So when and where did it all begin?
I was invited by the Friends of Bourne Woods to give a talk on Flowers of woodlands & meadows at the AGM in 2008 (I think). It was not long after that that the then Chair, David Sheppard, resigned as he was moving away from Bourne and I was elected to the Chairs position.
Over the last 12 years or so that I have been the Chair,the Friends have established the community orchard (I am one of 4 trustees) and continued to offer an annual programme of guided walks and events. Some events have ‘fallen by the wayside’ such as the Santa in the woods but other new events have become established such as the annual orchard open day and the annual Wassail in January in conjunction with the Bourne Borderers.
In addition to the administrative tasks associated with a Chairs role, I have led at least one guided walk every year (apart from 2020!) usually either a spring or summer wildflower walk plus a few fruits of the forest guided walks in autumn. In tandem with Dr Keith Porter,we established the summer Bug Hunt which we have now run for around 5 years. I have also drafted a couple of notes for the website on forestry operations (felling) and on the ecology of the wild service tree (the leaf is the Friends emblem) in addition to reports on the guided walks.
Over the years, I have given a number of talks on the wildlife of Bourne Woods to various local groups such as the U3A Garden Group, the Bourne Civic Society, the Bourne Trefoil Guild and the Royal British Legion. In 2016, I wrote a booklet with the help of several others entitled Bourne Wood – A portrayal of a wood in Kesteven which was published with financial support from the Forestry Commission. Sale of the booklet helps to raise funds for the Friends activities and maintenance of the community orchard.
And my last task, apart from writing this farewell, was to draft an orchard quiz which will be used at the Orchard event on 10th October!
I am moving to south Cumbria (Burton–in–Kendal) to join my partner Jane and hope to get involved with local wildlife and natural history groups in that area. I will be coming back to Lincolnshire on a regular basis to meet up with family and friends. In the interim, Sarah Roberts will become Acting Chair until the next AGM and thereafter we hope to find a ‘permanent’ Chairperson!
I would like to thank all of the committee and other volunteers both past and present for making my tenure as Chair such an enjoyable experience. I hope the Friends will continue to thrive and carry on their excellent work for the benefit of the wood and thepeople of Bourne and surrounding areas.
I, on behalf of the Committee and the Friends would like to thank Richard for all his hard work and support during his time as Chair. As he reminds us he has done many other things in addition to his Chair’s role and his knowledge and experience will be missed. We wish Richard every happiness in his new life in Cumbria.