The New Bridge Under Construction in October (See Also Photo At Bottom)
By now, I’m sure many of you have noticed the greatly improved access to the pond at the end of Wood Lane through the new bridge.
The background to the bridge project is quite fascinating!
Cathy Holden writes (this press release originally appeared in Fleet News & Mail / Star Courier in early November):
“The old, but much valued Fleet Pond ‘Carnival Bridge’ has been given a new lease of life as well as a new position in the Reserve thanks to the generosity and skill of the staff at a local business, Cove Industries. The recent official opening was a very special occasion as the guests of honour were the family of Charles Woodman, to whom the original bridge had been dedicated at its opening ceremony in 1979. On that occasion it was opened by his widow Mrs Kathleen Woodman, this time it was their daughter, Beaulah Bower, and her family who were thrilled to cut the ribbon.
In 1979 a £500 donation from the Fleet Carnival Committee, of whom Charles Woodman was the first President, met the cost of the new bridge. It was dedicated to him in gratitude for his valued service to the community, and this was recorded on a commemorative plaque. So the Fleet Pond Society was absolutely delighted when his daughter agreed to open the refurbished bridge and keep that important link.
Cleared of rust, widened with new metalwork, galvanised and brightly painted green, the refurbished bridge was lowered into position at the end of Wood Lane. Volunteers from the Society, along with the Countryside Rangers, installed the foundations needed to support the bridge. A shiny new plaque reflects the original dedication, as well as recognising the large part played by Cove Industries in the refurbishment. The old plaque was presented to representatives of the Fleet & Crookham Local History Group who spoke of the importance of archiving such pieces of historical interest.
A large new steel and wood bridge was installed earlier this year over the culvert where the original ‘Carnival Bridge’ stood.
Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society said: “This project meets very positive objectives; it rescues an old but much loved bridge from being sent for scrap, maintains a structure dedicated to a highly valued member of our local community and provides us with an attractive and safe access point to the Pond at Wood Lane which until now, has been inaccessible for wheelchair visitors. This is a brilliant example of what can be achieved by the combined resource of our much valued Countryside Ranger Service, the dedication of our volunteer ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ workforce led by Terry Austen, the assistance from local businesses, and not least the patience and understanding of the neighbouring residents who have tolerated the noise and dust we made cutting a new access base for the bridge.”
Men At Work! The Early Stages Of The Project
Terry Austen of FPS and Phil Gower of Cove Industries, with Geoff Dee of FPS in the background
If you would like to help support Fleet Pond Society (FPS) in it’s activities, please consider joining (details on the tab above). We’re always very keen on new members!