Hartpury’s Cormac ready to give head keeper dream his best shot after clinching top award

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An ‘outstanding’ young Hartpury gamekeeper is well on his way to following in his grandfather’s footsteps after winning a top award.

Cormac Thompson, who recently completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Countryside Management (Game) at Hartpury, has won the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy for student of the year.

The annual award goes to the best full- or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the academic year and is judged by senior members of the NGO.

Having successfully completed his course with a distinction, Cormac now runs the commercial shoot at the College, having run the ‘beating’ line (driving the pheasants and partridges out of the trees and bushes for the shooters) during shoot days at the College during his studies.

Hartpury lecturer, Robbie Nicolle, said: “Cormac is one of the most hardworking and determined students I have ever taught.”

Cormac, 18, said: “My lecturers at Hartpury, Robbie Nicolle, Andy James and Ralph Tallis, were fantastic and I really enjoyed being a full-time gamekeeping student Hartpury. I think qualifications are essential for anyone starting out in the industry these days.

“I live and breathe the countryside, and I’ve always wanted to be a gamekeeper. My granddad was a keeper in Suffolk, my dad took me beating as a boy and I shot my first pheasant at the age of nine. My ambition is one day to be a head keeper on a pheasant and partridge shoot. I am certain this award will stand me in excellent stead for my career.”

The late Frank Jenkins was a well-known gamekeeper whose career spanned more than 60 years. As well as the award, Cormac was presented with a gift from Frank’s daughter and son (himself a gamekeeper) and received a voucher for a new jacket from award sponsors Musto and an engraved tankard from the NGO National Committee.

His award was presented at the Midland Game Fair by chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, Liam Bell, who said: “The judges felt Cormac was an outstanding gamekeeping student. His dedication to the job, coupled with his maturity, and excellent academic and practical ability, along with the gift of being able to inspire others, will, I hope, see him fulfil his dream of becoming a head keeper.”

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