Honour for long service

CLA President Harry Cotterell with David Bertram.
CLA President Harry Cotterell with David Bertram.

A long-serving Northumberland gamekeeper has received a special award from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA.

David Bertram, head keeper of the 2,500-acre Fallodon Estate at Embleton, has become one of just a handful of gamekeepers from throughout the country to earn a CLA Long Service Medal in recognition of 50 years’ service to the profession.

The son of a shepherd on the Ford and Etal Estate, David started lending a hand to a gamekeeper at just 12 years old.

By 15, he was regularly helping to look after the gun dogs and took a full-time job as a gamekeeper just days after finishing school.

David said: “In the last six months before I left school, I was regularly playing truant to help out with shooting days on the estate and my parents were about the only people in our village not to know about it!”

After serving nine years at Ford and Etal, he moved to the Fallodon Estate, where he has worked for the Bridgemans for the last 41 years.

David added: “I have been very fortunate to find a career that I love so much and have no intention of retiring any time soon.”

Fallodon Estate owner, Mark Bridgeman, said: “David is a real countryman and is involved in every aspect of the estate. Not only does he run the shoot, but he is also knowledgeable about the woods, looks after our small flock of Welsh black sheep and is involved with the farm.

“As a young boy he used to take me shooting and now my children love going with him, be it after rabbits or ducks. He is well-known in the local community and does a lot to help the police fight rural crime, in particular poaching. He knows every inch of the estate and always makes shoot days great fun for everyone involved.”

The award was presented to David by CLA President Harry Cotterell, at The CLA Game Fair, at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.

Mr Cotterell said: “David has put decades of sterling service into the countryside and is a credit to his estate and local community for the role he plays in looking after this beautiful part of Northumberland.”