A VOLUNTEER who helps keep the Yorkshire Dales National Park in top condition has won a national competition.

David Preston has been picked as winner of the individual category in this year’s UK National Park Volunteer Awards, run by the UK Association of National Park Authorities (UK ANPA).

The 39-year-old began as a Dales Volunteer with the Authority in 2009 and since then has put in 273 days work, which works out at an average of 91 days a year – way above the 15 days the Authority asks volunteers to give.

Mr Preston, who lives in Askrigg, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award, it has come as a complete surprise.”

He began by helping the Authority’s access rangers with jobs like drystone walling, hedge laying, gate hanging and repairing footpaths and bridges.

He is now working towards obtaining a licence to handle hazel dormouse to help protect the endangered species.

Judges included BBC Countryfile's Julia Bradbury, TV explorer and presenter Helen Skelton, and Emily Carr from UK National Parks brand partner Merrell.