A long-serving Northumberland gamekeeper has received a special award from the Country Land and Business Association.
David Bertram, head keeper of the 2,500-acre Fallodon Estate, at Embleton, Alnwick, has become one of a handful of gamekeepers throughout the country to earn a CLA Long Service Medal in recognition of 50 years’ service.
The son of a shepherd on the Ford and Etal Estate near Wooler, Bertram started lending a hand to a gamekeeper on the estate at the age of just 12.
By 15, he was helping to look after the gun dogs and took a full-time job as a gamekeeper just days after finishing school.
He said: “In the last six months before I left school, I was regularly playing truant to help out with shooting days on the estate and my parents were about the only people in our village not to know about it!”
After serving nine years at Ford and Etal, he moved to the Fallodon Estate, where he has worked for the Bridgeman family for the last 41 years.
Bertram added: “I have been very fortunate to find a career that I love so much and have no intention of retiring any time soon.”
Fallodon Estate owner Mark Bridgeman said: “David is a real countryman and is involved in every aspect of the estate. Not only does he run the shoot, but he is also knowledgeable about the woods, looks after our small flock of Welsh Black Sheep and is involved with the farm.
“He used to take me shooting as a young boy and now my children love going with him, be it after rabbits or duck. He is well-known in the community and does a lot to help the police fight rural crime, in particular poaching. He knows every inch of the estate and always makes shoot days great fun for everyone involved.”
The award was presented to Bertram by CLA president Harry Cotterell, at The CLA Game Fair, Ragley Hall near Alcester, Warwickshire.
Cotterell said: “David has put decades of sterling service into the countryside and is a credit to his estate and local community for the role he plays in looking after this beautiful part of Northumberland.”