An Amazing Bridge Across The Pond

July 26, 2015

RE Bridge 1885

Please click to zoom

David Pottinger writes:

Recently Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, and his wife Mavis were having lunch in Serendipity in Fleet, when a lady sitting opposite noticed the FPS logo on Colin’s gilet.

“My husband has a photograph of a bridge over Fleet Pond” she said, “would you like to see it?” This was followed up and resulted in Fleet Pond Society obtaining the remarkable picture above.

So, literally, a really good example of serendipity, as the shop’s tagline is ‘the art of making happy & unexpected discoveries’!

Going into the fascinating background, Colin writes:

“The records of the training activity of the Royal Engineers (RE) and other army units based around Fleet and Aldershot are very limited. The RE Museum has not come up with any records of the RE training in the 19th century in this area. The local historians have written on the subject based mostly on what people living in Fleet have either remembered or been told by relatives.

The RE built the large island off Sandy Bay that we call Fir Tree Island, for example. They also built the large T-jetty that was demolished in 1912 to permit floatplane trials from the embankment where Lions View now stands. Mike Smith, who sold me the bridge photograph, believes the large trestle bridge was in fact built from that same embankment and the T-jetty might have been part of that bridge left as a jetty when the bridge itself was demolished.

The bridge was 470 yards long and extended from the sandy embankment on the eastern side across Fleet Pond to where there is now a white house set well back off the road at 93 Kenilworth Road. This house has views of the Pond through the viewpoint we opened to install two seats. It is near the small boat jetty built by our Last of the Summer Wine volunteers.

From the photographs I have collected so far, it seems that these major construction tasks were late 19th century. By 1904, for example, the T-jetty was already badly deteriorated and Fir Tree Island was already well established and tree-covered.”

Here are some other impressive pictures that relate to the military history of Fleet Pond, plus links to the associated articles.

A1904 RAE jetty 2

Read about the above picture here

army under canvas at pond small

Read about the picture above and below here

army cook house at pond small

Picture credits: top (Colin Gray) and for the others, please see the original posts.


Making Donations To Fleet Pond Society

July 20, 2015

Virgin Money Giving FPS

David Pottinger writes:

If you regularly read this blog you will be familiar with the myriad ways Fleet Pond Society helps maintain and develop the Pond for the benefit of the local community.

Although we carry out activities to raise funds for our tasks and projects, additional funds are always welcome.

One way of supporting the Society is to join it and in so doing receive an attractive newsletter that gives details of all the main activities that take place (see here). However some readers may prefer to simply make a donation.

This can be done online, quickly and easily, by using our Virgin Money Giving page which can be found here (see Make a Donation on the rhs, as indicated in the screenshot above).

All donations, no matter their value, would be greatly appreciated.

There will shortly be a permanent tab on the blog (as with Joining FPS above) that gives the same information, in case you wish to do this at some future time.


TripAdvisor Update On Fleet Pond

July 17, 2015

Fleet Pond TripAdvisor July 2015

David Pottinger writes:

There have now been 34 reviews of Fleet Pond on TripAdvisor, 23 of which rate it as excellent!

Take a look here for the full list of comments.

Why not add yours?

For a description of three recommended walks (short, medium and long) that are helpfully identified by colour-coded posts along the way, see here.

If you haven’t been to the Pond before, why not try it out this weekend? I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!


Colin Gray Awarded A Melvin Jones Fellowship

July 12, 2015

Melvyn Jones Award 2015

From left to right: Sharyn Wheale, Fleet Lions President Paul Doughty, Phill Gower, Fleet Lions Vice President Roger Munday and Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS)

Jim Storey, Committee Member of FPS and also Fleet Lion, writes:

“Colin Gray, Chairman of FPS, was recently presented with the highest honour Fleet Lions could bestow, a Melvin Jones Fellowship. He was given a very smart plaque to mark his achievements and this was to recognise all the work Colin has done to support the town, the Pond and Lions. He gets to be an honorary Lion too.

The award is named after the chap who founded Lions in Chicago in 1917 and Fleet Lions do not hand them out lightly. He’s only the 4th non-Lion to be given this in 40 years. The others are Beverley Allardice who runs the Lions Community Store, Rotarian Geoff Baker and Dianne Rust (who set up and runs Marfan). Only four Fleet Lions have been given one.

Sharyn Wheale and Phill Gower, both keen supporters of the Pond, were similarly honoured at the same ceremony (see above photo).”

You can read about Fleet Lions and their activities here and there is an interesting biography of Melvin Jones here.


FPS Wins First Place At The Carnival

July 8, 2015

Carnival Certificate 2015

First Place :-)

David Pottinger writes:

Here are some pictures of the Fleet Pond Society (FPS) team and float from this year’s Carnival. We’re happy to say that FPS was awarded first place in the Walking category. Many congratulations to Terry Austin (who master minded the project) and the rest of the crew!

The theme for 2015 was ‘Through The Decades’ and there was a lot of competition, see here for the list of over 25 entrants.

In case you’re wondering, in total there were 2 monks, 3 swans and 3 pirates in the FPS walking team.

Fleet Pond Carnival Team 2015

The FPS Carnival Team for 2015

Carnival Float 2015 3

Closeup of the FPS float

Terry and Colin Leaders 2015

A swan and a pirate with a common cause

Carnival Drinks 2015

Relaxing with a celebratory drink!

There are some impressive general photos of Fleet Carnival 2015 here. Can you spot the one that features FPS?

The above pictures were kindly provided by Michelle Salter.


The Building Of Grays Bridge

July 2, 2015

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The bridge building team, half-way through the task

David Pottinger writes:

Here are some photos and a short video of the (secretive) building of Grays Bridge – you can read about it’s interesting background here.

grays bridge dee 4

Putting a bridge together is trickier than you might think!

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Some of the wildlife spotted along the way

grays bridge dee 1

Making sure the temporary bridge was up to the job!

Phill Gower, who was a member of the team, has produced an interesting time-lapsed video of the bridge building activity, where the three days of work are compressed into just over a minute!

Please click on the arrow to play

This video can also be seen on the Fleet Pond Society Photo Group on Flickr, see here.

The above photos were kindly provided by Geoff Dee.


Fleet Pond Wildlife Day 2015

June 23, 2015

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Having a go at identifying the fish typically found in Fleet Pond!

To give a flavour of the event, here is a selection of photos that I took at the Wildlife Day held at Fleet Pond on Saturday 30 May this year.

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Members of Fleet Pond Society explaining the wide variety of tasks that we carry out at the Pond

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Tasty refreshments provided by the Chieftain Explorer Scouts

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Fun and games for the children

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An  overview of some of the attractions – it was a really nice day too!

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Traditional ice cream was on hand…

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An interesting day out for the family

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The stall of Blackwater Valley Countryside

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An open air demonstration of some basic First Aid

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Advertising a forthcoming event…

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The fish tank attracted a lot of attention (see also picture at top above)

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Making sure everything is under control

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Bird watching and info on one of the jetties (RSPB)

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Pond dipping at the platform

The original poster for the event can be found here.

Photo credits: David Pottinger.


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