May 25 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Dozens of walkers enjoyed the glories of the Norfolk countryside in memory of a former Norwich fireman who had helped make their outing possible.
Pioneering rambler George Le Surf, pictured, who died last April, aged 91, campaigned for half a century with his wife Jeanne to open up Norfolk’s public rights of way.
For some 40 years Mrs Le Surf, now 84, wrote a weekly walks column for the Evening News, under the pseudonym “Rambler”.
Some 50-60 members of the Norfolk Ramblers’ Association gathered at Mannington Hall, in north Norfolk, centre of one of the couple’s favourite walking areas, to pay tribute to their former vice-president’s achievements.
Derek Goddard, secretary of the ramblers’ Norwich group, said the Le Surfs had insisted on and upheld the public’s rights, fighting several court cases. “They were the irresistible force who went up against the immoveable mass and indifference of the local authorities and those landowners who opposed what they were trying to do,” he added.
Bernard Moore, chairman of Norfolk Ramblers’ Association, said it was largely due to the couple’s efforts that there were some 5,000 miles of walkable routes in the county today.
The Le Surfs moved to Norfolk in 1956 where Mr Le Surf was station officer with the Norwich fire brigade at Bethel Street.
Mrs Le Surf, Norfolk Ramblers’ Association president, said on all their early attempted Norfolk rambles they had been involved in controversy with either a large insurance company landowner, gamekeeper or farmer.
She added: “Our arrival coincided with the compilation of the definitive [footpath] map, part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. There were very few Ramblers’ Association members in Norfolk then and we were asked to look at a couple of footpaths for the map – that’s how we became involved.”