this year will take place at Broadlands, Hampshire, July 28 - 30.

Yorkshire is always well represented at these events and the county CLA director Dorothy Fairburn says: "This region has many gamekeepers and they are an important part of the traditional fabric of rural life, but the job they do is often misunderstood or overlooked.

"We are looking for gamekeepers who have completed at least 40 years' service. They are custodians of the countryside. In areas where wildlife is abundant, where habitat is healthy and diverse and where nature truly is in balance, the one consistent factor is a good gamekeeper."

The CLA is also looking for long-serving river keepers and ghillies who have dedicated at least 25 years to looking after the same river system. "We want to recognise them at The Game Fair - the most fitting of venues because it's also the country's biggest outdoor angling event," said Miss Fairburn.

  • For details of the awards and how to nominate someone email gamefair@cla.org.uk or write to the CLA Game Fair office, PO Box 6452, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG25 2XQ.

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