Liam Bell, Chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation recently presented the NGO Long Service Awards to three very special and talented gamekeepers, who between them have notched up more than 210 years in the profession.

It was a poignant moment when Liam Bell, Chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation presented the NGO Long Service Awards to three very special and talented gamekeepers, who between them have notched up more than 210 years in the profession.

To mark the importance of the occasion, the award ceremony was held in the main arena of the Midland Game Fair on Sunday 16th September.

The three recipients who received their NGO Long Service Awards were presented with a unique, specially cast medal accompanied by a framed certificate.  The award is open to full-time gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies who each have 40 or more years of continuous employment.  A further separate award is presented to those that have 50 or more years’ service under their belt.

Liam Bell, Chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said, “For me, the highlight of the Midland Game Fair was the presentation of the NGO Long Service Award. It was a real privilege to present the 40 and 50 year service medals. It was fascinating to read the résumé of the keepers and the references from their past and present employers about the tremendous commitment these individuals have made to keepering and to managing our countryside.  Gentlemen to a man, I am sure they will quite rightly wear their medals with pride. There have been a lot of changes in gamekeeping in the last 40 years, and these men have seen them all, have adapted and been an absolute credit to our profession. They are an inspiration to us all.”

The NGO assumed responsibility for running the Long Service Award with the blessing of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) when it was announced in 2015 that the CLA would cease to run its annual Game Fair at which it had made a similar presentation to gamekeepers for many years.  To mark the passing of the baton, it was renamed The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation Long Service Award.

Those eligible to receive the 2018 NGO Long Service Award at the Midland Game Fair for 40 or more years of employment were:

David Wharton, aged 57 and nominated by the Earl of Mexborough. Mr Wharton was the headkeeper on the Hawnby and Arden Estate in the North York Moors, which is often regarded as the finest pheasant shoots in the country.  It also remains a refuge for the wild grey partridge.  Mr Wharton has been in continuous service on the estate since 1977 and just recently retired after 40 years’ service.

Tony Goodhew, aged 67 and nominated by Bob Cooke, Head Keeper of the Fosbury Estate, Marlborough, Wiltshire.  At age 16 Tony Goodhew worked as Underkeeper at Leeds Castle in Kent but after three years moved to Eastwell Park, Kent.  His next step was to move to a more commercial shoot in 1977 on the Dunley Estate in Hampshire where he was employed as beat keeper. During his time at Dunley, Tony loaded for Mr William Govett the owner of Fosbury Estate in Wiltshire and when a position came up for a beat keeper on the shoot in 1991 Tony was offered the position and he has remained on the estate since then. For the past few years Tony has been training and entering field trials with his springer and cocker spaniels and this is something he would like to spend more time doing when he finally retires from a lifetime of gamekeeping that has seen many changes over the past 40 years.

Martin Moyers, aged 62. Mr Moyers was unable to attend the Game Fair but will be presented with his long service award for 40 years’ service, on the Castle Goring Farm, where he is currently employed, at the start of the season in October.

William Young, aged 79 was presented with a long service award in recognition of his 50 years of employment as a gamekeeper.  William Young started his gamekeeping career on leaving school in 1953 and joined the Broxmouth Park Estate at Dunbar, East Lothian, which was owned by the Duke of Roxburghe. He also worked at Winton Castle in Pentcaitland,Parnham Park in East Sussex, The Kings Walden Shoot, Alderbury Park near Newbury and finally the Firle Shoot, near Lewes, Sussex, where he was employed as Head Gamekeeper from more than 41 years.  Now living in Eastbourne, Mr Young is enjoying retirement and happily reflects upon the changing landscape of gamekeeping over a long 50 years of service including the time he bravely fought off a poacher, who had knocked him to the ground and threatened William and his son with a double-barrelled shotgun.

The NGO is inviting applications for next year’s 40 and 50 years Long Service Award and nomination forms are available from The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, PO Box 246, Darlington, DL1 9FZ.  Tel 01833 660 869.  Email:


Photocaption: Photo credit: Paul Quagliani. Pictured L-R: William Young, Tony Goodhew, David Wharton, Connah Baker (winner of the NGO Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy) and Liam Bell, Chairman of the NGO

Notes to Editors:

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.



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