TYNEDALE is mourning the loss of a great advocate for walking and a stalwart member of Hexham Ramblers and Prudhoe Pathforce.

The funeral was held last week for Mavis Harris, after she died on September 22 aged 89.

Having joined Hexham Ramblers in 1988, Mavis had been a champion for access to the countryside for decades, and last year received an award in recognition of 40 years of volunteering.

As part of this work, she was involved with not only championing the existing public rights of way network to be maintained, but also for new rights of way to be added to the council’s definitive map.

She had worked closely with Northumberland County Council rights of way officers for at least the last 25 years, to ensure paths were kept in a good state of repair, as well as making sure all closures and diversions were in the best interests of walkers.

A keen walker herself, Mavis’s family said she found her passion for the countryside when she was relocated from Gateshead, where she was born, to Northallerton during the war.

Although she and her late husband, Keith, lived around the country they were keen to return to the North-East and had been living back in the region since 1970.

A resident of Wylam, Mavis played an active role in her local area and was secretary of Prudhoe Pathforce. She played a major role in maintaining and looking after the parish public rights of way in Prudhoe and the surrounding areas as part of this role, legally recording parish-wide surveys and improvements in the Prudhoe and Broomley and Stocksfield parishes.

Mavis’s passion for walking was not only shown through her work with the Ramblers and Prudhoe Pathforce, but also in her active involvement in the wider walking community.

She became a walk leader with the Prudhoe Health Walk group, which was introduced by Active Northumberland to encourage people to begin walking and enjoying the outdoors. This was something Mavis volunteered for weekly right up until just before she died.

She was one of the first volunteers to sign up for the Hadrian’s Wall Path volunteer programme in around 2004, which saw her look after a stretch at Heddon-on-the-Wall on Saturday mornings which involved talking to visitors, ensuring it was in good condition and picking up litter.

So dedicated she was to her work, her family recalled that in the last few days of her life, although she was bed-bound, she held a Prudhoe Pathforce meeting which had been previously scheduled – in her bedroom.

She died peacefully at home after a battle with cancer, leaving four children, 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.