Tributes paid to a ‘staunch champion’ of the Peak park

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NATIONAL park authority chiefs yesterday paid tribute to the work of a former member who has died just a few months after stepping down from his role.

The Peak District National Park Authority said yesterday that John Herbert, its former planning committee chairman, died on Sunday at the age of 70.

Professor Herbert stepped down from the position in July this year. He had been a member of the planning committee since 2007 and its chairman since 2010.

Representing parishes on the authority from 2003, the retired journalism professor lived in Sheldon, near Bakewell, and until recently led its parish meeting.

Coun Tony Favell, the national park authority’s chairman said: “John will be very sadly missed. He was a staunch champion on behalf of local people.

“He put up an immensely brave fight against his illness, during which he continued to make an enormous contribution to the national park which he loved so much.

“As a parish member there was nobody more conscious of the importance of the local voice being heard. We have him to thank for a happier relationship between the planning department and local people.”

Mr Herbert was born in Queensland, Australia, in 1942, and worked for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.

He came to Britain in 1969 to work for the BBC World Service in London where he met his wife, Margaret, who was from Sheffield.

He went on to teach journalism in Hong Kong before the couple returned to Britain, making their home in the White Peak village of Sheldon 29 years ago. He finished his career as professor of journalism at the University of Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent. The couple have twin daughters and a son.

His funeral will be at Sheldon Church, St Michael and All Angels, on Friday December 21 at 1.30pm.

His family said they would welcome all who wished to pay their respects.