‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award for Colin Gray

August 10, 2017

Paul Todd of Green Flag with Colin Gray of FPS

There was a big surprise for Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), at the recent Elvetham Heath Countryside Day. He was presented with the Green Flag Volunteer of the Year Award by Paul Todd, Scheme Manager of the Green Flag Award (see above).

This award recognises the dedication shown by volunteers working alongside professionals in improving parks and green spaces across the UK. Apparently he won it by a mile! His leadership of the project to create the new Avondale Pond system in Brookly Wood (at Fleet Pond) was cited by Hart Countryside Services as being typical of the dedication Colin has shown. This is to balance out any unexpected overflows from the Thames Water pumping station.

Group photo featuring Green Flag, FPS and Hart Countryside Services

Colin was for once speechless when he was called forward to accept the award. However Paul Todd said “Colin is a shining example to all volunteers who are involved with creating and maintaining green spaces for the public, particularly those that qualify for a Green Flag Award.”

Fleet Pond nature reserve has yet again been awarded the Green Flag Award for 2017 along with the one at Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney Central Commons which has also has achieved green heritage accreditation for the first time. Colin did have something to say about this! “Hart Countryside Services deserve major congratulations on gaining Green Flags for these wonderful sites.”

You can read about Green Flag Awards here.

“The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.”


Church Crookham & Fleet Men’s Shed

August 8, 2017

Making nesting boxes for Tawny Owls

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

Men’s Shed for Church Crookham and Fleet was set up only recently and as yet do not have a home of their own. They are very keen to take on tasks for their members and, where possible, raise funds towards building a shed of their own. Fleet Pond Society committee had decided that we would like to provide more nesting boxes for Tawny Owls at the nature reserve. Men’s Shed seemed a very good option and we approached Allan Walker with the plans. They produced two boxes for us which I collected on 19 July (see above).

The following is an extract from the Men’s Shed website (see here) which explains their aims and objectives under the general banner of:

Bringing people together to make or mend in a friendly and safe environment.

“What is a men’s shed?

A men’s shed is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. A men’s shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men (and women) come together to work.

​A shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (eg carpentry, joinery, turning, carving, whittling, marquetry, furniture renovation) but may include metalworking (milling, sheet metal, welding etc), bike repair, gardening, electronics, tool renovation, boat renovation, model engineering (model railways, planes) and even building a car! Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly – and some say that is true of the men too! Although sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people. Whichever activities are pursued the essence of a shed is not a building, which some don’t have, but the network of relationships between the members.​

Our Shed:

Our shed is currently located at Calthorpe Park School. They have kindly allowed us to use their design technology room and tools until we have our own shed up and running. Their tools include wood and metalwork lathes, pillar drills, band saws etc and they have many workbenches. We are gradually collecting together our own collection of tools to take with us to our shed when it is ready. We are busy working on our own projects and jointly working on various community projects.”


Why Not Join The Big Butterfly Count For 2017?

July 14, 2017

Why not join in the Big Butterfly Count, either locally or perhaps as a fun activity at Fleet Pond? It runs from the 14th July to the 6th August.

Here are some links to articles on butterflies that can be found at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve:

Butterflies Around The Pond – Have You Seen Any?

Butterflies At The Pond


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 11 June

June 7, 2017

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Our last task for the current season will be one last attack on birch scrub up on the Dry Heath by the car park. After that, two months “rest” and we will start again Sunday 10th September.

For next Sunday we should not need wellies, just some strong footwear. If you feel you might need water, please bring your own and we will supply the usual warm drink mid-morning. Watch out for bramble which tends to trip the unwary and can tear clothing.”

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
 Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 14 May

May 10, 2017

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

This Sunday, Fleet Pond Ranger Nick Macfarlane is taking us back to the Dry Heath around the car park. The objective is some more birch clearance but the principal task is to ensure there is no overhanging vegetation along the car park edges or down the track from the car park to Boat House Corner.

Wildlife Day 4th June is fast approaching and stallholders cars will be allowed down the track. The idea is to ensure stallholders and visiting public do not scratch their cars or themselves on overhanging vegetation.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
  Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 9 April

April 5, 2017

There will be a volunteer event at Fleet Pond this coming Sunday and all are welcome to attend (see below for registering).

This Sunday we will be back on the Dry Heath, adjacent to the car park. This time nearer to Boat House Corner to tackle the numerous birch seedlings trying to take over the open heath as a birch woodland. Lots of digging and lazy dog action and some lopping to do. Please avoid any gorse thickets as our birds will now be busy at nest building.

We meet as usual at the Countryside Workshop, Old Pump House Close, Fleet, GU51 3DN at 9.15 a.m. Please park in Kenilworth Road as parking is very restricted at the workshop. Bring water if you need it but we will have our usual choice of warm beverages mid-morning.

For further information and booking for this event (which is essential as tools and resources have to be planned beforehand), please contact Hart Countryside Services:

Phone: 01252 623443
  Email: countryside@hart.gov.uk

The Sunday volunteer tasks are supervised by a Hart Countryside Ranger together with members of Fleet Pond Society.

PS In case you’re wondering what on earth a Lazy Dog is, it’s a tool used for getting out weeds or similar that have long roots and where simple pulling won’t work. There’s more information here. You live and learn!


FPS Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Michael Thompson

March 23, 2017

michael-t-and-counciller-parker-s

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.