I am sure many of your readers will have been saddened to learn of the passing of John Whitehead.
A great lover of the local countryside, he must have been known by literally hundreds of walkers. Before he ever went on a walk with Clitheroe Ramblers, he “went along” to their AGM in 1983 and found himself elected to the committee, later spending 12 years as chairman between 1990 and 2002. He must have led scores, if not hundreds, of their walks and was a major contributor to some of their excellent publications.
He was also much esteemed by the members of Clitheroe 41 (Ex-Round Tablers’) Club, instigating in September 1998 a monthly walk which continues to this day after over 150 outings.
John would painstakingly research each month’s walk to ensure everyone learnt something of the history of the area, and his knowledge was amazingly extensive. He also knew where to go for the best tea and scones after each walk!
You mentioned his vigilant approach to protecting the countryside – which included safeguarding and preserving rights of way.
I well remember one occasion in the nearby Dales when, on one of our monthly 41 Club walks, we opened a gate for some motorbike trail riders, assuming we were on a bridleway: John, of course, knew better, and that as it was a footpath they had no right to be there.
He stood in the middle of the path and quietly, but firmly, pointed out the error of their ways to them. His companions were suitably impressed!
Much loved and much respected, he will be missed by us all.