Coast and marine officer steps down after long career

John Walton'Picture by David Steel
John Walton'Picture by David Steel

A man who has spent more than two decades working on the north Northumberland coast is retiring.

The National Trust’s Northumberland coast and marine officer, John Walton, is stepping down after spending 35 years working for the conservation organistation.

John first set foot on the Farne Islands in 1979 when he started work as a seasonal ranger.

After working at various seabird sanctuaries around the country, he returned to the Farnes in 1990 and worked his way up from ranger to coast and marine officer for the whole of the county’s coastline.

He has been a familiar face to many people in Seahouses and was also a member of the Seahouses Development Trust.

The National Trust held a retirement party for John at the Olde Ship Inn in Seahouses last week, which was attended by colleagues and members of the Farne Islands Advisory Committee.

Simon Lee, the Trust’s general manager for the Northumberland coast, said: “We wish John the very best in retirement.

“He will be sorely missed. His passion for the Farne Islands and the Northumberland coast is known to all and his knowledge of the islands, the birds and the seals is second to none.

“We will miss his dedication to this beautiful stretch of coast.”

Rebecca Hetherington, head ranger for the Trust’s Northumberland Coast portfolio, added: “John has had a tremendous career, helping shape many of our approaches to managing the Farne Islands and the coast over many years.

“All these years later he is one of our most respected colleagues, recognised for his dedication to wildlife and conservation.”