Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

The Retirement of David Bratt, President

This article is from Signpost 67, Spring 2103

David Bratt retired as the society's President at our AGM which was held belatedly via Zoom in October of last year. At the time, David Gosling was the society's interim Chairman, below is the letter of thanks that David sent to him.

Dear David, As the acting Chairman of the Society, albeit only an interim one, I am writing to you on behalf of PNFS members to mark your retirement as our President and to thank you for everything you have done for the Society over the many years of your involvement. During the years of your service to the Society over a quarter of a century, you have achieved an enormous amount, but perhaps most important were your years as Chairman when you affected nothing short of a transformation of the Society. These are the words of Derek Seddon in 2005: Lately I have taken to standing back and watching in admiration at the transformation which has taken place in the PNFS. The Society has been revitalised by the ideas and efforts of our Chairman and his deputy. Few members outside Taylor House will realise how David Bratt leads from the front with a total commitment in all that goes on, be it planning signposts, negotiating the construction of bridges, joining in the Wednesday walks - leading some - to controlling meetings and overseeing our publication. Very little happens without his involvement.

This summary of the impact of your work followed shortly after Derek's comment about 2003 in which the best he could say was that the Society 'survived'. Many of the changes you brought about have stood the test of time and continue to have an impact on the running of the Society today. All of this history will be embedded in your memories of that time and since it predates my involvement with the Society, it is perhaps best left to you to reflect on that period. As President you continued to be as committed as ever, though taking more of a back seat, and you were willing to intervene when you thought the Society was under threat of one sort of another. You spoke out, with eloquence and passion, for what you believed to be right. I am speaking personally now, when I say, that these interventions have been hugely influential and valued. I know you are a proud member of the PNFS, and you value its history and traditions, whilst not being afraid to bring about changes when they are necessary to keep up with the times. You care deeply that the Society should thrive, and, despite your retirement, you continue to be devoted to achieving the best outcomes for the future.

After all you have done and achieved, it seems totally inadequate to simply offer a 'thank you' for your contribution to the Society but thank you we must. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude and you will go down in the history of the Society as a Chairman and a President of whom we can be immensely proud. David Morton tells me that Bridge 14 at Mobberley will soon publicly acknowledge your work for PNFS with plaques at both ends. We wish you continued health in your retirement and, of course, we hope to be seeing you again on PNFS walks just as soon as we can resume them.

Very best wishes for your retirement. Yours sincerely, David Gosling

Here is David Bratts' response to David's letter.

To the Trustees, Other Volunteers and Members of PNFS, I have been delighted by the kind and generous contents of the letter written on your behalves by David Gosling as Acting Chairman to mark my withdrawal from active service after 20 plus years. I also acknowledge with gratitude the commemoration in my name of Bridge 14 at Mobberley and thank in particular David Morton for his role in bringing this honour to fruition.

My journey with PNFS has been so rewarding from being an Inspector answering Derek Seddon’s clarion call to become Chairman and then to a couple of stints as President. Everything that was achieved during my tenure could only have come about by the enthusiastic and committed contributions of the many volunteers and the vital support of our membership. I salute and thank you all.

Our Society today is in a good place with the welcome prospect of ongoing sound management and we remain well regarded and respected by the walking fraternity and highway authorities. May the Society continue to prosper and flourish as it delivers its vital, noble and honourable role in the protection of our precious Northern footpaths.

My ongoing thanks and kindest regards, David Bratt


Next: Fault Reports Received by Taylor House

Page title:The Retirement of David Bratt, President
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