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George Thompson wins Bellamy Trophy

Bellamy Trophy: The Bellamy Trophy is awarded annually by leading environmentalist Professor David Bellamy and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation Educational Trust, and recognises those who display exceptional creativity and initiative in promoting the gamekeeper’s role in sustainable countryside management.

The latest winner of the Bellamy Trophy, George Thompson, is head grouse moor keeper at Spaunton Moor near Pickering, North Yorkshire. Mr Thompson, originally from Middlesborough, has worked on the 7,000 acre estate, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation, for 21 years. In that time he has spread the message of moorland conservation to tens of thousands of people, both locally and at international conservation forums. He regularly holds popular open days on the moor, inviting the public to see for themselves the conservation work carried out by moorland gamekeepers.

On winning the Bellamy Trophy, Mr Thompson said: “I am determined the public – both from the town and country – get to hear about the amazing wildlife conservation work done by gamekeepers. For the sake of our wildlife it is vital people know the truth about the effectiveness of gamekeeper-driven conservation. It is a lifeline for much of the UK’s flora and fauna. That’s why I champion it at every opportunity.”

The NGO Educational Trust’s Brian Hayes said: “A healthy countryside is important to the public, and gamekeepers work hard to keep rural Britain rich in wildlife. The Bellamy Trophy recognises the vision and commitment of keepers like George Thompson who go out of their way to break down barriers and promote the skills of the gamekeeping profession. Over the years he has opened the eyes of thousands of individuals, both from town and country, to the wonders of gamekeeper-led conservation.”

Professor Bellamy, patron of the NGO, said: “Gamekeepers are powerhouses for conservation. Keepers actually do what many other groups mostly just waffle about: energetically conserve habitat and wildlife. Want to see land thick with birdlife? Go and talk to a gamekeeper. He – or she – will happily tell you how it’s done. Listen, lean and support them. Our wildlife deserves it.”

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