Retiring last year after 20 years as a countryside ranger, Dave Liddle just couldn’t stop caring about the landscape.
He continues to devote hours to conservation work in the North Pennines.
Now his dedication has seen him become the second winner of the Pendlebury Award, introduced last year by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership.
It was named after the Partnership’s first chairman, the late Bob Pendlebury, who worked tirelessly to promote and conserve the special qualities of the area.
Dave, who was a ranger with Durham County Council, said he was “overwhelmed” to receive the award, which recognises people who have made significant contributions to the landscape of the North Pennines.
He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to bits.
“I know how dedicated Bob was, so to be classed in the same league as him is very flattering. I’m honoured.”
During his time as a ranger, Dave, who lives in Waskerley, County Durham, was a key player in the development of several successful working partnerships that came together to carry out landscape-based conservation projects.
He also won an award from Butterfly Conservation after he initiated a project which monitors pearl-bordered fritillaries, a species that is facing extinction.
During the lifetime of the project Dave has worked with volunteers and school children to help the species.
Maria Murphy, county council countryside development officer, who nominated Dave for the award, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that he won. I’ve never known anyone as committed as Dave.
“He lives for his butterflies and his dedication shines through.
“He has a lovely, cheeky way about him which makes people want to work alongside him.”
“I’ve worked with Dave for 10 years and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him speechless.
“I don’t think he realises the extent of what he’s done or how much people appreciate it. Hopefully now he has an idea.”
The award was presented at the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s annual forum, which was held at Bowlees Visitor Centre, in Upper Teesdale, to coincide with the celebrations marking a year since the site’s reopening.
It was presented by last year’s inaugural recipient, botanist Margaret Bradshaw and Eddie Tomlinson, the current chairman of the AONB Partnership.
Chris Woodley-Stewart, director of the AONB Partnership, said: “Dave really works hard to galvanise others to help look after the North Pennines, and the whole of the North East.
“His enthusiasm is infectious and despite retiring last year, he doesn’t seem to have slowed down at all.
“I can’t think of a more worthy recipient.”
Meanwhile, a special beer has been created by one of the North East’s leading independent breweries to toast the first Allen Valleys Folk Festival in the North Pennines.
Allendale Brewery, which made its name on the real ale scene with beers such as Golden Plover and Black Grouse, has teamed up with the festival’s organisers to launch Folk IPA.
Peter Aldcroft, one of the organisers of the event, which takes place on October 3-5, said: “Festivals and beer go hand-in-hand so who better to help us make our own ale than the team from Allendale Brewery.
“It’s the perfect partnership.”