Nineteen-year-old Ben Garrick has become the first ever recipient of a prestigious City & Guilds Medal for Excellence in the subject of gamekeeping.
Ben, who has just completed an apprenticeship in Game and Wildlife Management at Bishop Burton College, was nominated for the award by his tutor Norman Dalleywater and will attend a gala dinner in London to celebrate his achievement.
The Medals for Excellence programme recognises and rewards exceptional work by both learners and tutors through their contributions and efforts in the learning environment.
Although Ben, who comes from Metheringham in Lincolnshire doesn’t have a farming or gamekeeping background, he began his career beating on the nearby Blankney Estate.
“I started beating on the Blankney Estate and really liked it,” said Ben. “I wanted to do more. I loved being outdoors and I developed an interest in conservation, which of course is becoming more and more important.
“I decided I would like to pursue a career in gamekeeping and Bishop Burton College offered the course I wanted.”
Ben plans to stay on at the Blankney Estate and has ambitions to become a head gamekeeper although he is also keen to pursue his interest in conservation, something that has been encouraged by his employers who have given Ben land to attract grey partridge.
“The estate work hard on conservation and they are constantly looking for ways to protect wildlife and encourage biodiversity.
“I’ve been given a large plot of land on which I am encouraging a population of grey partridge. Richard Parker, the estate owner, stopped the growing of lucerne to enable me to develop the environment for the benefit of the partridge. Also by installing set-aside and wildflower strips, the partridge and other wildlife will have a better and more sustainable future.”
“We’ve also installed traps and hoppers and over the last couple of years numbers of birds have risen consistently.”
Ben completed his apprenticeship last year and has since been working on the estate as under keeper. He was pleased to have been nominated for a Medal for Excellence.
He said: “I knew I had been put forward and I felt honoured. I was very pleased and proud when I found out I’d won the Medal – it feels like I’ve been rewarded for everything I’ve done.”