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Lifetime achievement award for National Park volunteer stalwart with over half a century of service

A former St Davids GP who has volunteered in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for over 50 years was recently recognised with a national award.

Dr George Middleton, who first began volunteering in 1966, was presented with the National Parks UK Platinum Lifetime Achievement Award, which is awarded to the individual who has made the most significant contribution to a National Park or the National Parks movement.

Dr George Middleton is presented with his National Parks UK Platinum Award by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Paul Harries.
Dr George Middleton is presented with his National Parks UK Platinum Award by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Paul Harries.

National Park Authority Chairman, Cllr Paul Harries presented Dr Middleton with the award at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in the company of many of the Park Authority staff and volunteers he has worked with over the years.

Cllr Harries, who had accepted the award on Dr Middleton’s behalf at this year’s UK National Parks Conference in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, said: “During his 53 years of service he has been involved in countless activities to improve the ability of visitors, tourists and local people to access and enjoy the Pembrokeshire Coast.

“As the GP in St Davids he was well-known for prescribing the health and well-being benefits of walking in the National Park to his patients instead of medicine.

“Still an active volunteer in his 90’s, George embodies the spirit of volunteering and the Park Authority is fortunate to have so many volunteers who show this level of dedication to help make the National Park a better place for all.”

His first task as volunteer was helping with the effort to create the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and his many other achievements include writing the National Park’s very first public information leaflets.

Dr Middleton, who said he would like to share the recognition with his fellow volunteers, said: “One of the greatest privileges was to go the places that I would never have normally gone to. I commend the National Park volunteer service and have enjoyed many happy days. I’ve done a lot of exercise, I know how to plaster to a wall, build a Pembrokeshire hedge and mostly know how to dig a hole in the ground!

“It’s nice to do something worthwhile for nothing. You read about footballers earning their million pounds a day and they presumably get some pleasure out of it, but I get equal pleasure out of mending a hedge or sitting down, having a cup of coffee and talking to people. It’s been very satisfying to do from my point of view.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/volunteering.

Published 21 November 2019


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