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Gamekeepers go above and beyond the call of duty

27th October 2017

“Love Your Garden” – Gamekeeper Style

A team of gamekeepers from the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO) have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that if an Englishman’s home is his castle then his garden should be his pride and joy.

Wilf Wilson, an 88 year old retired gamekeeper from Westerdale, has seen his dilapidated garden get a complete makeover thanks to the steadfast community spirit of a team of gamekeepers from the Rosedale and Westerdale Estate.

Gamekeepers from Rosedale and Westerdale Estate (left to right) Colin Smith, Ben Mountain, Jimmy Brough, Wilf Wilson, Matthew Hacketpain, Michael Wearmouth and Kevin Butler.

Wilf has lived in the village of Westerdale for the past 74 years. He took over as head gamekeeper of Rosedale and Westerdale Estate from his late father who was the previous keeper at the estate when he moved there after the war in 1943.

In 2005, Wilf retired after 50 years working in the outdoors as a gamekeeper and has always had a garden to be proud of – not just a lawned area with many beautiful flowers but a productive vegetable patch too.

Over the last few years Wilf’s health has deteriorated and he has been unable to keep up the maintenance on his garden, even struggling to get out of the house with his walking aid due to the overgrown grass and weeds.

Jimmy Brough, head keeper on the Rosedale and Westerdale estate, and his loyal team of five keepers came to the rescue.

They were determined to help Wilf gain some independence back and restore his garden to some of its former glory.

Jimmy Brough said: “There is a great sense of community and loyalty among keepers and our lads were delighted to give something back to the community – and one of our own. It was a challenge because of the weeds, nettles and hedges but we all got stuck in – even making three new garden gates for Wilf.”

Commenting on his restored garden, Wilf said: “To me it’s a miracle.  I am so thankful for all the time and effort put in by the lads at Rosedale and Westerdale – they really have gone the extra mile.”

The garden area is now ready for rotavating and reseeding and will be completed in the next couple of weeks, once the lawn is established. The gamekeepers have already agreed to maintain the very large but now much more manageable garden area when required.

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Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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