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23 July 2011 15:23:00 |Rural Life,News

CLA rewards gamekeepers and riverkeepers for long service


Seven gamekeepers and riverkeepers who have worked on country estates and rivers for a combined total of more than 300 years were awarded the CLA Long Service Award at The CLA Game Fair yesterday (22 July).
The CLA Long Service Awards were presented by HRH the Duke of Kent, accompanied by the Duke of Marlborough and CLA President William Worsley, at The CLA Game Fair, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
The award recognises the important role that gamekeepers and riverkeepers play in managing the British countryside. The gamekeepers have all completed 40 years or more of service on up to five estates. The riverkeepers have looked after the same river system for at least 25 years.
CLA President William Worsley said: ’All of these keepers have put decades of sterling service into the countryside. They are a credit to their estates and their communities for the role they play in looking after the beautiful countryside of England and Wales.’
David Carter, of Castle Ashby Home Shoot, near Northampton, said: ’I equal my grandfather now as he got his award for 50 years’ service at the second ever CLA Game Fair in 1959. I enjoy everything about my job; I like getting up in the morning and being out in the woods when it’s quiet and peaceful.’
Andrew Little, a riverkeeper on the River Wye at How Caple in Herefordshire, said: ’It’s important for all keepers to be recognised for the work we do. We’re hidden away for most of the time so it’s nice to get this award. There’s nothing I don’t enjoy about being out in the countryside, it’s absolutely brilliant. I get paid for my hobby, I feel very lucky.’
Ken Siford, of the Malshanger Estate near Basingstoke, said: ’This award means a lot to me. I started gamekeeping at 16 as a trainee, working my way up through five estates and have been at Malshanger for 28 years. My job gives me a huge sense of achievement. I can get up in the morning, be out in the countryside and look after the wildlife.
’People think of gamekeeping as killing things but that’s wrong; there’s a lot of conservation. Of course we have to deal with rats and foxes but it’s all about the birds we feed and look after. The countryside would be a terrible place if it wasn’t for gamekeepers.’
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