Virgin Media At The Pond

The Virgin Media Team Plus Colin Gray (on the rhs)

On Wednesday 5 September, a team from Virgin Media (based at Hook) visited Fleet Pond to help with our conservation activities.

Sally Ross, of Virgin Media, writes:

Being a small team which is pretty much office bound, we wanted a chance to do something more physical and in the fresh air for our annual volunteering day. Well, we certainly had our objectives met when we went to Fleet Pond for the day!  It was the first visit to the pond for all members of the team and I think it’s fair to say we were all taken aback, firstly by the size of the reserve and secondly, by the beauty and tranquility of the area.

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), had already told us about the work that we would be doing; our task for the day was to lop down alder and sallow scrub that threatened to overshadow the more valuable marshland plants. We started to get a sense of the job on our hands as we watched Colin, Geoff Dee and Terry Austin (all from FPS) load the plethora of tools onto the tractor.

It wasn’t until we got to the area we were working in (Coldstream Marsh) that we truly realised the scope of our challenge. As we stood surveying our new career for the day, I vaguely remember Colin saying ‘you see those trees in the background…..well, we need to get everything in the foreground down to waist level….’. Gulp….did we just hear that correctly??!

Getting To Work

And so we got stuck in, splitting into two groups to tackle two different areas.  We were fortunate that the weather was kind to us – it was a beautiful sunny day and we were soon warmed up! Colin, Geoff and Terry got a bonfire going and whilst the boys in the team were enjoying using the array of tools (slightly worrying swinging of the scythes going on…), the two girls did the tidying up behind them, dragging all the cut branches up to the fire.

With all the hard work came many required pit-stops for cold drinks, tea and of course biscuits and chocolates (the Virgin Media Procurement team doesn’t travel far without a regular food supply!). Us office workers were not used to burning off so many calories in one day and we had to take our hats off to Colin, Terry and Geoff – their energy levels far surpassed ours and by mid-afternoon, our aching muscles and scratched limbs forced us to admit defeat.

Rough Indication Of Progress Made – From The Front To The Person With Arms Out At The Back!

As we stood back and took stock of what we’d achieved, it was amazing how little an impact our efforts had seemed to have on the landscape but we had fortunately taken a before and after photo (so we were at least able to show the fruits of our labour to colleagues back at the office, even if the photos “definitely didn’t show the difference properly”…)

We all went home feeling tired and with the knowledge that we’d no doubt ache the next day, but it was a very satisfied feeling to know that we had a least made a small difference to the marshland. We thoroughly enjoyed our day out of the office and forwarded the details round to other teams – maybe with a few more teams, we can make it to those ‘trees in the background’!

Many thanks to Colin, Geoff and Terry for their patience with us on the day 🙂

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