FPS Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Michael Thompson

March 23, 2017


Michael Thompson (right) with Councillor Stephen Parker

Cathy Holden writes:

The Chairman’s Award was set up by Councillor Sharyn Wheale, during her time as Hart Council Chairman in 2009. The aim is to recognise the voluntary contribution made over the preceding year to Fleet Pond or to the Society. The Fleet Pond Society Executive Committee is set the task of choosing a deserving volunteer. The Society always tries to select someone whose work behind the scenes is not clearly visible or has not been fully recognised.

The choice for Volunteer of the Year 2016 is someone who has given the Society dedicated support for several years at both the monthly conservation management tasks and at the regular Friday tasks. He is known as the one man who can start a bonfire in all weathers to dispose of all the cut material from a work session. His dedication extends to staying with a fire until it has been safely extinguished while the other volunteers return tools and equipment to the workshop.

He has donated his annual leave time to help with big construction projects like the Lions View platform on the eastern side of the pond and the pond dipping platforms at The Flash pool and Hemelite Bay. This volunteer has led groups of visiting school and young peoples’ groups for educational visits, including pond dipping, bug hunting and natural world experiences.

Justly deserving recognition as the Volunteer of the Year is Michael Thompson.


How Popular Is The Pond?

March 10, 2017


Graph of Footfall Figures at Fleet Pond for 2016 (Click To Enlarge)

Answer: A lot more than you might imagine!

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Hart Rangers have provided me with the full year footfall figures for Fleet Pond as recorded at the six monitoring points (see legend on graph above plus map here).

They make interesting reading and there is one oddity and one that bucks the general trend. Most monitor points follow a similar trend over the year, but Coldstream Culvert shows an unusual drop in March, April and June. Boat House track bumbles along as one of the lowest until a sudden increase in September, drops in the next two months and then becomes one of the highest in December.

Picnic entrance is one of the two lowest all year, indicating perhaps that most walkers use the lower track?

What is very clear is the numbers of people using Fleet Pond every month. Back a decade when we had a Farnborough Sixth Form student take a survey over a shorter few months, his figures estimated approximately 4,000 to 5,000 a month in peak months. All but two monitor points show the numbers are now well in excess of that estimate every month.

An  important point to note is that the monitors record every movement past the monitor, so it includes those who walk, jog, run or walk dogs more than once a day or do more than one circuit of the pond. For example a jogger might pass the monitor three or more times in one day. Although these might swell the figures, they do have an impact on the path network, so it makes sense to include them when assessing impact on path maintenance and potential disturbance.

There is no denying just how popular and valuable Fleet Pond is to people and their health.”

You can read the interesting things that visitors say about taking walks around Fleet Pond via TripAdvisor here.

Running For The Pond – The Fleet Half Marathon

March 3, 2017

Video of Fleet Half Marathon 2016

Cathy Holden writes:

“Five runners, Shane England, Dan Franklin, Lauren Saxby, Immie Sutherland and James Wicks have signed up to raise funds for Fleet Pond Society (FPS) by completing the Fleet Half Marathon on our behalf. We are really grateful that they have!

This event takes place on Sunday 19th March 2017 (start 10:30 am), and attracts 3,500 runners. It is one of the longest-running half marathons in the UK, now in its 36th year. We were delighted that FPS was named local charity by the organisers for this year. You can read more about the half marathon here.

We hope that FPS members and others will support the great efforts of these fantastic five by sponsoring them and raising funds for FPS. If you go and watch, you will easily spot both Immie and James as they will be dressed as swans – just to add to the challenge!

These are our runners, in their own words:-


Dan Franklin (above) writes: “In terms of training, I normally run about 4 miles daily throughout the year as part of a regular training regime. I’m stepping this up to occasional longer runs of around 7-9 miles throughout January and February, but scaling it back again to shorter runs in the weeks leading up to the half marathon. This will be the ninth consecutive time I’ve run the Fleet half, so hopefully I might achieve a personal best. I’m delighted to be running on behalf of Fleet Pond Society and hope to raise a decent sum.”

See: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/danielfranklin

Lauren Saxby writes: “I’m running the Fleet Half Marathon because I’ve lived in the town all my life, and the race has passed close to my house every year. It seems a part of Fleet life, like the Carnival. I’ve always enjoyed running, and decided to take on the half marathon challenge this year. Once I had made the decision, it was obvious to me that it was a chance to raise some money for FPS as the Pond is another big part of Fleet that I’ve enjoyed over those years. When I was younger, I volunteered at the Pond. Both my mum and brother have raised money through charity events for FPS, so it seemed a good incentive to encourage me to get out and run. I’m fairly active, riding horses mostly, and am aiming to get round my first half marathon and raise some funds for FPS.”

See: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/laurensaxby


Immie Sutherland (above) writes: “Fleet Pond has always been very special to me as a place to walk, play, run, bird-watch and volunteer over the years. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to run and fundraise for Fleet Pond Society and give something back to a place that is so valuable to Fleet and the surrounding area. This will be my third Fleet Half Marathon, but this year will be a little different because I’ll be running dressed as a swan. My training currently consists of sessions in a nicely warm gym, but as we move into February you’ll spot me running around Fleet and racing the Bramley 10 as a warm-up.”

See: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/imogensutherland1


James Wicks (above) writes: “This year I will be running the Fleet Half Marathon dressed as a swan! I am running to raise money for the Fleet Pond Society as it is a cause close to the hearts of my parents-in-law, Nick and Margaret Keeley. They live close to Fleet Pond and are regular walkers with their dog, Dylan. Nick is on the Society’s Committee and volunteers a lot of his time to the Fleet Pond Society. He has just stepped down as Treasurer after many years. I am now half way through my training which hasn’t been easy, particularly after the new arrival of our first child Erin who is just 15 weeks old. If you would like to sponsor me and help raise much needed funds for the Fleet Pond Society to continue its great work I would be ever so grateful!”

See: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/jameswicks

Shane England is the Society’s new Treasurer and writes: “I have just started the training for the run taking all the rest days last month. I have lived in Fleet for the past 20 years and currently am the Finance Manager at Old Thorns Golf Hotel and Country Estate in Liphook. Married for 35 years with no kids and at a tender age of 59 and a bit. I last ran any distance in the 2005 Fleet Half Marathon so this is going to be a shock to my system.”

Good luck to them all 🙂

We wish them all well on the day and hope that you will support this fantastic five by making a donation to their sites in aid of FPS. Just sponsor one of our runners and it will make a big difference. Members of the FPS Committee will be acting as Marshalls during the event as well as manning a stall at the finish line. Do pop along and see us if you’d like to find out more about the Society and what we do.”

A Pictorial Review Of 2016

January 5, 2017

Holly and Colin

Holly Reeves (TAG Farnborough) and Colin Gray (FPS) at the formal opening of the Hemelite Bay Jetty in June 2016

David Pottinger writes:

Here’s my selection of images and videos that appeared on this blog during 2016. They are mostly in chronological order, January to December.

They vividly illustrate the many ways in which Fleet Pond Society (FPS) benefits and interacts with the local community. As you can see, a lot more goes on than you might imagine! If you’d like more details of any of the activities, you can track down the original articles via the search box on the top rhs.

Last year was also an important one for FPS, it reached it’s 40th birthday and there were a number of events to celebrate this.

If you’d like to support FPS, please consider joining, we’re really keen to get new members and it’s just £10 a year (with the newsletter emailed) or £15 via post (see here for joining). Membership fees help us carry out a multitude of tasks that extend and complement those performed by Hart Countryside Services.

In addition to individual contributions, we also greatly appreciate the funds and services kindly provided by a number of local organisations and companies.

Finally, on the theme of pictures, please note that the deadline for the FPS Photographic Competition for 2016 is fast approaching – Sunday 8 January 2017. You can find the details here. Best of luck!

2016-01-15 Team at Bridge s

The year started with the opening of a new bridge at the bottom of Guildford Road

A fascinating video was produced by John Sutton that reviewed conservation progress at the Pond

Pat McKenzie 2016 s

Pat McKenzie with Cllr Steve Forster

(Hart District Council Chairman’s Award for Fleet Pond Society’s Volunteer of the Year 2015)

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2015 FPS Photographic Competition: the winning picture by Vicki Jull

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The bluebell patch at the Pond in full bloom


Terry Austin testing water quality as part of the Water Blitz project

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The opening of the Hemelite Bay Jetty (above, below and top)


Carnival 2016 6

The colourful FPS float at Fleet Carnival 2016

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Members of the FPS Carnival Team

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The impressive artwork at Fleet Station featuring Fleet Pond

Full of Life video from Hart District Council featuring FPS volunteers


FPS volunteers helping Elvetham Heath Primary School in making it’s own pond


A picture of the elusive Water Rail captured at the Pond


Rushmoor Mayor Jacquie Vosper with Michael Thompson of FPS

(Volunteer Recognition Event)


Included just for fun, spotted in a garden very near to Fleet Pond – Santa’s on his way!

Fleet Half Marathon Supports Fleet Pond

December 10, 2016

YouTube Video of Fleet Half Marathon 2016 (from MikeSpectrum)

David Pottinger writes:

The famous Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon will take place on Sunday 19th March 2017, starting at 10:30.

Why not put watching this event into your diary, it’s very impressive and has a great atmosphere!

Full details can be found on their website here, which advertises Fleet Pond Society (FPS) as the nominated local charity for 2017:

New for 2017:
  • Revised course – faster, flatter final 2 miles
  • New local charity – Fleet Pond Society – helping to support the natural environment in Fleet. Run for them and make a difference.
  • Brooks event t-shirt available to buy when you enter the race.
  • Medal, re-useable kitbag and other gift for all finishers.
  • More toilets within the park following runner feedback.
  • New race partner ‘Everyone Active’ the management company of the new Hart Leisure Centre opening March 2017.

 Five runners have already volunteered to run for FPS:

  • Dan Franklin
  • Imogen Sutherland
  • Lauren Saxby
  • Shane England
  • James Wicks

and we all wish them well in their preparations for the demanding event next year.

We also have 5 free places left – why not run for Fleet Pond? If you are interested please drop a line to our Chairman, Colin Gray at chairman@fleetpond.org.uk or phone 01252 616183.

We will publish further details nearer the time, including relevant charity giving pages.

FPS will be providing several stewards for the race and will also have a gazebo at the finish at Calthorpe Park Race Village. Please call by on the day if you’d like some information on how FPS benefits the local community.

FPS have been involved with this event previously. In 2015, two runners from Mackenzie Smith Estate Agency, Roxanne Lewington and Tara Skinner, raised £559 for the Pond by participating in the Half Marathon, see here and picture below.

2015-04-08_Certificate 2

From L to R: Colin Gray of FPS with Roxanne Lewington, Tara Skinner and Graham Tufnell of Mackenzie Smith

Rushmoor Volunteer Recognition Event and FPS

December 9, 2016


Rushmoor Mayor Jacquie Vosper with Michael Thompson of FPS

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), writes:

“Last month Michael Thompson and I went to the Rushmoor Volunteer Recognition event at the Rushmoor Council Offices. Michael was presented with a certificate by the Mayor of Rushmoor Jacquie Vosper for his many and varied volunteering activities with Fleet Pond Society.

From the Rushmoor site:

Rushmoor has a rich tradition of voluntary organisations supporting our community. Volunteers are the life-blood of local projects, organisations and charities.

The Celebration Event was held at the offices of Rushmoor Borough Council on Wednesday 9th November 2016 from 12:00 pm to 1.30pm in the company of the Mayor of Rushmoor, Jacquie Vosper. At this event Voluntary Organisations had nominated  a volunteer to attend the lunch with a guest to receive a certificate from the Mayor in recognition of their volunteering activities.

Michael was nominated by FPS for his keen dedication to Fleet Pond. He is a regular at the Sunday work parties at which he is master of bonfire making, joins the Friday morning Last of the Summer Wine volunteers when his work schedule allows and he has hosted visiting children’s’ groups for pond dipping and other educational and fun activities (see example picture below).”

Many congratulations to Michael!


Full of Life at Fleet Pond

November 7, 2016

Here’s a video made by local photographer John Sutton on the benefits of volunteering at Fleet Pond using the Last of the Summer Wine (LOSW) activity of Fleet Pond Society as an excellent example.

This video is part of a series of three that Hart District Council are using to promote and celebrate the achievements that older people make to the local community.

Please see the Hart web site for further details. Here is an extract:

This year we’re celebrating the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society with 3 short films to mark UK Older People’s Day 2016.

The project is a collaboration between Hart District Council and local film-maker John Sutton from  Clearwater Photography, with support from Hart Volunteer Centre.

The films give a flavour of some of the ways older residents are giving their time and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.  They also showcase 3 themes, Connect, Keep learning, and Be active, which are part of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, a set of simple evidence-based actions individuals can take to promote their wellbeing. 

If you are interested in volunteering at Fleet Pond, please contact our Chairman, Colin Gray, who will describe the various options:

Phone 01252 616183 or email Colin Gray.

Here are some photos from previous LOSW and related activities:

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Working on the new pond dipping platform

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Installing the very popular benches

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Constructing the Lions’ View