Leading by example

Avatar for Julie Parry
By Julie Parry

Julie Parry is Chair of CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire (PDSY) and tells us about how she got involved, what she gets up to in her role and what’s important to her about her volunteering.

I became the Chair of CPRE PDSY officially in October 2020. My role involves meeting with the Board of Trustees and also meeting regularly with the CEO of the charity – via Zoom, using WhatsApp and also in person – preferably outside in our lovely Peak District!

Prior to becoming Chair, I also volunteered with the Haythornthwaite Archive project which was fascinating. This is an ongoing project to document and preserve the plethora of archive material left by Gerald and Ethel Haythornthwaite, the founders of CPRE PDSY and key figures in the national CPRE movement.

Shared experiences

I volunteer with CPRE because I love the local countryside. I want to be able to enjoy it in the future and I want future generations to have the same experiences that I’ve had.

The most enjoyable aspects of my role are helping people, learning new things and sharing experiences with others. A particular highlight for me has been others thinking that I’m good enough to be the Chair of such a precious organisation!

'The most enjoyable aspects of my role are helping people, learning new things and sharing experiences with others.'

I’m currently undertaking an organisational review and this is one of the hardest challenges that someone in the position of Chair has to do. It’s not easy to be completely objective when you are dealing with people you know who have worked for CPRE for a long time. There’s a lot at stake for the charity and for its employees, but it must be done to help CPRE PDSY move forward.

New views

Volunteering has made a huge difference to my life. I’ve got to know lots of new people from different backgrounds (I hadn’t worked with planners and seasoned campaigners before!), and I’ve enjoyed taking part in the online training modules offered by national CPRE. I really appreciate the opportunities to talk to staff at the national charity. I especially like the monthly online Chair’s Chat meetings where I can talk to people in the same role across the country who are facing similar challenges and we can support each other.

'When I go for a walk in the countryside it’s like a workout for my soul. It deserves to be treated with respect and it’s important to me to spend my free time protecting it.'

I’m lucky enough to live in the countryside – it is special, precious and fragile and I want to help protect it. When I go for a walk in the countryside it’s like a workout for my soul. It deserves to be treated with respect and it’s important to me to spend my free time protecting it, for example by picking up litter pick in the lanes close to my home. I also volunteer in the Peak District National Park as a Patrol Ranger on the Eastern Moors, talking to people about keeping their dogs on leads, and the fire danger arising from BBQs; which has had a huge impact this year already.

Could you spare some time to volunteer for your local CPRE and stand with the countryside that you love? Learn more about the experience of volunteering for CPRE, the countryside charity, or drop us a line: volunteeringteam@cpre.org.uk.

view from the Peak District
A view from The Peak District Julie Parry

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The legacy of Ethel’s vision and determination lives on thanks to the continued efforts of the Friends of the Peak District, and she remains an inspiration to everyone within CPRE