Keeper of the Peak has been voted Volunteer of the Year in the Campaign for National Parks Park Protector Awards.
The awards recognise and reward the efforts that go into protecting and improving National Parks in England and Wales. I was invited to the Houses of Parliament on Monday 11 July 2022 for the awards, attended by MPs and Lords, National Park Authority Chief Executives and leading civil servants.
And would you believe it? KoftheP won. And I couldn’t be prouder. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the CNP for running the awards and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch for graciously hosting the event in Parliament. Also thanks to Original Cottages for sponsoring the award itself.
I’d like to say thank you for the nomination too and for all your votes. That this award has come from you means a lot.
Now I say ‘KoftheP won’ rather than ‘I won’ for a very specific reason; and that is because without you, the KoftheP community, there would be no KoftheP. I truly mean it when I say you all have a right to say “I did that”, ‘cos you did.
When I started nearly a decade ago, I didn’t ever think it would take me to the Houses of Parliament not once, but twice, banging the drum for mountain bikers. I didn’t know a regular mountain bike column would emerge from it or I’d be called upon for comment on mountain biking matters on national radio.
I did, however, hope that by doing what I was doing – with you lot – the voice of mountain bikers as responsible and influential group would start being heard by the people who can improve things for us. And the Houses of Parliament is about as big a room as I’ve been able to get into to do that..so far.
So what next? Well that’s the exciting bit. Aside from the loveliness of winning the award (by public vote no less!), the venue and the tasty cakes, I also had a chance to meet and talk to the people in a position of power who are able to influence real change. I’ll be following up with Lord Benyon and Baroness Jones soon, who in the meantime went away with Peak District MTB’s “Working Together” booklet and some of our articles pushing for more.
So it’s back to the lobbying, pushing, writing and campaigning. I’ll have a lovely email signature to help with that now though!