The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has completed the replacement of a memorial bench to former National Park Officer George Hallas, which was seriously damaged by fire in 2019.
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chief Executive David Butterworth joined George’s wife and local historian Dr Christine Hallas, her daughter Jo and husband Nick, and grandchildren Peter and Georgina to formally unveil the new bench on Wednesday.
The bench on Long Road, Askrigg Common, was established in 2007 to commemorate George’s contribution to the National Park, following his untimely death in July 2006.
Work to replace the bench was completed by National Park Authority Maintenance and Facilities Officer Paul Bishop and was re-positioned with help from Access Ranger Paul Sheehan and Apprentice Ranger George Jacobs.
Dr Hallas said: “I was very sad when the original bench got damaged – it took the life out of me for a time – but I am very grateful to the National Park Authority for organising the replacement.
“George would have loved to be here today, and I know he’d have loved the words inscribed across the front – wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”.
George Hallas (1941-2006) was a former National Park Officer. He joined the Authority in 1974 and was appointed joint Deputy National Park Officer in charge of Development Control and Forward Planning based at Yorebridge House, Bainbridge.
George succeeded Richard Harvey as National Park Officer in 1996 before taking early retirement in 1998. He was a founder trustee of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and remained a part-time wildlife inspector until 2006.
The inscription on the bench is from the 1968 autobiographical ‘Desert Solitaire’ by American writer Edward Abbey. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”.