Derek's praised for forty years in Peak District park rangerÂ roleÂ
A volunteer ranger has received recognition for 40 years of service to the Peak District National Park.
Derek Pay, aged 85, began his ranger training during the extreme winter of 1976, working mainly on the eastern moors and edges of the National Park.
HeÂ qualified as a National Park ranger in 1978. Volunteer rangers do a variety of tasks; from clearing out ditches and putting up waymarkers to mending walls and collecting litter.
He also lead guided walks and liaised with a great number of visitors to the Peak District National Park.
Derek began volunteering because he spent most of his working week in an office as a full-time general manager in the electronics industry and wanted to do something different with his spare time.Â
He said he was proud to have been a ranger for four decades, but also that he could not believe how quickly the time had passed.
He added: 'I'm very pleased to tell people I'm a National Park ranger, it's given me lots of experience of life and the outdoors and has been a very rewarding experience.
'It's always a relief to be outside and experience the different seasons. It has often been physically tiring work but you get home and feel you've achieved something good.
Derek also spent time volunteering as a Peak Park Conservation Volunteers supervisor. Although he does not do as much long distance walking as he once did, he still volunteers once a week as a ranger.
He said: 'You get chance to speak to people when you're leading a guided walk and point out things of interest. It's great to share knowledge about the area and help people discover the National Park is there for them too.'
'It's really nice to see people from different communities coming out to enjoy the Peak District and know that interest in the National Park is growing.'
Derek has many memories of his time as a park ranger, but his favourites include rescuing sheep buried in the snow in the severe winter of 1976 and meeting Prince Charles at Haddon Hall.
Derek was praised for his work byÂ Councillor Andrew McCloy,Â Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority.
For information about volunteering opportunities in the Peak District National Park and how you can get involved, visitÂ www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/volunteering.