Award is ‘icing on cake’

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A long-serving gamekeeper from the Esk Valley has received a special award for 40 years of dedication to his role.

Bob Jackson of the Egton Estate near Whitby has been presented with a Long Service Award in recognition of more than 40 years’ service to the profession from the Country Land and Business Association.

Growing up on the Egton Estate, where his father was a tenant farmer, Bob started to help with the rearing of pheasants at the age of just 15. He began his gamekeeping career properly in 1972 when he went to work on the nearby Grinkle Park Estate.

He stayed there for 14 years before returning to the Egton Estate in 1986 where he set about developing the estate’s pheasant shoot.

Since that time, he has helped grow it from a small part-time operation, with around 1,000 birds, to a successful commercial shoot, involving 12,000 birds and two to three shoots per week across 2,500 acres.

Nine years ago Mr Jackson’s son, James, joined him as a gamekeeper on the estate, marking the fourth generation of the Jackson family to work at Egton.

Bob, who is also well known as a prize-winning poultry exhibitor, said: “I take a lot of pride in my work, particularly the fact that we rear all of our own birds on the estate. It’s a hugely satisfying feeling to be personally involved in the whole process.

“The only down side is that the rearing takes place between April and August, which means my family has never had a summer holiday.

“I feel very fortunate to be doing a job that I love in one of the most beautiful parts of the country – earning this award is the icing on the cake for me.”

The award was presented to Bob by CLA Deputy President Henry Robinson at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate.

Mr Robinson added: “Bob has put decades of sterling service into the countryside and is a credit to his estate and local community for the role he plays in contributing to the rural economy and looking after the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside.”