Colin celebrates 25 years volunteering

Colin Wright with his certificate, fellow volunteers and National Trust Rangers
Published : 12 Aug 2016 Last update : 22 Aug 2016

Nowadays, not many people manage to stay with the same employer for a quarter of a century, but Colin Wright has just celebrated this landmark anniversary as a National Trust volunteer.

Colin, who turns 70 in October, was rewarded with a surprise celebration in Coniston last weekend to mark his 25 years of service.

He was presented with certificates and letters of thanks as well as a badge before enjoying lunch in Coniston followed by a guided walk of Tarn Hows.

Speaking about Colin’s special milestone, Neil Winder, National Trust Area Ranger for Langdale, said: “Colin’s passion and enthusiasm for volunteering and the National Trust spans more than two decades, and he has helped to build a strong hard-working volunteer team that we have all had the pleasure to be part of. We are so lucky to have Colin’s support and he’s an absolute pleasure to be around.”

Over two decades of service

Colin started his volunteer work in 1991 as a lengthsman in Langdale, Grasmere and Coniston. This involved clearing rubble and gravel from footpaths in the high fells and clearing drains. Over the years he has also driven a free minibus service from Hawkshead to Tarn Hows and has helped the legacies team with fundraising.

In 2004, Colin started to head up the Trust’s Cumbria Volunteer Group – a role he still holds today. This involves organising the work of the Cumbria volunteers, ranging from stone walling, painting and building steps and footpaths, to bulb planting, rhododendron bashing and pulling Himalayan Balsam.

He said: “I get great satisfaction, enjoyment and pleasure in supporting the National Trust and helping them to maintain the countryside in the Lake District. We are in different locations doing different things all the time, which gives us great variety and the chance to work with different Rangers.

“All the volunteers get on well together and have a lot of fun. And there’s always cake!

" Even now, after 25 years, there are places we go with the National Trust that I never knew existed. I’m discovering new places all the time and, as long as my legs keep going, I’ll keep volunteering because I thoroughly enjoy it."
- Colin Wright

Colin's tips and experiences in the Lakes from the last 25 years

Favourite place in the Lakes:
The Langdale Valley and Chapel Stile. “With the lovely village and dry stone walls, it epitomises what the Lake District is all about and it’s great walking country – I love the fells.”

Best volunteering moment:
Rhododendron clearing and footpath work on Derwent Island about 10 years ago. “We cracked on with the work until around 3pm when we were called to the lawn to find that the tenants of the house on the island had made us tea, sandwiches and cakes. We sat on the lawn in the sun and just looked out over Derwentwater. It was a simple but very special day!”

Best piece of advice given:
Driving the Tarn Hows minibus for a group of American tourists on a particularly wet day. Colin apologised for the weather and was told, “Listen son, if you didn’t have the rain, you wouldn’t have the lakes!”

Earliest volunteering memory:
Working on a footpath between Tarn Hows and Yew Tree Farm in Coniston. “We were trying to winch these massive boulders down the hillside to get them to stop in the right place – it was great fun! Times have changed somewhat now but there have still been a few misadventures along the way!”

Tip to stay active:
“Set yourself goals in life. We went to Wasdale in June and did four days of walking. We covered nine summits, 30 miles and 2,000 feet.” Colin is also just one fell away from finishing all 214 Wainwrights for the second time and hopes to manage that before his 70th birthday in October.

Feeling inspired by Colin? Get involved, we have plenty volunteering opportunities in Langdale, whatever your interests and time availability. Check out our volunteering pages to find your opportunity.

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