A dedicated group of volunteers who give up their time every week to help keep Orford Ness open to visitors have been thanked by the National Trust.
The National Nature Reserve’s unusual landscape is home to such rare wildlife that it is recognised as being of international conservation importance.
Visitors to the National Trust site are always keen to learn more about the wildlife habitats and it is largely thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers that they are able to find out so much about this special place.
More than 30 National Trust Volunteers at Orford Ness carry out a wide variety of roles, from helping bring people to the site, helping them find their way around, answering questions about the wildlife and history of the former MoD weapons testing site, to gathering detailed data about the birds and wildlife that make the Ness their home.
On Sunday July 13, the annual Community Day that invites residents from the surrounding villages of Orford & Gedgrave, Butley, Iken, Sudbourne and Boyton to visit the Ness for free took place.
After a day of welcoming visitors, the team held their annual summer barbecue, with a number of volunteers receiving awards for dedication that has seen them clock up 130 years of volunteering between them.
Countryside Manager Grant Lohoar presented 12 volunteers with their commemorative five year badges, whilst there was also applause for volunteer and specialist bird ringer Gillian Stannard, who received her ten year badge.
A celebration cake, commemorative badges and letters from Regional Director Ben Cowell were presented to three volunteers who have each given 20 years of volunteering to the Ness.
Silke Miles, Mike Marsh and David Crawshaw were all thanked for their hard work.
Mr Lohoar told the volunteer team: “We have all said that we couldn’t do it without you, and we are so lucky to have you all here, doing the jobs you do.
“Through all the continued hard work, some of the team have amassed a huge amount of information that is so valuable to us and they continue to do so, and we can only thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
Peter Whiley, himself a volunteer of 16 years who is also the Volunteer Co-ordinator for Orford Ness, said: “More than half of the team have done ten or more years of volunteering here. We are team who all get on well and everyone mucks in.
“We’re all people who like to be out and about and enjoy helping to care for the wonderful wildlife and birdlife here – it’s not a bad way to spend your time!”