FPS Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Michael Thompson

March 23, 2017

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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.


Please Support Our Runners At The Half Marathon

March 11, 2017

Five runners, Shane England, Dan Franklin, Lauren Saxby, Immie Sutherland and James Wicks have signed up to raise funds for Fleet Pond Society by completing the Fleet Half Marathon on our behalf.

They would be delighted, and so would we, if you’d like to support them through VirginMoneyGiving or else by giving them, and all the others, a motivating cheer on the day.

You can read more about them and their motivation and preparation for the race here.

The relevant sites are:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/danielfranklin

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/laurensaxby

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/imogensutherland1

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/jameswicks

The race takes place on Sunday 19th March 2017 (start 10:30 am).

 


How Popular Is The Pond?

March 10, 2017

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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.


Volunteer Event This Sunday, 12 March

March 8, 2017

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

This time we will back on the Dry Heath by the reserve car park clearing more birch scrub. The birds have started nesting now, so we need to avoid tackling any of the thick gorse shrubs as these make good secure nesting sites.

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, Nick Macfarlane, together with members of Fleet Pond Society.


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:-

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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

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-s

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.”


New Works At Brookly

March 2, 2017

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Click to Enlarge

Colin Gray writes:

“The timescale for the final part of the above works is to complete by 31st March 2017. This could slip due the current wet weather but it is still the plan. This will include the cleaning out of the four stew ponds in Brookly Wood.”

For an interesting article on this part of Fleet Pond, see Hotspots and Hidden Gems – The Stew Ponds by Michelle Salter.

 


Do You Have Some Free Time On A Friday?

February 28, 2017

Click to Play

A ‘Full of Life’ video from Hart District Council featuring a selection of FPS ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ volunteers

If you have some free time on a Friday and fancy being out in the fresh air and working with a friendly bunch of volunteers, why not consider joining the Last of the Summer Wine (LOSW) group organised by Fleet Pond Society?

Sessions, which typically run most Fridays (roughly 10:00 – 12:30), cover a wide variety of tasks, from cutting down overgrown vegetation to managing the islands. No previous skills required.

Please contact FPS Chairman, Colin Gray, for further information: phone 01252 616183 or email Colin Gray.

Here are some photos from previous major LOSW tasks (rest assured, most tasks aren’t this complicated!):

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Helping construct a new pond for Elvetham Heath Primary School

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Constructing the new pond dipping platform

2016-01-15 Team at Bridge s

A new bridge at the end of Guildford Road