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We have appointed Mick Freer as our local correspondent for Dudley Borough.
Mick will be the society’s watchdog here, keeping a close eye on paths, commons, greens, and open spaces, and defending them in the public interest.
Mick has lived all his life on the doorstep of the beautiful Clent Hills, and his interest in the outdoors was sparked in 1963 when, as a 16-year-old, he joined the Halesowen Athletic and Cycling Club.
In 1980 he fought a planning application to convert land at Halesowen Abbey into an industrial site. The application was refused, but this inspired Mick to become an advocate for paths and open spaces, and he was a founder of the Halesowen Abbey Trust. He worked with the trust and Dudley Council in restoring the local path network, which led to the formation of the Dudley Countryside Management Project. Mick also volunteered for the then Hereford and Worcester County Council’s Urban Fringe Project.
His professional life included work in mechanical engineering and the construction industry.
More recently Mick has served as chairman of the Dudley Borough Local Access Forum, and carries out path surveys, produces schedules of work, raises money, and supervises volunteers.
Says Mick: ‘I am pleased to be appointed as a local correspondent for the Open Spaces Society and to continue to use my experience as a campaigner for paths and open spaces.
‘With local authorities slashing their spending on public paths and countryside access, the work of the Open Spaces Society has never been more important. We must ensure that our public-path network and green spaces are open and available for the public to enjoy; this is especially important in and around towns such as Dudley. People need to be able to enjoy fresh air and pleasant surroundings on their doorsteps, for their physical and mental health and well-being.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our society’s general secretary: ‘We are delighted to welcome Mick to our team of local correspondents, helping us to protect paths and spaces in the West Midlands, and extending our reach.’