The Ramblers recognised some of its most passionate and committed volunteers at the annual General Council meeting in Manchester on Saturday 13 April.
The National Volunteer Awards were presented by writer, broadcaster and Ramblers President, Stuart Maconie, and celebrated inspiration and innovation amongst Ramblers volunteers.
The winners of the 2019 National Ramblers Volunteer Awards are:
Graham Allan – Penrith Ramblers
Chair of the Penrith Ramblers for the last 10 years, Graham has been instrumental in leading and guiding the group’s continuous growth in membership and has helped develop a programme of between seven and ten different weekly walks, catering to a range of different abilities and needs. He also established two gentler ‘Strollers Groups’, for newer and more challenged walkers who want to build up their experience and has devised several special Sunday walks as well as the group’s annual spring weekend break.
Morna McLean – Tayside Young Walkers
Morna has been key in ensuring TYW has a very diverse group of walkers and the welcoming atmosphere she creates has meant that new walkers always come back. She actively sought to recruit new organisers as well as chased up exciting organisers to ensure that our calendar was full and varied for our walkers. She is much loved by all members of Tayside Young Walkers has shown nothing but dedication and commitment to the group over the past three years. Her enthusiasm and down to earth attitude have provided an inclusive platform for the group in which everyone who has joined has felt welcomed and encouraged.
Maggie Hems – Merseyside & West Cheshire Ramblers
A very active Ramblers member for 20 years, Maggie is a very popular walk leader and trainer of new walk leaders. She is currently Merseyside & West Cheshire Area Secretary. She has been recognised for her tireless commitment to the charity and her constant willingness to give her time to helping her local Group and Area. She is dedicated to the charitable aims of the Ramblers, and members continue to benefit from her knowledge, input and dedication.
North Somerset Walking for Health
The group welcomes over 400 regular walkers per week in and around Clevedon, Long Ashton, Nailsea, Portishead, Weston-super-Mare, Winscombe, Worle and Yatton. Without the 90 active volunteers the weekly programme of walks wouldn't be possible. Last year they celebrated their 10th anniversary. In this time they have run over 5000 short, sociable walks and trained more than 250 local volunteers during that time to lead its weekly programme. The programme continues to thrive because of the enthusiasm of their dedicated volunteers. The fact that the nine local groups have found huge popularity is testament to the fact that they are incredibly friendly and a great way to stroll and chat, benefiting both physical and mental health for those involved.
PROTECTING & EXPANDING WHERE WE WALK
Peter Seed – Sussex Ramblers
As Local Footpath Secretary, Peter looks after four parishes along the Sussex coast which are all subject to development pressures and so require his constant attention. He has saved numerous paths from closure or unwarranted diversions in Newhaven and Peacehaven. A tenacious campaigner for walkers’ rights, Peter’s most significant victory was a 44-year campaign to reopen a coastal footpath in Telscombe that was closed by the Water Board in 1974 to make way for the construction of a pumping station. After regularly lobbying East Sussex County Council and Southern Water PLC about the illegal diversion, the original path was reopened in 2018.
Peter is also a key member of the Ramblers’ Don’t Lose Your Way project, which aims to get lost historic rights of way back on the Definitive Map before the 2026 deadline – at which point they would be extinguished forever.
Brian Micklam – Wiltshire Ramblers
Brian Micklam has been the West Wiltshire Ramblers Group footpath secretary since 2011. During his time in this role he has worked enthusiastically, tenaciously and creatively to protect and improve our local Rights of Way. Brian is regularly involved in several projects, working with Rights of Way Officers, Community Area Boards, the Canal and Rivers Trust, Parish Councils, landowners, Wessex Water Board.
Brian supports local initiatives involved in protecting and reinstating local footpaths, attends Ramblers’ Liaison meetings, organises way marking and assists the Council. Many requests for help and advice on footpath issues come his way from the general public too because he is known as a person who cares and gets things done.