One of Northumberland National Park's longest-serving Voluntary Rangers has been awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list, for a lifetime's service to conservation.
Dorothy Hardy joined the Northumberland National Park Voluntary Ranger Service in the Spring of 1960 with her husband, Trevor. They've been volunteering there for 51 years.
The husband and wife team enthusiastically involved themselves in a wide range of voluntary activity in the 405 square mile National Park, which is one of the largest areas of unspoilt upland in England. Summer and winter, the Hardys have been familiar figures out in the wild landscape of Northumberland, volunteering in all weathers. Their greatest contribution has been to use their detailed knowledge of the Northumberland countryside, alongside their extensive and complementary skills in geology and botany, to collect data on flora and fauna, greatly aiding the National Park Authority and other organisations in expanding the recorded data of wildlife for this remote and distinctive area of the country, and in the conservation and enhancement of its special habitats. These include whin grasslands, ancient woodlands, haymeadows, heather moorlands and (of course) extensive blanket bogs.
Dorothy has put her knowledge of botany to good use by surveying the flora of Northumberland for the Botanical Society of the British Isles as well as surveying Kidland, Harwood Shield and Tone Hall for the Botanical Atlas of the British Isles.
Dorothy has also been a member of Northumberland Wildlife Trust since 1970 where she has been involved in organising and supervising coaching, and she is a member of the Northumberland Natural History Society. Not content with this, she served as a magistrate on the bench for Newcastle-upon-Tyne for 13 years.
Now in their late eighties, Dorothy and Trevor have retired from the Voluntary Ranger Service but they have not hung up their boots and notebooks. They continue to do voluntary work in the National Park and were recently given the Curlew Award by the National Park Authority for their outstanding contribution.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority commented:
'We are really pleased that one of Northumberland National Park's volunteers has been recognised in the New Year's Honours List for a service to conservation that has been given freely, quietly and passionately for over half a century. Both Dorothy and Trevor deserve our thanks, and it is heartwarming that Dorothy has also been acknowledged by the nation.'