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On Saturday 23 April Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary, paid tribute to Brenda Parker, who did so much for walkers in Hampshire.
Kate cut the ribbon to open the Brenda Parker Way, a 78-mile long-distance path through north Hampshire between Andover and Aldershot. The route has been devised, created and waymarked by the Ramblers, Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke and Deane District Council and Hart District Council.
Said Kate: ‘Brenda was a builder of the Ramblers. She developed Hampshire Area and formed new groups to increase the number of walkers, and workers, for the association.
‘As Area footpath secretary from 1972 to 1997, she defended paths from damaging change, claimed routes for the definitive map, organised walks and kept detailed records. For many years she went meticulously through every copy of the London Gazette in which all notices of public path changes were published, making a note of each one and checking when it was confirmed. She led countless walks, for the Ramblers and for Hampshire County Council.
‘Brenda worked tirelessly and without complaint for over four decades to win a better deal for walkers throughout Hampshire. It is thanks to her dedication and commitment that so many people can enjoy the excellent walking in Hampshire today. Most importantly, she inspired others to get involved in path work, thus spreading the message that paths are vital for people’s enjoyment of the countryside.
‘We owe her a huge debt of gratitude, and I am delighted that the Brenda Parker Way will be a lasting and fitting memorial to her wonderful work,’ said Kate.
Brenda was a member of the Open Spaces Society for nearly 40 years. She died in 2008 only days before she was to have been made an Honorary Life Member of the Ramblers as a tribute to her lifelong work for the cause.