Keeper of the Peak and Peak District MTB committee member Chris Maloney has won the coveted Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Park Protector awards, organised by the Campaign for National Parks. The awards recognise and reward the efforts that go into protecting and improving National Parks in England and Wales. This is a big win not just for the tireless Chris but for mountain bikers and the future of mountain biking.
“I’m overwhelmed to have won Volunteer of the Year, it’s a real honour. Most importantly it’s a recognition of the community. This isn’t about me, I just tweet and share – this is about the people who contribute to Keeper of the Peak because they really care about the Peak District National Park. National Parks are vital. They are the lungs of this country. They are somewhere we live work and play.” – Chris Maloney
Chris collected his prize this week at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament attended by MPs and Lords, National Park Authority Chief Executives and leading civil servants. Chris took the opportunity to share what we do as mountain bike advocates – including the influential Project 22% – Working Together brochure – with the Rt Hon Lord Benyon and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch. Lord Benyon is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); getting a sympathetic ear towards mountain bikers and mountain biking from influential people like this is incredibly valuable.
Without Chris’ hard work and commitment to mountain bike advocacy we – the mountain bike community – would not get these opportunities to discuss better access for mountain biking at such a senior and influential level.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, Chief Executive of the Campaign for National Parks Dr Rose O’Neill said:
“We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the brilliant Park Protectors and learning more about their work but, perhaps more importantly, we were able to showcase this to politicians and National Park leaders in Parliament.
“We were able to show just how important National Parks are to everyone, and why we need more legislation and investment to protect them and enable them to deliver more for people, nature and climate. In that room was so much passion, energy and diversity which we can build on to create a better future for National Parks.”
You can read more about the Park Protector Awards and the importance of the Campaign for National Parks here. Check out Chris’ Keeper of the Peak Twitter feed for trail conditions, and his fantastic blog posts here.
If you see Chris, buy him a pint and say thanks for everything he does for us.