Thank-you to all the volunteers who joined us today. We got a lot of work done. Clearing the remaining bramble from the new sightlines and wood chipping the path. And thank-you to those who were litter picking.
What a wonderful Saturday evening , such a large turnout. Simeon Linstead the organiser of the event gave a small speech in front of a crowd of over a hundred. Then after a loud countdown by the crowd, Matt Martin did the honors and switched on the lights.
Once again, thanks to our financial supporters – Matt Martin owner of Ivygate Estate Agents, Miller and Carter, Joanne Chandler, Jazz Barbers, Plough Pharmacy, Worcester Park Tiles, Bruce Elliot and last but not least, the Old Malden Ward Councillors.
A massive thank-you to the volunteers that helped on a rather chilly Saturday afternoon in the raising and decorating of the Plough Green Christmas tree.
And thanks to our financial supporters – Matt Martin owner of Ivygate Estate Agents, Miller and Carter, Joanne Chandler, Jazz Barbers, Plough Pharmacy, Worcester Park Tiles, Bruce Elliot and last but not least, the Old Malden Ward Councillors.
A big thank you to all the volunteers who took part in Saturday’s Community Action Morning in Manor Park.
The weather wasn’t looking great, but fortunately we only had a bit of drizzle in the end.
Volunteers cleared bramble off the land by the railway bridge, and then local children planted it up with 50 trees – Hazels, Rowens, Crab Apple and Bird Cherry.
Local children had also assembled and decorated bird and bat boxes. These were installed in trees at the front of the park. Hopefully they’ll be popular with our feathered friends this coming spring.
The day was supported by some regular faces, and it was great meeting some residents we’d not met before. We had about 30 people helping over the course of the morning.
It was the muddiest volunteer day we’ve run to date. But our spirits were kept up with lots of hot teas and cake.
We’re planning on running a couple more Saturday volunteer events in the new year – we’ll keep you posted.
Nature is our thing
The Friends of Manor Park is a community group set up to protect and improve Manor Park. Nature and wildlife have been central to a lot of our volunteer work, from restoring wooded areas and the seasonal pond, planting wild-flowers and bulbs, to installing community bird-boxes and our new bird-feeding station.
Last year we ran Nature Day, which was a rather low-key event. We sowed wildflowers, did some general woodland maintenance and laid on a handful of nature activities for the cubs and local children. We had a pretty good turn-out.
….but this year….
This year we wanted to step it up a gear (or two), so we came up with a name – ‘NatureFest’ and the brief that we wanted a nature themed event, come celebration in the park. Our newest team member, Nausheen Arnold, put herself forward to organise it.
Local business backers
It wasn’t long before she was reporting back with some positive news about the growing and impressive event line-up. We wanted the event to be really good, so Fiona Sowell, who’s been with the group right from start, spoke with a handful of local businesses who said they’d bank-roll the event. Our main sponsor was Worcester Park Tiles, and we had also had financial support from Jazz Barbers, Dental Sense and Bruce Elliot.
All set to go
And so it was, after a several months of sweat and tears, (actually it was all very calm), we stood in the middle of the park on Saturday 18th May surrounded by a colourful assortment of gazebos sheltering a number of wildlife organisations, a nature crafting activity area and several food stalls (including a very posh looking coffee van), a massive green tractor courtesy of idverde the park contractor, various elegant birds of prey were lined up on perches, a hall full of reptiles, a very accomplished looking musical act, and a disco bouncy-castle. A team of wonderful helpers were at the ready (comprised of a lot of familiar faces – people who often volunteer their time).
A substantial crowd
The weather had been forecast to be chilly and overcast, but as luck would have it the day brightened up and was actually rather warm. So, before we knew it, the park started to fill and it wasn’t long before we had quite a substantial crowd milling about. The band played wonderfully, creating just the right atmosphere. We had a queue of people buying tokens for the reptile display and the bouncy castle. Children took part in a selection of crafting activities from making finger snakes to edible wild-bird treats. Our face painting artist transformed many a child into a zebra, ferocious lion or other wild creature.
Throughout the day we ran a programme of wildlife talks – from the nature in the park to hedgehogs. These talks were led by our friend Elliot Newton from conservation upstarts Citizen Zoo, who’s mission it is to re-wild our natural spaces (and us). He’s been instrumental in the conservation work we do in Manor Park – our go-to expert. Elliot also led a pond-dipping activity, which the children absolutely loved. And no one fell in.
The falconry displays were probably the high point of the day. At least two hundred people surrounded the flying arena each time, where a very interactive show took place. Owls and eagles swooping low over the heads of the children sitting on the grass.
Snakes, lizards and spiders
In the hall various snakes, lizards and some rather large spiders entertained the onlookers. I latterly saw a photo of a white snake wrapping itself around the neck of one of my daughter’s friends. She seemed far too relaxed.
The park was full of life
It was lovely seeing the park so busy. We’d kicked off just as the junior football league were finishing their trials, the bowls club was also having its open day (its busiest yet we’ve been told), and behind us in the rear sports field a cricket game went on all afternoon.
Friends of Manor Park
We had lots of visitors to the Friends of Manor Park gazebo, including some of our local councillors, Des Kay from Save the World Club (the people behind the Malden Manor Mosaic) dressed up as the Green Man, other Friends groups to many locals interested in our work to create a strategic master-plan for Manor Park. Our landscape architect was on hand to answer questions. The first major investment you’ll see in Manor Park will be a revamped playground – hopefully this side of Christmas.
A sudden downpour
Anyway, before we knew it the event was over and the stallholders were packing up. We were surprised how many people were still hanging around, however a very heavy downpour 15 minutes after we finished soon emptied the park.
A BIG thank-you
A big thank-you to everyone who showed their support by attending or helping in some way. We’ve had lots of great feedback, and it is our intention to put on an even bigger NatureFest next year, so watch this space.
Get involved with Friends of Manor Park
Do keep an eye out on what we’re up to – either check out our website, follow us on Facebook or just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ve just kicked off our Friend for Life membership – so do drop us an email and we’ll send you details. We’ll put up a new form shortly – ‘just been a little busy of late :-).
Get involved in NatureFest 2020
If you or your organisation would like to get involved next year, then do drop us a line, we’d love to speak with you. email@example.com
On the sunny and hot morning of Saturday 28th March we held our Spring volunteer event. It was so warm that I rushed home to grab a hat and sun cream before the proceedings began. Per usual we gathered around the base camp tent to receive instructions.
There were four main tasks for this event. Fiona was in charge of seeding the front and back meadows. idverde kindly used a digger to remove the surface grass, as the last time we tried to do this by hand, we all nearly has heart attacks.
Bryn and his team cut and made a path through the garlic copse next to the birdfeeder. This path now links the playing fields to the back of the park.
The rest were split into two teams. One planting seeds around the pond and the other clearing, seeding the bluebell copse. And I mustn’t forget those who did a sterling job litter picking.
Throughout the course of the day we had over 40 volunteers. A big thank you to all of you. And we all hope to see you again at our next volunteer morning in September