Volunteers celebrate 10th anniversary

The original Hobs volunteers, including Vera Silberberg (far left), Eric Lee (second from left), Alan Bailey (Centre with loppers) and Graham Stubbs (kneeling third from right)
The original Hobs volunteers, including Vera Silberberg (far left), Eric Lee (second from left), Alan Bailey (Centre with loppers) and Graham Stubbs (kneeling third from right)
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A GROUP of volunteers within the North York Moors have swapped their old clothes and muddy boots for cleaner attire to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

The Hobs have spent a decade of hard work looking after the rights of way and wildlife of the national park and three of the current group – Alan Bailey, Eric Lee and Vera Silberberg – attended the very first task completed by the group.

Mr Bailey said: “I saw an article regarding starting a volunteers group at around the time that I was about to retire and the idea appealed to me.

“My wife and I were, and still are, keen walkers with the national park and it seemed a positive way of putting something back and saying thanks.

“Being a Hob brings with it a strong sense of purpose, loyalty, commitment and endeavour.

“We head out in all weathers – and there does seem to be more wet Tuesdays than dry – but morale remains high and there is always a great effort put into every task and a desire to complete it before we leave.”

The Hobs meet every Tuesday to carry out a range of tasks, including footpath clearance, drystone walling, tree planting, fence repair and invasive plant control.

The group is named after the mythical creatures that supposedly live in the national park and help with household chores and farm work.

The Hobs was the first mid-week volunteer group set up by the national park authority.

There are now several regular volunteer groups contributing over 11,000 hours of work each year and the volunteer service was highlighted as an area of good practice in a recent peer review carried out by a team from other national park authorities.

Projects that the Hobs have contributed to over the past 10 years include working alongside the authority’s staff to manage and improve Levisham Estate, work to spruce up the car park and pond at Thornton-le-Dale and repairing a considerable stretch of drystone wall along the Cleveland Way National Trail at Boltby.

Graham Stubbs, head of volunteer service at the national park authority, added: “Anyone who enjoys getting out and about in the North York Moors, whether it’s to walk, cycle, ride or simply soak up the stunning scenery, owes a word of thanks to this wonderful group of people who give their time and energy so generously.

“Without them and all our other volunteers the national park wouldn’t be half the place it is and I am incredibly proud and grateful for all that they do.”

To find out more, contact Jo Dowson on (01439) 770657 or email j.dowson@northyorkmoors-npa.gov.uk