88-year-old Douglas is our longest serving volunteer


After nearly 30 years, Byways and Bridleways Trust’s longstanding volunteer, 88-year-old Douglas Coombs, is finally thinking about ‘retiring’!

Douglas decided to volunteer after retiring from the British Council in 1983, where he worked for 23 years in a variety of posts both home and abroad, eventually ending up as controller for its books division.

‘I wanted to do something more than simply retire,’ he says. So, the British Council Retirement Association recommended that he should contact Reach to find suitable volunteering opportunities, and we soon found him an appointment at Byways and Bridleways Trust in Wiltshire.

During his time at the Trust, Douglas has volunteered for two to three days a week. Initially, he wrote articles for and helped edit the charity’s magazine, Byway and Bridleway, while carrying out additional committee and conference work. For a number of years, he was also a member of the editorial board for the journal Rights of Way Law Review, which the Trust launched in 1990.

More recently, he has been writing up inspectors’ reports for Byway and Bridleway. This involves reviewing the decision letters issued following public inquiries relating to the rights of way network and writing reports of those decisions that have national significance with regard to interpretation and application of Rights of Way legislation.

Douglas says that keeping his mind active after retirement was an important consideration, and volunteering has perfect been for that.

So, what next? Douglas isn’t sure, but thinks it might be time to put his feet up a bit and turn his full attention to watching and following his great love cricket.

  • The Byways and Bridleways Trust protects public rights in Britain. If you are interested in learning more about the Trust, check out its Website
  • If you’ve been inspired to try your hand at skilled volunteering you can find out more about registering with Reach
A retired journalist, Robin now looks after Reach’s press and PR functions on a voluntary basis.
June 3rd, 2013 by