A star dims in our EUROPARC firmament

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It is with great sadness that EUROPARC learned of the sudden death of Wilf Fenten this week.

Wilf was a stalwart of EUROPARC having been involved in setting up and serving as Director of EUROPARC consulting which was central in managing the Charter for Sustainable Tourism and developing networking workshops in EUROPARC Atlantic Isles.

A native German, Wilf was an adopted Englishman and even more so, of Yorkshire, where he had been a board member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park as well as a local councillor. His passion for caring for the land, took a practical turn when he managed a small flock of sheep and wildflower meadows at his home in Settle. It was a source of much hilarity to hear of the sheep- adventures of “Angela Merkel“ and “Condoleezza Rice”, as the sheep were named after female world leaders.

A true European, Wilf relished the international connections he helped forge across EUROPARC. Although saddened when EUROPARC Consulting closed, his dedication to the Charter continued, as a member of the evaluation committee, who very much appreciated his long experience, knowledge and attention to detail. He had been too a Trustee of the Dales and Harrogate Tourism Partnership. Wilf’s outgoing and friendly personality served him well bringing many stakeholders together in many Protected Area European projects. These included “training the trainers” programme for the WWF Danube Carpathian and with other Protected Areas on more specialist topics such as “Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism”, “Protected Areas as Testbeds for Sustainable Development” and a “Learning from Europe” project about strengthening the identity and public commitment towards English Protected Landscapes. Many will have been touched by his work and his legacy and achievements across the European Protected Areas community are evident.

Wilf loved his connections and times with EUROPARC. We understand he felt it was the most rewarding part of his life – combining work with his enthusiasm for designated landscapes all over Europe. His company was always a pleasure, you were always greeted with a huge smile and warm hug and was never without a good story from his many travels and connections. He was kind, considerate, consummately positive and emanated joy.

He was a star in our EUROPARC firmament that has sadly now dimmed.

Our deepest condolences go to Hilary and his children and grandchildren.